By boycotting Chinese goods and apps we cannot defeat China. You cannot defeat a wrestler by hurling abuses at him. You can defeat him only by building your own muscle. True patriotism lies in not boycotting the Chinese goods but in outdoing the Chinese at their own game…
The social media is agog with anti-Chinese sentiment. On the one hand, there is this sneaky feeling that Covid 19 was exported by China to the entire world by omission or by commission. On the other, border invasions by China from time to time take us back to 1962. Patriotism is a good thing to have. At least, it churns you from within. But by boycotting Chinese goods and apps we cannot defeat China. You cannot defeat a wrestler by hurling abuses at him. You can defeat him only by building your own muscles.
So where do we begin? Let us for a moment cast aside our ideological debate, democracy versus autocracy, capitalism versus socialism, and so on. Like all muscle building exercises, it should start with a definite plan – a plan which is long- term and sustainable. The first component of this plan should be our education system. If India wants to be self-reliant, its education system should be capable of retaining and fostering its talent within the country. If 4,00,000 bright students leave the country every year for better education, India can never aspire to catch up with China even in the next twenty years. The malady is not with the higher education alone. The rot starts from the school itself where quality education is getting farther and farther away from the reach of average households. This has the danger to create a class divide among the students and a meritorious child may be deprived of quality education for lack of means. Covid 19 with its concomitant dependence on distance education puts the poor students at a tremendous disadvantage. This makes a mockery of Right to Education, a Fundamental Right.
Another major bottleneck facing India is its poor infrastructure. While sadak and pani are the basic requirement of every habitation, it is the poor quality of bijli and telecom services that severely hinders the progress of an aspirational India. The Central Government as well as the State Governments should have a definite plan for strengthening the digital and physical infrastructure of the country which should not be derailed at any cost.
One can go on about various governance failures and deficiencies, such as the inspector raj, the cumbersome procedures, corruption, poor contract enforcement, etc. etc. But the common denominator to all these problems is our lack of patriotism. No, I am not talking about espionage or our tendency to put our self above the country. I am talking about our lack of pride in being an Indian. If we are proud Indians, we should not be creating substandard products – goods or services. If we are proud Indians, we should not be reneging on our promises without as much as saying sorry. If we are proud Indians, we should not be looking for every opportunity to break the law either by hoodwinking the police or putting “pressure” from the right “source” at the right spot.
True patriotism lies in not boycotting the Chinese goods, but in outdoing the Chinese at their own game.
BK Patnaik, Former Chief Secretary of Odisha
DISCLAIMER: This is the personal views of the author. It has nothing to do with prameyanews.com.