Indian Independence

A few days ago we celebrated the 60th anniversary of Indian Independence. Different TV channels ran prime airtime comparisons of the India that was “then” and the India that is “now”. What is really different? 1947 dealt with socio-economic issues such as discrimination on caste, creed and gender. Are we really different now? In 2007, India and Indians still remain populistic, gender-biased and discriminatory – to a large extent.

A government that allows people to live illegally in the slums of Mumbai and Delhi and siphon off resources meant for honest tax-payers. Why? Because these are the same people who give them their “overwhelming majority” in elections. Never mind that you work for the first 5 months of the year entirely to pay the government its taxes.

A virtually unknown lady made it to Rashtrapati Bhavan with gender as her largest qualifying criterion. Never mind that the country’s top nuclear scientist and entrepreneur were also in the fray. A female colleague is chosen over you for a promotion? Well, she probably slept her way to the top or just “utilized her resources appropriately”. Right?

Discrimination on caste and creed is creeping everywhere, even into the corporate world. The intelligentsia often toy with the idea of imposing reservations for backward classes not just at the blue-collar level, but also at into the white-collar pool. Students could get into the IIMs based on a caste certificate, if some people have their way. Never mind that the public sector and allied services have been laid to waste by such people and policies in the past.

Silver lining or just a black cloud? India does promise to create history. This is thanks to India’s talent pool, and the fortitude of the post reform generation. The foreign exchange crisis of June 1991 was a blessing in disguise as it gave way to market reforms and a new Indian spirit was born. This new Indian spirit and the post – 1991 generation gave rise to a new India. The new generation has also helped India rise in the BPO-IT-ITES revolution. Now the great Indian spirit is on the anvil of writing a KPO success story too.

It is mainly USA and then Europe that has helped India in this new resurgence through mutually beneficial commercial ties. In this era of collaborations and a wikiworld, we need to strengthen bonds further, with global citizens/netizens for mutual progress.

On the healthcare front, India is continuing its strong journey:

It is time that India shrugs off its ‘copy-cat’ image and begins to contribute to the world through indigenous systems of medicine, medi-tourism, KPO activities in the healthcare space, high quality and low-cost generics, medical transcription, nursing and other professions, and a new collaborative Indian R & D in pharmaceuticals and healthcare.

Most major corporations are now developing a China and India strategy. “Chindia” is the buzz word of most boardrooms. There is immense potential for Indo-US collaboration in the healthcare sphere. More than 80% of the Indian healthcare needs are met through private resources. Huge market opportunity. Lets work hard to sell the India story to the world! Hopefully, the 65th Independence Day review will not entail a black cloud at all!

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