Reputation or image of a nation, state or society is built over time and is a reflection of its people, lifestyle and actions.
While a positive image takes years to build with consistent positive action by all its constituents, it only takes a single action by one its critical constituents to ruin it.
Take the example of Germany. Before World War II, it was viewed as a hardworking and progressive nation. However, it took one Hitler to destroy both its reputation and the nation, in a relatively short period of time.
But post war Germany rose from the ashes to rebuild a nation. It took years to wipe away its dark past and rebuild its reputation once again as an industrious and modern nation, where excellence is a lifestyle. Today, the term Made in Germany inspires confidence and consumer faith in its quality.
So how does the world view Haryana?
There are two major constituents who have contributed to Haryana's image as it is today. One is the government and the other are its people.
Let's examine the role of both and see how they have contributed to Haryana's image, as the world sees it today.
The people of Haryana have always been known to be simple and hard working. This reputation has been built over time and proven in its success achieved in ushering in the Green revolution. Majority of the people still dress simply and follow a basic and healthy diet which is mostly vegetarian, as a result the general health of the citizens is good and they enjoy a longer life span.
This is one of the reasons that the youth has been able to achieve success in sports. The positive image of Haryana as a sporting state has been achieved in the last two decades, thanks to the efforts and achievements of sportspersons like Guru Satpal, Sushil Kumar, Yogendra Dutt and Anil Kumar in Wrestling, Vijender Singh, Manoj Kumar and Akhil Kumar who have made their mark in Boxing. Then there is Kapil Dev, the legendary cricketer.
Not to be outdone, the women of Haryana have got a major boost by the likes of the Phogat family with contributions from Geeta, Babita and Vinesh, in female wrestling. These are not just sporting achievements but they are contributing significantly in changing traditional perception of women and their ability.
Today, Haryana has earned its respect as a top class sporting state and its wrestling infrastructure and the boxing training facility in Bhiwani are known all over the world. Haryana is a young state but in a short time, being viewed as India's No. 1 state in sports, is no mean achievement. This is how positive reputation is built.
For those who believe Haryana is only about sportspersons, look again. The citizens are now spreading their wings in all parts of the world from academics to medicine and into space research, Haryanvis are slowly but surely building a positive reputation for themselves.
The best example would be the home grown girl from Karnal, Kalpana Chawla, who migrated to the US after completing her school in Haryana and went on to become the first woman astronaut from India. Though she lost her life in the process, her legacy is the inspiration that she left behind for other youth from the state and country to follow.
There are scores of achievers in the field of academics, medicine and research, who are making their mark and are contributing to the positive and progressive image of an emerging Haryana.
Unfortunately, Haryana's traditional legacies of social practices have included some dark acts that include female infanticide. This evil practice is prevalent toady and is having a negative impact on the social demographics in the state. With the female child being killed at birth, there is a widening gap between the genders and eligible men are unable to find marital partners in the state. As a result, they have to literally buy brides from other states. This social evil is proving to be a major blot and projecting a poor image of Haryana, across the world.
With rapid development of urban areas in the state and easy wealth being created from selling of land, the people, especially the youth, are falling prey to bad social habits like drinking, smoking, substance abuse, womanising and squandering money. This, accompanied by violent behaviour in public places, is bringing a bad name to Haryana as an unsafe place.
Another area of concern is labour militancy in the industrial workforce. Haryana has by and large been free from trade union activism, but of late, there have been a series of violent industrial incidents by the workforce that is now beginning to have a negative impact on the reputation of the state, as an investor friendly one.
It's critical for the citizens of Haryana to realise that for the state to develop, jobs are essential and these will be created only when investors set up new units in the state. If there is a culture of violent industrial strife, the industry will simply move to other friendlier states.
Bengal learnt this the hard way when it forced out Tata Motors from its state. It was Gujarat that gained from it. Likewise, the recent strife in Maruti factory has led the company to set up a plant in Gujarat. This situation should never have been allowed to come up.
The people have to realise that reputation of the workforce is built over time but a single act of violence can spoil the image overnight. After all, the nation still remembers the violence of Meham in 1990.
State's contribution to bad reputation
Haryana will never forgive or forget the immense damage done by the Hooda administration in the decade gone by. The Hooda regime will be remembered for the series of scams it has been involved in, which has led to Haryana being called one of the most corrupt state in the country. The responsibility for this has to lie with the present Chief Minister. Today, Haryana has become synonymous with corruption and misgovernance, a reputation that will take a long time to correct.
All the gains of people like Sushil Kumar and Kalpana Chawla have been negated by the corrupt acts of the present regime. The common man is simple and hardworking but his value systems have been corrupted by the leaders who have shown the way to make easy money.
How can the state forgive this regime? The next generation will ask why? And what for? History will look back at this decade not for the positives achieved but the unprecedented corruption initiated by the Hooda administration.
It is time for people to reclaim their state, to reclaim their honour and to reclaim their respect, for all have been severely dented in the eyes of the world.
The time has come for change, a change for the better. With the new generation, there is hope that they will bring in a Nayi Soch and together build a Naya Haryana.