Modernization: Where are we heading?
The advent of modernization can be traced back to the Industrial Revolutions in Europe. They ushered in a new era of changing lifestyles and paradigm shift in the people’s attitude. India that is Bharat (to differentiate modern from the traditional) was late to join this global bandwagon of modernization due to prolonged servitude and colonialism of the imperial powers. Although these powers brought the initial impetus to modernize the country, but they never tried for its development. Their sole concern was profit maximization, and the country besides been getting impoverished, got industries and railways as by products. As of the present times, India is modernizing at a steady pace, but this modernization has a different connotation for different sections of the society. Its similar to the story where five blind men meet an elephant and each one of those describes them on his own perception.
Considering the vast population of India we can never boast of it as an achievement, but the flip side of this invalid coin is that we have the largest number of youth in the world. The youth is bedazzled with the fast changing world around him; he has a mosaic of own for modernization. Some perceive that adopting a western lifestyle means modernization, actually obtaining freedom form social and cultural boundations is their motto. This is the reason we see deterioration of traditional values and shirking off of customs. To some modernization is mere coming to cities from their native towns and villages and then become a part of that ever growing giant. Some are so deprived of means and measures that they believe eking out money; by what so ever means is modernization. This has resulted in wide spread imbalances and ideological conflicts. We still remember what happened in Mangalore last week. What some people thought acceptable and ethical was a strict deviation from status quo for others. That’s as simple as people have notions; they become doctrines when others start to believe in them.
As for the masses comprising mainly of our peasants, deprived of land and facilities, modernization means an improvement in yield, which they sight as distant as the Sun. The fertilizers, irrigation and other facilities are all eaten up by the “suitcase farmers” having modern techniques and equipment. A poor peasant is left with nothing but more people to feed, less land to till and the food he eats to sow. The fertilizers facilities has been severely crippled by the economic reforms of the mid 1990s although country’s produce has increased but as a nation we have lost much. We often hear of farmer suicides and what can we call this a “modern” technique of repaying the debts accrued?
Even the manufacturing industries have modernized structurally and functionally, not ideologically. This is so, as you can still see promoters of a renowned paint company belittling Napgpur Orange to Canada Orange. Is this show of superior ness of foreign goods modernization? Was this the motive of the Swadeshi movement, which forms a part of our freedom struggle? The souls of our freedom fighters would have wept at this.
The increasing trend in services industry is a symbol of modern India , but hasn’t it made our economy so severely dependent on the FIIs and the FDIs. One can agree that the investors consider India a better investment place than Russia and China , but can one deny that if one’s own economy is reeling under recession that person would invest in an other country? How will we sustain our previous steady growth of 8-9 %.
The need of the hour is to bring in modernization of agriculture, which still employs 3/5th of our population; this will not only strengthen our economy but also distribute the fruits of development to the downtrodden. There is a need to infuse the youth with right mix of modern and traditional ideas, so they understand what our country stands for. The means and modes of governance need to be modernized if we want a corruption free and people friendly governance as envisaged by the ARC to be achieved till 2020.Modernization as a tool can prove to be a use or a nuisance, it all depends how effectively and judiciously we deploy it.