I think sometimes about the issues, ideas or imaginations which are very close to my heart and a clear picture emerges in mind what I want to do in next forty or fifty years of my life. I feel humbled before the enormous task I have ahead of me. Here is a simple wish list. If the Almighty could just appear and ask me my wishes, I would not take much time thinking about them but would surprise her shooting the seven wishes I have.
First of all I want to build a primary school and a health center at the place (can’t call it a village because it is too small, just around 150 people now) I was born more than two and half decades back. It is a place located beside a river and is virtually isolated from the rest of the world. I want to connect it with a linking road with the rest of the world. Telephone facility would be too ambitious right now but I think cellular services might work. This place has no electricity and nobody has seen a television set so I wish to buy one each for the school and the health center and run it with battery because getting electricity connection might take years. Solar plants would be a good idea to generate electricity for local needs. This is my first wish and I have given myself the time of five years to achieve these all.
My second wish is to build a Girl’s High school at the village I have grown up and studied till the primary school level. It is a village of around 1500 people located on the main road connecting two important small towns and acts like a regional hub. It has telephone and electricity connections which practically work round the year except in rainy season when telephone lines are down. It has a government primary school and two private schools which mainly teach till the 5th class. Children from many villages come here to study commuting everyday. Parents send the boys but girls are left out because of distance and the travel time. If there is a Girl’s High school at this village and commuting facilities are arranged, girls of around ten villages can study till tenth class and can also acquire some skills. This would have long term impacts on the demography and society of these villages.
My third wish is to build a SAARC University at Nalanda, the place of the world’s most ancient seat of learning where once Nalanda University existed for many centuries and attracted students from all over the world. Nalanda symbolizes the excellence in learning and knowledge. Now time has come to build a university where students from the whole South Asia can learn, live and grow together. Nalanda is just 100 KM from Patna, the state capital and Bodh Gaya, the place where Buddha got enlightenment. Bodh Gaya has an international airport which makes Nalanda easily accessible to students and scholars from all over the world. Nalanda is also part of the Buddhist Circuit which includes places like Lumbini, the birthplace of Buddha, Sarnath, Rajgir and Bodh Gaya. Buddhist Circuit is a major attraction for the tourists from Bhutan, Srilanka, Thailand, Myanmar, Cambodia, Vietnam, China, Japan and other countries where a sizable number of Buddhists live. This brings a lot of money and ideas to this region and funding for a university should not be a problem. A world class university at Nalanda will only add up to prestige and dignity Asia.
My fourth wish is to see a Flood Free Bihar. Every year many lives are lost, many homes are destroyed and much valuable wealth is lost due to floods in my state. Are these inevitable or can be prevented? The answer, I guess, lies in cooperation with the neighboring country. The cooperation has to be taken to the newer heights. Many power projects have to be built. In the end I am convinced a Flood Free Bihar is possible.
My fifth wish is to live in the South Asian Union someday. Artificial barriers among people who belong together only increase problems. A free and fair society with freedom to share ideas and imagination can do wonders for South Asia. It would bring peace and prosperity and reduce poverty. A better life would be possible for all. I think it is just a matter of time. A new beginning is being made these days and who knows soon we may live together with united minds and united purpose as South Asians.
My sixth wish is to exhort leaders around the world to establish ‘Earth Council’, the successor of United Nations and the League of the Nations, with a mandate to protect the planet and the life supporting systems on the planet from all possible threats; internal or external, short term or long term. It would take stock of security threats arising from ‘problems without passports’, severe governance deficit arising in any part of the world, natural disasters, epidemics, comets from the outer space etc. and take necessary measures to ensure the well being of the Humanity and the Planet.
My seventh wish is to put the seeds of life, as we know it, to some other safe corners of the universe. We all know that to keep all eggs in one basket is not safe. We must keep a few in other baskets also. Only if we could trust each other a trillion $ can be diverted from military spending every year for peeping deep into the universe and finding a corner for safe keeping the seeds of life. Imagine how much we would benefit if we find someone like us not many light years away from our home, sweet home Earth!
Though there is no limit to the wishes I could ask from the Almighty I could only shoot the seven and she took a turn and said ‘enough’. I wished she could have stayed a little longer!