The state should do all it can to provide an environment
and the infrastructure to nurture the talents of its citizens
and then step back. If the state did what it should to help
fulfill the potential of our children, maybe we would have
more Koneru Humpys amidst our billion population and we would
have been qualifying for the soccer World Cup!
Instead of heaping these accolades on youngsters for their
isolated successes and then setting them up for failure later
on , the state should provide an institutional infrastructure
which will identify, nurture, encourage and support talented
youth in various fields. That's exactly what China does. Recognition
and rewards should come from society in an institutionalized
manner. If we all wait for state patronage as the only source
of inspiration, the wellsprings of our talents will surely
dry up in the mindless bureaucratic desert.
This psychological over-reliance on the state is evident
in many other spheres too. We often fail to recognize that
the state is a service provider, and not our master. For instance,
the distinction between officials and non-officials is often
mentioned. It is almost as if those who are employed by the
state to serve are sanctified by public appointment, and all
of us, the citizens who pay for their upkeep, are an irrelevant
excrescence! Similarly, many citizens' groups and voluntary
organizations call themselves as non-governmental organizations
(NGOs) as if their identity is established only in relation
This obsession with the primacy of government should stop.
Governance certainly is critical, but not those in government.
They are merely public functionaries elected, or appointed
to serve us, and at enormous expense met from our tax money.
A senior official or a minister should be treated like any
other citizens, and not with the exaggerated respect and deference
we often show. Mere mortals cannot be deified because of their
temporary occupation of public office on our behalf. A nation
that prides itself of a glorious civilization and spiritual
heritage should learn to treat the state as a utilitarian
organ of society, and not as the presiding deity.