ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846
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YOUTH SYMPOSIUM- Tackling the Sludge and Slush of Centuries

September 9, 1972 YOUTH SYMPOSIUM Tackling the Sludge and Slush of Centuries Rajendra K Aneja TWENTY-FIVE years ago we made "a tryst with destiny" and set lofty political and economic ideals before ourselves. Since then we have reaped a bounteous harvest of disillusionment and our 'democracy' has acquired a cynicism that is deadening. But the young cannot even have the luxury of taking refuge in cynicism. "The young must learn to dream .. . .", advise our political kartas, even though 25 years after the "tryst with destiny" one out of four graduates is unemployed 1 The future pattern of Indian society will be a fossilised form of the present one, unless we take inventory of the causes of the present mood of despair and disillusionment. It was for this evaluation that students from all over the country met at a symposium organised by the International Youth Centre (New Delhi), in June, to discuss "The Future Pattern of Indian Society". The purpose of the symposium, as the Director, Kuriakose, pointed out in the invitation letter, was to "have a group of young people to spell out what, according to them, should be the goal of our society, how we should go about re-organising the present Indian society in order to reach that goal and what kind of structural changes will be required politically, economically, etc, so that the goal which they have in mind can be achieved. This will require an analysis of the present Indian society; its foundations, and its present structure and a projection oi certain perspectives towards the future/' The symposium was conducted on the basis of a paper that was prepared by this writer who is a student of Bombay University. The general consensus at the symposium was that unless institutional changes are made in the political framework, economic advance will be meagre and the fruits of development will not reach the bottom 50 per cent of the people who live in sub-human conditions. Economic development takes place within a certain institutional and political framework, and, points out the report of the symposium, "the institutions we adopted after Independence were in many ways foreign to our society. The Directive Principles of State, which in effect, imply basic economic and social guaranteed to the citizens, are not in absolute harmony with the Fundamental Right to Property, as enshrined in the Constitution" The mixed economy approach to an industrial socialist state has resulted in industrial stagnancy. Nor have the much glamourised five-year plans improved the living standards of the masses. In a thought-provoking paper entitled "Brinkmanship and Economic Planning', George Kurian (Madras), pointed out that this was due to "our naive and futile endeavours to achieve rapid economic growth without disturbing the pre-independence feudal power structure in the economic field" Norma Fonseca (Bombay) and Sanja- ya (Hyderabad) in an analysis of the "Structural Distribution of Power" (after Independence), revealed that ef- fective power yet resides with a handful of political luminaries, economically powerful landlords, industrialists and businessmen, thus perpetuating the feudal character of traditional Hindu society. They lamented the fact that looked upon in terms of their socioeconomic characteristics, Indian political leaders are far removed from the ideal of representing the people. "The immediate diffusion of economic power is essential, for all legislation and developmental effort will be fruitless, if the democratic framework remains clogged with vested interests. Grinding poverty has often compelled the common man to throw away his fundamental rights for a few crumbs of bread." "State control of the basic and core industries is essential, but the precondition is a radical improvement in the management of the public sector on scientific lines", pointed out Naware and Korde (Bombay). Analysing the agricultural sector, Sundereshan (Calcutta) and Prasad (Cuttack) commented that "60 per cent of the households own no land and depend on the earnings of a single member. Land legislation though introduced at an early stage, with sufficient loopholes for the landlords to manipulate, has not altered the property relations. The Government is reluctant to nettle the landed gentry, for it constitutes a vote-bank." They advocated that every rural family must be assured of an economic holding fanned on a co-operative basis. Co-operative activities must also cover marketing and financial operations. Outstanding debts beyond a particular period must be written off. Simultaneously, new entrepreneurs must be encouraged to take up agricultural activity on an industrial basis.

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