I have several times said that India must rapidly industrialize on a massive scale if we wish to abolish poverty, unemployment and our other social and economic evils.
The problem with that is not lack of technical skills or natural resources. Today in India we have a huge pool of thousands of bright engineers and scientists, and immense natural resources. Many of our engineers are manning Silicon Valley in California in U.S.A. and the science, medical and mathematics faculties of many American Universities are full of Indian Professors.
The problem is that the vast majority of Indians still have backward minds, full of casteism, communalism, and superstitions. Changing the minds of the vast majority of 1250 million people and making them modern i.e. scientific is the real colossal task before us. But without doing that we cannot progress much.
I had given the example of the scheduled caste Madras High Court Judge who had married a non- scheduled caste lady, and thereupon the lady's relatives performed her funeral rites and thereafter had nothing to do with her. This story was told by that lady to my wife when I was Chief Justice of Madras High Court in 2005.
One can relate hundreds of such stories to show that the vast majority of non- scheduled caste Indians look down on scheduled caste people as inferior. In many parts of India e.g. western India and Haryana, if a scheduled caste and non- scheduled caste young couple fall in love and want to marry both are killed ( which is called 'honour killing') by their family members or caste bodies.
It was proclaimed as far back as in 1776 in the American Declaration of Independence that ' all men are created equal'. But over 200 years thereafter many Indians still regard a section of their own fellow nationals as inferior. What does this show about the mindset of the majority of Indians ?
Changing the minds of a huge number of people, removing their feudal, obsolete and backward ideas and replacing them with rational, scientific ones is no easy task, and cannot be done very quickly. Most people are deeply conservative by nature, and are extremely reluctant to change their views, however backward. So it will take a long time.
My estimate is that it will require a generation's patient but hard struggle by the genuinely modern minded patriotic enlightened section of our society, who are presently in a tiny minority, to educate our masses, and make them truly modern. But I am confident that this tiny, patriotic enlightened minority in India is ready for this struggle, which will, I guess, last for a generation, and which no doubt will entail huge sacrifices.