About India 2020 Book:
Blog Title: India 2020: A Vision for the New Millennium – Book Summary
Name: India 2020: A Vision for the New Millennium
Book available at: Flipkart, Amazon
Book size: 344 pages
If the nineteenth century belonged to Europe, the twentieth century to the USA, then the twenty-first century will definitely belong to the Indians. This is the dream translated to millions of Indians through the pens of two eminent scientists of India Dr. Kalam and Dr. Y.S. Rajan.
India 2020 Chapter 1: Introduction:
“Sight is about what lies right in front of us. Vision is what lies ahead”. India is an old civilization and an extremely complex society. Her glorious past, natural beauty, resources, vast size and above all her unique geographical location has always given her the pride of place in the world. With the ups and downs of his, ory it has retained its vibrancy. Yet, due to insensitivity and lethargy on our part and due to the negative slant of the media here, we as a nation have not been able to attain the status of a developed nation so far.
In his famous speech delivered in Hyderabad, Dr.APJ Abdul Kalam outlines his three visions for his motherland India and pleads for Indians to be involved in the nation-building process and to make India a developed nation.
Why do we need a vision? Kalam answers this question by citing the examples of countries like USA, Malaysia, Israel and China and points out that they are what they are today because they had a vision and they strived towards it.
India 2020 Chapter 2: The First Vision: Freedom
In 3000 years of our history, people from all over the world have come and invaded us, captured our lands and conquered our minds. Yet, we have not conquered anyone. Because, we respect the freedom of others, and that is the reason for his first vision of Freedom. India got its first vision of this in the Indian Rebellion in the year 1857, when we started the war of Independence. It is this freedom that we must protect and nurture and build on.
India 2020 Chapter 3: The Second Vision: Development
We have been a developing nation for more than fifty years, and so it is time we see ourselves as a developed nation. In terms of GDP, we are among the top five nations of the world. Our poverty levels are falling. Our achievements are being globally recognised today. Yet we lack the self-confidence to see ourselves as a developed nation.
He envisions an India where the national economy of the country is one of the largest in the world; there is upliftment in the general living standards of the common man well above the poverty line including high standards of education, health and above all, national security. According to Kalam, there are four chief areas of development: the people, economy, strategic strength and infrastructure and to achieve all this, technology is the answer.
The role of technology will not only be to provide sophisticated machinery and but also to provide materials of basic utility value to the common man at an affordable price. Technology should not only produce goods but also explore ways to re-use by-products so as to minimize wastage and environmental pollution. Thus technology should not only be for the classes but for the masses.
Kalam defends his theory of exploitation of technology by saying, If you don’t have the technology, you natural resources is of no value to you. He compares Japan with Africa and shows how Japan has progressed despite a dearth of natural resources through technological creativity alone whereas a richly resourced continent like Africa has been unable to do so because of lack of fundamental technology. Although technology is the key to realize our vision, the craving to reach the goal should encompass all sections of society if the vision has to be transformed into reality.
India 2020 Chapter 4: Third Vision: India must stand up to the World
Unless India stands up to the world, no one will respect us. Only strength respects strength. We must be strong not only as a military power but also as an economic power. Both must go hand-in-hand.
India 2020 Chapter 5: The Media’s Obsession with Bad News, Failures and Disasters:
Dr.Kalam wonders how the media in India could be so negative. Giving the example of Dr.Sudarshan, who has transferred the tribal village into a self-sustaining, self-driving unit, Dr.Kalam says that there are millions of such achievements in India but our media is only obsessed with only the bad news and failures and disasters.
In Tel Aviv, where gory killings, deaths and bombardments take place every now and then, the front page of the newspaper had the picture of a Jewish gentleman who in five years had transformed his desert land into an orchid and a granary. It was this inspiring picture that everyone woke up to.
India 2020 Chapter 6: The Nation’s Obsession with Foreign Things:
Dr.Kalam is surprised at the people’s obsession with foreign things. We want foreign TVs, foreign T-shirts, foreign technology. There is an obsession with everything that is imported. According to Dr.Kalam, self-respect comes only with self-reliance. There conformity in Foreign Countries but Detached in Motherland. In India, we the people blame the government for being inefficient, the laws for being too old, the municipality for not picking up the garbage etc. But what do we do about it? In Singapore, you don’t throw cigarette butts on the roads. You wouldn’t dare to speed beyond 55mph in Washington and tell the traffic cop about your heavy connections with politics. You wouldn’t spit paan on the streets of Tokyo. When the same Indian can respect and conform to a foreign system in other countries, he cannot do that on his own. You will throw papers and cigarettes on the road the moment you touch Indian ground. If you can be an involved and appreciative citizen in an alien country, why can’t you be the same here in India?
India 2020 Chapter 7: The Easy Way Out: Blame it on the System:
We sit back wanting the government to do everything for us, while our contribution is totally negative. We expect the government to clean up but we are not going to stop chucking garbage all over the place, nor are we going to stop to pick up a stray piece of paper and throw it in the bin. We expect the railways to provide clean bathrooms but we are not going to learn the proper use of bathrooms. When it comes to social issues like women, dowry, girl child etc., we make loud protestations and do the reverse at home.
And for all these negatives on our part, we blame it on the system. The whole system has to change, we seem to justify. For us, the system consists of everyone else except you and me. When it comes to making a positive contribution to the system we lock ourselves along with our families into a safe cocoon and wait for a Mr.Clean to come along and work miracles for us, or we leave the country and run away.
Like lazy cowards hounded by our fears, we run to America to bask in their glory and praise their system. When New York becomes insecure we run to England. When England experiences unemployment, we take the next flight out to the Gulf. When the Gulf is war struck, we demand to be rescued and brought home by the Indian government itself. Everybody is out to abuse and rape the country. Nobody thinks of feeding the system because our conscience is mortgaged to money.
India 2020 Chapter 8:
Kalam insists that Vision 2020 is certainly achievable and corroborates this further by giving several examples from past victories e.g., the Green Revolution, the development of space technology which started from scratch to our present-day situation of our very own satellite-based communication system.
Dr. Kalam stresses on two important facts to achieve this vision – Sensitization to problems and a will to achieve. To be able to achieve this vision, one should rise above ones routine, mundane problems and try and achieve something beyond the ordinary: at the same time taking care of the feasibility of the project. This means that although at the time of articulation of vision, the goal may perhaps appear to be improbable but at no point of time should it seem to be impossible.
Kalam has systematically outlined the problems, listed the present solutions that are being offered, identified their merits and demerits and then, finally suggests not one but a series of solutions so that the most feasible one amongst them can be adopted. For example, in the healthcare sector, he has categorized not only the present-day diseases but also envisioned the future diseases and disorders. Lack of money and basic facilities for the poor as being the main bases for many diseases. He points out how technology can come to the fore by helping to map out mosquito-breeding areas (to eradicate malaria) by using remote sensing satellite or the use of defense lasers to treat glaucoma and cataract in the eye. This does not mean that Kalam overlooks our natural resources or heritage. He emphasizes the need to tap indigenous resources, our rich heritage of natural herbs as well as tribal systems of medicine. He even feels the need to reach out to other civilizations and adopt what is relevant from them, e.g. the Chinese acupuncture technique.
Kalam explains that developments in science and technology have to reach all parts of society, only then can India be truly labeled as a developed country. He describes this developmental process as one in a continuum. We should not rest on the laurels of our past achievements but should try and improve ourselves towards higher and higher standards. Thus the process of development should transcend all generations.
The foundation for this should be laid at the grass-root level. Kalam shows faith in the young generation by calling them the ignited minds to whom the dream to realize the vision should be entrusted.
We cannot but wholeheartedly agree with the author that to achieve our Vision 2020, we should settle our superficial differences and think and act as Indians. Nobody can take us there but ourselves.
The mission to spread reading habit was inspired by Dr.Kalam’s vision of India 2020. Let us contribute to his vision by making India read books.