HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY?

To begin with the barely austere words of Manmohan Singh, our presently permanent Prime Minister,

“We have envisioned a prosperous India. An India which has got rid of centuries old burden of poverty, hunger and disease. Where the light of education has driven away the darkness of ignorance and superstition. Where there is social equality and all citizens enjoy equal economic opportunity. Where no section of the society faces injustice and exploitation. We have taken many measures to realise these dreams. But the journey is long and a large distance still remains to be travelled. Brothers and Sisters,”

This is in ‘admiration’ for those with infinite patience

A test for those who pride in their patience

And a question to those who are undoubtedly impatient

With the ongoing state of affairs in our nation,

How much longer can you continue to be patient?

Do read my humble criticism in remembrance

Of all things until this 67th year of Independence

At the end of the day, when you think about political, social and economic independence, when you think about attacks on the freedom of press, of art and of expression, when you think about the prejudiced system of justice, when you think about the socio-economical growth in the past decade, when you think of self reliance for food stock, when you think about the skewed export-import ratio, when you think about the ever-increasing levels of corruption in governance, when you think out nepotism in politics, when you think about the separatist issues within plaguing the sovereignty of the country and when you think about them all day, the taste of independence sours and the joy in its celebration dims. Never-the-less, I say

Happy Independence Day

So, at the end of the day, when you ask yourself, are you an independent people? I say, I have my own style, I live my own way, I know my own mind. Indeed, as an entity with no internal shackles, I am my own person, I am independent. And this way, each person is independent. We are proud to be a nation of free persons. But, are we a free people? I hope you had a whole day to think about how independent we are as a country. Never-the-less, I say

Happy Independence Day

Our prime minister gave a well-rounded speech that assuaged several tragic incidents and flawed plans with mere words. To name a few, let us take the example of how “ the last 9 years have been good for communal harmony” despite naxalites and maoists, the Telangana issue and the J&K issue. Let us consider “About 11 crore children being provided afternoon meals every day in schools under the Midday Meal Scheme.  This programme is of immense benefit for both education and nutrition of children.” despite the 23 children poisoned to death in Bihar, which was downplayed as an incident which should “not be repeated anywhere in the country”. Also, in the mid-day meal scheme, school going children are entitled to only about 150 grams of food grain and 30 grams of pulses for one meal. And as for statement “The Food Security Bill is now before Parliament and we hope it will be passed shortly. This law will benefit 75 percent of our rural population and half of our urban population. Under the law, about 81 crore Indians would be entitled to receive rice at 3 Rupees per kg, wheat at 2 Rupees per kg and coarse grains at 1 Rupee per kg.” Food Security Bills have ripened and rotted away for years in the parliament and the one they hope should pass will actually incite further harm by reducing entitlements of below poverty line families from 35 kg of food grains per family to 25 kg per average family of five, forcing them to buy the extra 10 kg from the open market. Never-the-less, I say

Happy Independence Day

Furthermore, let us examine claim that in “the last 9 years, our economy has grown at an annual average rate of 7.9 percent. This pace of development is the highest in any decade so far”, when in fact the growth rate has, except for a steep increase in 2010, progressively decreased since 2007 due to slow progress of economic reforms, incessant taxation and business bottlenecks to a 6-6.5% in 2012 and predicted to be 5.8% in 2013 by ADB.

Lastly, we have to wonder that despite the ‘wonders’ of the RTI bill which “frequently brings to light irregularities and corruption and opens the door for improvements” why the freedom of expression is unabashedly stifled by political factions as in case of Kamal Haasan’s film Vishwaroopam being banned in Tamil Nadu for some unacceptable scenes or catoonist Aseem Trivedi on charges of sedition for “insulting national symbols.” Nevertheless, I still say

Happy Independence Day

However, if we only look for the shortcomings in a country, they are all we find. So, despite the ‘state of affairs’, the media’s word-power can match a politician’s money-power in swaying people, which in its own twisted way keeps a tab on government’s programs, policies and vote-banks. At any time, if we have the cunning, we can always collect resources and tools to bring about amendments to the system, as decreed by the constitution, because however decrepit, the institutions to initiate such changes shall always exist. Indeed, India is a free country; freedom a power, and however Indians continue to abuse it,  the fact that we can still be called democratic is in itself worthy of praise and celebration. This is I must say,

Happy Independence Day

Quoting Oscar Wilde, “You don’t love someone for their looks, or their clothes or their fancy car, but because they sing a song only you can hear.” We too hear the song of our land. And as long as we can, we are proud to be Indians, an independent people for 67 years now and still running.

 – Akanksha Gupta

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3 responses to “HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY?

  1. Wow.. a really thought provoking and strong article written i must say… everything mentioned is cent per cent correct… the time has really come in india that 15th august and 26th jan are seen no more as just mere holidays… there is literally no excitement and no craze at all among we indians for these 2 events, which are considered to be quite important for any country…
    Added to all of those points mentioned by you, one thing i would also like to add of my own, which is also becoming really popular, is that of the caste system… everyone says india is independent… indians are independent… but independent of what? The britishers? Well very good.. but the actual reality of this country is that all of its citizens are actually tied up in the caste system. India is not a single country but a union of 29 different ‘countries’… this caste system is the sole root of most problems arrising in india… many of them being involved with reservation… if there would not have been any caste system, then there also would not have been any reservation… and many more things added to this… in addition to these points, by chance if any person is willing to bring change, he/she is suppressed by the entire society… how will change ultimately come if no one wants it to come?? A common reason we are given for everything… its been coming through the years… who are you to change it… tell me where is it written that the things which have been followed throughout the past ought to be correct?
    Anyways, since this is a comment i would rather stick to its length… but this is a topic on which endless articles may be written, endless speeches may be given… but ultimately everything is forgotten in the same way as 15th august is forgotten on 16th august…
    Sad truth of our country INDIA… 😦

    Like

  2. Wow.. a really thought provoking and strong article written i must say… everything mentioned is cent per cent correct… the time has really come in india that 15th august and 26th jan are seen no more as just mere holidays… there is literally no excitement and no craze at all among we indians for these 2 events, which are considered to be quite important for any country…
    Added to all of those points mentioned by you, one thing i would also like to add of my own, which is also becoming realy popular, is that of the caste system… everuone says india is independent… indians are independent… but independent of what? The britishers? Well very good.. but the actual reality of this country is that all of its citizens are actually tied up in the caste system. India is not a single country but a union of 29 different ‘countries’… this caste system is the sole root of most problems arrising in india… many of them being involved with reservation… if there would not have been any caste system, then there also would not have been any reservation… and many more things added to this… in addition to these points, by chance if any person is willing to bring change, he/she is suppressed by the entire society… how will change ultimately come if no one wants it to come?? A common reason we are given for everything… its been coming through the years… who are you to change it… tell me where is it written that the things which hve beem followed throughout the past ought to be correct?
    Anyways, since this is a comment i would rather stick to its length… but this is a topic on which endless articles may be written, endles speeches may be given… but ultimately everything is forgotten in the same way as 15th august is forgotton on 16th august…
    Sad truth of our country INDIA… 😦

    Like

    • Thank you. You raised some very valid points. If you really must know, India is independent of ‘foreign’ colonisation and of monarchical governance on paper. The caste-system that you mentioned is too deep rooted within quite a sizeable Indian mentality to be simply ‘eradicated’ without a dreg. That said, the reservation system is a form of Indian caste-based vote-bank politics of divide and rule to appeal unashamed for votes. While it is true that our present-day mentality hinders their education and employment, reservation in the primary sectors makes more sense instead of in university or jobs. This is also why scholarships should be need-based more so than only merit based. Also, to infuse more harmony and peace within the multitude of culturally, lingually and religious communities with India, each state should be divided and governed with more sovereignty or privileges equivalent to that of a special state like J&K or the United States ‘in’ America. This would ensure more development as smaller and more empowered administrative units have greater resources and will to cooperate. This would reduce the need for caste-based politics. As in countries like Belgium, it is possible that we too allot each community than simply minority communities reservations state-wise in accordance with the population ratio in each state. Such changes are very difficult to even initiate because of nepotism, money-power and assumed immunity from law in politics. As you said … “Sad truth of our country INDIA… :(“

      Like

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