The following article was written for Niti Central. Pasting it here for reference:
During our engineering student days, one of our professors told us a profound statement – engineering (and by extension, science) helps in the prosperity of mankind. Those were the days when we were just beginning to get exposed to the concept of Information Age, so we could not understand the significance of that statement. Fourteen years hence, when we see how technology has changed the face of the world, we cannot but wonder how India fell behind in the race to dominate the world, whilst our neighbour pounced upon the opportunity and paced ahead.
You might come back and say that India has become a hub of IT services and we see enough prosperity around. However, my argument is not restricted to IT services alone. One look at the civil engineering marvels of China or Dubai; one look at the domination of electronics industry by small countries like South Korea; one look at the investments that go into science education in China; one look at the not-so-impressive pace of science in agriculture – is enough to understand how we fell behind in this race. A simple example – while we struggled (actually we still continue to struggle!) to upgrade our IRCTC servers, China zoomed ahead with state-of-the-art bullet train and subway technology!
Politicians in India are somehow averse to promoting science or anything related to it. Due to a variety of factors, they ignore talking about technological growth because they fear alienation of poor voters! They are afraid to talk about the benefits technology will bring to the poor too. In fact, I feel they even refrain to think about how technology can be used to make people’s lives better! Rahul Gandhi even went ahead and told us that good roads are a waste of time and money – after all they don’t feed people! One of the reasons perhaps is the humiliating defeat Chandrababu Naidu faced in the 2004 elections – it simply created an impression that the discussion of this topic is taboo! Or perhaps, these politicians did not want the power of information to be easily available to the poor man – lest he becomes intelligent enough to see through their machinations!
And this is precisely why the idea of Modi Sarkar excites me a lot. In his speech to the national executive, Modi laid a lot of stress on the usage of technology. We finally have a Prime Minister who recognises the important of science in improving quality of life of ordinary citizens too. The same was reflected in the manifesto the BJP released. The words science and technology were one of the most used words in the manifesto. From ushering in bulltet trains to assisting farmers; from simplifying procedures to investing in high-quality research – Modi’s ideas have touched the right chord in those wanting to see the nation prosper. I am very eager to see how Modi uses the power of science and technology to guide India in the path of becoming a super-power. It would definitely be thrilling to see results of his increased focus of science in various fields like agriculture, medicine, security, manufacturing, construction, services, research, environment etc. It is a testimony to Modi’s vision that he has identified such diverse areas in which science can play a role.
The idea of Modi Sarkar is also exciting because of it’s single minded focus towards progress and development – Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikaas is such a simple yet powerful slogan. Minority in the country is the individual, and every individual will be made a soldier in this mission. Every individual contributing to the growth will be made to feel special. Modi’s speeches haven’t merely made rhetorical references to this development, but they have given us surgical insight into what he exactly means by development.
Sadly though, the discourse in the media has not yet reached that level of maturity. A quick look at the discussions over the past 3-4 days confirms this argument. Inane discussions on RSS control, 40 per cent vote share etc dominate the discourse. CNN-IBN last night said, “Will ache din really come?”. They will continue to look for reasons to harp on their staple diet – secularism. They will continue to have irrelevant discussions on obscure topics. For example, when the first bullet train gets launched in India, am sure sections of media will ask – but what about the poor?
There are a lot of expectations on Modi. Ordinary people would have collapsed by merely imaging the burden he is expected to carry. However, Modi has explained to us his mission with crystal clear clarity. The mission of Modi needs at least 5 years to show tangible results. It would be a travesty to judge him based on 100 days or even 1 year in office. Here’s to “Ache Din” .