By Arun Krishnadas
Edited by Shambhavi Singh, Senior editor, The Indian Economist
We all know the famous proverb, “Money is a good servant but a bad master.” But unfortunately if you ask for a unanimous answer as to what is today’s driving factor, you are bound to get the reply as money. India today rests on a knife’s edge, with its largest section of the population, the youth, being profit motivated to say the least. ‘Don’t know your interest? Chase after money.’ Where is this going to lead us?
There is no need for me to emphasise on the vast economic disparity that exists in India. With the majority of wealth resting in a few hands, you merely need to walk on the streets of any Indian city to get the picture of its lesser half. But the hearts of the passers-by have hardened to these sights, and they don’t offer a second thought to it, taking it as a parcel of life. What we don’t realize is that not a single sight needs to remain the way it is. We can have our say in changing this world if only we want to.
Doctors and engineers to this day hold a pristine position in our society and economy. Any child in a well-off family is written off as either one of them, particularly if he shows any academic excellence. Interests are relegated to the back in these cases. And in the tender years of teenage, they move onto pursue the golden goals of IITs or AIIMS. Years down the line, the same people could be seen working in investment banks or following wrong routes in a cut-throat world, chasing after our protagonist. Patients are seen as commodities, and educational lessons as passers-by towards a different goal. In effect, India loses out on a more effective population for growth, in a rat race for economic supremacy.
It is this same goal, which is driving our country into one of the greatest perils of this generation: corruption in all walks of life. It is a social evil which has been created over time, and is here to stay for at least that much time longer till we change our approach towards the society. We are living in a world of live and let live, with imaginary boundaries separating our family from the rest of the society. The goal remains to make our lives as smooth as we can, with this often bleaking out the limits of right and wrong. Much as we could debate over whether it is best to live out our lives and not bother about the rest, the time for a detour has arrived, particularly with the degrading quality of life in our country.
Involvement in societal affairs through active participation in clubs or societies like NSS or other NGOs is not the common man’s cup of tea today. While all of us cry for the need of good governance, we tend to forget or oversee the contribution we could make. Correction begins back at home. If we could believe that there is a need for change, then we have taken the first step. If every family member becomes an active part of the society through some form of participation, if we choose to let our children pursue their imaginations and follow their interests, we might have a chance at breaking hold of this crushing menace called “money”.
Recently we came to see Professor Manjul Bhargava receive the prestigious Fields Medal. Why is it that it has taken so long for an Indian to win the same, even when there are enviable minds in our country? The answer lies in the fact that even this eminent personality might have followed a different course had he stayed back in India. Freedom of thought is a dying commodity back here. Facilities are available, but brain drain continues to exist. The thirst for money has corroded our passions, and the time for an antidote has arrived. The time to start rebreeding those endangered eagles flying over money has arrived, indeed.Arun is a reserved individual, who places his interests at par with those of others around him. He is determined when he sets onto something, but still spends long amounts of time introspecting on his decisions, whatever be the results. He likes to spend time with friends, reading books, watching sports and films, writing his heart out and setting time tables for a better tomorrow. He believes that for some things, there’s today, and for others there’s tomorrow, be it the one that comes or the one that doesn’t.