Temples of Modern India

Updated: Aug 16 2003, 05:30am hrs
It was the late Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru who first dubbed our factories, research laboratories, irrigation dams and power stations as the temples of modern India. President Abdul Kalam paid a fitting tribute to the first Prime Minister who unfurled the national tricolour at New Delhis Red Fort by recalling Nehrus views on the eve of the 56th anniversary of our Independence. What it is that for which we would like to be remembered for by future generations the President of the Republic asked the nation. Will we be remembered by the temples, the masjids and gurudwaras we build, or the symbols of prosperity that we leave behind President Kalams appeal to all political and religious leaders and to all opinion makers to declare a moratorium on all divisive issues that have become an impediment to the nations development, should be heartily reciprocated by all right thinking persons interested in the general welfare of the nation and not just in sectional interests. Far too much national energy is invested in causes that do little to enhance peoples welfare and augment national wealth. We must all be engaged feverishly in the business of building a more prosperous and humane nation.

There is no doubt that this country has progressed beyond recognition in its 56 years of existence. For the first half of those years, there were even doubts about whether we would in fact survive as a nation. Indias unity and integrity and the nations survival and growth through turbulent and testing times has put paid to the negativism of the Balkanisers. On the economic front too, this country has done well by historical standards. After a half century of virtually zero per cent growth in 1900-1950, Free India first grew at 3.5 per cent for three decades and then at close to 6 per cent for the next two. As Dr Arun Shourie has documented in his essay in The Indian Express this week, there are great success stories of Indian enterprise that give us confidence to deal with the world. The human development indicators show progress unimaginable at the time of Independence. When we compare where we are with where we were, we have reasons to be proud. But, when we compare where we are with where some of our equals are today, then we see that we lag behind and have much to catch up. The task at hand is onerous, yet exciting and promising. There is much talk of a feel good factor in the economy these days. This can prove ephemeral if it is not sustained by increased investment and consumer spending. Investing in the temples of modern India will help, nothing else can.