The beauty and uniqueness of our history, culture, global contribution and economic opportunity are the potential of India. Historian Ram Guha said, "At independence, we created the most powerful democracy, on the infertile soil of the worlds most hierarchical society" Our country made a tryst with destiny, which failed. Many governments after that have failed us. But we live in interesting times. The reason India and pakistan born on the same night have very different destinies is, 3 million people win an election somewhere in every round. India is a powerful democracy with a rising demographic dividend, and only one way to go. The potential of India is huge. Brexit, Trump and the new fascism, in the face of declining growth are moving the opportunities away from the advanced countries – US, UK – India crossed UK’s GDP in 2019, to become the 5th largest economy with global heft and a place at the negotiating table. But India has a long way to grow the GDP per capita where it ranks 148th, or in the 25th percentile. COVID has demonstrated that the short term solution where a rising middle class could buy its way to the front of the line, is not a lasting solution. The migrant crisis, the lack of health care infrastructure and scarce resources, the absence of structured solutions for learning continuity and one-size-fits-all simplistic solutions at the lowest common denominator, in a crisis affect everyone, though not everyones loss is equal. Indian companies lead in many segments globally, but many Indians will not ride in the car that they clean, can’t read the newspapers they deliver, or send their children to schools that they build.
The challenges are in India, but so are the opportunities. Creating a country that’s not just democratic but where everyone really has independence needs changing India, changing the image of India in the world, and changing the contribution that Indians make globally. This is only possible through education.