It was in 1991 when the balance of payment crisis forced the then regime to embark on the path of economic reforms. This was the beginning of the end of the license-quota-permit-inspector raj. What I see today, despite measures having been undertaken half-heartedly and haltingly, that India and Indians are far better off than they had ever been in the last millennium (from the standards of their times). This is despite the fact that the effects of the reforms, though reforms being only half baked, have yet to manifest in a meaningful way. India commanded nearly a quarter of the global GDP during the pre-British days, but all the wealth were concentrated in the hands of the royalty, the nobility, traders and usurers.
At this time when the sea of knowledge can be accessed with the clicks of a mouse, a whole lot of people can know their worth, claim that and work on. Thanks to the reforms, many more Indians can afford to buy books too. Bygone are the days when their search for self-worth ended in the quagmire of the Soviet supplied literature.
When these reforms were announced I was studying at JNU and I felt immensely exhilarated seeing the prospects of a new era unfolding. Today I'm really very optimistic as I know that the reforms once set in course for a while set in its own momentum and now nobody can revert the process. .
At the middle of the 25th anniversary year of economic freedom (and hence that of substantive freedom), it's time we should know our worth. Now we can say that we are the people of substance and deserve to be the masters of our destiny by learning from the last 25 years. We have to seize this contingent freedom to make this real freedom, the organic freedom.
Niraj Kumar Jha