I know that reforming the political/bureaucratic system (to eliminate corruption) will be on almost everyone’s list of top five problems India faces today, but not mine. I am not saying that they are not one of our biggest problems, but by targeting the political/bureaucratic class (as if they are the only corrupt people in India), we are only attempting to cut the leaves and are not focusing at the root of the problem. Which is,
The people of India.
A society that believes and indulges in corruption/favoritism at every available opportunity will only produce corrupt leaders. That’s one of the principle flaws of democracy, but then democracy ensures that people get the leaders they deserve.
1. Corruption - The first problem I identify in India is corruption/favoritism, but the way to solve it would be to change people’s ideas/attitude about corruption. Stricter laws, punishments can help, but these are not sufficient. We know that corrupt society will find ways to bypass rules/laws.
I can write on why corruption is bad, but such articles get a very limited reach. And besides, majority of our people still don’t have access to Internet or even basic education. But, there is one medium that has enormous reach – TV/Cinema. If directors/movie makers/tele-serial makers could come forward to make good movies/serials that make people rethink about their corrupt ways and still make it interesting with a gripping story-line, the message might spread faster.
I think, one of the solutions could be to come up with a crowd-sourced funding platform (a site maybe) where prospective movie directors showcase stories/ideas and people vote/fund (not donate) for best of such ideas/concepts. The revenue from the movie should be shared with the funders. Awareness is the first step to solving any problem.
2. Sustainable Living - Well, sustainable living is the solution, not the problem! In our quest towards success, wealth, happiness, etc. we forget that we are over-exploiting the resources available to us. Want wood? Destroy forests. Want energy/mobility? Pollute environment. Want connectivity? Make non-recyclable products and destroy the earth. Want space? Occupy marsh-lands. Want food? Kill animals. Want enjoyment? Drink alcohol, smoke, eat unhealthy food and risk diseases. This list could go on…
Sustainable living is a wonderful concept that lets us enjoy life without over-exploiting worldly resources. It’s a concept that encourages inclusive growth, for us as well as all the creatures living around us. We need sustainable living ambassadors to promote this wonderful concept in all medium (blogs, FB, newspapers, TV, movies, etc.) that can take the message to its beneficiaries (people). We also need movements like Sustainia, in India.
3. Education – The kind of education we get is one of our biggest problems. Of course, it is much better than not getting education at all, but we are struck with an education system that produces imitators and not innovators/inventors. We have parents/teachers who are content with the current system and focus only on marks, and don’t much care about knowledge transfer/unlocking the true potential of students.
If our previous generations were blind to this problem, it’s understandable – they were the first generation to receive any proper education. But how can we be blind to it? Why do we want our children (also) to become back-office processing agents? Why is a Google or Microsoft not coming out of India, despite high proficiency in coding abilities and English?
Frankly, I don’t know how to even start going about solving this problem. Maybe we can initiate programs in TV where Syllabus setters/Principals’s/HOD’s could speak/debate on this issue and propose methods to sort it out, a la Satyameve Jayate? What ever we do, we should eliminate the concept of memorization/mugging up for exams quickly.
4. Neighborhood Cleanliness – Yes, we are all experts in keeping our homes/offices clean. But when it comes to the neighborhood, we give it scarce respect. We notice excessive waste that get accumulated around waste-bins and empty plots being used as dump yards.
Of course, first we should make sure that there are enough waste-bins in each locality. I think corporation should appoint a coordinator from within each community who would give them feedback on the no. of waste-bins reqd, etc. Secondly, our Government should look at innovative methods like this solar-powered compressing waste-bin that can not only accommodate more waste (per bin), but can also message authorities when full.
5. Economic independence - Each and every person in our society (except minors) should be economically independent. Especially, women. That will prevent subjugation and crimes (esp. against women). I guess we have come a long way in educating girls, and in cities women equal men in the work-force. But, in small towns and villages, women are not given equal rights to work. We need more SHG’s (Self Help Groups) for women in rural areas that will impart skills and create a dependable income stream for them.