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  • Writer's pictureAmit Shankar

Country vs. Nation

It takes a lot for a country to turn into a nation. I know the liberals would scoff at this idea, country vs. nation, running it down as a ‘Jumla’. But then if they understand the nuances of House vs. a Home, though the dictionary claims them to be the same, they would also appreciate the difference between a country and a nation. A nation is a grand idea of might, unity, strength, happiness, prosperity, and hope whereas a country is just an assortment of states.

Post our Independence, the big transformation we needed was converting the independent country into a nation. With Sarder Patel at the helm of affairs, this dream could have been a possibility. Uniting states was his first step towards building a nation. However, Nehru had other priorities. Strengthening the foundation of his dynasty being at the top of the list.

For a new country, when the keywords should have been empowerment, discipline, technology, vision and hard work, we labored with a sluggish 5-year plan, no emphasis on setting up a resilient and robust economy and government control over key production and banking sectors. Understandably, we stayed a country for the next 15-20 years.

To give you an example, Garibi Hatao, was a slogan that kept Congress decisively in power. However, no one bothered explaining how this perennial problem could be unscrambled. The government severely short on vision and creativity assumed that subsidized fuel, ration, sugar; fertilizer would take care of the matrix. No wonder, till this date ‘Garibi’ haunts us, and people in power exploit it to suit their political concentrations.

When the freebies of fuel, ration was not able to contain the lower economic strata, another myopic and devious salvo that ensured India could never become a nation was launched.

Reservation was a political stunt under the guise of social justice that pushed us 50 years back. Burdened by a meek and feeble economy, lack of infrastructure, corruption, farmer distress; V P Singh knew that Reservation would facilitate his way to the PM’s chair.

When the entire globe was striving for excellence, we were busy doling out jobs, and coveted seats in Medicine, Engineering and every other sector to non-deserving candidates.

Imagine, with a Reservation Policy of 50%, in no time we would be a nation where half the working class, engineers to doctors, bureaucrats to policymakers, would be sub-standard even by our own standards. Would any politician dare being treated by a ‘Quota Doctor?’

It is appalling to accept that even today, in a city like Delhi, AAP can claim power under the pretense of “Free Water, Free electricity.’ In a recently contested state poll, people voted for a party as it claimed to waive off farmer loans.

Loans waivers, subsidies and reservation in jobs have impacted us in two ways.

One, it has made us slip in the self-entitlement mode where we only think of our rights but seldom talk of duties. This ‘free culture’ is the breeding ground of people who just want, never give. Imagine, students, claiming freedom from the same state that has been footing their bills. Can you believe that separatists claim freedom from the same state, the same country that has been providing them with police security?

Two, this free culture has divided the society into two parts—the taxpayers and freeloaders.

And the question is pertinent. Why should any government enjoy power at my cost? Why should I pay for the farmers who wait for loan waiver and then sell their crop and make extra money? In the days to come, this will create serious problems and will divide the society further. With farmers claiming and getting loan waiver what stops other sections of the society?

A nation is a land of equal opportunities, equal treatment, and the same law. It does not discriminate on the ground of religion or caste. A nation empowers, bolsters and encourages never cripple an entire class by freebies.

Make roads, canals, irrigation system, connect people via better transport, encourage entrepreneurs, educate people to adopt new farming methods, produce shaper minds, focus on the youth, instill a sense of nationalism, pride, and love for the country.

After all, turning a country into nation is not that tough.

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