Modi and Development

I have been following the debate and discussions between some of my mailers and would like to add my own perception. Senthil a good and trusted friend of mine and a very learned person seem to be thinking that Modi’s development would mean making India like America. India cannot be Americanized and American cannot be indianized. Development will have aspects of industralization,urbanization, modernization, westernization and et al. These are processes which cannot be stopped. The clock cannot be turned back. But a human face can be given checks and brakes must be put in place.
The world is global and seamless. What takes place in one continent will have its impact on the other countries. We cannot built water tight compartments and have Khapps-instead of a justice system. For example we cannot hold on to the caste system; then a cobbler’s son must become a cobbler-a sanitary worker’s son must become a sanitary worker and so forth. Where is the individual choice? So our political netas will continue to be scamsters! Opportunities must be provided for people to opt out and to follow one’s choice. To say that this is a breakdown of the Indian system and its age old order is wrong.
Westernization has a core of dominance. It is arrogant and will impart a kind of a superiority/inferiority mindset. West is west and East is east the twain can never meet. So when one talks of development one must be careful not to mix it up with westernization. It claims the ‘white’ superiority. Dominance and protectionism are aspects of Westernization. All development is not westernization. There may be aspects of development of the westernization which does out reach. This is because of the mass media. Basically it is the transmission and reception of European ideas and life styles and technology. Now life styles and ideas are disseminated through the mass media. Today with the Information Technology it is wide spread and faster. We cannot help it.There will be overlapping.

Education is a basic prerequisite no matter whether one is westernized or not.But what sort of education is a big question. A western education is ruthless.It is meant to make profit and has no value system.It helps people to manipulate others, Thus we have the B.Com, Financial Management,Banking ,Business Management etc. It is meant to cater to a market and hence has profit making at end all and be all of it gambit. Where is the value system in these? All educated do not open out to modernity. One can be traditional with education. But it is the aspiration of people to be educated and informed. And this leads them to demand more and more of their individual choices. This is their right. Should we stop educating people? Educating people is instilling in them a self worth and releasing their potentiality .Helping them to be what they want to be simply because it suited us to have scavengers and barbers at our beck and call, because it was subservient and we called it ‘orderly’. Destroy that ‘order’ which is going to keep a few people traditionally as bonded slaves. Let there be a churning of the ocean of people. Out of this churning will arise the pot of ‘amirtham’.It may be difficult for some who have been at the top of a hierarchy but what about others?
We cannot put all these ‘izations’ in water tight compartments. They do overlap. One can be modern without westernization. Can we prevent roads and transport from urbanizing the rural areas. Can we say that wearing a shirt is modernity?Can we keep the tribals naked to be allowed to be watched by tourists.By making the tribal modern will mean clothing them providing them houses also.Is this against development? Then what about modern medicines and surgeries? Can these be only for those who can fly out of the country at the taxpayers’ monies and become recipients of the fast advances in scientific health system?
One must make a distinction between ruthless development and westernization. Destruction of one’s own natural resources, unplanned development and holding back a process is simply not development. That’s exactly where Modi fits in. He has the vision to retain that which is ‘indian’ the ‘mariyatha ‘-the respect and value system of our ancients but at the same time calls for modernity.
Modernity is not just development but development with a scientific temper. To discard all that is development is wrong and not possible. One cannot throw out the baby with the bath water.A judicious development-education,a people’s oriented health system,roads and transport to make life easier and areas accessible.These need to come under development.Not a brutalization of the natural resources-not a bull dozing of the value system. I would cite the examples of Rajaji,Kamarajar,Annadurai-these men had great vision.They were not westernized but were modern in their outlook and vision.They wanted development for their people.
I have watched and learned from Gujarat that of all the people in quite a few States the Gujaratis are not only prosperous and hardworking but cling on to their way of life-very close knit and retain their ‘parampara’.All rites and rituals are followed-all elders are respected, there is a wholesomeness in their development. There will be a few exceptions and aberrations. But this is the price one can give to wholesome and whole people’s development.
There is certainly a need to draw a line between modernity and development. One can development without being modern-but one cannot be modern without having aspects of development. This brings me to the language issue –learning and knowing English is not destructive. Yet I would agree with Sentil that English was the queen’s language. It was westernized. It had dominance and it had a purpose- namely to enslave the colonies –to make the colonial people subservient and perform the tasks for the imperialists. The English wanted clerks and accountants so they trained them to such. They did not build roads and dams and irrigation canals.
Yet one must agree that today It enables one to understand one’s mother tongue better and appreciate it. English is global and links people and countries. English is not destructive. It is those who learn the language who become destructive. The language is only an enabling vehicle to encompass others to extend one’s arms and to embrace others in the knowledge of their mother tongue. One cannot be closed. An open mind is god given. To realize god within and to see god in others –to accept them as one’s own is part of modernity. This cannot come from a closed mind or a CCTV.I used to point out to my students the beauty of the vernacular. For example there is only one word Love’ in Enlglish to denote the feelings between all people irrespective of relationship and stature But in Tamil one will denote the relationship and accordingly love becomes pasam,naysom kathal anbu etc.Similarly also everyone becomes an aunt and uncle But in the vernacular the relationship is notified! So it is sithy,athai,periyamma, maam etc.This did not mean that because I was fluent in English it destroyed my love and appreciation for the vernacular. On the other hand it enhanced my understanding of relationships and LOVE.
Similarly to appreciate development does not mean to decry Americanization(Look at its fast justice system for one-here 29 years and still is justice is evading) It has its positive aspects. What is essential is an openness to accept that which is healthy, good and humane. In a world which is shrinking and becoming a village one must go forth with open arms.Any development that is good must realize the god within oneself and recognize the god that is within one’s neighbor. When one sits down look at the person opposite and recognize the god and the inner resources of that person and be able to embrace him/her in peace and say Om Shanti,Om Shanti.
That is what is all about Development and I find Modi a fit person to usher in this kind of development. This is written not to score brownie points neither am I keen to have a debate and discussion of all the processes of development. Some may be good some may be bad-some may be dangerous. But Hinduism is the only religion which was not born and breed in bloodshed. The Hindu people embraced all who came into India persecuted and driven away from their respective homelands. It is the greatness and the Hindutuva of the Hindus which enabled them to accept these people. Thus India became the cradle of all world religions. This is true development and into such a development I am sure Modi will be able to lead us-Om Shanti.
Dr Mrs Hilda Raja,

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