Loading... India - The Road To Renaissance: A Vision And An Agenda | Bhimeswara Challa
India - The Road to Renaissance: A Vision and an Agenda

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Book Code: 1111033400260

Bhimeswara Challa

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ABOUT THE BOOK

While India is preoccupied with its next general election, the real issues that could determine what kind of a people and society we should aim to be are pushed under the carpet. It is such issues that this book seeks to flush out and flag. It is both audacious and ambitious in its identification of what ails India and how to fix it.
When India, at last, became free to chart its own course, it chose 'colonial' continuity. That got reflected as an entirely un-Indian Constitution and Westminster-style of governance and trickle-down economic model. The two malaises that are afflicting our nation are near moral meltdown and pervasive mediocrity. In addition, we became a soft society, prone to 'exceptional escapism and Faustian-choice making'.
The book proposes a package of radical reforms intended to shift the very epicenter of political and economic decision-making to the level where people live their daily lives. As a part of the 'package', we need to supplant the current one by India's first Indian Constitution, inspired by its own traditions and practices. In addition, the Constitution must also introduce and empower grassroots self-governance; make the needs of the 'most-needy' the fulcrum of the growth strategy, and replace election by voting by what the ancient Greeks called sortition, election by lot, a system that was also in vogue in parts of India too in its history.
What is significant is that it does not end with a pious wish-list; it offers concrete ideas on how to concretize and implement the suggested reforms.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Bhimeswara Challa, born in 1935, is a native of India and a 'double-retiree', one from the elite Indian Administrative Service (IAS) and the other from the United Nations. During a career stretched over forty years, he shouldered multiple responsibilities, from the grassroots to the global, which gave him at once an insider's depth and an outsider's objectivity. Alongside, he has been a part-time but passionate writer, and has published two novels, Kshantavyulu (The Pardonables) and Aprasyulu (The Ostracized) in his mother tongue (Telugu) and several articles in newspapers and journals in India, UK, and USA. The two previous scholarly nonfiction books that bear his name were the critically acclaimed Man's Fate and God's Choice—An Agenda for Human Transformation (2011), and The War Within between Good and Evil: Reconstructing Morality, Money and Mortality (2020). An abridged version of this latter nonfiction book was also separately published for an international audience traumatized by the corona pandemic.
The present book, which really is a blueprint for a new resurgent India, is a product of the author's passionate concern about where India seems headed and how to put it back on the right track.

 

Back Cover Text:
The book, after envisioning a vision and an agenda for India's renaissance, concludes that to make it practicable calls for nothing less than a moral insurrection and a mass movement on a national scale. There is no other way to do the kind of seminal and seismic transformational change that the nation requires. Time is ticking, and any further tardiness and timidity will not only imperil the state but even the society. But the basic problem is that the masses themselves are fractured and venal, consumed by 'meaner cares', wanton wants and narrow passions.
The way to break the conundrum, this book suggests, is to move away from mass-scale to a 'critical mass' of committed but concerned citizens—about five crore people, according to latest research. To imbue that right attitude, the book proposes a dual approach, fired-up with the spirit of Indian satyagraha and calmed-down by African Ubuntu. As for the first, the 'agraha' should now be directed against injustice and inequity. The second emphasizes the principles of empathy, sharing, and cooperation to heal wounds and resolve common problems. But that still leaves the question, 'In a society in which 'sab chaltahai' has become a comforting alibi, how do we nudge anyone to break away from the mainstream?' The way out is for the wavering pack to draw inspiration from the allegory of the 'hundredth monkey', and imagine themselves to be that sole individual whose advocacy and activism could create a ripple effect across the country.
Few books, if any, on India contain provocative and avant-garde ideas on so many subjects so vital to India's future. This is the book for all those who wonder what went wrong and who are frustrated with what politics and elections have done to the common man, and for those who feel righteous anger but just cannot find a way to make a difference. For all those, this book could help quell their conscience and save their souls.

 

 

CONTENTS
What the Book Seeks to Say, and My Role.................................................................... 1
What I Owe to Whom................................................................................................... 7
1. Setting and Scoreboard.......................................................................................... 11
The theft of history....................................................................................................... 11
Why we are what we are.............................................................................................. 14
Ancient India and lessons for the future.......................................................................... 17
Our score card at 75.................................................................................................... 25
Taking stock, before we look ahead .............................................................................36
2. Moral Decline and Mediocrity –
the Deadweights Dragging India Down.................................................................... 45
India’s dismal moral drift............................................................................................... 45
The rot of mediocrity.................................................................................................... 49
Mediocrity’s queer Indian pitch.................................................................................... 58
Mediocrity and education (or the lack of it)................................................................... 64
Mediocrity and corruption............................................................................................ 73
Poor mindset: the system at fault................................................................................... 79
3. The Indian Constitution – Un-Indian
and Unworkable......................................................................................................... 87
Rule book for the state................................................................................................. 87
Federal or unitary?....................................................................................................... 89
How the Indian Constitution evolved.............................................................................. 93
The Center-State conundrum....................................................................................... 111
The executive and public administration........................................................................ 123
Constitutional reform: the time is now........................................................................... 134
4. Politics, Parliament, and Parties........................................................................... 139
The inseparable trio – parliament, politics, and
parties......................................................................................................................... 140
The political party........................................................................................................ 142
Coalition dharma......................................................................................................... 145
Centralized political power: the unchanged
state of the common man............................................................................................. 152
Divisive political diversity – is the collapse
imminent?................................................................................................................... 155
Has political freedom come true?................................................................................ 158
What kind of governance is truly ‘democratic’?........................................................... 160
5. India’s Emergent Challenges............................................................................. 163
Introduction............................................................................................................... 163
Rethinking the role of the Indian state......................................................................... 173
Realigning dharma, spirituality, and morality................................................................ 183
Managing mediocrity................................................................................................. 197
China: dealing with the dragon.................................................................................... 209
India’s Faustian choice-making.................................................................................. 222
India’s ‘exceptional’ escapism................................................................................... 227
From fraternity to synergy......................................................................................... 230
Leveraging diversity................................................................................................... 237
Harnessing human capital.......................................................................................... 242
6. Radical Reforms That India Needs.................................................................. 257
Construction of India’s first ‘Indian’
Constitution............................................................................................................... 257
Grassroots democracy.............................................................................................. 270
Growth built around the lives of the ‘most
needy’....................................................................................................................... 302
From elections to sortition.......................................................................................... 320
7. Making It Possible: Satyagraha and Ubu.......................................................... 353
Why revolution appears near impossible...................................................................... 353
Satyagraha and Ubuntu........................................................................................... 363
Be the Hundredth Monkey........................................................................................ 366
References and Notes........................................................................................... 369
Index....................................................................................................................... 399


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