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India And The World In The 21st Century

India And The World In The 21st Century

Dr. Ravindra Kumar

In 1995, Prof. M.K. Bryski, the then Ambassador of the Republic of Poland in India was invited to Meerut City by me for a memorial lecture. Prof. Bryski explained Indo-European relations and mainly discussed the role and contribution of India in 21st Century. Not only as an Indian, but as a citizen of the world, I listened to his views. Many truths about India which cannot be denied by anyone - general or particular - had been touched by Prof. Bryski, therefore, today, I too would like to express my views under the title: India and the world : With special reference to 21st Century in the same manner as done by Prof. Bryski.

In fact India is a mini world. It possesses a civilization and culture which is thousands of years old. From very ancient times, it has been a spiritual teacher of the World. Many apostles of peace like Lord Mahavira, Lord Gautama Buddha, Guru Nanak Dev and Mahatma Gandhi have taken birth on this land. No other country in the world has probably influenced, in all most all the important areas in the world, as India has done.

Historical evidences have been collected which prove that human life started only from our land. Perhaps, it may be unknown to the present generation that our country has given the best system of governance to the world, i.e., democratic system of governance thousand years ago, and today after completing 56 years of independence, India has set an example of the biggest democracy of the world. This is amazing because about one thousand million people live in India. The citizens belong to different religious communities of the world. In India, there is great variation in the language spoken from north to south and east to west. People eat different kinds of foods, wear different kinds of dress and follow different living habits.

In India the building of social structure is based on thousands of customs and traditions. Indian society is divided between 3500-4000 castes and sub castes. After having such great variations, our country is an example of unity in diversity, and as I have already said, that it is a mini world. It conveys a message to the world and that is:

“Live and Let Live, Progress and Let Progress, Proceed towards the goal and Let others Proceed.”

What is the goal? Definitely, to bring peace to the world.

Now these are the days of globalization and liberalization. The world has shrunk; the developments that have never been before in the field of transportation, communication and science have brought people close to each other. Not only this, if any particular event takes place in any country or region of the world and it does not have impact on the other nations of the world, it is not possible, and then India, which is growing as a super power and leading in information technology, biotechnology, nuclear development and space science etc., cannot remain untouched of any event of the world in any condition.

As I have already mentioned, India is a country of unity in diversity. It is the second most populated country after China. It is the biggest democracy of the world. It is natural if its society of diversities faces some problems, if it faces different challenges - internal and external. And it is a reality. I do not deny it.

Internally population causes a serious problem for India, and this problem results in unemployment Near about two hundred million people, more or less, are subdued by unemployment. Like other nations of the world, corruption sets a serious challenge for India. Poverty is also another serious problem because even today 26 per cent people live below the poverty line. There are also other internal problems similar to those of other nations of the World.

But in comparison to problems and challenges, India’s achievements during the past half century are so much high that other nations of the world, particularly developing and under-developed, can learn a lot from her. Let us discuss India’s main and exemplary achievements briefly.

In 1947 India became free from the British imperialism. At that time its population was near about three hundred millions but the food-grains here were not sufficient so that every person could have two meals a day. We were just dependent on other nations for our food grains. Today the situation has changed. The population is near about one thousand million, although this is not the matter of any appreciation but today the food grains produced here are much more than our basic needs. According to a government data, two hundred million ton food-grains are produced every year. After meeting the home consumption, the food-grains are exported to 30 countries of the World. Besides this, there is a heavy demand for Indian tea, sugar along with eatable items and readymade garments in other parts of the world. India is providing clothes to millions of people of more than 50 nations.

About 13 years ago, I was the Vice Chancellor of the Meerut University. At that time there were 218 universities all over the country. Now this number has increased to 300. At present all provinces of the country have their own universities or equivalent institutions [at least one] for higher education. Most of the universities and their affiliated post graduate colleges are imparting education full of modern facilities. They also have computer technology and modern equipments. That is why; I had already said in the beginning that India is going to lead in the field of science, technology, biotechnology and space science. A country like China is also far behind India in information technology. The United States of America is looking for assistance from Indian engineers to stabilize its electricity supply system. Many Indian scientists have also proved their superiority in various branches of science and technology in different nations of Europe and America. India, as we have heard recently is going to send her scientists on the moon by 2008 and on Mars soon after it for explorations.

According to the figures of the year 2001 near about thirty five million homes were facilitated with cable connection which, now in my opinion, has doubled up. Near about twenty million people possess mobile phones. All the remote areas have been connected with telephones. India stands in the queue of developed nations in the field of telecommunication

In today’s age of world level competition, capital investment of more than two thousand million Dollars is being made every year. By the end of the financial year 2003, India had a reserve of foreign exchange more than 8, 50,000 million dollars. Every year near about six hundred thousand cars of different models are manufactured in the country. In this direction India is ahead of more than 100 nations of the world.

On the basis of above mentioned achievements it can be concluded easily that India is not a weak nation. This is a country of high potential and occupies an important position in the world. Her importance cannot be ignored at all in world’s development. Along with this her role for the establishment of peace cannot be denied. The world can learn a lesson from her diverse society, and the problems which are being faced by her as challenges. Significantly, as India has strong moral values, her cultural heritage is alive, there is a commitment of her people towards non-violence - the supreme human value, it is exemplary and to be followed by all in the World.

India faces many external problems. She is bearing the stroke of terrorism for the last twenty seven years. A major portion of the annual budget is spent in Jammu and Kashmir alone to tackle the problem of terrorism. Since India is a secular republic, therefore, some nations try to disturb her secular structure. Why? I don’t want to discuss this matter at this place. But sometimes my country faces serious challenges from outside in this context.

India has dispute with Pakistan. Mainly Kashmir is the focus of controversy. She also has some border problems with China. I want to make it clear that India has always been in favour of practicing Panchsheel principle. She believes in the policy of peaceful co-existence. As I have already mentioned in my speech at the Legislative premises of China in 2001, the whole world has to understand the Indian view of peace. From Indian view point there is no place for weakness. Lord Gautama Buddha, Mahatma Gandhi, Lord Mahavira, Guru Nanak, Vishnu Gupta Chanakya, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel have played a vital role in her making.

There is no problem-internal or external - at any level of the world that cannot be solved with inter-dialogue or mutual discussion. For centuries this has been the concept of India which is based on truth. Whether it is China or Pakistan or any other country, all problems can be solved with inter dialogue. Apart from this there is no other more effective or best way in my opinion. Yes two things are important in this regard:

  • To be serious; and
  • To be ready for sacrifice by accepting reality.

I understand that on the basis of above mentioned two facts; India will come forward for the solution of her problems. Other parties will also understand the importance of India and will come forward to give the place which she deserves. India has always been ready for strength and effectiveness of all leading organizations of the world whether it is the ASEAN, the SARC, the Commonwealth or the UNO. Especially India has never turned back in any effort made by the UNO for creating peace or any step taken by it in this regard.

But, unfortunately India’s importance and her role in world’s affairs has been undervalued. What is the reason that such a spiritual teacher and largest democracy of the world does not possess a permanent seat with a Power of VETO in UNO’s Security Council? Why is it so that the national language of India which, is spoken by more than six hundred million people has not been accepted in the UNO?

Now, the whole world has to understand India’s reality. Without this nation’s support, progress in any sphere whether it is social, cultural, political or economic would just be a fallacy. All in the world have to construe that India should be given its due place. This should be taken seriously by each and everyone now in 21st Century. Specially, the people who want peace in the world, they would not stay turned away from India because India is capable of taking the flag of peace and to lead the world in this regard She has the potential of providing leadership to this world for this purpose. Moreover, it is India’s commitment to the whole world, as we can clearly find it in the following words of article 51 of its Constitution that is related to promotion of international peace and security:

“The state shall endeavour to: [a] promote international peace and security; [b] maintain just and honourable relations between nations; [c] foster respect for international law and treaty obligations in the dealings of organized people with one another; and [d] encourage settlement of international disputes by arbitration.”


Dr. Ravindra Kumar is a renowned Gandhian scholar, India expert and writer. He is the former vice chancellor of CCS University in Meerut, India. He holds a doctorate in political science.

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