Friday, 18 November 2016

Amartya Sen's Tryst with Destiny detailed summary, essay.

Tryst with Destiny

     Sen begins the essay by referring to the historic speech Tryst with Destiny, delivered by Jawaharlal Nehru on 15 August 1947. He says that even after completing fifty years of independence, certain promises given by Nehru during his speech , still remains unaccomplished. He then states that , there are three major areas, where evaluation is to be made. They are:
1) Practice of democracy
2) Removal of social inequality and backwardness
3) Achievement of economic progress and equity.

Practice of democracy

      According to Sen, there were reasons for satisfaction in the first area. Though the reporter of  The Times announced the immediate decline of Indian democracy, the doom did not happen as he predicted. Systematic elections that were conducted regularly with paramount fairness was a telling example of the same. Along with this, civil rights were safeguarded with the timely intereference of the court, media remained largely free and the military stayed back in the barracks. Though this was a story of success , there were areas which did not receive sufficient attention, especially public participation in democracy. While many wrongs got necessary redressal, still many remained untouched.

Social progress

        In the field of social progress, there was certainly, a measurable underperformance. Educational progress has been remarkably uneven. This can be proved by comparing the circumstances and the progress rate of India, with that of China:
★ Though India had many more university educated persons than China has, China has made remarkable progress towards Universal literacy
★ Proportions of adult male literates in India is only below 75 percentage, while in China, it is more than 80 percentage.
★ In India, only fifty percentage of women are literate, while in China, it is more than eighty percentage
★ Life expectancy at birth in India is around 64, while in China, it is 71
★ One can easily notice a large disparity in mortality rates too. In India , mortality rates are different in different regions,  religions, castes etc
★ Still we can find that inequalities between men and women in economic and social opportynities and even in health care , remains uneven.

Economic Progress

         Regarding the third field, India's economic expansion was particularly slow before the 1980s, especially in comparison with that of Asian economies like South Korea and Taiwan. The economic reforms introduced by Manmohan Singh in 1992, have led to considerable liberalization( relaxation ), freeing of international trade, and to some extent, a replacement of Licence Raj.   As a result of the new economic reforms, liberalization helped a lot to free Indian entrepreneurs to seek global trade. India's move from the rigid box of a 3% growth rate to  5-8% is certainly not a negligible one.
Poverty and social opportunity
  Sen is of the opinion that, India can learn and imbibe a lot from the experience of China. These lessons include, making good use of global trade opportunities. India can also learn from the economic success of other East economies like South Korea too. These countries ( China , S Korea, Thailand ), did emphasize international trade and made fine utilization of global market mechanism. But they also made it possible to have broad- based public participation in economic expansion, extensive schooling, high literacy, good health care, widespread land reforms and fostering of gender equity.
   India too is capable of achieving reasonable high growth rates of GNP, by making excellent use of India' s accomplishments in higher education and technical training. New centres like Bangalore and Hyderabad can prosper and flourish, thereby accelerating India's progress along the lines that it has already established. But Sen maintains that, even a hundred Bangalores and Hyderabads cannot solve India's poverty and inequality, because there exists certain barriers within our society . They are illiteracy, ill health, incomplete land reforms and all other sources of severe inequality.
  If we examine the economic policy of China, we can see that, their productions generates much employment with a great share of income going to the poorer sections of the country. Such prudent and effective marketing requires, production according to specification and quality control, for which, good schooling is central. Similarly, good health is also important. Basic education, good health and other human attainments can help in generating economic success, which in turn, can contribute to enhancing the quality of human life. So Sen opines that India can also learn from China's post- reform experience.
Political voice and Social opportunity
  Just as social and economic tasks are interrelated, so is politics and democracy. India is a country that has certainly benifited from the protective role of democracy. But only in some states of India, have the failures of social achievements been adequately politicized. The state of kerala is a clear example.
     The educational orientation of Kerala's anti- upper class movements ( Ezhava memorial, Malayali memorial etc) the early initiatives of the native kingdoms of Travancore and Cochin , missionary activities in the field of education and also bigger voice for women in family decisions, especially, the matrilineal rights for substantial and influential section (Nair community), the formation of kerala on linguistic basis, by putting the two erst while kingdoms- Travancore and Cochin- together , etc are some of the reasons for the development of the state of Kerala.

The use of voice

          Sen says that, there is still a long way to go in removing educational inequalities and improving the neglect of basic health care, especially for the poor. Though these disparities recieve more public attention today, than they did earlier, still there is a long way to go.
  The remedy for many of these central failures is clearly linked with broadening the force and range of political arguments and social demands. Thus, the speech Tryst with Destiny  is partly an invitation for further engagements and encounters. The Nehruvian Tryst shall become a reality, with the insistence of a fully democratic system.
   Sen concludes the essay by stating that systematic elections, safeguarding political and civil rights are not enough to accomplish the above mentioned tasks. A more vigorous and vocal use of democratic participation can do much more in India, than it has already achieved.
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