Is India Facing a Moral or an Economic Crisis?

Winner Of CSC February 2020 14th Essay Competition : Bindiya Patankar

We are proud Indians but not blind ones. Something’s not right and we know it. Today India is going through a crisis and we can’t ignore it pretending it to be a phase.With all mob-lynching, rapes, economic slowdown, we cannot move towards the trillion dollars economy dream fantasizing that these are just bumps on road. There is clearly an evil that needs to be tackled down by getting at its roots. But what is it we are fighting? Is it an economic crisis or a moral one? As a nation what are we up against?

Some say it is the economic crisis we are facing. With GDP growth for last quarter sinking down below 5%, unemployment rate slapping down below 6% (highest in last 45yrs), food inflation touching 7.89% last month, economists are precise to declare that we are in economic unrest. Whatever growth is, it’s a jobless one, as only 47% of graduates are employable, and those who are employed are stuck in low-paid jobs verifying that India not only have job hindrance but also wage problem. With economic offenders fleeing, repeated tax evasions, insider trading, slow or nil growth of small industries we are trapped in a loop.

The state of the backbone of economy, agriculture sector is sickening. It’s true that farmers in India are born in debt, live in debt, die in debt, and take rebirth in debt. According to data 31 farmers are attempting suicides every day.

If these evils aren’t tackled immediately this phase can become our destiny and we may head towards the 1991 crisis again.

On the other hand there is a block which says we are facing moral crisis.We are a very old civilization but a very young nation; hence our society is vulnerable, volatile and socially insecure. When we crafted the world’s largest Constitution, we vowed that tolerance will be our culture and commitment, but so far we fall flat in it.

Today we witness rising trend of vigilante attacks, unplanned violence, ideological motivation, intolerance towards sections of society, interference with dietary choices, self-proclaimed nationalism, growing Hindutva, misinterpretations of religion, which results in mob lynching, murders of social activist like Dabholkar, Pansare, demolition of Babri masjid. These and many other incidents are destroying unity.

Country’s true worth lies in how its women are treated and we are losing our worth. In the last 15years we had 4 lakh cases of rape. The need of patriarchy to control women’s sexuality led towards narrow- mindedness be it Hyderabad gang-rape, domestic violence, preference to boys, banned entry in Sabarimala temple or economic discrimination against them, we have become a culture where goddesses are worshipped but women are attacked. Everyday nearly 90 women are raped in India. Study signals that GDP can flourish 60% faster if women contribute more. We are unable to accomplish our full potential because of the patriarchal sexist mentality where feminism is curse.

Lack of strong political will to tackle the situations, fear for voicing against government, and shameful law and order is not aiding either. Democracy is in jeopardy where people are frightened of the government instead of being able to express dissenting views freely. The recent stand on Citizenship Amendment Bill illustrates that.

We have borrowed the world from our children but they are in no better shape either. Fact is from 01/01/2019 to 30/06/2019 a child was abused in every 5 minutes. With so much pessimism we are not designing a safe future, we fail to give them hope when they need it the most to face the upcoming global catastrophe. Youth climate-activist Greta Thunberg rightly said that we have stolen their future with empty words and yet we go to them for hope.

As Indians we tend to blame government because we aren’t socially accountable people. Many of welfare schemes don’t work because of people. Studies proved that many toilets constructed under Swacch Bharat Abhiyan are used as storehouse. We are cleaning India but failing to keep it clean. As a society we are not ready to accept our mistakes and it’s the reason there isn’t a way out.

Labelling today’s situation moral degeneration won’t help. After all morality is a relative concept and can be interpreted differently by different persons. Capital punishment is legal here but somewhere else it’s morally wrong. 100years ago, working of women was a moral issue; today it isn’t. Morality crisis during partition pointed that what brought us together wasn’t enough to keep us together.

There is a link between both these crises, we cannot teach morality to unemployed, malnourished person. Immoral mishaps have contributed towards slowdown of economy and economic slowdown results in moral crisis. For example, economic underdevelopment in North-east, Kashmir, Central-east region led it to extreme forces like terrorism, Naxalism, insurgencies. Only economic development can stop it.

Criminals among rich are driven by greed but in poor’s it’s driven by desperation, hunger. With increasing unemployment youth are turning towards social media, drugs to find adrenaline rush. Illegal things like sex-trafficking, black marketing, bribing happen for monetary gains. As we climb the ladder of prosperity we keep our selfish motives ahead of society, environment and the nation.

Recently, a groom from a lower caste was thrashed by upper caste people because he rode a horse on his wedding. He stated that even though he can afford modern equipments like tractor for agriculture, he cannot get it out of fear of the higher-caste people. They can’t reach their full potential because of higher-class mind-set.

To examine what triggers what in both crises is like answering what came first, chicken or egg? We need to understand that both are fatal and need to stop.

Nation was never a static concept but an ever building process, so to make nation great,continuous work is crucial. To start with, remember what Gandhi said “There is enough on earth for everyone’s need but not for everyone’s greed.” Modifying path by keeping in mind our duties towards environment will help.Behaviour change is another approach. Upholding constitutional morality over public morality will stop episodes like Hyderabad encounter.

We need economic and social advance with growth in health, education, skill development, employment, social justice, human rights, democracy. Stopping normalization of everyday crime is critical. If we exhibit ‘all hands on deck approach’, we don’t require superman to rescue us.

As a nation we have to invest in long-term solutions, in a sustainable path of life, we need freedom within India. Understanding that all religions have one reality that is dignity of common man is needed. It is a need of the hour to formulate society which questions its own apathy. We cannot think it as a choice between economic development or environment safety, between defence or social schemes. We need a middle way; we need holistic and multi-stakeholder approach. As the Prime Minister said “While achieving goals self-evaluate whether human element within yourself is getting frustrated? Are we not moving away from our human qualities?”

Only then survival of India is possible.