Dr. Mohan Dharia is indeed a well known personality in our country's socio-economic-political scene. Obviously, his attempt to write a book on India's glorious freedom struggle and its history since Independence, encompassing its various socio-economic aspects and what the future holds out for it or rather what it should, motivated by a genuine sense to kindle at least a flicker of interest in the mind of the common man on the subject. The Author, admittedly, cautions one not to consider this a comprehensive volume on the subject; he visualises it just as a I guide' for the common man to learn about the country's past and how it has shaped itself up today and also, what it can be in the future provided we all are in a position to put in our mite and bit to make it what we want it to be.
I have read the book. Any attempt on my part to comment in any manner on the contents of the book or the conclusions therein expressly or even otherwise would, doubtless, be presumptuous. The author hopes that this book of his should be an inspiring guide to all, including foreigners, to know the real India, what it was in its past and what it is now in its present and what it can be in the future. If this book creates that awakening and that spirit of inquisitiveness among its readers, I am sure, Dr. Dhariaji will be only too happy that he has achieved his objective and I shall feel happy too. I wish Dr. Mohan Dhariaji the very best in all his noble pursuits.
For years I have had the privilege of addressing small and large gatherings from various sections of society, thanks to my long experience. This provides me an opportunity to interact with students, professors, members of Rotary Clubs, Lions Clubs, social workers and others. During my interactions I have found that many of them, though well- educated, possess generalised information based on newspapers or magazines. But I was shocked to learn about their limited knowledge or even ignorance about the long struggle for our Independence, the Indian Constitution, our Planned Economy, the Five Year Plans and the rich cultural heritage of the country. They seemed equally unaware of the remarkable progress made by India since Independence. I have also been receiving a volume of queries about various shortfalls like poverty, corruption, malpractices, economic and social injustice, a defective election system, inefficient administration among others.
These meetings have inspired me to write this book aimed at students, the educated people as well as the common man or the' Aam Admi'. The book contains summarised information about these and similar such topics. I am aware that the book is not a comprehensive volume but a guide to know India since inception till today. My intention is very clear. The book must be in simple language and the number of pages should be limited for easy reading. I have tried to take the greatest care to that effect.
Till secondary school I studied at Mahad in Konkan. During the 1940s, when I was hardly 15, I was involved in active socio-political work. Since then-which is close to 68 years-I have been associated with the various socio- political developments in the country. Being a Freedom Fighter I am often restless about the happenings in the country and I am concerned about the ignorance among people about the supreme sacrifices made during the struggle for Independence, and the great progress made by our country since Independence against several odds-all within the framework of a democratic set up.
I have this belief that new generation should have firm faith in themselves and work towards alleviating rampant corruption, poverty, inequality, deterioration of the election system, ineffective administration and many other such issues. I hope that the book, in particular, the great sacrifices of our martyrs and freedom fighters for Independence will inspire them to take up the challenge for creating a prosperous India. People should not forget that every dark night is always followed by the bright sun. I desire that this book should be an inspiring guide to all countrymen including foreigners.
I am thankful to the prestigious National Book Trust, India, for accepting the responsibility for publishing this book. I am grateful to Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, Former President of India and internationally acclaimed scientist, for his eloquent foreword to the book. I am equally thankful to Mr. Shriram Gomarkar and Mr. Gangadhar Ranade for their unqualified cooperation and support. I have used the books of the many authors and those of the Planning Commission of India for reference purposes. I would like to express my feelings of gratitude for their contribution.
Intended as a kind of guide, this short and inspiring book acquaints us with the history of India, the rich cultural heritage, the long and glorious struggle for freedom, the challenges it faced as a new nation, the Constitution, the Five-Year Plans and its spectacular progress and growth as one of the rising powers in the world today. It also argues for the active involvement of the people in the country's development process, and puts forward in detail a national code of conduct and a national programme of action.
Mohan Dharia (b. 1925) is an eminent freedom fighter and a committed social and political activist. His over five decade long public service is distinguished by his stints as Member of Parliament, Minister of State, Cabinet Minister, and Deputy Chairman of Planning Commission of India. An astute commentator, Dharia has written extensively on social and political issues in leading newspapers. His works include Safar (political autobiography), BoI Anubhawache, Fumes and Fire and Afforestation in India. Currently Founder President of Vanarai Foundation and Chairman of Confederation of NGOs in Rural India, Dharia has been honoured with many prestigious awards including the Padma Vibhushan, Indira Priyadarshini Vrikshamitra Award and Yashwantrao Chavan Award for Excellence.
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