Beware of The Slumdogs

The massive success of the movie “Slumdog Millionaire” at the Oscars has proven one point beyond doubt – India’s potential to rise like a colossus on the world scene can never be overestimated. Certain personalities of no meager eminence (I would prefer to call them shortsighted cynics) in the country have been quick to label the movie as a blatant exhibition of the muck that pervades Indian society. Superficially viewed, all these people may have a valid point, based on the flimsy logic that such a portrayal may undermine India’s progressive image in the world. Here, I am tempted to quote Shakespeare,maybe a touch incongruously – “beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder”. Indians have to look at this picture of India through the eyes of the world. One has to understand that such a portrait, even if accepted as a deplorable-but-true depiction of India’s current social fabric, will also go a long way in showcasing India’s latent energies to the world. Although it would be irrational to discount the existence of persons and personalities outside India who would unthinkingly grab this instance as an opportunity to satiate their innate contempt for India’s inexorable march on the road of progress, only the greatest fool can afford to relax in that moment of mirth. The wise men of the world are well aware of the fact that the real future of India is pent up and raring to burst from amongst these teeming millions. These are the very people who have the potential to change the face of India and the world, forever. India is currently growing at the rate of seven percent every year. Yet, its average literacy rate is 60 % compared to a similar country like China which has a literacy rate of above 90 %. India’s per capita income is just above the 1000 dollar mark while the average Chinese earns at thrice the rate of an average Indian. Still, India’s economy is already showing signs of forging ahead of most developing countries in the world. Now, given the state of proliferation of education and basic facilities in India, that is not just amazing but unbelievable. One can imagine just how many bright and enterprising minds still remain out of reach of basic facilities and education It doesn’t require a great mathematician to calculate just how much India would progress once its literacy rate matches that of, say, China. What would happen to the competition when facilities and resources that only a small minority of privileged and emancipated enjoys are spread out to the remotest areas of the country? Not for nothing is India considered by the wise as the sleeping giant of world economy. Slowly but surely, the giant seems to be rising from its long slumber. The world would do well to see through the picture than at it. “Slumdog Millionaire” epitomizes the energy, the confidence and the verve of the common Indian who dwells in those dingy back-alleys, shanties and far-flung hamlets to prove something to the world - that impossible is not a word that is found in India. This is one phoenix that is raring to rise, and long before the world even realizes the magnitude of this upsurge, it will be a billion Indians who will be doing all the laughing. So, World, beware of the Slumdogs!!

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