Any nation is as good, and as bad and powerful, as its nationals. Its national wealth, economy, urban infrastructure etc., have very less to do with the greatness of a nation. The core values of a nation are what drives a nation progressively towards greatness. While there is a massive meltdown of core values in western nations which rose to greatness in the last century, there are many nations which are completely bereft of any national values, as they don't even understand their social impact.
India needs national values
It's unfortunate and incredible that India since its independence from the British empire hasn't initiated any formal process of nation-building. How can one continue as an enslaved nation for centuries under an oppressive foreign regime without having to initiate a formal nation-building excercise? Not leading the men and women of this large nation towards defined national values to redefine a 'free Indian' amounts to having zero vision for the nation.
The early national leaders and their successors all the way till very recently haven't even understood their onerous responsibility of guiding the nation towards a desired ethical, moral and social conduct. Successive national governments and big national leaders have failed in their role to lead and guide the society towards larger social objectives and a desired national profile. There is no visible, comprehensible and aspirational profile for a national to be a 'Great Indian.' There is no core national value framework to build aspirations for 'Living an Indian Dream.'
No Indian knows what constitutes being an ‘average Indian,’ ‘a good Indian,’ ‘a bad Indian’ or ‘a great Indian.’ How can anyone expect a standard conduct, leave alone great conduct from the nationals, when there's no bench-marking for the same? Almost three generations of Indians have been surviving without any moral, ethical, personal and professional compass to measure up to any national core values, as there are none.
A structured nation-building exercise could have built national core values, which could have guided the entire nation towards more acceptable social behaviours and positive value creation.
There is organised chaos in every aspect of everyday average Indian's life. The all-pervasive corruption, the height of inconsideration for fellow human beings, unhygienic and unhealthy practices, unprofessional and uncouth interpersonal and professional conduct, crumbling family value system, civic apathy, brazen unethical and immoral dealings, unreliable and deceptive communication processes and lack of quality in every aspect of service delivery are just a few 'accepted norms' in the long list which feature 'a regular Indian life.'
The Vijay Mallyas, Nirav Modis and may be thousand more like them uncaught in the contemporary economic system of India are the symptoms of the larger malice called 'unfounded national values.'
One cannot expect anything better than this in a completely unguided social system. What's the society complaining about? What standards are expected so one is disappointed with the conduct of these scamsters? Who actually cares if someone is unethical or immoral in this society? In fact, this society openly accepts 'End justifies the means.'
Most of the social and economic role models in contemporary India are just 'super rich' who are regular violators who flaunt their ill-gotten wealth at every inch of their physical existence. What positive value they have added to the nation, its economy, and how positively they have impacted the world around them have become increasingly inconsequential.
‘Crony capitalism’ is one such massive outcome of lack of national core values. When a society is blinded by limitless material greed and aspires for only material possessions bereft of any fundamental human accountability, these outcomes are certain. There's almost a dangerous, silent acceptance of any degree of fraud, irregular conduct and illegal means in this society.
The discussion on these contentious issues is shallow and borderline with no sincere attempt by anyone to get to the root of this social malice and regression. The society is too busy to remember the wrongs, too shallow to analyse in-depth and too careless to worry about the negative impact on their own families and immediate social systems.
Multi-billion banking fraudsters like Vijay Mallya, Nirav Modi, Mehul Choksi or innumerable businessmen who are still not caught to be named and shamed for cheating and exploiting banking and other financial systems in India are the poster boys of high society with their indulgence in overseas stays, calendar girls, luxury cars, mega villas, and over-the-top splurge of the wealth – which they haven't created.
There are many examples of this generation of crony capitalists who have ruined large family-owned and managed businesses inherited from their earlier generation with their every increasing appetite for brazen splurge and ugly show of wealth.
There's no point of crying over spilled milk. Exploring the chinks in the armour, making good of holes in the system is a complimented craft across the spectrum in the Indian business and economic system. Those who can't cheat the system are actually considered incompetent to create wealth for themselves and their businesses. It's not through 'value creation' but through 'value manipulation' that most of the Indian businesses wish to thrive, as the contemporary ecosystem promotes this craft as highly acceptable.
The very limited honest and ethical businesses are in a long-term state of shock to come to terms with the lack of level-playing field. To compete and win against those who manipulate the system is quite hard as the margins don’t match up. Adding to the woes, the honest are the ones who are harassed the most in the economic and social system.
The ever-increasing gap between the India’s rich and poor is another outcome of lack of focussed nation-building. Even after 70 years, the poor do not have basic access to the financial system to fund their own social and economic growth. While the rich can become super rich with their ease of access to finances, a few like Nirav Modi & Mehul Choksi have the ease of access to manipulate & exploit.
It's not the end. The saga of crony capitalism is bound to continue as long as we don't draft and propagate the national values right through the schooling system, at least starting with this generation. In the contemporary India, there is hardly a reward to be honest and ethical. The cost of being an ethical Indian is quite expensive. This has to change.
If there are new and bigger economic scams every passing year and if the young business tycoons are turning scamsters and cheats, it points a finger at the nation too, which seems to be losing its conscience and selling its soul to the highest bidder.
There is an imminent and present danger to this nation's socio-economic system, if a structured nation-building process is not initiated immediately by the top national leadership. There are no quick fix solutions. At least, let the next generation of Indians be nurtured with positive value guidance, to empower them not to turn capitalism into downright cronyism.