Sunday, November 19, 2006
PROGRESS VERSUS GROUND REALITIES
India's first indigenous lunar mission Chandrayan, is expected to take off by the end of 2007. At a cost of Rs. 300 crores, and a few components borrowed from the US, UK and Sweden, this ambitious project aims at exploring the "polar regions" or the dark side of the moon, which are untouched by the sun's rays & have glacial climates.
This is all very good for India's reputation & personal development on the space research front. But I could not help notice an editorial in a prominent english daily, scoffing at this extravagance. Te author argues that what exactly is the need to spend so much on space missions when millions are dying of hunger & poverty every minute in this country ? When there is so much to be done to eradicate illiteracy, unemployment and the like Is he wrong in presenting these arguments? Not entirely. Although the lunar mission is a feather in India's cap, we cant ignore the harsh realities looking us in the face. The funds & the enthusiasm is needed elsewhere too.
In light of this argument, I'm forced to think ... Is it wrong to nurture such ambitious projects in the view of the shortcomings in the background? Or are these to be considered under a different eye-piece? It is not as if the Government is not doing anything. Crores of rupees are allotted for social welfare, various innovative schemes are planned. But the implementation faces a major roadblock .... the inherent depravity in this country, which is halting the intended progress & upliftment in its tracks. Hence, a few good men and women's noble intentions are thwarted by the dirty fish of the pond.
So is this the fate of India for ages to come? An anectode comes to mind
"A foreigner once went to a wise Indian sage, and asked him, "What forms the essence of India? What is the one thing that characterises India?"
"The wise man replied, " India is a land of unparalled beauty. It has myriad cultures, beautiful monuments, awe inspiring landscapes, and its trump card - unity in diversity. But there is one thing and one thing alone that truly characterises India, and that is ... Compromise"
Nothing wrong with what the wise man said. You don't even have to be a wise man to know that.
Is this how we want the world to perceive India as? Who will provide the answers to my questions?