A day that comes every year… A day with different meanings for different people.. For some, it is a holiday when the Indian tri colour is unfurled and sweets are distributed.. For others it is a holiday to when we sit at home and watch patriotic movies..
For still others, it is a time to retrospect, and see where we stand after sixty one years of independence.. Agreed, we are a young nation, and we have still come a long way since the time of the British rule. We have been able to overcome the harmful influences of extremism and fanaticism which we now see our closest neighbour and fraternal twin engulfed by.. We have seen India evolve from a poor nation to a developing nation.. We have seen literacy levels soar, Indian names etched in the “hall of fame” of Science and Technology.. We have just witnessed an IT revolution which enabled young twenty somethings to earn more that what their parents could even dream about!
And yet, amidst these glimpses of optimism are the exceedingly prominent shades of grey… The horse trading, sting operations, corruption and dirty politicking….MPs brought out from jail to save the Government…We just see all this, shrug our shoulders and say – Dirty politics! Tell me, why is politics a dirty word in India?.. Something that shapes the destiny of our country, something that runs the entire state machinery, something that is a major contributor to the quality of life of every Indian is considered dirty in India. You ask any group of young college students about what they want to do in life, and you hear their aspirations to become doctors, engineers, journalists or businessmen, but hardly ever do you hear of anyone wanting to be a politician. The sole claim for political power belongs to goondas, ruffians, mafia men, or political dynasties. The educated and sophisticated shy away from this dirty game; this is not their cup of tea!
Can we allow things to go on like this forever? Shouldn’t we finally change this conception, so that more educated, and eligible people walk in our corridors of power? Our constitutional forefathers had such lofty dreams for the nation. They had a vision of an India which was a truly sovereign secular democratic republic.. They gave us a level of freedom which is unprecedented in other newly independent countries.. Shouldn’t we attempt to live up to their expectations? Don’t we owe them the responsibility of using this freedom in the right means, and for the right ends. In India, anyone can dig up streets, set fire to buses, hold up traffic with demonstrations.. What we need is a sense of social responsibility.. And what the men in power need is a sense of accountability, not just before elections but throughout the year..
Now, as I think of India as a nation, there are many images that conjure up in my mind.. On one side, I can see a progressive India, urban, sophisticated, educated, employed, and well settled in life.. On the other side, I see an India embattled with odds, rural, uneducated and struggling for basic source of sustenance.. And I wonder in what way has this progressive India contributed to this not-so-well-to-do part of our country? Probably nothing..
I know it is easy to point fingers, but isn’t it time to at least begin thinking about what we can do? An idea can change your life, and also the lives of the billions in our nation. What we need is a desire to bring that change. So this Independence day, we can at least start thinking, because the journey of a thousand miles always begins with a single step!