I had plenty of time to think over many of these points with Atanu during my US trip. Being away from the action, one could take a different perspective. The problem is much deeper than we think.
It starts with freedom. Not the freedom we think we won during the regime change of 1947. Not the freedom which is now redefined as ‘not being in Tihar jail.’ The freedom we are talking about here is personal freedom. In India, we have no idea what it is and therefore do not even realise it is worth fighting for. We think we are free. In reality, we have a government that so deeply penetrates the world around us that our freedom is a mirage. 1947 = Freedom is what is ingrained into us.
The great revolutions of history (American, British/Industrial, French) have all centred around the notion of freedom. Our Indian revolution ended with a skin colour change. And the result – a country that still counts hundreds of millions amongst its poor – is there for us to see. But even that is changing. We are building enough cocoons and gated communities that we will not have to see the poor. For this select set, India has arrived and is an IT superpower on its way to becoming an economic superpower.
India’s lack of freedom is at the heart of India’s lack of development and central to the issue of corruption.