India of today is being viewed from many points of view. According to some, India will be a developed country by 2020, and we have already a vision book on this theme by the former President of India, Dr. A.P.J. Kalam. According to some, India is heading towards becoming a global country with immense potentiality and power so as to contribute to the steering of the world. Economic growth of recent years is being hailed in many quarters; and optimists visualize India's resurgence in glorious terms.
We are voluntary optimists and even if we have reasons that some great dangers are awaiting in the coming years on account of ecological, economic and political factors, we wish to strive to hold out bright promises for the future. We maintain that India had begun to become reborn during the first twenty years of the last (20th) century, and even though the last sixty years of India's development have failed to nourish the rebirth of India, we feel that India has deeper resources which can be tapped, and the people can be united to make resurgent India a vibrant reality during the next twenty years.
We are optimists, and we would like to spread optimism in many ways that are likely to develop in the coming years.
We would like everyone of us to accept the role of a pilgrim, a pilgrim who aspires to seek the highest and the best and to strive to contribute his or her best to learn, to know and empower oneself and the others so that each one of us practices the highest and the best means to aspire and to act.
Our highest priority ought to be the care of the children and the youth, who will be the builders of the future. India should be a leading country to demonstrate that the sovereignty of the country is not the
sovereignty of the consumer, nor is it the sovereignty of the parliament; it is the sovereignty of the child and the youth. We should be able to demonstrate that we can create the right atmosphere, the right environment and the right facilities and equipment, as also the right attitudes among parents, teachers and leaders so that everyone strives in the country to contribute his or her best for the highest welfare of the children and youths, in terms of physical education, vital education, mental education, aesthetic education, ethical education and spiritual education. In fact, the highest priority of the country must be assigned to education.
There are several other sectors that also need to be assigned equally high priority. We should be equipped materially and technologically, since without developing and utilizing material life, no great edifice can be securely built. Today, material world depends primarily on power, and much of the failure of India, since the time of Independence, can be traced to the neglect of generating energy — electric, atomic and solar. Even today, while we talk of the need to augment the generation of electricity, we tend to club this need with many other needs, and thus, the priority that we need to give to the sector of energy gets diminished. Why have we not become leaders of research in solar energy, even though that energy is available to our country in abundance? Why have we not exploited wind energy in a big way so far? Why are we not leaders in the development of the technology that aims at desalinisation of seawater even though we have such a large coastline? Similar questions can be raised about a number of aspects related to energy. If we have failed yesterday, let us succeed today and tomorrow.
Along with the generation of material energy, we need to generate fresh and enthusiastic energy among the people of our country and we have not yet found the nerve points of our people from where this energy can be tapped and can be made to flow in mighty waves for
purposes of the resurgence of India. We have not studied adequately how to give impetus to the religious and spiritual lives of our people so that the divisions and conflicts among religions can be resolved by the utilization of the alchemy of the spirit of synthesis which is potentially available on account of a vast store that has been built up through the ages when India has absorbed new thoughts, new life-force and new influences which have poured over the people from time to time. We have not provided the impetus to the development of languages. We have not realized the potentialities of Sanskrit, and we have allowed wide gulfs between the written and spoken languages of modern India. New forms of literature are awaiting the doors of welcome, and in the meantime poetry, the essential language of the soul has taken a back seat. We do not have a great story to tell about the growth of Art. Nandlal Bose and others who spearheaded the renaissance of Indian Art have been forgotten and very few of comparable genius have been allowed to take the front seat. The entire field of Art needs to be galvanized, by some instruments fully financed by the government but fully empowered by the people and answerable to the people. We need to have impetus for new thoughts in practically every field of knowledge, in every field of humanities, sciences, arts, crafts and technologies.
But above all, we need to have in the parliament, — the one central institution representing the people of the country, — the very qualification for the membership of which should satisfy two criteria — possession of capabilities and possession of honesty. We have still not found ways and means by which we can secure in the parliament and in our legislative bodies men and women of character and capability in sizeable numbers. As yet, we have not had in our country, any massive movement that will insist on electoral reforms. We have not realized that our constitution requires radical changes and that without them, people's energies cannot be generated and channelised in the right directions. We must give the highest priority to electoral reforms and political reforms.
Knowledge is power; the whole world today is obliged to generate knowledge and seek fulfilment through the power that can be generated by knowledge. The future of the world rests on the quest of knowledge and on technologies that are fashioned to utilize knowledge. But even the quest of knowledge needs to be guided by the consideration of the ends, which need to be fulfilled, and the knowledge of ends is generated from wisdom. Mere accumulation of knowledge is not wisdom; there are three conditions by which knowledge can be ripened into wisdom. There is, first, the attempt to conceive universality and to dwell in increasing universalisation of consciousness; secondly, there must be continuous effort at building bridges of the past with the present and also an effort to continue to build bridges between the present and the future. This requires a constant learning of the lessons from the past and application of the lessons to test them on the anvil of the problems of the present; and this necessitates building up of the visions of the future. Finally, wisdom is ripened in the laboratory of goodwill. To generate goodwill all the time and under all circumstances, builds up in the society perceptions and insights that are not deluded by appearances but are capable of penetrating the appearances and in reading the messages from the realities that are striving to manifest against obstacles of appearances.
India was at one time a storehouse of wisdom; resurgence of India will ultimately be judged by the effort that we can make to recreate our country as a storehouse of wisdom. In order that this can happen, we need to concentrate on three tasks: we should recover the stores of wisdom which were built in the past and study them in fullness, we should reformulate these stores of wisdom by applying them on the anvil of the present in search of solutions of contemporary problems and since today India is growing into globality, we need to develop a new synthesis: synthesis of the east and west, synthesis of the knowledge of Matter and Spirit, and the synthesis of the perfectibility of the Individual and the collectivity. To study this vast programme should be the highest activity of the leaders of thought, culture and action of today and tomorrow. And the resurgence of India demands that the leaders today justify their leadership by engaging themselves in this very task.
Let us invite all of us to the service of our country and to the service of the world and dedicate ourselves to doing whatever we can under this inspiring idea. If we can sincerely begin the task by simply contemplating on this idea of the resurgence of India, then whatever we can and whatever we ultimately do will be justified and in our own modest manner in contributing to this noble cause.