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Out of India

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What has not been said about India? That has not already been said. Many of the ills of Africa which I wrote about on the web-site. Have a close similarity to that which one finds in India. The stark difference is due to the bludgeoning population of one billion people.

As one walks into the greater cities of India, one is overwhelmed by the masses. A sea of people sweeps down the streets in every direction. Like a "People lava" that moves in mass, collecting people, taxi's, cows, cars, buffalo carts, mechanized rickshaws and an occasional herd of goats, in its' path. Humanity is lined up toe to toe in all sizes, shapes and color. Space is filled immediately, till there is no space. Everybody is breathing down everybody else's neck. This mass reaches a highly critical stage come mid-morning and then again from four to nine in the evening. If you happen to be caught out in these two peak times of the day, just grin and bear it. And join the masses.

India shares the same aliments that is found in many of the developing countries of the world where there is a great diversity in languages, religions, customs, and traditions and class stratification. The litany is a common one; abject poverty, a high rate of illiteracy, unemployment plus a pervasive corruption that staggers the imagination. And a lack of infrastructures that covers the waterfront; i.e., hygiene and sanitation, sufficient educational facilities to teach the young for the 21st. Century and beyond. Then we have the roads; those needed arteries in and out of the cities and villages. Roads did I say, they are more like a crater field or a large washboard, running snake like with no rhyme or reason.

India, not unlike so many other countries is trying to create a "good society". A society that promotes and engenders a "balance, a harmony and a peace" among it's citizenry and it's neighbors whoever they might be. A society that recognizes the inalienable rights of each of its' citizens. A society that is free from all those constraints that are detrimental to the well-being of its' constituents. A society that is aware that it's very life, it's very strength lies in the knowledge, in the actually that if one, only one individual is not free to choose his or her destiny. Then that society is found wanting. If one individual is denied the fruits of his or her labor. Again that society is found wanting. If anyone is denied the basic, needed essentials of food, water clothing and shelter to keep life and limb together. Then that society is found wanting. If anyone is denied the opportunity to be educated, to gain the needed knowledge and skills to earn a livelihood. Then that society is found wanting. If anyone is denied the right to perform any job, profession or task because of sex genders, religious preferences, creed or doctrine, race or color. Then that society is found wanting.

Society must protect and set into practice those necessary measures and implementations that will uphold the unalienable rights of all its' peoples. Assuring them their equity and needed justice.

It should be apparent to all that if one suffers in any manner, all suffer. All are responsible. Everyone's error, is the error of "separateness". If any society continues to practice this "separateness"; conflict and confusion will prevail not only in the lives of its' citizen  but also throughout the planet.

Exclusivity must give way to inclusiveness. This is not to say or to propose that there will be no delineation or differences among the people of a given society. Or that each individual is not held responsible for his or her merit or contribution to the greater good of said society. Freedom or any other of ones' inalienable rights is not a license to do nothing and receive something. The daily social abuses and the discriminating actions against individuals wherever they take place, must be aborted. All inhuman acts must be exposed and righted. All perpetrators must be held accountable for their actions and their identity made public.

As a civilization, we are over due, well past the point of tolerating any and all actions, all crimes against humanity. Enough is enough! Equity and justice for all must prevail. The line must be held!

This does not mean that the rich must take all their possessions and give to the poor, as some profess. Or distribute everything equally. But it does mean that for those who have been given much, much is expected of them. It does mean that love, concern and caring are essential for a "good society". And these qualities are to be the basics, part of the building blocks. If we seriously and sincerely believe we are "One". That we are the world.

Can this happen? "Yes"! Will it happen? I say;"Yes" to the cynics and sceptics of the world. There is and there has been a growing consensus, a growing "awareness" that humanity cannot continue to ignore the need to come together and to co-exist in our diversity. Pluralism is an actually and it can be our strength.

How can this all come about? Education, education, education! Every newborn child must have the opportunity to receive the best education available. Whether this is in the bush, the jungle, or the cities.

But not only should we be concerned about the child's need to be educated. But the parents and the extended family who contribute to the nurturing of the child. Need to enter into this educational dialogue with the children. So they can interact with the child. Which would entail adult educational classes from a tutoring center within the community. Manned by competent and skilled tutors with the needed ways, means and instruments. Too accomplish the goals both short and long ranged. With daily feedback and evaluation of said goals. Always remembering that any problem has its' solution within the problem.

The training of qualified teachers and administrators, along with the building of the needed facilities for both the training for qualified teachers and supervisors needs to be the first priority. Then comes the building of the needed facilities and the tools, to teach the children. While at the same time the development of a curriculum that is relevant to the child, the community and the world in general. All educators need to ask themselves; How can the children of today be equipped to live in this time and space? What is needed to educate the children of now and the future? So they can live in balance, harmony and peace throughout their lives. And reach their highest potentiality and possibility.

We are nearing that time in the history of humanity when technology will supply us with the needed communication expertise via personal language translators which will allow us a means to teach all peoples in their own language as we speak. Once, we have this capability. Then the number one priority of the world should be to bring education to every child in the world regardless of who or where they are. The G-7 nations, along with the World Banks should arrange for the needed funds it would take to educate all children in each of the respective countries where the illiteracy rate is below 90 per cent. And the educational curriculum that is developed for each of these countries which are involved needs to be adequate enough, so that the child is equipped for the century they are borne into. Reading, writing and arithmetic is not adequate for today's world.

This must be a worldwide bipartisan effort that rises above all political considerations and territorial conflicts. How many speeches down through the years have contained these words? "The future of the world lies in our children". It is about time, we put our monies where our mouth is. Until this priority is taken seriously by the world community And consummated. The woes of the world will continue to compound. We know that the existing illiteracy must be eradicated if the world community is to be one of balance, harmony and peace.

The piecemeal approach we are doing at the present is better than nothing. But one might compare it with emptying the ocean with a teaspoon.

The United Nations, IMF and the World Bank, all the "Think Tanks" of the World, the best minds of all the Disciplines, the Legislative bodies of all the Nations. And the "movers and shakers" of all those Non-Governmental Organizations, which are doing something now in, the educational field for the developing countries. Need to pool their know how, all their skills and techniques and work together as one driving force, laying aside their ego's and power structures and find the solution to this world illiteracy and "just do it". That's if we still believe the future of our world lies in the hands of our youth.

There has to be a radical transformation in the World's consciousness level. Which can come about, if we as a people will become aware and receptive to the actually that each of us is the world, in the strictest sense. It is necessary that we accept the reality that a better world, a better society starts at our front doorstep. In all conscious, we have to stop blaming everyone and everything for the chaos, disorder, confusion, conflict, fears and sorrows of our world. And own up, that we are the problem, because of the pettiness of our lives. Notwithstanding, the disorder, fear, anxieties, greed and self-indulgences which we harbor.

Then add to this mix our lack of compassion, concern and caring for the conditions we have fostered and given life too. Which has made us less than human. Until we perceive, become aware that we are the culprits of the world's woes. And stop proclaiming;" The devil made me do it". Or it is the governments', the liberals, the conservatives, or them, those and they, are the reason for the World's problems. The World will continue on in its' conflict and confusion.

The paradox of all this; is that the greater majority of all peoples regardless of their ethnicity, know in glimpses that they are less than they are and that they can be much, much more than they are. But our fears and our feelings of not being secure, binds us. Therefore we are afraid to take on the responsibility of being the best we can be. 

To give up the shrouds of yesterday and don the clothes of the "Now". We need to stop living in the "Past" or the "Future". Our heritage is to be the best we can be "Now". And just possibly, come to the self-realization, to the reality, that all peoples are "one". That we are "One" with "all and everything". We are a family. And that we are strong as the weakest link. It is as true as it was when these words were first spoken. "Divided we fall, united we stand".

Quickly, and I hope not unfairly, just a few observations from a westerner. Let me start with an extract from a speech given by Dr.B.R.Ambebkar: "That religion which allows one to touch a foul animal but not a man is not a religion but a madness. "That religion which says one class may not gain knowledge, may not acquire wealth, may not take up arms, is not a religion but a mockery of man's life. "That religion which teaches that the unlearned should remain the unlearned, that the poor should remain poor is not religion but a punishment".

The Indian Constitution of 1950 made all Indians equal before the law. The principal of "one man, one vote" led to "casteism", political representation on a caste basis. By shrewd manipulation, the dominant castes have the means to benefit. In turn increasing the caste conflict. The horrifying misuses of the caste system is unjust, abusive, morally and ethically without rational and justification. A form of apartheid perpetrated by Indian against Indian. Black skin does not equate mental status. Which, the Western world finally learned.

Secondly, three little words: "efficiency, quality and service". I am aware that unemployment is a very large problem in India. But to have five or ten people to do what one could do and do it efficiently. Is a waste of time and effort. And if we were to tie this in with quality, instead of quantity. Along with that pivotal business word, service. We would have the needed ingredients for less conflict, chaos and disorder in the work- a-day world of India.

And lastly, and probably the greatest problem of all, the education of the peoples of India. Every legislator, every politician, every social leader, educator, religious leader and the man on the street, needs to make the education of India., the number one priority of the country. And keep it at the top of the priority list of the country. Until all the children of India have the opportunity to be educated. In another twenty to twenty-five years India will have another billion people. What then!
 
What then? Then one would hope that more than just three percent of Indias' population would be paying taxes. Which is not only a staggering fact. But unbelievable! The poor have nothing to tax and the rich keep two sets of books. And as always the burden ends up with a small middle-class ratio.

Before bringing this verbal walk through India to a close. The author would like to express his gratitude to the peoples of India that he met along the way, as to their generosity and hospitality. So often I am asked, how was India, did you like it? And my reply is; "I love the people". But to use a youthful expression, "the government sucks"! I have never been so down as I was after leaving India. The ineffectiveness of the government and its' officials are criminal when it comes to solving the bludgeoning problems of India. Problems that cover the waterfront, all encompassing problems that affect every sector of Indian life. And resignation is certainly not the answer. Nor the oft-given answer: "What can be done, we have a billion people". What a cop-out!

Nepal 4/2000


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