Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Indian Leaders Vs. American Leaders

Last night I switched on the T.V. to check the latest in American news. I was in time to catch the President's State of the Union speech. This was Bush's last one. A new President will be elected in November & the race to become the next one is turning out very interesting.

I had listened to a few addresses to the nation, back home, by our PMs & Presidents. And after listening to the American President speak last night I noticed that how the entire speech was about America as a nation. No particular reference to any particular community, no appeasement for any minorities. The speech centered around America, obviously & a strong desire to keep it ahead in this world.

Although this speech by Bush did not contain any ground breaking new proposals, there were a lot of interesting points that give insight into the American leadership, which has a strong will to retain it’s supremacy in the world.

It’s common knowledge now that America is witnessing slow economic growth. And this was affecting American businesses & people. The President acknowledged this & to retain its lead, tax breaks to the businesses were proposed. The general public was not ignored either, recognizing that slow economy does no good to working folks, tax rebates were offered, along with a possibility of making them permanent. This was aimed at letting people have more money, so they could spend more allowing monetary flow in the market. This would in turn help revive the economy. This is contrast to our finance ministers always looking for ways to tax us more (which always affects the honest, tax paying, salaried middle class).

Faced with tough economic times, the President announced that in the coming months, the government would scrap over 150 ailing projects & proposals that suck money with little returns, thus seeking to reduce spending tax money. A savings of $18 billion. This concern shown towards tax money paid by hard working citizens is rarely found in India. The tax money, back home, acts are a spending allowance to most of our political leaders. I wish they would show as much concern for out tax money & spend it judiciously.

The public health also found concern in Bush’s speech. Proposals to make affordable health care available to everyone were made. But back home in India, crores of Rupees allotted to the health ministry goes unspent, while our health minister indulges in personal battles. If only all that money were spent for the betterment of public health, the minister would be doing a great service to my beloved country.

New education policies were mooted to ensure quality education. The speech laid emphasis on making education available to everyone while monitoring quality of schools. Non performing schools would get the boot. Contrast that with what happens in India. Our education system is riddled with reservations, quality issues, and politics over history textbooks etc. If only our leaders focused on quality education, they’d be strengthening India’s future. There wouldn’t be migration of brilliant minds to other countries & would make India highly competitive in the world.

Bush also proposed to adopt new energy policies promoting renewable, clean, environmentally safe sources for the better of our beautiful planet’s future. We can certainly take a cue & care for our environment, can’t we?

But the one thing worth noting was America’s attitude on terrorism. It is absolutely unforgiving on it. It will go after it’s enemy with a singular goal to defeat it & secure America. This can be seen from it’s resolve to defeat forces that are a threat to itself (Taliban in Afghanistan, Saddam in Iraq, Jehadi terrorists everywhere etc.). It is willing to spend time & money for as long as it took to win over it’s enemies. This strong will to triumph over terrorism came out strongly in the speech & can be seen from it’s recent policies & wars. While America’s war on terror may be debatable to many, one thing can’t be denied. It’s will to protect it’s interests. I don’t think it’s wrong to protect one’s sovereignty. Our leaders need to show the same attitude towards terrorism & it’s enemies. There can be no levity on that regard. Enemies of India must be defeated at all costs. We may not have the resources that America has, but we must have the will & that will show us the way. Our leaders have not demonstrated any such will. To me, they came across as very soft in such matters. I wish they were more passionate about our nation’s sovereignty.

America’s leaders are very compassionate to their military heroes. They do not fail to recognize & honor their sacrifices at any time. But, the lack of compassion for our military heroes among our Indian leaders can be seen here.

The details of the speech can be found on any news site, but I’ve put here my thoughts on the contrasts between the attitudes of these two leaderships. We need leaders who have foresight, the will, passion to succeed as a nation & one’s that keep India’s interests as their top priority, not their vote banks.

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