What change does India need?
Opinion: India suffers from a lack of morality
It is undisputed that the Indian government is absolutely incompetent in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. But the desire to change government alone does not help. The fact that the ethical values and morals of the country are currently at their lowest point also played a decisive role in the greatest humanitarian crisis in independent India.
Many people not only lost their health in this pandemic, but also spent heaps of money and thrown their sanity overboard. If you want to save someone, there are no more rules. People pay up to 50,000 rupees ($ 683) for an ambulance, 100,000 rupees or more per day for admitting a loved one to a hospital. We shell out black market prices for medical oxygen and antiviral drugs. How could this loss of morality come about?
Even more privileges for the privileged
India had almost 75 years to mature into a democratic society that protects the needy and creates opportunities for all people across caste and class boundaries. Instead, the privileged have accumulated more privileges and the poor have become poorer.
Ankita Mukhopadyay is a correspondent at Studio Delhi
For example, quality health care has only been provided by the private sector for seventy years. And he mainly takes care of the privileged and their friends. When the pandemic pushed this private sector to its limits, the rich and privileged pulled all sorts of strings for themselves and their people. But those in need fell by the wayside.
Today the richest man in India is unwilling to use even ten percent of his wealth to help the country. Its broken system made it possible for him to amass a fortune equivalent to a quarter of the annual gross domestic product. Instead, celebrities are calling on the country's citizens for donations, even though nearly 30 percent of these people live below the poverty line.
An elite that only secures advantages
The pandemic has also exposed the gross lack of morale among the heads of administration and police. Why is our elite unable to run the country efficiently and hold incompetent politicians accountable? Instead, they are primarily concerned with securing advantages for themselves and their children!
It is a common saying in India that anything the government is involved in will be a chore and the officials will be lazy. This is so because we have built a system that has made all competent people incompetent. But a country that wants to grow to a five-trillion dollar economy (as of 2019 just under three trillion) first has to build trust in its system before it sets itself even more ambitious goals.
No more searching for role models
Indians must stop looking for supposed role models in order to escape their reality and instead start campaigning for real reforms. We need to understand that money, good degrees, emigration to the West, religious gurus or a career as a government official will not make our lives better.
Our life in this country has so much more to offer than superficial goals. And it is up to us to develop the possibilities. Development is a pluralistic term and requires a joint effort. The first step must therefore be to appreciate our federal structure and work towards strengthening our state governments.
Politics is not a stage for bigotry
The political center of the state, currently shaped by the BJP, is there to lead and administer the country. It shouldn't be the stage for hideous religious bigotry. Religious politics will always do more harm than good to India because it divides the nation. The concept of "divide and rule" was used by the British to divide India into two religions. To get rid of our colonial trauma, we shouldn't return to this very path of all things.
The ruling party must finally act with foresight, prepare for the next wave of the pandemic and, above all, protect those in need. The first step in this direction: vaccinations must not remain the sole privilege of the wealthy.
It is correct: India needs change, and as quickly as possible. But before we call for change, we must tackle this rot in our morals that is destroying everything that stands in its way - even a new government.
This text was adapted from the English by Felix Steiner.
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