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Revolution of Rising Expectations

By Karmayogi

Harlan Cleveland is a well-known American writer. While he was in government service in Taiwan, he noticed among the population their growing expectation from life. Its revolutionary potential made him coin the phrase which is the title of this article. It is a truism in the field of development that a society will really develop when its members take it into their own hands. Any work of the government or other agencies may do the initial spade work, but it is not capable of consummating the process of development - a high degree of Prosperity. It reduces to man wanting more and more as days pass by. It is now known as consumerism, the wrong side of healthy development of ever-increasing Prosperity. This movement is an unconscious urge to grow or, sometimes, a progress in superstition.

Education makes this unconscious urge into a conscious aspiration. Once the boy is educated he refuses a daily wage of Rs. 100 as a labourer and prefers to travel fifty miles for a non-manual employment with a Rs. 1000 monthly salary. Drivers and domestic servants straining every nerve to put their children into expensive private schools is a common occurrence now. Education makes the society conscious and awakened. The healthiest symptom in
India today is that people are education-conscious. I would happily say that anyone, at any age, acquiring a further degree is a patriotic service to Mother India. One's career prospects brighten that way. Taking a look at countries that top the list of rich countries, one sees all of them have made universal education compulsory between 1900 and 2000. Some of them achieved it earlier.

In our society wanting more - consumerism - is rightly frowned upon. It is not wrong in the economic sense, but it is undesirable in the spiritual sense. In the least of men wanting more is a silly superstition. In the enlightened man, wanting more of education, skills, and comforts is national aspiration, not to be frowned upon. This wanting more is the growing market of the expanding national economy. When we want more and more modern comforts at home and in the office, and rightly, we expand the national economy and the growth rate looks up. As everywhere, the wrong or right resides in the mind, not in the act. Particularly here, the very act of wanting more is a patriotic ACT.

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