As we herald in a new decade, I wanted to share a fleeting moment from last year – a small fleeting moment in the history of India, but one that has the potential to be historic in its impact to the world.
To start of, I would like to go back in time to share a page from my blog from August 2009. As I was rushing through the halls of history in the “Discovery of India” exhibition, I had an epiphany — I realized that India went through a renaissance period during the entire Independence struggle. And today there is a need for India’s “second renaissance” — a social renaissance.
There is a dire need for all the stakeholders in the country to reflect first and then act quickly. Education, employment, health and nutrition need immediate attention – through literacy, empowerment and a change in mindsets at a grassroots level. There is a need for the polity to shake off the corruption, false promises and the divisive politics and bring in fresh and new ideas as well as policies.
The statistics are alarming and the ground realities much worse. The need of the hour is to address the above issues through a change in people’s knowledge, skills and mindsets – that can be achieved through quality education for all. Only then after 10-20 years will we see a new renaissance bearing shape in India, when our children become educated citizens of tomorrow.
The Independence struggle took us over 150+ years to bear fruit and our social struggle will be no different. We – the youth of today – have to sow the seeds NOW to start rewriting India’s history tomorrow.
Fast-forward to 24 Oct 2009, and today I share a story of hope. As I sit in the courtyard of the Riverside school in Ahmedabad, I have an overwhelming feeling of optimism.
I sit here amongst diverse youth from all corners of the world; this is a confluence of 3 movements – three powerful forces of change that represent hope. It is the first meeting of the Gandhi Fellows, Teach For India Fellows and Indicorp members.
As this day comes to an end, I want to let all of you know, that the wheels of change have been set in motion – that the process of changing thoughts, minds and actions of India’s populace from a grassroots level has begun. And this will become a force to reckon with in the future – indeed the second renaissance has started. If I could draw a parallel from the movement for Independence, then the first informal meeting of the Indian National Congress has just been held.
These leaders, change makers and youth represent a new India – one of transformed social change. And with this it gives hope to the future of this world. For I believe that when we will realize this social transformation, it may catapult India to a position of being a powerful superpower. And I have hope that this country will have empathy when it deals with issues from around the world as a superpower.
It will be interesting to see how the next 50 years unfold…for in it there may be a change in this entire world: may be India will learn from its rich heritage of thousands of years, from the huge diversity and inequity it has to confront from within itself and from the mistakes of other superpowers. I believe that India as a superpower will not be as “abusive” – for a want of a better word – towards the rest of the world, the environment and to universal good as others have been.
So, as I sit in this modern India’s “Nalanda University”, I feel a desire to take this moment of optimism and put it into a time capsule to be opened after 50 years. To sit back then, reflect and be able to say – a “dream” has come true!
Teach For India Fellow