Country vs Nation
It takes a lot for a country to turn into a nation.
I know liberals would scoff at the idea of differentiating between a country and nation, terming it as a manifestation of hypernationalism. But if they understand the fine line between House and Home, though the dictionary claims them to be the same, they should also appreciate the difference between a country and a nation.
A country is a geographic location, boundaries defined on a map or on the ground, a physical and political entity whereas anation is a grand idea of its might, unity, strength, ethos, values, prosperity, and hope, a true reflection of its legacy and future.
Post our Independence, we needed the big transformation, of converting an independent country into a nation. With Sardar Patel at the helm of affairs, this dream could have been a possibility. Uniting states was his first step towards building a nation. However, Nehru had other priorities; strengthening the foundation of his dynasty preceding all other agendas.
For a new country, when the keywords should have been empowerment, discipline, technology, vision, and hard work, we labored with a sluggish five-year plan, with government control over key production and banking sectors and no emphasis on setting up a resilient and robust economy. Understandably, India stayed a country for the next 15–20 years.
To give you an example, Garibi Hatao, was a slogan that kept Congress decisively in power. However, no one bothered explaining how this perennial problem could be unscrambled. T
The government severely short on vision and creativity assumed that subsidized fuel, ration, sugar; fertilizer would take care of the matrix. No wonder, till this date ‘Garibi’ haunts us, and people in power exploit it to suit their political concentrations.
However, the freebies of fuel, sugar, and foodgrain were not able to contain the lower economic strata which wanted empowerment, opportunities, a greater vision.
Reservation was another political stunt under the guise of social justice that pushed us fifty years back. Parsis, .1 percent of our population, Jains a meager 1% and Sikhs 1.8 percent achieved social and economical prosperity and equality with their talent, skill and hard work. Apart from the followers of Ambedkar, everyone achieved everything. But burdened by a meek and feeble economy, lack of infrastructure, corruption, farmer distress; V P Singh knew that Reservation would ease his way to the PM’s chair.
When the entire globe was striving for excellence, we were busy doling out jobs, and coveted seats in Medicine, Engineering to non-deserving candidates.
Imagine, with a Reservation Policy of 50%, in no time we would be a nation where half the working class, engineers to doctors, bureaucrats to policymakers, would be sub-standard even by our own standards. Would any politician dare being treated by a ‘Quota Doctor?’
It is appalling to accept that even today, in a city like Delhi, AAP grabs power under the pretense of “Free Water, Free electricity.’ In Madhya Pradesh, people voted for Congress as it claimed to waive off farmer loans.
Loans waivers, subsidies and reservations in jobs have impacted us in two ways.
One, it has made us slip into the self-entitlement mode where we only think of our rights but seldom talk of duties. This ‘free culture’ has become the breeding ground of people who just want, never give. Imagine, students, seeking freedom from the same state that has been footing their bills. Remember, the anti-national slogans at JNU?
Can you believe the separatists in Kashmir wanted freedom from the same state, the same country that was providing them with police security?
Two, this free culture has divided society into two parts — the taxpayers and freeloaders.
And the question is pertinent. Why should any government enjoy power at my cost? Why should I pay for the farmers who wait for a loan waiver and then sell their crop and make extra money? In the days to come, this will create serious problems and will divide society further. With farmers claiming and getting loan waivers what stops other sections of the society?
A nation is a land of equal opportunities, equal treatment, and the same law. It does not discriminate on the ground of religion or caste. A nation empowers, bolsters, and encourages whereas for its own vested interest a country might cripple an entire class by freebies.
Make roads, canals, irrigation systems, connect people via better transport, encourage entrepreneurs, educate people to adopt new farming methods, produce shaper minds, focus on the youth, instill a sense of nationalism, pride, and love for the country.
After all, turning a country into a nation is not that tough.