It is said that vision is the art of seeing invisible things. Where there is no vision, people perish. Therefore, every society needs some visionaries if it has to survive and prosper in the long-run. India has been fortunate in the sense that this country has produced a large number of great men and women. They thought much ahead of their times and gave a rich heritage to this country. India was known for its values, cultural heritage and spiritual strength. British rulers saw this as a threat to their rule as was mentioned by Lord Macaulay, in the British parliament, in February 1835. As a result, a new education policy was framed which gradually made our people short-sighted, a legacy which still continues to a great extent.
Indian independence has now become more than six decades old. The nation has grown in many areas. The advances made in the field of science and technology have been a matter of pride and have brought glory to India. But there are many areas of shame, which if not addressed urgently, will wipe out all that we have gained from our economic progress. For this, the nation’s vision has to expand. Our people, in general, and rulers, in particular, have to rise above their narrow individual interests. Be they politicians or administrators or media or judiciary, all need this expansion maybe in varying degrees and the beginning has to be made by oneself. I have contemplated something in this regard, which I am sharing here.
The social variation in this country is enormous and the vision of the people also varies accordingly. There are a large number of poor persons who are bogged down in their day to day existence. As a result, they cannot think beyond their daily lives. Their worry is about getting employment, food, shelter and other essential requirements of life every day. These are the people who fall in the category of Below Poverty Line (BPL). Despite all efforts, there is hardly any visible change in their number or condition. Then there are people who are better placed and have a job or work in their hands. Their vision is almost confined to one year. All they want is to increase their profit year after year. If they are able to achieve this objective, they are satisfied.
The next category is that of the politicians who at best think of the five-year span and want to win the next election irrespective of the means adopted by them. Now, even the five-year span is shortened by the mid-term elections. Even during this period, many of them change their loyalties, if it helps in winning the next election. Very few politicians take a critical view of their profession and think of the present and the coming generations. Fortunately, India has had such politicians and I place them in the category of ‘statesmen’. They passed on their values and conviction to the next generation. Such leaders are remembered for a long time and their vision covers a span of about 25 years.
Higher than the category of ‘statesmen’ are those who think of many generations and have a vision span of say 100 years. People like Ram Mohan Roy, Tagore, Baba Amte, Mahatma Gandhi, Abul Kalam Azad, Ambedkar fall in this category. They bring out social reform in the society, which stays for many generations. We may call them visionaries. There is still a higher category of persons whose presence is felt for thousands of years. I place them in the category of incarnations. Such persons are Ram, Krishna, Christ, Guru Nanak, Hazrat Mohammad and few others who fall in this category. They take birth whenever deterioration in the society goes beyond a critical point.
Lastly, there is only one entity whose vision is for eternity and such vision can be classified as ‘cosmic vision’. This person is none but God himself. The human existence is only few thousand years old but the cosmos is ageless. It has existed for millions of years and will continue to exist for as many years. Our effort should be to expand our vision continuously and from ‘daily’ to ‘cosmic’ or ‘eternal’. It is possible for all human beings and that is eventually the goal of human life. Let us, therefore, strive to achieve cosmic vision or be as near to it as possible.