Disclaimer: The theories presented in this write-up are through the eyes of the writer and do not represent the views of the magazine.

An interpretation of the word ‘development’ is a person’s ‘ability to strive’. However, in this era, where only competition reigns, the only definition that I can decipher is a person’s ability to outpace his/her cousins and mates. This is the truest and most authentic meaning, which you won’t even find in the world’s most renowned dictionary. So why is everyone in the 21st century loco behind this term? We all may have different answers to it.

 

  1. The burgeoning population of India.

The subject ‘overpopulation’, which has become the heart of modern day debates, and the “excuse me“ for politicians in India for every social issue, is neither due to the high fertility rate in India nor due to the lack of literacy in this line of enquiry. The damage was actually done in the 1930s itself. Indians were enslaved for over 200 years by a relentless occupying power engrossed in pursuing its imperialistic motives. This created a feeling of self-abasement in the Indians. To top it off, the tumultuous India-Pakistan partition led to the annihilation of over 20 lakh people. The “cash cow” for Britishers, India was robbed and looted of its title, the “Jewel In The Crown“.

This entire history led to the birth of new-found financial and religious insecurities in the minds of the Indians which compelled them to reproduce at a large scale to bring about financial stability in their lives and to ease their mental dilemmas. It is the dramatic consequence of this landmark event that we can today observe as ‘overpopulation’.

 

  1. The dent in India’s education system.

Overpopulation isn’t solely to blame for the highly competitive atmosphere in India. Actually, it shouldn’t be blamed at all. The root cause is the mental ideology of Indian society. The British teaching curriculum, which was imposed onto the Indians during the colonial era, separated the Indians from their age old practiced Gurukul system which accentuated the motto “Learning with Nature”.

Regrettably, the English curriculum persists to be the foundation stone for most of the educational institutes in India. When a child has been brought up in a competitive environment, he has been moulded in such a way that he can never face mortification or any type of discomfiture in public society. So now this answers the question “why everyone run behind success” in India specifically. As aforementioned, competitiveness runs in Indian blood, which is driving us to follow the footsteps of the West and commit the same blunders which the western countries made during their initial stages of development.

 

  1. Industrialisation

These evolving times have fostered innumerable flourishing industries ranging from automobiles to aerospace to pharmaceutical industries. I really recognise the synergetic efforts being made by young climate activists like Greta Thunberg (Sweden), David Wicker (Italy), Haven Coleman (USA). There are various video clips circulating around the internet wherein these activists bombard the governments with questions at state or national level and ask for accountability from industrialists for degrading the environment such as emitting large volumes of greenhouse gases.

I have a different outlook, rather a more positive one. Not that I bolster the industries ejecting out greenhouse gases or the governments not taking adequate measures towards the issue, but I pose a simple, quick question. What will be the source of income of these industrialists or small-scale manufacturers if the government was to shut down their manufacturing units or warehouses? Something to ponder upon. There might exist an alternative but it always takes time for these decisions to be implemented, for change is a gradual process. I’m sure that not all the governments around the globe are corrupt and sleazy, a few are really working for the noble cause. But then why don’t these eco-activists appreciate the toil of these government representatives as a token of thanks; appreciation is a key motivation and uplifting factor as quoted by Jackson Brown. This vicious cycle of blame needs to terminate. Criticism is futile as firstly no viable solution to the problem can be drawn about and secondly it wounds a person’s precious pride, hurts their sense of importance and arouses resentment.

 

I am certain that after perusing this write-up you all will acknowledge the fact that it isn’t vital to deliberate who is wrong or who is right, or simply who is to be made the scapegoat in this entire scenario. The dire situation we are in isn’t a result of our actions, quite to the contrary, it is a drastic result of our mental ideology and how we perceive things. We are certainly not what we eat, we are what we think. You don’t have to mend your deeds, you have to sort your thoughts. The former will come automatically when thoughts are sorted. The almighty has given the Earth to us like a blank canvas which needs to be painted with strokes of balance. The choice was, is and will always be ours. It is up to us how we plan to paint it — with shades of competition, mental stress, envy, immortality, burning desires — or with hues of compassion, benevolence, loyalty and care: something which the earth is desperately in need of.

 

– Shreya Mittal, Amity International School, Noida

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