speech must be read by every Indian'
I have three visions for India. In 3000 years of our
history people from all over the world have come and
invaded us, captured our lands, conquered our minds. From
Alexander onwards, the Greeks, the Turks, the Moguls, the
Portuguese, the British, the French, the Dutch, all of
them came and looted us, took over what was ours. Yet we
have not done this to any other nation.
We have not conquered anyone. We have not grabbed their
land, their culture, and their history and tried to
enforce our way of life on them. Why? Because we respect
the freedom of others, that is why my first vision is that
of FREEDOM. I believe that India got its first vision of
this in 1857, when we started the war of independence. It
is this freedom that we must protect and nurture and build
on. If we are not free, no one will respect us.
My Second vision for India is DEVELOPMENT. For fifty years
we have been a developing nation. It is time we see
ourselves as a developed nation. We are among top 5
nations of the world in terms of GDP. We have 10 percent
growth rate in most areas. Our poverty levels are falling.
Our achievements are being globally recognized today. Yet
we lack the self-confidence to see ourselves as a
developed nation, self-reliant and self-assured. Isn't
I have a THIRD vision, India must stand up to the world.
Because I believe that unless India stands up to the
world, no one will respect us. Only strength respects
strength. We must be strong not only as a military power
but also as an economic power. Both must go hand-in-hand.
My good fortune was to have worked with three great minds.
Dr. Vikram Sarabhai of the Department of space, Professor
Satish Dhawan, who succeeded him and Dr. Brahm Prakash
father of nuclear material. I was lucky to have worked
with all three of them closely and consider this the great
opportunity of my life.
Why is the media here so negative? Why are we in India so
embarrassed to recognize our own strengths, our
achievements? Why are we in India so embarrassed to
recognize our own strengths, our achievements? We are such
a great nation. We have so many amazing success stories
but we refuse to acknowledge them. Why? We are
the first in milk production. We are number one in Remote
sensing satellites. We are the second largest producer of
wheat. We are the second largest producer of rice. Look at
Dr. Sudarshan; he has transferred the tribal village into
a self-sustaining, self-driving unit. There are millions
of such achievements but our media is only obsessed in the
bad news and failures and disasters.
I was in Tel Aviv once and I was reading the Israeli
newspaper. It was this day after a lot of attacks and
bombardments and deaths had taken place. The Hamas had
But the front page of the newspaper had the picture of a
Jewish gentleman who in five years had transformed his
desert and into an orchid and a granary. It was the
inspiring picture that everyone woke up to. The gory
details of killings, bombardments, deaths, were inside in
the newspaper, buried among other news. In India we only
read about death, sickness, terrorism, crime. Why are we
I was in Hyderabad giving this lecture, when a 14-year-old
girl asked me for my autograph. I asked her what her goal
in life is: she replied: I want to live in a developed
India. For her, you and I will have to build this
developed India. You must proclaim.
not an under-developed nation; it is a highly developed
nation. Allow me to come back with vengeance. Got 10
minutes for your country? YOU say that out Government is
inefficient. YOU say that our laws are too old. YOU say
that the municipality does not pick up the garbage. YOU
say that the phones don't work, the railways are a joke,
the airline is the worst in the world, and mails never
reach their destination. YOU say that our country has been
fed to the dogs and is the absolute pits. YOU say, say and
say. What do YOU do about it?
person on his way to Singapore. Give Him a name ? YOURS.
Give him a face ? YOURS. YOU walk out of the airport and
you are at your international best.
Singapore you don't throw cigarette butts on the roads or
eat in the stores. YOU are as proud of their Underground
Links as they are. You pay $5 (approx.Rs.225/-) to drive
through Orchard Road (equivalent of Mahim Causeway or
Pedder Road) between 5 PM and 8 PM. YOU comeback to the
parking lot to punch your parking ticket if you have over
stayed in a restaurant or a shopping mall irrespective of
your status identity.
In Singapore you don't say anything, DO YOU? YOU wouldn't
dare to eat in public during Ramadan, in Dubai. YOU would
not dare to go out without your head covered in Jeddah.
YOU would not dare to buy an
employee of the telephone exchange in London at 10 pounds
(Rs.900/-) a month to, "see to it that my STD and ISD
calls are billed to someone else. "YOU would not dare
to speed beyond 55 mph (88 kmph) in Washington and then
tell the traffic cop, "Jaanta Hai sala main kaun hoon
(do you know who I am?). I am so and so's son. Take your
two bucks and get lost.
wouldn't chuck an empty coconut shell anywhere other than
the garbage pail on the beaches in Australia and New
Zealand. Why don't YOU spit Paan on the streets of Tokyo?
Why don't YOU use examination jockeys or buy fake
certificates in Boston? We are still talking of the same
YOU. YOU who can respect and conform to a foreign system
in other countries but cannot in your
own. You who will throw papers and cigarettes on the road
the moment you touch Indian ground.
can be an involved and appreciative citizen in an alien
country why cannot you be the same here in India?
Once in an interview, the famous Ex-municipal commissioner
of Bombay Mr. Tinaikar had a point to make. "Rich
people's dogs are walked on the streets to leave their
affluent droppings all over the place," he said.
"And then the same people turn around to criticize
and blame the authorities for inefficiency and dirty
pavements. What do they expect the officers to do? Go down
with a broom every time their dog feels
the pressure in his bowels?
In America every dog owner has to clean up after his pet
has done the job. Same in Japan. Will the Indian citizen
do that here?" He's right. We go to the polls to
choose a government and after that forfeit all
We sit back wanting to be pampered and expect the
government to do everything for us whilst our contribution
is totally negative. We expect the government to clean up
but we are not going to stop chucking garbage all over the
place nor are we going to stop to pick up a stray piece of
paper and throw it in the bin. We expect the railways to
provide clean bathrooms but we are not going to learn the
of bathrooms. We want Indian Airlines and Air India to
provide the best of food and toiletries but we are not
going to stop pilfering at the least opportunity.
applies even to the staff who is known not to pass on the
service to the public. When it comes to burning social
issues like those related to women, dowry, girl child and
others, we make loud drawing room protestations and
continue to do the reverse at home. Our excuse?" It's
the whole system, which has to change, how will it matter
if I alone forego my son's rights to a dowry. "So
who's going to change the system? What does a system
consist of? Very conveniently for us it consists of our
neighbours, other households, other cities, other
communities and the government. But definitely not me and
When it comes to us actually making a positive
contribution to The system we lock ourselves along with
our families into a safe cocoon and look into the distance
at countries far away and wait for a Mr. Clean to come
along & work miracles for us with a majestic sweep of
his hand. Or we leave the country and run away. Like lazy
cowards hounded by our fears we run to America to bask in
their glory and praise their system. When New York becomes
insecure we run to
England. When England experience unemployment, we take the
next flight out to the Gulf. When the Gulf is war struck,
we demand to be rescued and brought home by the Indian
government. Everybody is out to abuse and rape the
country. Nobody thinks of feeding the system.
Our conscience is mortgaged to money.
Indians, The article is highly thought inductive, calls
for a Great deal of introspection and pricks one's
Kennedy's words to his fellow Americans to relate to
"ASK WHAT WE CAN DO FOR INDIA AND DO WHAT HAS TO BE
DONE TO MAKE INDIA WHAT AMERICA AND OTHER WESTERN
COUNTRIES ARE TODAY"