India Shining ??

Why should Independence Day be any different from other days, and for that matter any of Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Friendship Day, or Valentine’s Day? OK I’ll bring up the latter list some other time, for now, let me ponder on our I-day.

After 63 years of so-called freedom are we really free?
Do we feel any pride for being Indian?
Has I-day (and the national song, the national anthem, etc) lost its value?
Which emotion takes up more space in your heart today than any other?
There are so many questions such as these running in my mind. Feel free to leave your comments on whatever you feel about I-day.

Moving on, I feel nothing different from any other day today. In fact it has me wishing we were back there when our ancestors were fighting for freedom. At least all were “Indians” then. All the religions, citizens of all states, fought together against the westerners rather than amongst themselves like today.

Do I feel ‘proud’ about being an Indian? Well, not really. Me being an Indian is a fact that ‘happened’, I did nothing about it. If I were born an American, well, this paragraph would have been about ‘feeling proud about being an American’. So in short, I don’t feel proud about it. I do feel nice that our ancestors were so brilliant to have come up with assumption shattering pieces of science in the fields of astronomy, astrology, aeronautics, medicine, surgery, mathematics and more. They were talented enough to have carved temples and palaces out of mountains of stone, create beautiful pieces of jewelery from metal, with tools/instruments and technology not as sophisticated as we have today. But isn’t it a shame that we are doing nothing to give credit to these real scientists/artists? That all these are accredited to foreigners/invaders and our history/science books (text books and other books) have been documenting the same ‘lie’ since ages?

The newspapers, radios and TV channels, showcase the “pride” they feel about being Indian – broadcasting cultural diversities from across the country, patriotic songs from old movies, bringing up freedom fighters of that era, showing ads of respecting your national anthem and what not – just for a day. The channels rename a daily news bulletin to “Salaam Namaste” or “Hamara Hindusthan” – just for a day. The news anchors, hosts/hostesses of the shows wear the traditional Indian clothing (read tricolor) to show off their so called ‘patriotism’. In all this aren’t we forgetting the kings and queens of that era who also fought for the same freedom? And the soldiers of today who are fighting their everyday for for our tomorrow? They do not wear the tricolor to show their patriotism, do they? And they do not fight just one day, do they?

Is respecting the national flag and/or anthem all there is left to patriotism? If I do not stand up for the national anthem or do not sport the tricolor on me I would be termed what, I do not know. But it doesn’t matter that some big people who make a show of patriotism are eating away the nations money, selling our wealth to the outsiders without second thoughts, or buying justice with the same money. The smaller ones throw the tricolor on the streets without thinking twice about the others who trample it beneath their feet, or spit on it. These same people chant “Bharath mata” but do not do enough when terrorists inside and outside the country kill the innocent – these terrorists are still kept alive in our jails on our money – without thinking about all those who gave up their lives to catch these cowards in the first place.

I find India neither independent nor free. We are still in debt (oh yes, every country is, I know). We still need to bow to the richer countries for power (nuclear, arms/weapons, money). We are scared to eliminate the terrorists who attack our citizens or sue the ones who leak poisonous gases on our soil. We still have a BPL (below poverty line) section of the society that lives in slums and we still have beggars on every street corner. We still discriminate based on religion, caste, creed, color, age, gender and physical/mental fitness but go on singing ‘Vande Mataram’. We would do anything to keep the Gods happy but would spit on a living being. No one is free to believe in a God they wish. Not all are free to even marry the person they love or celebrate the festivals they like. Sports is as neglected as dying farmers. Everything still has to run through greased hands. Who do you think is responsible? There is no simple answer to this question. We are all responsible in one way or the other.

It is apparent what emotion I feel most as of today. But there is still hope.

There is definitely a lot we can do to take our country back to the glory she deserves, bring back her wealth (black money) from the accounts stashed in various banks, and give due credit to the actual creators/scientists. For now all I can try to do is plant a seed of an idea, throw a crumb of thought your way, and spread awareness. I’ll do my bit whenever and whatever I can – be it as small as exercising my vote the next time round or as big as being an administrator some day. I won’t promise anything other than that, that I’ll do my bit however small. And would I be asking too much if I request you to do the same? Jai Hind and long live India, whole and strong.