Language Education Association:
Indian Prime Minister Manmohan
Indian Prime Minister
Manmohan Singh marked the 60th anniversary of independence from
British rule by urging the country to work harder to free itself
from the shackles of poverty, ignorance and disease.
- "India cannot become a nation with
islands of high growth and vast areas untouched by development,
where the benefits of growth accrue only to a few," he said
on Wednesday from the ramparts of New Delhi's historic Red Fort
behind a bulletproof glass screen.
- "We have moved forward in the many battles
against poverty, ignorance and disease. But can we say we have
won the war?," he told a crowd of officials and diplomats
as well as children dressed in the white, orange and green of
the Indian flag.
- India is one of the world's fastest-growing
economies, but has some of the sharpest inequalities in the world,
with hundreds of millions of poor surviving on a fraction of a
dollar a day.
India has just celebrated
its 60th anniversary of independence on August 15
Richmond, BC, Canada, Aug. 15, 2007
India has just celebrated its 60th anniversary
of independence on August 15.This most populous democracy in the
world is incredible in many ways. No doubt, like any other developing
country, India has its own multitude of problems. Fast growing
population, poverty, pollution, corruption, religious conflicts
etc continue to be some of the biggest challenges facing India.
However, at the same time, this nation of over one billion people
has a lot to be proud of.
Last year, my wife and I had an opportunity to travel extensively
to various parts of India. We found it to be an extremely enjoyable
experience. With 24 major languages and 874 dialects, India offers
a unique experience in diversity. It is a fascinating, vast, complex,
multicultural and multilingual country.
During the past few years, India’s economy has been growing
at an impressive rate. India’s GDP is reported to have increased
by 9.4% last year. This kind of growth has attracted a lot of
international attention. One fifth of Fortune 500 companies have
set up their R&D centers in India. A recent Ernst Young European
Attractiveness Survey took note of India’s economic potential.
It went on to state that economies of four specific countries-Brazil,
Russia, India and China – are growing at an amazing rate
and it won’t be long before they begin to challenge the
U.S. and Japan in this regard.
India’s middle class of more than 300 million offers a very
tempting consumer market to big international corporations. Thus
it is no wonder that each of these multinationals wants to establish
a base in India.
In addition to a robust and dynamic financial system, India has
a lot more to offer. Its film industry, popularly known as Bollywood,
is the largest in the world. One out of every ten cell phone users
is an Indian. India has one of the largest TV networks in the
world with 300 channels and over 500 million viewers. Eleven out
of every twelve diamonds are polished in India and half of world’s
tea is produced there.
Recently, India was in the news worldwide. It had elected the
first woman as its president since becoming independent. Also,
the world famous Taj Mahal was selected as one of the Seven Wonders
of the World. Of course, the Taj Mahal is very unique. However,
Agra, the home of this popular attraction, also has two more world
heritage sites-the Fort and nearby Fatehpur Sikri. Not only this,
nearly every one of India’s 29 provinces has something unique
to offer. At every corner one sees diversity of a different kind.
In this context, the remarks made by the newly elected president
of India, Pratibha Patil, were very timely:
“ Ours is an ancient civilization but a young nation. We
look back with pride to the tremendous achievements made during
the 60 years of our independence in all spheres of life. More
than anything else we have demonstrated to the world that a developing
country of over one billion people, each aspiring for a better
quality of life, can live harmoniously and move forward within
a framework of a secular democracy.”
Happy Independence Day, India!
(Balwant Sanghera is a retired School Psychologist and Community
Activist. He is recipient of the Order of British Columbia)
President, Punjabi Language Education Association . He is a retired
School Psychologist and Community Activist in British Columbia ,Canada.