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A future too bright to handle

Updated on: 08 June,2024 06:53 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Lindsay Pereira |

When will we stop listening to those who claim that India has unresolved problems, and try being optimistic instead?

A future too bright to handle

I intend to spend the next decade talking about India as if it already is a superpower. Representation Pic

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A future too bright to handle

Lindsay PereiraIt’s impossible for one to get through election season without feeling that India is poised at the edge of something big. The world is our proverbial oyster, apparently, and we just haven’t embraced the idea yet. This is possibly a feeling that emerged during the last election too, but I don’t recall the specifics. Speech after speech informs me that the next era belongs to us, that we are going to become a first-world country any day now, and that every other country will be begging for our attention if it doesn’t already do so. It’s a little overwhelming to think of all the good fortune headed our way, although it sometimes feels as if we have been waiting for over a decade now.

Sadly, a few things get in the way of my complete acceptance of this rosy picture. There are a lot of noises being made about unemployment, for example, along with warnings of how things are so bad that they could lead to serious instability a few years down the line. I am pretty sure the only people unemployed are those attending election rallies in person, but several academics and economists say that Indians are struggling to find jobs. They say we have one of the world’s youngest populations, and no idea of what to do with them. I refuse to accept this because the honourable government of India hasn’t said a word about it, which obviously means it isn’t a crisis. Still, it’s hard to drown out the naysayers because of how persistent and loud they are. I wonder if this means the future is going to be amazing, but not necessarily for everyone.

Then there is the obvious unhappiness of other groups of people. Farmers have been angry for years and don’t seem to be getting calmer. A lot of them have been killing themselves too, which can’t be a good thing, unless this is being done to tarnish the country’s image. I hadn’t considered that possibility until I was informed of these sinister plots on WhatsApp a few weeks ago. There are other protests flaring up every other week, with no clear explanation of what the protesters want or why they are upset. Is Manipur okay? Have districts in Gujarat vowed to not vote for a particular party? It’s impossible to say what is and isn’t true. Luckily, I always choose to believe these protests don’t matter because, if they did, our unbiased news channels would give them some attention.

Critics also point to other obstacles standing in India’s path to world domination: widening gaps between rich and poor, attacks on the free press, corruption and the rise of crony capitalism. There are more problems on a surprisingly long list, but this is a column, not a treatise. My approach to all this bad stuff is to look within, and gauge the world based on what I know about myself. I see how I haven’t had a problem finding a job lately, how I always have some food on my table, and haven’t been homeless. If I am okay, it only stands to reason that everyone else is too. It’s not solid logic, but I believe it is the kind routinely deployed by millions of India’s middle and upper-middle-class folk. It frees them from making decisions based on facts and allows them to indulge in wishful thinking instead.

Maybe it’s time for us to stop focusing on bad news and shut down naysayers whenever they threaten to burst our little bubbles. So what if nothing that has been promised to us in ten years has come to pass? So what if we don’t have enough jobs, food, housing, or healthcare? So what if our public assets are being given to private companies for a pittance? We have to break this collective habit of missing the wood for the trees and start counting our blessings instead. We have to embrace clichés instead of running away from them.

I intend to spend the next decade talking about India as if it already is a superpower. I will assume all other countries respect us even if their visa policies don’t appear to back this. I will also assume we are doing better than our smaller neighbours like Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Bhutan, even if the Human Development Index says we aren’t. In short, I’m going to live in denial and learn to love it, the way so many of my countrymen already do. Jai Hind.

When he isn’t ranting about all things Mumbai, Lindsay Pereira can be almost sweet. He tweets @lindsaypereira
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