Tuesday, August 14, 2007

60 Years : Age of Retirement?


The age of 60 is when most people retire in our country. It represents a change in life from the 9-5 routine to the 5-9 routine. Nonetheless, in the current context, when I say 60, I am not talking about the age of an individual and when I say retirement, I don't mean to imply retirement in the true sense. I am referring to the age of an independent India and the withdrawal of the rusty mindset that chains dynamism and the progress of a budding nation.

The average age of politicians in India is way above the world average. Yes, we have a stable government, unlike majority of our neighbours and we are a very strong democracy, but is the current governance truly the epitome of the axiom ‘of the people, by the people, for the people?’

We still have politicians who came first on stage during the freedom struggle. With all due respect to their efforts, the big question remains whether their vision is still coherent with the needs of a rapidly developing economy. We are taught the new economic policies of Liberalisation, Globalisation and Privatisation, but they are surely not the only thing a nation needs to become a developed country from a developing one.

Having reached the latter end of my education, I can illustrate the above argument by quoting the state of the education system in India. You and I are among the more fortunate bunch to have received no less than the basic educational qualifications. But still, when we look at the larger picture, we know how much industrial value our degrees hold in the job market.

One of my friends asked her interviewer, which subjects she should focus her attention on in case she secured the job, and the blunt reply she got was “nothing, your courses are far too out-dated to satisfy the requirements of our company.” Our education system is content with producing graduates who are more into services and support rather than core research and development. If that is the case, we have no right to complain about the issue of “Brain-Drain.”

A revolution in the education system, or for that, any structure, cannot be brought about by people who haven’t sensed the nerve of the problem. The stimulus of reform will come by if we have educated people who set the right goals first and then adopt progressive means to achieve them.

We have young open-minded politicians entering the governance of the country, but their numbers can be counted on fingers. We as the youth of today have to take initiative. By initiative, I don’t mean we must all join politics. Feeding a hungry child might prevent him from resorting to begging, cleaning up a beach with your college mates will show a sense of civic responsibility, formation of citizen’s forums will assist municipalities to serve the area better, the list is endless. It is just that someone has to take the toughest step – to begin.

How many of us will celebrate Independence Day for what it is? Rather, how many of us only take it as a welcome mid-week break? I know I do the latter, but I also know that if that is the scenario, I don’t have the right to crib about the flaws of our motherland.

No state is perfect, but we can definitely strive to move an inch closer to perfection. In that journey, we have to keep in mind, that a nation is only as perfect as its people. On this 15th August, think about it. Happy holidaying!

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