Ever since her independence sixty years ago, India has been marching on road to planned economic development. Eleven of her five-year plans have been completed. Still India suffers from an economic crisis of the first magnitude. There are shortages of nearly all the essential consumer goods. The price tends to rise, and constant vigilance is necessary. No doubt there has been an unprecedented expansion of education but it has led only to more unemployment, even among the highly educated.
This economic crisis is attributed to several causes. Generally, the government is blamed for it. It is pointed out that the planning is defective in various ways, and the machinery for implementing the plans is slow and inefficient. There are others who blame the population explosion for the crisis in Indian economy. People breed more rapidly that they produce, with the result that the gap between demand and supply keep on widening. It is this ever increasing gap, it is said, which results in shortages and rocketing prices. According to such people, everything would be alright only if the people take to family planning. Smaller families are the only answer to the economic crisis that faces the country.
While it cannot be denied that there is some truth in such views, we will also have to admit that they do not explain the thing. As a matter of fact, the real crisis which faces the country is moral and not economic. Indeed, the economic crisis is merely a symptom of the moral one. Indian public life suffers from want of morals; this is not confined to any one particular class of people or section of society. It is as much a characteristic of people at the highest level, as it is of those at the lowest. People of every rank and profession are dishonest, corrupt and insincere. This is the real reason why the fruits of planning have not reached the common man that is why there are shortages of so many of the essential commodities. Moral failure has brought about the economic crisis which faces the country.
Corruption is rampant everywhere today in India public life. Corruption has become a way of life and official earns by corrupt means matters much more than the salary he gets. Despite the government’s drive against smugglers and hoarders, there are people who are rolling in black money and running virtually parallel economy. The ideal we have set before ourselves appears to be “Each one for himself and the devil take the hindmost”. Nobody cares for the good of the nation; personal aggrandizement is the order of the day.
Personal and party interests are kept above national interest, the good of the nation sacrificed to achieve personal and political ends. Ministers and government officers dispense favors and accept bribes, engineers feather their own nests and allow inferior substandard material to be used for national projects and construction works. Big businessmen corner stocks in order to sell them at fancy prices and turn a deaf ear to the groans and cries of the masses. Young men seek jobs, but are insincere and dishonest in the discharge of their duties when they are employed. Workers go on strikes for frivolous reasons and indulge in sabotage, thus showing an utter disregard for public good and social morality and discipline.
Selfishness, greed, dishonesty, insincerity, favoritism, nepotism, all disfigures public life. We say one thing, but mean its exact opposite. We make confessions and promises which we have no intention of carrying out. We may talk of socialism, social quality, and simple living and thinking but all the time we pine for luxuries and comfortable living, and try to amass wealth. We profess faith in the eradication of untouchability, but practice it in our day-to-day life. We may know the right thing to do, but do not do it for personal and selfish reasons. The influential and the rich go scot-free even when they are found guilty. All these are instances of moral failure.
The constant battle between good intentions and ignoble deeds is talking its toll, and India which, with its glorious spiritual heritage, should have been a beacon light to the world, is fast becoming a carbon-copy of the degenerate affluent societies of the west. There is little hope of the situation being remedied unless we realized that more than anything else, what we are suffering from is a moral crisis. The battle for economic freedom can be won only if we first wage a battle against our moral weaknesses and over-come them. India’s real crisis is moral, and not economic.
This “moral crisis” was highlighted by the “Bofors Scandal”. More recently there has been the share market scandal. Charges of corruption where made even against the former prime minister P.V.Narisimha Rao and Laloo Prasad Yadav of Bihar and some senior B.J.P. leaders. Corruption is rampant in the society. Such character assassination is an instance of moral degeneration and the nation must be alert and not be taken in by it. It is also an instance of the moral crisis that faces India today.