India on the Bleeding Edge

I spent the entire month of Oct '22 touring around the world. Before coming to India, I had a chance to spend my vacation in three countries - Egypt, Turkey, & UAE - in the increasing order of the Human Development Index (HDI).

Egypt was poorer than India. There was widespread poverty with the majority of the population dependent on tourism for their livelihood. Turkey on the other hand was very similar to India. The people of Turkey had a strong sense of patriotism. They were attached to their homeland. You can easily find the Turkish flag in every nook and corner. They were proud of the language they spoke. Only a few people spoke English. It was astonishing to see the progress they made while preserving their deep-rooted culture in a world where most countries have accepted western culture in the name of development. Lastly, UAE was super-rich and expensive. The Arabian world had transformed a desert into a stunning city serving world luxuries. To my surprise, they did solve farming in the desert.

I went to India and spent some time with my family before heading back to the US. Well the trip itself was extremely overwhelming and I hardly got time to think about the places I was visiting. My schedule was always completely packed. Now that I had settled, I had some time to think about all the places that I visited. One thing that I realized was - most of these countries had more similarities with India than America. For example - 
  • Egypt has poverty, and so does all of Africa. It is a low-income country.
  • Istanbul is densely populated. There are thousands of people walking on the street. You would never find a car on the street. The houses are small, the streets are narrow, and patriotism is in the air - just like in India. On the other hand, Americans have a severe problem with living in big houses, lavishly consuming a lot of food, and driving big cars to cover several hundred miles in a huge land area of America. 
  • Arab is rich. But suffers from human rights violations. Just like in India, people can be dead meat with no one knowing.
Wherever I went, there were Indians everywhere. Not for tourism. They were immigrants who came down to these countries in search of opportunities. This made me think. I can say for sure that the combined lived experience of Indians is far superior to that of the Americans. Indians have lived in poverty, Indians have lived in luxuries; Indians have adopted change faster than anyone else. The dream that every Indian sees transcends the boundaries of achievements. We have learned to compromise the most basic things for our future. This is being done by billions of people every day. We don't think about the present. We live for the future.

The worst thing that ever happened to America was - it became a superpower. Why? Since the time it became a superpower, it was stuck with itself. I am not saying that it didn't make progress. It did without a pinch of doubt. But, its progress remained to solve its own artificial problems. America never realized that there is a world outside of it. The world with some real problems for humanity to solve. The movies made in Hollywood kept showing aliens, science-fiction, and superheroes, none of which were ever relevant to the world outside of America. Sometimes I really feel how self-acclaimed the film academy is - awarding only movies made in English. Americans have been a bit successful in forcing capitalism in developing countries like India. But they are still far from understanding the world. This is definitely a reason why America is in a dire need of immigrants from Asia. They know that even their best education system cannot teach the lived experience of growing up in a third-world country.

Ok enough bitching about America! After visiting the three countries, I went to India. Well, people living in the country might disagree, but, I saw that India has changed. India has been rapidly adopting technology. The pace and scale were enormous. In my home city of Ranchi, UPI was accepted everywhere, even by rickshaws. The fintech sector of India has undergone some serious revolution. India is clearly a leader in this field. Every person now has access to the Internet. They can see the world. And most importantly, their children can see a dream. In the next 20 years, India will have an extremely large, highly educated youth population. The number would be so high that no country in the world would see such an amount of human resources. India would be a hub of supply of the best engineers and doctors on the planet. India is just starting and the next 50 years are going to be extremely critical. The lived experience of Indians has elevated their emotional intelligence. India understands world problems more than any other country. India is on its way to leading the world.

When I came to Silicon Valley, I had the opportunity to meet some of the best minds in the world. 30% of them were Indians. Most of them were IITians, the cream of India, the best people that the land has ever produced, the visionaries of today, and the leaders of tomorrow. Unfortunately, the brightest in our country are working for America. While one can't deny their contribution to the betterment of humanity, it is true that India is in dire need of them for its own advancement. Brain drain is a severe problem.

One of the major issues that has been driving down India and inspiring youth to move abroad is corruption. Corruption is deep-rooted in the government sector of India. It is super difficult for anyone to bring change to society. Corruption has produced so much black money that the gap between rich and poor is always increasing. This has in turn pushed up commodity prices, especially real estate. In terms of housing, it feels like America is more affordable than any city in India, thanks to the crazy amount of black money that has been pumping the real estate prices. The middle class of society has been suffering. The government is unstable. It takes years for the law to change. The progress of society has been extremely slow. We keep fighting over religion. We keep oppressing the poor. It would be extremely sad if we couldn't channel our extremely talented human resources for progress.

My fellow citizen of India, I hope that you have been working hard to lead the country to the golden age. It would be my humble request to you to do your work with the utmost sincerity and honesty. Thrive for the highest excellence because you need to set an example for the entire world to follow. If you feel you didn't get what you deserved, remember that there is a farmer who has worked more than you, and still didn't receive what he deserved. Don't blame the system for its inefficiency as you are a part of the system yourself. Do what is right. Even the smallest act of honest work can inspire a generation to lead the largest democracy on earth to a better tomorrow.

I know I am not in the country. But the thoughts that I mentioned above come from my lived experiences in India and America. I send an enormous amount of foreign exchange back to India. My contributions are indirect for now. But one day, I will come back to pay for everything that the country has given me.

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