has now come. There is a hidden vibrance in the country;a large
number of voluntary agencies, many People's Science Movements, came
into being, inspired by the glorious example of the Kerala Shastra
Sahitya Parishad. We had the Bharat Jan Vigyan Jatha (BJVJ-87),
the Bharat Gyan Vigyan Samiti (BGVS) in 1990 and Bharat Jan Gyan
Vigyan Samiti from June, 1992. The two Jathas and the Samiti, helped
to create the ground swell which is leading to an acceleration of
the movement on the literacy front. There is a growing feeling,
that all of us- students, teachers, office and factory workers,
farmers, traders, scientists, technologists, retired persons and
social workers, indeed everyone - must at the least take a sabbatical
every now and then during which we fully engage with society-a sabbatical
of a few hours a day, one day a week, several months a year, one
or more years after every five, or something which becomes a part
of our lives.
No one has to tell us that we are a people with a great past, or
that in spite of various handicaps we have achieved a great deal
during the last five decades. It is easy to point to the fact that
our food production has more than tripled. That starting from a
situation when even paper clips, chalk sticks and pencils were imported,
we make most of what we need within the country. We make most of
our drugs and pharmaceuticals, our fans and electric motors, our
plastics and pertrochemicals, our satellites, computers and nuclear
power plants, TV sets and telephones, bicycles and motorcars and
lots of other things.We proudly talk of our democracy, our freedom,
our judiciary, educational institutions and research laboratories.
We quote all the things we have said about self-reliance, non-alignment,
and our championship of freedom for all countries and world peace.
Very few people have had luminous ancestors like Gandhi, Ambedkar,
Bhagat Singh, Sukhdeo, Rajguru, Chandrashekhar Azad, Udham Singh,
Ram Prasad Bismil, Ashfaque Ullah, Roshan Singh, Rajendra Nath
Lahiri & Smt. Lakhmi Sehgal, etc.
1- 60% of our women are illiterate
2- 45% of our people don't have safe drinking water
3- 90% of our people are without proper sanitation facilities
4- 40% of our people are below poverty line.
absolute terms more Indians suffer from the above four deprivations
than citizens of any other country.In addition, our land is losing
its green cover, our soils are being lost to the sea, our rivers
are full of sewage, in addition to chemical pollutants, and population
still grows at 2.2% per year.
One gets the feeling that in respect of some of the above basic
problems, the country is caught up in a lot of petty politics. Many
things can be done through systematic tinkering, change of policies,
alteration of emphasis, improvement of efficiency, support of excellence.However,there
are some problems, which must be solved fast, or they get worse,
with every passing year. There are things you can do in five years,
but not in twenty! All the above problems are of this nature. Illiteracy
certainly.We must change things now !