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|September 4, 1999||
Issues 99/ S Gurumurthy
'Mindset will have to slowly change for which I don't think there is any lead in the current political leadership in any party'
The first area the government should target is security. Law and order and security of the nation should be its most important programmes. Failures do happen and nobody can ensure a failure-free system. But a person of wisdom tries to avoid failures in future and not go on a witch-hunt.
Today another major issue before the government is how to change the mindset of socialism, which has made the Indian less efficient. By changing rules and regulations, you cannot change the mindset of the people. It has to come about slowly.
What about education? As government-provided education is failing everywhere, private education will gain prominence. The society won't keep quiet, it will see that good education is given to the children. Finally the government will understand that it has an area to operate and the society will operate in certain other areas.
In the next ten years, I see the government moving away from higher education and concentrating on primary education and maybe selectively on secondary education too. Publicly funded secondary education in India was very good till the salaries were paid through the management. The moment the government started sending salaries directly to the teachers, they became answerable to no one. It is we who destroyed everything for the sake of cheap popularity, vote, etc.
We destroyed institutions, we destroyed respect for people, we destroyed everything. So, this mindset will have to slowly change for which I don't think there is any lead in the current political leadership in any party. But our society will move on, and it will take a long time for the Indian society to get adjusted to changes too because India is one-sixth of humanity! It is a not small country like Germany, England or Italy.
I believe in the soul of this country and no government can do anything to change its soul, the Indian soul. Once all the Dravidian parties wanted a separate Tamil Nadu. But what happened? Three religious movements finished all of them. That is why I say, this is no ordinary society. No ordinary country, no ordinary society, no ordinary civilisation lasts for thousands of years. So, I am not bothered about what is happening now. These are all small things, just pinpricks. I believe in the eternity of India. Even the DMK has understood that you have to come to terms with the soul of India, that is religion, faith, etc.
No government in India has tackled any major social issue unless it is an emergency, like the war with Pakistan. Otherwise, the people of India are tackling the issues themselves and the government has been largely supplementing the society. So, the society is taking care of itself; the society is running families; society is running businesses.
Even in the socialist regime, the State contribution to GDP has been less than 15 pc. So, the society has been managing 85 pc of it! In India, the State is not an exclusive mechanism, which will run the society like in the West. So, I don't believe that one government will come and change the Indian society. If a government is more efficient and less corrupt, it will allow the society to do its work, without impeding it.
You may see people not working in the government offices but attitude will not change with legislation. For example, you go to the industries ministry, there is no work there and nobody is working there. But people are slowly resigning and going away. That is because nobody can be without work for a long time. So, India has its own time scale. That is why it thinks in yugas, it doesn't and cannot think in centuries and decades.
(S Gurumurthy of the Swadeshi Jagran Manch spoke to Shobha Warrier)
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