On India’s darkling plain
January 4, 2012 By Jagmohan
My own long experience of dealing with political as well as bureaucratic functionaries has reinforced my belief that as long as the Indian mind is not reformed, no administrative, economic or constitutional reforms would save the country from the ever-deepening quagmire of inefficiency, corruption and malpractices.
The experience of 65 years of Independence has shown that it is not possible to build a clean and honest system of governance on a diseased mindscape in the degraded milieu which such a mindscape gives rise to. Strong laws are necessary. Well-structured and effective institutions are a must. The personnel to implement the laws and run the institutions have to be knowledgeable and trained. The overall mechanism of deterrence has to be potent. But all these are of no avail if the fundamental issues pertaining to the mind and soul of India remain neglected and if the negative and nasty values are allowed to hover around.
History tells us that every turning point in the march of civilisation has been preceded by a fundamental change in the mindscape of the people as in the case of the European renaissance in the mid-15th century. It was such inner change that was most needed in the post-1947 India, and it was this very pivotal need that was neglected by the builders of our nation.
Along with the modern Constitution and five-year plans for economic development, the leadership should have been instrumental in the formulation and implementation of a national regeneration programme, by which the country should have been rid of all the detritus that had collected during the long period of decay and degeneration. At the same time the buried treasures of her life-elevating ideals should have been dug out — the ideals which the great reformers of Indian renaissance, such as Raja Ram Mohun Roy and Sri Aurobindo talked about. The leadership should have realised that without providing inner energy, institutions created by the Constitution could not develop the animation needed to keep them clean, creative and constructive.
The writer is a former governor of J&K and a former Union minister http://www.deccanchronicle.com/editorial/dc-comment/india’s-darkling-plain-652