One of the world’s most rapidly developing economies, recognised IT giants, 2nd largest pool of technocrats – this nation of more than a billion individuals is reaching out for the stars. It has been the dream of a visionary President APJ Abdul Kalam – that India will emerge a superpower by the year 2020 – but there are several challenges on the road. Let us ponder for a while and affirm how this march can be successful. A march towards triumph.

After having achieved independence from the yoke of colonialism as a result of relentless struggle of the brave and fearless, India has had a chequered history. Let us take our troubles in our stride and realise what it takes to solve the nation’s problems, – what we as at the individual level or as a community can do rather than just mere lip service. India in its advancements in all walks of life, be it the cultural and social level, or on the science and technology front, has gone through a turbulent evolution.

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Looking at the political perspective, India had to face the hardships and uncertainty of war with her neighbour Pakistan, both countries nascent and alive with the dreams and hopes of their children. Not just once, but on three other occasions too in her 56-year-old history. Governance and foreign relations still remain an uneasy realm, with each move watched with bated breath. With alternating periods of tension and truce, finally love and peace have overwhelmed fear and suspicion. We hope this is there to last. Pioneered by the able leadership of our Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee – poet, statesman and philosopher, an upright leader who has emerged even in a sea of dirty politics.

Over to the science and technology front. This is something that makes an Indian puff with pride. Bringing alive scientific temper, India is soaring higher and higher. Be it in the IT field, agriculture or space technology, India stands out supreme in leadership and expertise. Our engineers and technocrats are working all over the world. The workforce of NASA and other leading global giants is testimony to this. Already a nuclear power, the nation has used deterrent capability to forge peace with its rival and neighbours. All this in the face of illiteracy, poverty and hunger still gripping millions. As entrepreneurs negotiate deals with overseas clients over world-class software, there are several in the country who are still deprived of the wonderful blessing of electricity.

Talk of unity in diversity. India is a living example, a beautiful portrayal of secularism – with most of the world’s major religions practised here. A rich cultural heritage with speakers of over a thousand languages. Richest of all societies in the world – vibrant with all its hues. Intermittent outbursts of turmoil haven’t deterred India’s image as a beautiful mosaic rather than a melting pot.

Our vision is to re-emerge. We shall grapple with the curses that attempt to cast a shadow over this wonderful domain that is India. Let us muster courage and will-power and march into a new era of everlasting peace and prosperity. A march towards triumph.