While the whole world is clutched by Covid-19, economic depression, supply chain disruptions, climate change problems and the release of Global Hunger Index, ranking India 94 out of 107 countries, raise the question of India’s modernity. Modernity does not unilaterally mean industrial growth, but also regards importance to parameters such as standard of living, cleanliness, health education and corruption. India’s rank raises the question: on what parameters do we claim India to be developed and ready to stand among the global leaders?
For every stomach that goes back to bed hungry at night look up asking, “Has hamare ‘ache din’ come yet?” Starting their day with the hope to see a better sunset but facing harsh realities around them and going to bed empty stomach at night makes them realise the cost of their dreams.
People from underprivileged backgrounds are often subjected to misbehaviour, ill-treatment, nepotism and paid low wages, and these act as a reality check for them, shattering their every hope for growth, equality and equity. A high rate of farmers’ suicide and hazardous working conditions of mine workers and manual scavengers are a reflection of the cobweb that needs to be swept off, hence realising the motto of modernism in its true sense.
India is home to the biggest slum in Asia i.e. Dharavi in Mumbai, with its small tentacles visible across India from Kashmir to Kanyakumari and Porbandar to Imphal. The dwellers of Dharavi have incomplete education, lack of basic necessities of life and all hopes crashing down like glass.
Pondering over issues of rape, female foeticide, marital rape leaves the tag of modernism aghast. From worshipping female deities in daily life to disrespecting and misbehaving with females around us reflect how male chauvinistic and patriarchal our society is. These ideas of the 18th century need to catch up with the 21st-century mindset.
The majority of our country is engaged in agriculture, this shows why we need to focus more on dissemination of education and create employment, equally distributing our working class across all three sectors of our economy. Despite having launched schemes such as Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana, PM Awas Yojana etc., many tier-2 and tier-3 dense areas are yet unconnected or under-connected, raising difficulty in communication.
Having potholes on the road, open drainage system, polluted troposphere, open deification spots and open wasteland, how can we claim to be ‘modernised’ and articulate our growth positive? PM Modi claimed India to be open-defecation free, hope this is not one of those promises left incomplete.
A recent image reflected the difference between infrastructure of ancient era and modern era; it showed a staircase constructed in the medieval era during Shivaji’s reign that has withstood centuries and compared it to a staircase constructed in contemporary times. Artefacts from the Mohenjo-daro or Harappan civilisation were very solid and used better quality material, withstanding immense tension and pressure as compared to goods made today, which can barely stand a fall or a season.
With tools being modernised to articulate and sculpt better and reduce effort, the mood of putting in handwork has also been reduced, and hence the rising indicators of laziness and sloppiness. Modernisation not only means changing the physical appearance of how things can be seen from a window, but also mean a focus on education, health, lifestyle and other socio-economic-political problems that are far from being resolved yet. Until then, we will be far from entering the final maze of the game of achieving modernism. Yet, there are a number of dice to be thrown to reach the final lap, having a long journey to cover before we pat our back saying ‘Work done’.