Friday, 15 August 2008

The Inevitable Independence Day Post...

...Just a week later!

When you have been bombarded endlessly, a week preceding the day itself, with the national flag, the Independence day celebrations, patriotic movies, slogans and speeches, and lots of promises and hopes for another year of the Indian Independence, it is rather hard to evade the obvious Independence Day post.

The year of India's 61st Independence Day, I think of myself as an average Indian citizen and ponder what a free India means to me. As an Indian, how do I perceive myself, and how do outsiders perceive me? What are my thoughts about the free India and what are my hopes for a modern India?

In human terms, 61 years is a mature, fully developed age, with wisdom, mental strength, achievement, expertise, experience and basic connaissance of how life runs. In terms of a nation, in this case, my nation, it is merely the beginning. We're a young nation in every respect. Our learning and growing has just begun and there's a whole life ahead of us. There is so much to do, so much to learn, to experience, to develop, to embrace. We're a young nation, of a young people. With the average age being from 18-25, I consider ourselves toddlers, taking our first steps into a modern and broadened outlook. India's life-cycle hasn't even reached it's peak, there's a long way to go till we reach that milestone.

And yet, why is it that I hear so many voices of resentment, hopelessness and writing-off our country? I never hear people complain when an infant cannot solve problems of a college student, then why is it that people are so impatient towards their country? India is a child, but it is a bright and vibrant one. We're a young nation, but certainly not a slow one. Recall the last 10 years, and you will see how far we've arrived. Our milestone is still far ahead, but we're catching up, we'll get there.

Having said that, like everything and everyone I adore and hold close to my heart, I desire for my country too to excel. Living outside of India, I hear so much about India soaring, India growing, India this, India that, my eyes gleam with pride. But then, I come back to the country filled with lots of hopes and expectations, only to see the attitude and mentality of the people there, and be disappointed by the pessimism in their demeanor. Corruption, bad infrastructure, poverty, lack of education, overpopulation...all these inter-related endless issues are lined up to bog down the average Indian, as a result, holding back a country which could be soaring by now. I don't want to sit and judge, because I'm in no position to do so, not having contributed to the progress of the country myself.

Yet, it physically hurts me to see children barely clad on the streets of Delhi, it hurts me when I come to know that there is no electricity at least 3-4 hours a day, that there are huge shopping malls, fancy restaurants and general joints at exorbitant prices, and yet, the roads outside these establishments are filled with potholes, and jammed with traffic. And this is the capital of the country, I haven't even been to the other areas. It is disappointing to hear stories of people being paid a bribe to get a simple income tax claim settled. There are 100 new seats for college entrants, but 5,000 more applicants. Its frustrating when I hear my friend, who got 100% in Maths in the 12th boards, not get admitted in any of the mainstream leading universities, and a slightly above-average student with the advantage of an OBC title enter IIT. With globalisation, salaries have increased and people are able to afford a lot more than they could earlier, but everyday they call their wives/husbands and ask "wahaan light aa gayi?"(Is the electricity back?). There's Barista, Starbucks, Pizza Huts on every nook and corner, high-end fashion brands with high-end prices, mobile phones in every hand, young or old, and yet, no matter how poor or how rich, these people all have to deal with the same corrupt policeman who will stop you for a traffic violation, and then be happy with the bribe of 200 rupees. People travel far and wide now, but still, they will stuck in traffic jams for 2 hours while commuting for work. There are swimming pools in houses now, but water in the taps is not potable, and you're lucky if it comes 24/7. Rules are reduced to being guidelines and implementation of laws a laughing matter.

I know I know, you must be wondering where my optimism just went. Nowhere, it's still where it was. Just because I list the problems and things that I personally observe, does certainly not mean that I don't think India's going to overcome all of this and zoom way ahead of the world leaders of today. We can, we have the potential and the brains to do it. This is just the times of transition, soon the positives will overtake the negatives, and then all this won't be relevant anymore. Till that time comes, we have to stay positive and not give-in to the pressures of our everyday struggles. What doesn't kill you only makes you stronger, and India as a nation has been attacked many a time from all directions, so I am sure we'll emerge as a strong power.

Woh subah kabhi toh aayegi...


Richa said...


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