Part 1: PRIDE
Uttar Pradesh holds the pride and privilege of being the birth place of two of the most sacred names of Hindu deities, i.e. Lord Ram and Lord Krishna. The home land of Lord Ram and Lord Krishna has been blessed with the very best of the natural resource. A major portion of the most fertile land of the State lies between the basin of the river Ganga and the river Yamuna.
To travel an area is the best mode to know the area. Once one sneak into the holy land of Uttar Pradesh from any adjoining States, one at once notices the change to realize that one is in Uttar Pradesh. The holy land of the State is highly fertile. The land fertility blesses the people of the land with source of livelihood for decorating her in Green. Uttar Pradesh holds distinction being among the top producers of many crops and agriculture produce. The ages old saying Uttam Kheti, Madhyam Vyapaar… still holds good in most of the parts of the Uttar Pradesh.
Much has been said about the people of this sacred State to defame them and to counter all such rubbish I have a few proud facts to share with. Uttar Pradesh holds the distinction of being the home land of warriors who committed the supreme sacrifice by giving their lives for the nation. Yes, Uttar Pradesh holds the distinction of maximum number of Param Veer Chakra awardees in the country. Param Veer Chakra is the highest military award of India. To match this glorious distinction of serving the nation in the armed forces with dignity, pride and commitment, the Uttar Pradesh shares the distinction of the maximum number of the awardees of the highest civil award of India, the Bharat Ratna with the State of Maharashtra. The Uttar Pradesh Param Veer Chakra awardees count was done by me in person at Sudan Hall of the NDA Academy almost a decade back where the portraits’ of the Param Veer Chakra Awardees are displayed by the proud nation for the inspiration of the budding defense services officers. Hence the people of Uttar Pradesh have served the nation in both civil and the defense fields. So the credentials of UPites are unquestionable.
The Capital of Uttar Pradesh, Lucknow, is world known for her sweet language, manners and rich customs. The cultural values of Lucknowites are so rich that the town has never seen even a single Hindu-Muslim riot ever since securing independence in the year 1947. The hospitality of people of Lucknow is so rich that whosoever from any part of the country comes and stays a few years in this town becomes its permanent resident.
Part 2: Economy
Let us go back to the second part of the saying Uttam Kheti, Madhyam Vyapaar… Uttar Pradesh has her uniqueness and distinctions in the industry (vyapaar) sphere too. A MSME Ministry report says that around 46% of the industrial production of the country comes from small and medium size (SME) enterprises. SME is the soul of the Uttar Pradesh. The country has renowned business families; Uttar Pradesh has towns renowned for a particular goods or a class of goods manufacturing. Moradabad is home of more than five thousand SMEs who have made this town renowned as Brass City by consistence quality goods making in brass and metal alloys. Merrut is well known for sports goods and musical instruments manufacturing. Khurja town in Bulandshahar district is famous for her ceramic pottery work. Saharanpur is famous for her wood craft. Kanpur is known for her leather goods. Only a selected class of people knows that Kanpur is the only place in India where harness and saddler items are manufactured and volume wise the turnover is the biggest in the world. Kannauj is economically sustaining on herbal perfumery (attar) and allied products since the time of Great Harshavardhana. Lucknow has earned distinction for its Lucknowvi Chikankari that is exclusively distinguished embroidery work. Firozabad is a huge centre of glass made products and the largest glass bangles manufacturer in the world. Agra, the Taj town, has emerged as one of the largest footwear producers in the world. It may surprise many, but is true! Varanasi is of world fame for her Banarsi Sarees, Zari work and glass beads. The sleepy appearing town just 40 Kms away from Varanasi, Bhadhoi, is the carpet weaving capital of India. Over 70% carpet production of the country holds the dust of Bhadhoi. The list of towns known for a particular goods or a class of goods is very large in Uttar Pradesh.
It is very surprising for people to see that Firozabad that is known for her Glass wares and Bangles has maintained her monopoly restricted to Firozabad only. Agra, a larger industrial town, is just 30-40 Kms away from Firozabad. But the glass industry has not entered into Agra and footwear industry has not breached the boundaries of Agra towards Firozabad. This distinction of maintaining peculiarity of a town known for a class of goods has remained confined to the particular towns only. Wherefore the goodwill of the towns for those classes of goods have grown leap and bound with time.
The untold story of mind boggling eco-matrix of Uttar Pradesh industry has some more to add. The most of the Uttar Pradesh industries are small industries that provide means of survivals to unskilled, semi-skilled and skilled workers. In the places like Lucknow it is not difficult to find the artisans who have taken Chikankari as the means of their livelihood from one generation to the next generation. The artistic tricks have remained confined to the verbal communication and transmitted generation to generation and made the crafts richer with time providing more talented hands with the wisdom of their forefathers to help them to earn their living. The reflection of Lucknow Chikankari is reflected in the fusion of aprick/Jali and zari work with the Chikankari. The beauty of the fusion makes the Lucknow Chikankari glow and grow with time and appealing to the new generation. The ease with which a craftsman picks up the molded glass from a furnace at a side of a iron stick and takes away for processing or picks the molted glass at around 900 degree Celsius at one side of the hollow iron road and picks up that side over his head to blow air from the other side to give a shape to the molted glass or the way the glass bangles are made from molten glass, the sights are jaw droopingly amazing. These local artisans and craftsmen are the unsung heroes of the engines of the local economies confined to the particular towns.
Part 3: Heroes of the Local Economy
It is the chemistry of the artisans and the craftsmen with their entrepreneurs that propels the engines of the local economies that are self-sufficient and self-sustaining. The sleepy looking helmets of Uttar Pradesh is either busy with agriculture or toiling their energy and skills in giving life to a craft. The relationship among the people connected in the local economy chain makes them self sufficient and enterprising. It is the blessings of the forefathers of these people in the shape of sharing their collective wisdom as traditional knowledge with them enabling them to use it as a toolkit to earn their livelihood with respect and pride. It is the open wide vista of opportunities that makes people lives in Uttar Pradesh to bank up on. This is the reason people find Uttar Pradesh worth living.
If Rohit Bal and Ritu Beri can be the fashion brand icons, why not these local heroes can be focused in the media glare? Indeed by giving these local heroes the due share in the production benefits the local economies can earn much more. The heroes and icons do not emerge from ferry land. They are part of the same society. It is just a question of shifting the mindset of employee and employer relationship into a system or a team in which each player is strategically used to give the maximum output for the team (organization). This will just dilute the non-tariff barriers like child labor and minimum wages. On the contrary this change will bring sense of pride, association in the team members and will inspire the youth to look towards these local industries as a good and respectable source of their livelihood. After all youth is the fuel of progress for the nation. It will not harm the industry owner by lowering his share but it would make the cake bigger. With a less per cent the owner would find a bigger pie. Is anyone interested in testing this idea? Well, TATA has already enforced it! The most respected corporate brand name, TATA, is in reality TATA Sons. All in the Tata Group is a son who works to make the cake bigger and thus gets a bigger pie.
Part 4: The Future
The notion of the big industries involved in accusation for not entering into Uttar Pradesh is based on ill conceived facts and figures. If for centuries poorly equipped SME sector can sustain and grow in Uttar Pradesh, the larger industries that have certainly much larger resources at their disposal can sustain and flourish.
The maximum numbers of the food processing industries are based in Maharashtra despite the fact that this State is not among the top agriculture produces producer. Uttar Pradesh has a huge potential for agro based and the food processing industries. It is obvious that when the agro and food processing based industries would be closer to the raw material production fields, the cost of production would take a nose dip slide and the utilization of more grains and fruits shall be possible. The untapped agriculture centric districts like Farrukhabad and Bahraich offer the establishment of the industry at much lesser cost in comparison to the other industrialized States.
The picture of Uttar Pradesh has become clearer and shiner by now. The best resource of Uttar Pradesh is her enterprising, intelligent and hard working people; without which the distinction in agriculture production and having towns bubbling with locally manufactured items (the most of them are handicraft items) was not possible. The most innovative human resource based sector in the spectrum of industries is information technology. Uttar Pradesh is a home of learning too with many premium seats of learning. Uttar Pradesh offers much better living and working conditions for the industries seeking skilled white collar work force. The living conditions in most of the industrial hubs of the nation have reached the highest choking point. This factor also provides the industry to look towards Uttar Pradesh where skilled human resource is easily available and other factors are also work conducive.
The connectivity with major ports and Metro towns is another plus factor of Uttar Pradesh. It is strategically located in the heart of the country. The rail, road and air connectivity to the most of the industrial and port towns is existing with Uttar Pradesh. Further the upcoming electricity projects, mega road projects and easily available portable water have become attracting factors due to scarcity of these resources in most of the metros. Uttar Pradesh is a hub of political activities. The road to form the Government at New Delhi goes through Uttar Pradesh. This factor makes all political leaderships to take care of Uttar Pradesh interests.
Uttar Pradesh has played a big role in contributing to make India an emerging super power. The heart of Uttar Pradesh lies in agriculture and the soul lies with the SME sector. It is time for the big industrial houses to become heart of Uttar Pradesh. This will further strengthen the engine of development and progress to propel better with the blessings of prosperity to the people of Uttar Pradesh and wealth for the nation. In the 150 birth century year of Noble Laureate Gurudev Rabindra Nath Tagore, it would be a privilege to close with the wordings of Gurudev:
“… only those will be able to get and keep Swaraj in the material world who have realized the dignity of self-reliance and self-mastery in the spiritual world, those whom no temptation, no delusion, can induce to surrender the dignity of intellect into the keeping of others.”
JAI HIND, JAI BHARAT!