In 1700, when Emperor Aurangzeb was ruling over India in full Mughal Glory (he died in 1707), India accounted for 27% GDP of the world. In 1800, when centre had weakened and regional rulers had gained ascendence and Britain increased its hold, India’s GDP came down to 22% of the world.

When we gained Independence in 1947, our literacy was 16% (now 74%) and life expectancy was 27 years (now 73 years). In 1947 our 90% population was below poverty line (BPL), now less than 25% are BPL. From 1947 to 2023 is a long journey of 75 years. We have improved ourselves a lot. Yet our GDP is less than $3 trillion. Our rulers are promising a goal of $5 trillion GDP. We are not sure when we would reach this goal. However, it is the responsibility of every Indian citizen to try his best and make his contribution to the economic property, social cohesion and moral elevation of the whole country and of the citizens who are now about 143 crore.

The demographers prophesy that India will overtake China in population in the current year and it is also estimated that by 2050 our population will touch 155 crore while China’s would be reduced to 127 crore. Now 37% Indians are living in cities. In 2050, 50% Indians will reside in cities.

Man is the hero of the universe, or at least of the earth about which we have fairly good knowledge. Our population is a great asset provided that we educate it, provide skills and jobs for it and uplift up to the highest level of civilization. Otherwise, population is a burden and liability.

The society, and you and I and everyone has a responsibility of uplifting India and Indians socially, economically and morally. Let us make a resolve in the new year 2023 that we will leave no stone unturned to uplift our country. Let us always remember what the last and greatest Messenger of God Prophet Muhammad ﷺ said that people are the most valuable asset, more valuable than gold and silver. If people are undisciplined, uncouth, belligerent, the population dividend will be worthless. India is a nation of nations with all major religions, thousands of ethnicities and more than 400 languages. Communalism, bigotry and discrimination are our greatest enemies. Therefore, we should defend democracy, pluralism and diversity of India. If we do this, certainly India can become Vishwa Guru and an example of pluralism and diversity.

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