The Great Indian Hunger – I
Aspirations for Purposeful Growth
By Gauri Naik
At the dawn of Indian independence, our forefathers satiated our hunger for freedom and change by fighting for it. Since then, India has been through an extensive evolution in all aspects. Witnessing most of these evolutions is Anant, a 60-something retired man, currently enjoying a summer morning in a local park in Pune.
Looking back, the first significant piece of news he remembers is the LPG Reforms of 1991, a decision that opened our doors to economic development and increased employment. It was the most discussed thing in his house at the time. When asked about the other milestones of change, he paused for a moment and chose the establishment of Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya Samiti in 1986, the subsequent rise of JNV Schools, and the Right to Education Act of 2009. With the Five Year Plans, he added, our government was able to focus on development. Dams were built, agricultural & industrial production took center stage.
As a former Tata Group employee, the importance of education as a transformative tool in uplifting society has not been lost on him. He has seen the waves of IT and innovation culture flow in India’s landscape steadily with the advent of companies such as Wipro, Infosys, and Airtel, with Flipkart, Uber, and Amazon in gradual tow. He’s worked through them to give his children a life of stability & convenience.
Now a grandfather to 3, he’s kept himself up to speed through them. In turn, he imparts the choicest of wisdom to them, such as Jugaad, teaching them how to make a shower
hose with punctured plastic bottles. He knows that Jugaad bases itself on the hunger of creating comfort with limited resources, practiced by people unable to have even the barest of necessities. Despite all adversities, Anant remains highly hopeful.
Anant has resolute faith in government initiatives such as Make in India, Digital India and Startup India. A dedicated news reader, he is confident that these visions are striving to magnify India’s growth tenfold. The intricate framework of the Indian society stands tall through projects like these, as such projects are meant to shift systems at the core.
Being an avid Shark Tank India watcher, he is fixated on the startup ecosystem scenario. He trusts it to create a difference, especially having come across endeavors like Phool, a Kanpur-based flower-cycling initiative by Ankit Agarwal, which manufactures incense sticks from wasted temple flowers. Another one catching his eye is MittiCool by Mansukh Prajapati, which involves rural women in creating functional earthen cookware. Both of these companies provide a stable livelihood to impoverished vernacular artisans, preserve cultural heritage, and sustain the environment.
Our country has nurtured a healthy blessing of unicorns; it is a testament to years of progress as it represents the massive intellectual capital we’ve sustained. As per the latest census, we have 98.615 million graduates and boast a literacy rate of 77%. Nearly 40% of startup founders in India are IIM, IIT and ISB graduates. The labor force in India is expected to increase by 32% in the coming years.
Our hunger for solutions meant to drive change has been so intense, we’ve grown internationally with achievements in the form of Global CEOs such as Satya Nadella, Indra Nooyi, Yamini Rangan, Laxman Narasimhan, and the rise of Indian companies such as LIC, SBI, and Reliance in the Fortune 500 lists.
With 142.86 crores of us yearning for progressive social mobility, and working hard in different capacities, the great Indian hunger for ambitious change continues.