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The dream: the inquiry: the plan

Dear Ajay,

Thanks for writing to me.

Let me reply to you very specifically:

a) Step 1:  Lay down the dream: To have a rich and powerful India (that,
by the way, is the title of the book I have been writing for the past 2
years, a preliminary writeup on which is at: 


If this dream were my private dream, alone, then the matter would stop
here and we could all go home. Private dreams are delusions we can do
without. But this dream actually happens to be every Indian's dream, and
yours, else you would not have bothered to read the material on the "vip"

b) Step 2:  Discover the reasons for the failures of India (for which I
have not only spent about 11 years in the field, in the IAS, in Assam, but
another 5 years studying these issues academically: actually, more
"man-years", if you count the degrees/ diplomas I secured, studying, while
still working on my job in the IAS).

This is nothing but the scientific process of inquiry which has to be
applied to everything: logical questioning, experience, empirical study,
theoretical research... Without this process the entire exercise of
working in deep remote corners of India, meeting and living with the
richest, poorest, least poweful and most powerful, and the process of
studying and researching in the best-equipped universities in the world,
would have been entirely meaningless.

Each day has to be directed toward the quest for understanding of what has
gone wrong and why. That is why you are working on the problem of
corruption, helping your father. And you realize by now for sure that this
is no small problem. In fact, to me it appears that this is not the cause
of our ills, but a symptom of the ills.  And like a good scientist it is
one's job to discover the cause of this symptom and attack the cause.
Well, many views on this have been expressed on india_policy at


and you can not only read these views but participate in the debate. The
debates have just begun, and will never be closed, just like scientific
inquiry can never come to an end.
c) Step 3: Work out a clear set of policies that are needed to change the
system to the way it should be (take a look at
http://www.indiaconsult.com/indiapolicy for this). 

There are three types of Indians (as is true of any bunch of people): 

(i) Those who watch the decadence and deterioration around them from the
distance, look at others try to 'change' things and go home and sleep. 
These people don't really care. 

(ii) Those who simply crib about this being bad and that being bad; then
go home and sleep. These people care but don't know what to do about their

(iii) Those who are research activists: who not only study the problem,
but propose a solution and then go about implementing the solution. These
people not only care but do something about it.

Clearly there are many people who belong to the category (iii) who have
voluntarily joined the india_policy list. The idea is to get more of the
category (iii) people into the debate. Then we can also divert people of
category (ii) into this list and force them to think about solutions
rather than simply crib and cry about the "clouds of corruption and
hatred" around us. 

d) Step 4: Expand the debate on the ideal Manifesto, etc., all over India
(using primarily, the internet, which is coming in a big way, soon, into

Further, the idea here is that one should print the draft manifesto (+
agenda, etc.) and widely circulate it. Also, prepare fliers (flyers?)  on
various topics and in all local languages, for people in India to
understand the issues better, and to continuously update the manifesto to
incorporate the major concerns of the people. 

This is how many people have been thinking and more ideas will keep
emerging on how to expand the debate...  Your ideas on this process are as
welcome as anyone else's. There are no bosses or followers here. Only
discussants and participants. 

e) Step 5: The rest is upto the People. If the people like the concepts
being proposed, the rest will follow. If the document appears useless to
the people, then we will have this problem, as someone earlier said to me,
"We can all chip in and make the best possible, preamble, agenda, action
plan, etc., taking that is best from the west and adding that was touted
as best from the east and the orient.  It will be the most beautiful
document that was ever written or printed;  but, how do you ( or us!) 
implement the plan?"

Actually, I am not focusing on the step 5 too much. I have some thoughts
on that, as do many others. But the focus has to be on steps 1 to 3 at
this stage. Then, we would think about how to expand the debate (step 4)
and to me it appears that step 5 will follow if the documents produced
(including flyers) make sense  to the tea-seller in the remotest village,
or the unemployed worker in the slums of Bombay.

Only one thing is clear: this process has to be "owned" by everyone: the
process of dreaming, inquiry, and systematic planning of policy. Else it
will remain the private dream of all of us, never to be actualized. How
terrible it would be if one more generation of Indians did not utilize
their life to make life better for everyone in India, even when they knew
how to ... 

Hope that answers some of your questions. I am endorsing this to
india_policy since some members would surely offer better suggestions than
this. I would like them to write to you with a copy to india_policy so
that we can all hear of better ideas. 

Regards to you and your father, and best wishes to them in their fight
against corruption!


PS: I am a resident of Palam Vihar, Gurgaon, and when I come over next
summer to India (1999) we can meet. I am sure my father would like to join
your organization. So please give him a call at 8-360039. You will find
out how, throughout his career, he fought corruption in the defence
ministry, and saved the country thousands of crores which would otherwise
have lined the pockets of politicians and bureaucrats.

I am not "simply sitting" here in the USA. This is not where my heart
lies. And I do not want to "serve" India. India is not my boss and I am
not its slave that I have to serve it. I am doing what I am doing because
I must, because I like to do it and because it is in my self-interest that
my children have a better country to live in than what I got to live in.

India is my country which I want to feel proud to belong to. Today, I am,
frankly speaking, disgusted with India (not with Indians), and so, I
believe, are you and zillions of others. Else we would truly believe "Mera
Bharat Mahaan." When I see the rich politicians and bureucrats with lakhs
and crores of rupees/dollars stashed away in Swiss accounts (?) and the
common slum-dweller under the control of politically connected mafia and
police, I am not proud of this nation. I don't have any urge to serve it,
only the urge to flee from it. 

But I think we can make the entire India and all of us, rich and powerful: 
a place where there will be no slums, no poor, if we properly think about
it and work together to implement good and sensible policies. That will
also help my children and yours in re-gaining their self-respect in the
world, a world in which India counts for nothing, today.


On Sun, 10 May 1998, Ajay Vinaik wrote:

> Hi Sanjeev
> Am Ajay Vinaik a 33/male based in New Delhi India.
> am active in social activities here from past over 10 years and started
> as a heping hand to my father Parshotam Vinayak who is president of
> All India Bhrashtachar Virodhi Morcha having its central office in New
> Delhi.
> I've visited your web site and curious to know more and clearly
> about your vision how u want to serve the country by simply sitting in
> US
> awaiting your answer at avinaik@nda.vsnl.net.in
> Ajay Vinaik