Our countrymen are mainly villagers, and whenever they have desired to feel in their own veins the throbbing life of the outside world, they have done so through the mela, an invitation from the village for the world to enter its cottage home. On such festive occasions the village forgets its narrowness by means of this hospitable expansion of heart. Just as in the rainy season when the water-courses are filled from the sky, so in mela time the village heart is filled with the spirit of the Universal”. — Gurudev Rabindranath Thakur, A Tagore Reader, ed. by Amiya Chakravarty, pp. 202-3.
No society or sector is immune from the impact of the Global Pandemic of COVID19 emerged from China. After the loss of lives, livelihood through a revival of the economy is the biggest concern. Naturally, what are the challenges for the Indian economy? Are we in a position to face the challenge? Many believe that with China losing the credibility of global manufacturing hub and Bharat as got the golden opportunity to gain the pre-eminence. Is it the right path? These and many other sets of questions that are being posed. Prime Minister Modi has come up with the solution of ‘Aatmanirbhar (Self-Reliant) Bharat’. What are the ingredients of this self-reliant Bharat, and what are the fundamental hurdles in the same?Since the advent of Anglo-Saxon, the universal concept of Modernity, specific institutional structures and mechanisms have monopolised the narrative of growth and progress for everyone. Anything contrary to it is termed as regressive. The binary thinking of either global capitalism or global communism negated the option of culture-specific development models. The hypocritical categorisation of Left and Right further restricts the policy options. The limitation and failure of these options have been exposed time and again and acknowledged by national and global institutions right from NTITI Aayog to United Nations but without providing with the real alternatives. The intellectual hangover of these colonising models is such that even after realising recurring problems of depression and degradation, Swadeshi options are restricted. The defensive response from the Foreign Secretary Sri Harsh Sringla on the question of Self-reliance is the indication of this influence. The Atmanirbhar Bharat cannot be realised with the centralised State machinery and rhetoric of Foreign Direct Investment. Revitalising villages with temple structures, Melas, hats, kirtans etc. has to be the fundamental of policy formulations. From Rabindranath to Gandhiji, Deendayal Ji, M N Roy, Ram Manohar Lohia all national thinkers indicated the same direction. Still, due to institutional constraints and lack of political will, the real path of correction was not chosen. In the name of reforms, some short-term dressing is applied in the hope of promoting healing was done to various sectors. For a long time, the Bharatiya Model based on integral thinking and Self-reliance has been looking for an opportunity to reinvent itself. The model based on the autonomous, skilled and vibrant society and optimum utilisation of localised resources is the guarantee for sustainability and self-reliance. Social structures and organisations are critical in this integrated philosophy where nature and human life is not seen as antithetical to each other. The said path is right not because of the conservative rightist thinking as perceived in the Western world but because this is applicable and relevant to all the societies. Diverse and still universal models can only enable you to be vocal for local. This Swadeshi Spirit of Universal has to be awakened. Many local models are already functioning amidst all odds, we understand and incorporate them in the academic terms. For charting the course of self-reliance, Modi led Government has to accept this real challenge of taking the corrective steps and emancipate the Bharatiya Rashtra from the colonial constructs of profiteering and exploitation.