Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Truly, Madly, Deeply - Independent

Today, as India celebrates its 60th year of independence, undoubtedly, nations across the globe who, few years ago, disregarded India to be a country of snake charmers now struggle to call India a 'third world country'. Today the prime minister of India in his speech not only celebrated India's economical progress but also showcased his concern on the upliftment of the rural India - essentially the farmers, who are, without any doubt, the support system of todays growing India. All over India people have debated on whether India is truly independent or is still a slave of its own burden of problems and what is the meaning of true independence.

As a child, the idea of independence was very concise. The Independence Day and the Republic Day were seen as just another days of celebration in the school. Days of practice put into perfecting the marchpast, rehearsing patriotic songs so that they were sung in total sync and finally rejoicing the hoisting of the tricolour- this was what Independence Day broadly symbolised. Stories narrated by our teachers of the freedom fighters used to generate a tremendous sense of patriotism in our young minds though the meaning of patriotism for us at that time was restricted to giving one's life for one's country. In that sense, only the freedom fighters of glorious past and the army men at our borders were truly patriotic.

In a more day-to-day world , as a school kid, being independent was to read the timetable and to pack one's bag without parents gudance, being independent was to go on school camps and to live independently, being independent was also to decide which stream to take based on what one's interests were, being independent was to venture out independently with freinds to fill out college admission forms. As school life ended, I thought that this essentially spelt freedom.

Junior college dreams were much bigger, challenges were more, hopes were high, though the meaning of freedom was essentially that of what a teenager would have. On a lighter note, freedom was shopping on my own, freedom was watching movies with friends , freedom was to follow the latest fashion trends, and freedom was to dream a dream of a great career.

As I grew, my world widened to encompass the society that surrounded me.
Reservations were abundant, encroaching on the oppurtunities of those who really deserved.
Even today, I have utmost respect and admiration for people who work hard to earn money for survival, for those who work hard so that their education is not hampered. But the ones enjoying the fruits of reservation were not necessarily the ones who deserved it. This hurted me a lot beacuse it hit me directly and painfully.
Measures for betterment were abundant but did not reach the ones for whom they were intended. I was shaken up to reality and pitched across to the real world. This was the time I realised what the voice of India essentially meant to say when they cried for true Independence. True independence now demanded a social equality and a prosperity of every citizen of this country.

Today, as the part of nations work force, my world has enlarged from four corners of my house to this cornerless world. Indians have spread across the globe making India proud in every sense. According to a recent poll conducted by a leading news channel, 92% youngsters wanted to be reborn as Indians. And why not. India with all its faults is still someone to be proud of, which is essentially why we call her our 'Mother India'. How much ever though we may agree that India has achieved a lot in these years, there is still a long long way to go.

60 years after independence, India finally has a women president. However this news was followed by the news of acid attacks against women, by the death due to less dowry, by the news of child marriages. It is this that is holding back India from becoming what it can truly can become. Today, India may not be the greatest nation in this world, but it has potential to be one. It is in this India that every one should be capable to dream a dream for himself and realise it to the fullest. It is in this India that every man and woman, girl and boy should be able to live a life free from injustice, free from discrimination , free from poverty. Only such a India will prosper in years to come and only then can we celebrate our 'Independence' - truly, madly, deeply.

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