Human Infrastructure for growth and development

November 13, 2007

Human Infrastructure for Nation’s Growth

Role of the conscientious keepers in Public Life

Indian economy is on an unprecedented growth trajectory and the focus is on removing infrastructure bottlenecks by investing heavily on development of physical infrastructure. To this purpose of developing physical infrastructure Prime Minister has committed to invest US $ 320 billion within a span of next five years.


Fundamental purpose of growth is to serve humanity and its supporting eco-system and world class infrastructure is assumed to support such growth. However, infrastructure has to be understood in its broadest term to include the complimentary aspects of infrastructure which are mutually reinforcing, yet one aspect is more visible than the other; and they are –

  1. Physical infrastructure like road, railways, airport, power-stations etc which is the gross but passive aspects of public infrastructure. It provides the bare body which is to be brought to life by its complementary set of human infrastructure
  1. Human infrastructures, which is the active aspect of public infrastructure. It is the subtle aspect which bring the physical infrastructure to life and makes it work for the benefit of humanity as a whole

Human infrastructure includes the role models of humane values (conscientious keepers of humanitarian existence and growth); conscientious leaders and executives in the field of business, politics, media, bureaucracy, judiciary; conscientious citizens; and institutions of excellence which perpetuate the basic, humane character of the society.


Human infrastructure draws its characteristics from the role models of contemporary society. These role models play a determining role in formation of national/societal characteristics. Corrupt, dishonest leadership influences the gullible to walk the path of dishonesty and vice versa.


As compared to physical infrastructure, human infrastructure is relatively subtle and abstract. Because of lack of special focus and in our obsession with the gross, at times, the human infrastructure gets pushed to oblivion. Situation may be similar where, in our obsession with body, we forget about breathing and other subtle aspects of existence. The current times appear to have its focus on the gross and the subtle is getting pushed down a few notches in terms of priority of public life. Our intent in the discussion is draw attention to this critical aspect of public life which appears to have slipped out of the priority in public life in last sixty years of Indian history.


Last sixty years of Indian history has seen glaring absence of conscientious keepers as role models in public life – people who understand the life and the humanity as a whole and embody the human values like Mahatma Gandhi embodied truthfulness and non-violence; Rabindranath Tagore and Aurobindo embodied the message of knowledge & spirituality; Vivekanand embodied the essence of universal religion, Bhagat Singh embodied spirit of freedom, sacrifice and bravery; Shirdi Sai embodied the message of love and compassion. Presence of such living role models brings focus on societal sensitivity to humane values and absence of such role models does not bode well for sustainable and humane living – with growth or without growth.


The eternal truth and related human values do not change with time; what changes is the language in which the truth is translated for understanding of common people. Role models bring humane values to life by devoting their existence to it. Such role models become the conscientious keepers of the society. Absence of such role models in public life is an indicator that the truth is not getting translated in the language of the people of current time.


Ordinary citizens are not necessarily prepared to comprehend and experience the eternal truth and the humane values in its completeness. Such population necessarily needs role models as translators who live and embody the eternal truth, for them to be in a position to experience the truth. Each one of us may have a right intention to do the right kind of things and thus add value to the surroundings, but in absence of proper understanding of the truth, we end up hurting the surrounding more than helping it; we end up drawing more from the surroundings than we add to it; and thus, inspite of right intentions, become an instruments of unsustainable development.


Indian society today needs a few living role models to embody the spirit of tolerance, respect, justice, honesty, knowledge, wisdom, freedom, surrender, love, compassion and spirituality; the rest of the world will automatically start aligning to these founding principles of life and existence once they brought alive by living role models. It is said that the Guru is born the day the student in born in us– both are twins born at the same time, and vice versa. Visibility of the conscientious keepers in public life will trigger a positive, reinforcing loop in public life. And the consequent growth will start taking a humane shape.


Visibility of role models like Mother Teresa, dedicated to service of humanity, in public life triggers the chain reaction of changes in many of us to explore the service orientation within us.. Role model of entrepreneurship embodied in Tata’s, Mahindra’s, Ambani’s and Birla’s has automatically triggered a chain reaction in the field of business. Presence of role models has its rub off effect on the citizens who look up to them, emulate them, or follow them.


So will be the case, as I see it, when role models of human values are visible in public life. In our current obsession with gross aspects of life and growth, absence of humane values like service and honesty in public life is accepted as a norm rather than an exception. Consequently what is missing in public life is the not only the manifestation of humane values but also the respect for such values which may enthuse people to walk that path.


We need resolute, incessant advocacy of humane values so as to bring the focus on its absence in public life. The increased focus on humane values will bring out conscientious keepers to public life and consequent following by the masses will be logical, effortless and automatic. India and the Indian’s, jointly and separately, should realize the gap and start focusing on human values.


To bring in the focus on humane values, we need to work on the time tested approach which relies on the four pillars of conscientious existence, which are:

  1. Role models of human values as the torch bearers and conscientious keepers who translate the humane values and eternal truth in the language of the people of the time by living those values. Such people play the role of Rajguru – who lives completeness and who has mastered the paradoxes of human existence. Such living role models, on their own free will, are detached from the gross aspects of life to focus on the subtle and the governing aspects of life Read the rest of this entry »