Friday, 15 August 2008

Happy Birthday India!

“At the stroke of mid-night, when the world sleeps, India will wake to life and freedom.” These historic words spoken by Pt. Nehru on the mid-night of August 14-15, 1947, are perhaps one of the most recognized ones by a multitude of Indians, here and all over the world; Fascinating, I must confess, and brimming with hope and passion as well.
They did teach us our history well – cramming up dates and quotes and events, but what they forgot was to instill the basic civic sense and sensibility. They gave us the ideals, but what they forgot was the importance of practicality and action.
Did India ever really “wake up”? Was the world really sleeping? On that historic moment the world was watching India and a multitude of Indians were awake – awake with fear of blood- thirsty mobs on a rampage, awake from the fear of uncertainty of their lives. India “awoke” witnessing its partition, riots, rape, plunder and murder on a large scale.
Even today, 61 years after our proclaimed “Independence”, we are still fettered with chronic problems and obsolete ideologies. Much is said about “India Shining” in terms of its outstanding performance on various fronts, growing foreign reserves, high rate of investments etc but the bleak truth remains that we have the largest number of poor, are still grappling with saving the girl child, illiteracy, internal riots, terrorism problems and separatist movements – to name a few.
What is most appalling is that despite being the largest democracy in the world, we seem to be the most ineffective in dealing with our problems. Our parliament maybe the political shrine of the country but the conduct of our so called “elected leaders” have continuously degenerated it to a political zoo where one can see a new “tamasha” being enacted everyday; and just when you thought that the political hullabaloo had reached it’s nadir our “representatives” come up with an even baser tamasha. Sometimes I feel, we can file for a Guinness world record in political tamasha, and I am quite confidant that our politicians will definitely keep breaking their own records; the recent “cash-for-vote” scam and the Amarnath Yatra land fiasco being a case in point.
The cash for vote auctioned of the democracy as a hapless and a helpless nation watched; each seat had a tag attached to it – corruption was elevated to the status of lifestyle. The Amarnath Yatra land transfer exposed the narrow-mindedness of our “leaders”. The issue stemmed from demands to create temporary structures for pilgrims travelling to the Amarnath Shrine. This minor issue was snowballed into a huge and bloody controversy by narrow-minded politicians of Jammu and Kashmir; While Ms. Mufti and Mr. Lone made statements that they do not mind treating the pilgrims as their “guests”, Mr. Omar Abdullah went ahead and declared “hum jaan de denge par zameen nahi denge” (we will give our lives but not our lands). Someone please tell these politicians that (a) Jammu & Kashmir is one state (b) this state is very much a part of India (c) and Indian National is not a guest in his/her own country.What really appalls me is that these politicians do not mind staking the life of thousands of people for their personal ambitions!
As citizens, it seems we have grown numb. Most of us are so engrossed in our own lives that we hardly stop to think about anyone else. The general mantra seems to be “hota hai, chalta hai”. We crib, we complain, we debate on what should be but none of us seems to be bothered. Also, we have yet to overcome our prejudices of cast, creed, colour, sex and religion. We all know our rights but we also need to be aware of our duties towards our nation as a citizen. We celebrate our success but we must not forget our problems and our goal to overcome them.
India has been let down by both her leaders and her people, and we cannot shrug of this responsibility or pass on the blame; We need to re-envision our destiny and fix a new “tryst” with it.
As India enters her 61st year, here’s wishing her a brighter future, one where inspiration is accompanied by strong and sustained action, courageous and exemplary leadership and more informed, pro-active, and sensitive people.
I do hope when my India awakes, it does so, not in the darkness but in the bright dawn, as Tagore rightly said, “where the mind is without fear, and the head is held high, where knowledge is free and the world has not been broken up into fragments by narrow domestic walls; where words come out from the depth of truth; where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection. Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way into the dreary desert sand of dead habit; where the mind is led forward by thee into ever-widening thought and action”
And I wait patiently for my India to awake. Happy Birthday! O graceful Lady.

12 comments:

Varun said...

I agree with wat u say in the blog.... we have a long way to go before we call ourselves truly "Awake"... we need to get past a lot of problems that should never have arisen..... bt as the great baba "DJ" of rang de basanti fame have said..... "Koi bhi desh perfect nahi hota, Usko perfect banana padta hai"..... The answer to most of our problems lies in the awakening of the youth, n though we mite have a long way to go, there is no doubt in the fact that we have certainly started moving towards it..... how long do u think will a parliament contituting a majority of some 70+ Idiots stay away from the youth, its just a matter of time..... n Time darling, is what is in favour of india and its youth.....

Ansh said...

Agreed that it is up to us citizens and the youth to take our country towards perfection but that is just not possible without any sustained and determined action on the part of our leaders and us as citizens.
Why is it that even after 61 years of independence we have not been able to rise above cast, creed, colour, religion and selfishness to take actions and decisions which are beneficial to the nation? We have reservations in jobs and higher education for different categories of people in the name of affirmative actions yet the very foundation required for these, i.e basic education, is in shambles.
What we need to understand is that populist measures are not always good. As citizens, we are to numb to the concerns of the other person; "everything is fine as long as we benefit" should not be the mantra for running a nation; and let's face it - we - the people are at fault. We mindlessly get swayed by all that our leaders have to say- after all isn't it us who elected them in the first place?! and everything he/she says has to be right cuz they're our leaders!. We have to look beyond the surface and understand for ourselves that anything which appeases a part of the nation at the cost of a larger interest cannot be good. Our so called "minorities" religious or castes (i dunno why they use this term anyway!)have to stop feeling victimised and taking offence at each and every perceived blight - real or otherwise and we have to make the politicians realize that they cannot take the people and the nation for a ride anytime they wish. Ultimately, we need a very strong and courageous leadership and a complete abolition of politics of appeasement and secession in the name of religion or caste or any other form. We need to recognise ourselves as Indians first before anything else and sadly, the current trend is vice versa.
As for time, A half-century and decade is quite a bit of time i would say. We don't get a millennium to act.
BTW, did you know that a lot of places still have reservations for sons/daughters of freedom fighters? I think we really need a reality check here, for all freedom fighters children would probably be nearing their retirement age by now...

Raghu said...

Thoughtful and insightful write-up indeed. But I really wonder how many people around really would like to understand everyword of it and try to improve the system. Everyone is so busy with fixing one's own issues that the the larger ones are very often lrft neglected.

Very few people are ready to gear-up and take a stand for improving the system which includes self improvement as everyone is a part of this system.

We all are delighted to sing folklore of freedom, national anthem on 15th August / 26th Jan - but beyond that ??????? Silently but truely we are somewhere or the other in someform working aginst the interest if our nation by keeping silent.

I just up the that people including myself can muster courage to stand-up and work "For our Country"!

Uri said...

I don't agree........ we are an amazing nation of ONE BILLION people and the world's biggest and best democracy. Have you ever thought how this nation of 1 billion people runs and stays together. It is within these lot of dirty politicians that we have people like Manmohan Singh, P Chidambram, Dyanidhi Maran (ex) and many more who are making policies for the nation which is taking the growth rate to 8% and beyond. Very soon we will be getting Nuclear Power and it is this very US which put sanctions on us that bent its policy for the to accomodate India. We cannot be bogged down by a small state like J&K with less then 1% of India's population, the media shud actually boycott all news from J&K. 98% of Muslims live outside J&k and are happy to be in India. Our stock market has risen from 5000 to 15000 in past 5 years, Industry is booming, service sector is growing beyond limits known, businessmen like Laxmi Mittal and Ambanis are likely to outperform Bill Gates and conquer the number 1 position of forbes list. THIS IS MY INDIA.......AND I AM PROUD TO BE PART OF IT.........

Kirthii said...

Hey Ansh,

Thank you for visiting my blog and adding your bits in the Doordarshan post.

Cheers,
Kirthi

Kirthii said...

Hey Ansh,

Thank you for visiting my blog and adding your bits in the Doordarshan post.

Cheers,
Kirthi

Ajay said...

Very Well said Lady...
India is shining but not everywhere, India is developing but not in every field, India is Biggest democratic Country but not followed religiously, India has achieved a lot but lost much more than it.
So the bottom line is we "THE PEOPLE" have to introspect ourself and then decide what is RIGHT and what is WRONG for us, for our COUNTRY as they say Goverment is

....OF THE PEOPLE, BY THE PEOPLE and FOR THE PEOPLE....

V.A.R.U.N said...

i agree with you on being proud of our country.... bt the rest of the post, i dont agree with.... We are the biggest and the worst exploited democracy in the world, where votes can be bought for money and muscle power.... we need to think beyond the metros, when we lay claim to being the best... we have the dirtiest possible pool of politicians who have assumed india to be a hierarchy and have started passing the PM chair down the generations (gandhi's). Sonia's only claim to fame was that her last name was Gandhi... n our whole democratic nation was right behind her in support callin the the nations "Bahu".... when she cudnt make it to the chair herself she put a dummy PM in her place and has run the country down in the last 5 years...... Manmohan singh very conveniently sits in office when Sonia actually goes to the olympic opening ceremony to represent india.... I do not knw of a single office in the government of india that she holds and gives her the authority to represent india on a global level... P Chidambaram is the best economist india has produced, but sadly he is not the finance minister we want .... all he knws is how to run the country of maximum govt reserves and exploit the middle clss.... all he has done is Tax the only genuine TDS paying section of the society (Spelt the "Middle Class") with increasing inflation, Taxing ESOP's, increasing fuel prices and not rolling them back when the global crude prices came down...... Dayanidhi Maran, our ex telecom minister, is the single reason for not releasing 3G spectrum in india when the entire world went 3G on the tlecom networks... however that doesnt stop him getting his family a majority share in Sun networks, the largest sattelite TV channel network in india,has been accused of demanding the Tatas 33.33% shares from the Tata-Rupert Murdoch DTH project (Tata Sky) for the Sun Network or being a millionaire having declared assets of 16 million Indian rupees.

Point being, this is the state of our so called hard working and honest ministers then imagine what would happen if we just sat there admiring wat we achieved in the last 5 years and did not look at our markets crashing down to 15k from 21k due to the overevaluation trend encouraged by our H'ble FM. The crash of these 6k points alone caused a loss of 2.7 trillion to our economy, a 2.7 trillion that was never there bt was somehow shown on paper to encourage investment, an investment which is now lost.

As for the nuclear deal, yes it is an achievement on the civil side and will help us with setting up plants to resolve the energy crisis in our country.... But it derails our nuclear weapon programme completely putting serious restrictions on our weapon testing capability... Can we afford to do that with neighbors like pakistan (Which has threatened time and again to nuke the capital) and china(which has tech to lab test their nukes)???? Have we really got the US to bend over or have we given up a our Nuclear weapon programme and our only claim to a permamnent seat in the UN Security council, is still a debate on an unanswered question.....

Growth rate of 8% is true, bt the economy of India, measured in USD exchange-rate terms, is the twelfth largest in the world, with a GDP of around $1 trillion (2008).[2] It recorded a GDP growth rate of 9.1% for the fiscal year 2007–2008 which makes it the second fastest big emerging economy, after China, in the world. At this rate of sustained growth many economists forecast that India would, over the coming decades, have a more pronounced economic effect on the world stage. Despite this phenomenal rate of growth, India's large population has a per capita income of $2,659, measured by PPP, and $978, measured in nominal terms. The World Bank classifies India as a low-income economy.

J&K is the 19th largest state out of the 35 States and UT's that we have.... we cannot ignore the unrest in the state as minor....

I did not want to be pessimistic.... Bt the point remains.... the future of the country does not lie in the hands of the 70years+ idiots sitting in the parliament, bt in the hands of the youth of the country..... We need to get past loyalty voting for political parties and get into merit voting for the candidate running for elections..... We need to take charge..... the sooner we do that the better it is for the country.....

Uri said...

My Dear Friend you need to take off the spectacles of negativity and put on the positive ones. Then you will see all the positives, its just that whether you treat your glass of water half empty or half full........

nikhil said...

The first TWO paragraphs are too impressive, a big shabbashi to u :-), rest is also appreciable. keep posting.

V.A.R.U.N said...

Sir, unfortunately looking at the half full glass will not take us anywhere..... it is the half empty glass we need to focus and fill up...

Arjun M said...

Hear Hear!!

Every single point is true and perfectly put...

Keep the good work going.

Half full??

That stuff works only in proverb books...