Panellists discuss the topic ‘Developed India: so near, yet so far’ at Intelligentsia 2012.Pictures by Arnab Mondal
We live in a country with two different identities, one is “India”, a country with modern technology, and the second is “Bharat”, where millions die of starvation even today. The many faces of India came under scrutiny at Intelligentsia 2012, a panel discussion organised by the commerce department of St. Xavier’s College and The Telegraph, on September 26.
Titled “Developed India: so near, yet so far”, the discussion brought to campus B.B. Chatterjee, executive vice-president, ITC Ltd, Jayatsen Bhattacharya, creative controller, Ogilvy and Mather, Shyam Srinivasan, managing director and CEO, Federal Bank, and Amitabha Guha, non-executive chairman, South Indian Bank, as panellists.
“We live in a country where we have more mobile phones than public toilets. There has been massive developments in the fields of IT, education and agriculture, but the real picture is still grim,” said Chatterjee. While various aspects of “development” were discussed, everyone seemed to be asking the same question in the end — are we really developed?
“Ironically, it is the same nation that produces immense amount of food every year but they are only meant to fill godowns, not people’s stomachs. People have learnt how to produce food but they have not learnt the means to buy enough of it. Is this really development?’’ wondered Bhattacharya, who drew the loudest cheers.
Former sheriff Utpal Chatterjee was the moderator and he pointed out that even though “enough” had been done in the last 65 years, “that enough wasn’t really enough”.
According to Srinivasan, as long as a divide between Bharat and India existed, there couldn’t be any concrete development at the grassroots level.
“We need to merge the two identities and make the best use of the potential that is available,” he said.
Guha pointed out that as long as people didn’t have freedom from poverty and hunger in the country, any notion of development was meaningless.
The evening ended with Father Felix Raj, the principal of St. Xavier’s College, launching the seventh edition of the annual magazine of the commerce department, Youthink.
The St. Xavier’s College (Calcutta) Alumni Association reaffirmed its support to its alma mater at its 26th annual general meeting last Saturday. Father Felix Raj, principal of the college and president of the SXCCAA, spoke about the support needed from the alumni for a proposed communication hub on the EM Bypass campus and the management and engineering schools on the upcoming Rajarhat campus.
“Project Lakshya, which was launched at the third international convention of the association in Singapore in May, has already fetched contributions of Rs 2.5 crore. We hope to take this initiative to all the chapters,” said Felix Raj. He also praised SXCCAA for its service to society. “At least six poor tribal boys and girls of Jharkhand with blindness have gained their eyesight through cornea transplant operations organised by the college alumni,” He added.
Firdausul Hasan, who was re-elected as the honorary secretary of the association on Saturday, announced the launch of the Australian chapter of the association, to be held on November 3, in Sydney. “Our efforts of going global has evoked a good response from Xaverians abroad and that is the inspiration behind opening more international chapters,” said Hasan.