A Letter to Everyone who Thinks they’ve looked Everywhere but, still Haven’t found it.

Posted by Devdatt Thengdi
August 25, 2017


Dear Millennial,

Before I start, I want you to take in consideration my job title, which states, ‘Chief Editor: Editorial section’ for a leading news distribution chain. Recently, while going through a cache of articles received for the same, I came across an interesting essay sent by a 20-year-old. It was a rejected transcript for a number of reasons, of which I will spare you the details but, here’s an excerpt of what it said:

“The United States of America was declared independent on 4th of July, 1776, which gives them approximately 250 years of Independence whilst, India was declared  independent on 15th of August, 1947 i.e. meagre 70 years as a ‘supposedly’ free state. So theoretically, India has a deficit of 180 years, as compared to, USA. Now, when Dr APJ Abdul Kalam was elected the President of India in the year 2002, he in his first Presidential speech quoted that, India is roughly 20 years behind the developed superpowers, including the USA. So arithmetically, India covered the huge gap of 160 years in just 50 years. Thus, the statement; India is not living up to its designation of a developing country, is naive and baseless.”

First of all, I would like to appreciate the writer’s perception but, my apologies sir, your arithmetic attempt towards rationalising your ideology that India has an upper hand, as compared to the USA is actually like your own statement: obsolete and baseless.

One. Let’s go according to your methodology– When you speak of independence you are inadvertently referring to the term ‘rebirth.’ Although there is no specific arrangement of stars that marks the discovery of the States, American islands were officially declared, discovered and colonised on 12th October’ 1492 as the first colony was formed in El Salvador (now Bahamas islands) by the Spanish in the year 1513. Thus, America was colonised as for roughly 250 years which is surprisingly the same amount of time Indian province was under the rule of British Empire.

The Native Americans were reaped for the sake of grandeur of European giant as was India. The natives did fight and eventually gained their ‘deserving’ Independence after a bloody and strenuous revolution.  But, one of the enlightening and distinguishing factors is the timeline. The USA was formed in the 18th century i.e. the time when technologies were nothing but, cranky machines, when globalisation was just a theory and civilisations began learning to be civil.

On the other hand, India was declared independent in the mid-20th century, when wireless communications were at pique and national GDPs had already crossed hundred million dollar margin. So eventually 250 years later, the USA already is 20 years ahead of us. Bar USA, Indonesia proclaimed independence in 1945 and today Indonesia has a per capita income of $3500.  

Two. After its independence USA survived through two World Wars, a shattering Civil War and the Vietnam War, three separate financial recessions stretched across the timeline and also three devastating, ironically named, natural disasters. But it has never ceased to amaze the world with pioneering strategies to regain its stability. Slow but, steady. The Rockefellers and Morgans prominently played the roles of Noah and rowed the Ark ashore.

India has a longstanding history of unfinished jobs. Sometimes I still wonder, why haven’t the geeks at Guinness approached us for, “Largest number of pending cases in a Judicial System”? It took us four years to hang Ajmal Kasab for his heinous crimes committed on November 26, 2008. 

Whenever the two topics of India and development emerge as a subject of debate or discussion, it has most of the times, been concluded as inconclusive. The sole reason for this has always been an entirely different topic i.e. population. Experts from every corner of India have been repeatedly emphasizing on the hindrance caused by the population explosion in this region. I have many-a-times been reminded of the ineptness of comparing India to the USA for the same rationale. But, on the other hand, people have been seen and heard to be boasting about the workforce India has and how increased population can be efficient. We have been repeatedly and proudly contradicting our own views all over the world. All of this, while, ignoring our giant neighbour. China that has a population higher than India, has a GDP of over $10 trillion

So does that mean India is headed towards doom? Nope. Definitely not and the reason is adaptation. It is a common conception amongst our parents that, we are volatile. We cannot live a successful life because of the same to which, I agree. Take the example of the greatest recession of our times in 2008. Most the nations were badly hit especially biggies like USA and UK, unlike India. Ironically, our predecessors partially untrustworthy towards the system but, they also were hoarders by nature. Thus, even though the markets were hit badly, the populace, in general, wasn’t. They actually lived a happy life. They were always ready to adapt to any situation, unlike the western civilisation which runs on twin pillars of loans and insurance.

Let me explain it using another excerpt from Amish Tripathi’s “Scion of Ikshvaku”:

Guru Vashishtha says,“…it was because the philosophy that guided Emperor Bharat’s Empire was a reaction to an equally successful but, radically different one which determined how different the society was organised earlier. It could be described as the apogee of the feminine way of life- of creativity, passion and beauty and especially nurture towards weak. But, as feminine civilisations decline, they tend to become corrupt irresponsible and decadent. And Yes. The masculine way of life is defined by truth, duty and honour. At its peak, masculine civilisations are efficient, just and egalitarian.”

It was because of the prolonged tenacity towards the feminine nature of Indian masses that led to decline in the growth rate. The ‘tolerance’ expressed towards naked criminalised activities, the tolerance that’s shown towards the quasi-existent judicial system and the acknowledgement of nepotistic and corrupt politics was truly decaying the soul of the nation. What they did is that, they adapted to it. If the system is corrupt, they simply slipped out of its clutches. Although, during the Egyptian upheaval, when their system was on the verge of desolation, India learnt something phenomenal from it; we learned about the ‘role’ of a citizen. Many of would understand the reference to the scene from the Nolan flick, ­– When the Roman Empire was under siege, the people elected a leader gave him all the power and saw him as the Messiah. But here, men, women, youngsters and the been-arounds stood up for their country. Did we fight for Nirbhaya? No. We fought for ourselves. We wanted things to change. We wanted to adapt to the trending lifestyle of efficacy and spear headedness. And we did. Our forefathers taught us to adapt when we can or just change the system and start again.

WTO, speculatively, received a propaganda from the United States asking for a separate group of economies which show rapid growth such as China and India to which the government negated quickly, without falling for the old western policy of – Divide and rule. On the other hand, at the recently held world climate conference in Paris, India was collectively forced to dump the coal power plants to which Indian negotiators and civil society members replied again with a thwarting ‘No’. The reasons were simple, most of our population is dependent on coal for power but, that’s not the point here, even after many of the developed nations were brawling India towards the corner they didn’t budge. Instead, Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) Deputy Director mirrored the saying,” We are against use of coal but are also against use of fossil fuels.” That’s us; accepting the truth of life, performing the duty of following it and being honourable about it. That’s us, being masculine.

So, as you have read this attack and the counter; do you see the mistake here? Can you visualise the void the writer has knowingly disregarded? I am talking about the sheer imbecile habit of nearly every human being on this Earth– drum-rolling on the basis incomplete knowledge.

Don’t believe me? Okay. Consider this– At the beginning of this article, I introduced myself to be an important being at the ‘leading newspaper.’ Most of you, as I believe, would have assumed that I actually am some grey-haired, bespectacled human being and, you believed and probably extrapolated the set of paragraphs that I have written. But, all I am; a 23-year old Millennial myself and the excerpt is a rejected copy of an essay written by me for an essay competition. It is bad to have a short attention span but worse, if that is paired up with myopia. (Though, I want you to understand that all the data provide is correct and scrupulous along with the source)

“It is a capital mistake to theorise before acquiring complete data; it biases our judgment”

–Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Don’t listen to me, I have been around enough to understand Mr. Holmes’ influence on us.

The next point I want to emphasise on is our habit of comparison. We must understand here that although it is being done for decades, it is absolutely useless to compare a country like India to any western countries, as a matter of fact, to any country at all. The USA has far less manpower and significantly affected by external intellectual help. On the other hand, their European counterparts are too small to even consider. It is easy to speculate and wish for an education system like Finland but, foolish to ignore that they have only 5 million mouths to feed. Which is roughly 1/150th of ours. Russia has an unending source of oil and the ‘Dragon’ is actually a Monarch Butterfly. In fact, I want to correct my earlier statement – the ‘natives’ eventually did not gain any kind of independence. They were obliterated or as Benjamin Franklin refers to the design of Providence for extirpation of the Savages in order to make room for cultivators of Earth. The colonies which gained independence were British officials grown tired of their tyrannical queen. Thus, what we had was a war of independence and what they had was a teenager seeking isolation and lashing out at the parents. Do you see the irony here?

Although this habit is typically pinned on you, the millennials, it has always been traditional to compare ourselves to others. You are believed to be under constant scrutiny and peer pressure and criticised for the same when it has been going on for years. We have to stop making the same mistakes our predecessors did. We have to stop comparing ourselves to others.

As a writer, millennial, Engineer and student I would obviously hope that the text is not only read but, understood by the addressee and possibly every sect of our tribe. But, the feeling that surpasses this one is the need to be either complemented or corrected. Through the process of penning this article and most of my life, the one thing that has always been constant is that the flow of information. After all this, it would be impossible to believe that I am completely correct. There has to be a chink in the armour waiting to be exploited and I know, my fellow readers would agree to it.


              Your co-conspirator

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