How many years are we independent? Sixty-two years you say! Well your math is right. Have you ever consulted the dictionary to find the meaning of independence! Well you are not alone. Many of us assume we attained our independence in 1947! Are we really independent?
WHILE I was in my ninth standard, I read a quote of an eminent personality in our compulsory history book that sent a shiver down my body and mind. The quote was given on much awaited midnight of 14th august 1947 by our first prime minister who announced on radio that "Long year ago, we made a tryst with destiny, and now the time comes when we will redeem our pledge, not wholly or in full measure, but very substantially. At the stroke of the midnight hour, when the world sleeps, India will awake to life and freedom. A moment comes, which comes but rarely in history, when we step out from the old to the new, when an age ends and when the soul of a nation, long suppressed, finds utterance.... We end today a period of ill fortune, and India discovers herself again."
After that 62 years have passed with varied colours, India has also been gradually growing from its nascent stage each day. Now, standing on the 62nd year of its valued independence, I would like to draw your kind attention towards some issues that have been haunting me.
The first and foremost issue that occupies frequently is how independent we are in reality and whether we are really independent? Before Independence, we were ruled by the Britishers; for every purpose, we had to bow down in front of the foreign power. After much bloodshed, we got independence from the British, but undivided India was broken into two dominions – India and Pakistan. Though both of the two dominions were declared secular at the time of independence, Pakistan turned into an Islamic country. India has maintained the ideal of secularism till date as mentioned in the Constitution, ignoring all heinous attempts by some political organisations to make it a ’Hindu’ land. Every five years, we, the proud citizens of India, cast our votes and elect our representatives in the Parliament (the very citadel of democracy) and in the legislative assemblies. But the overall procedure of election is well known to us. Except for some major cities in India [where nobody go to vote by the way]election is considered neither a fair nor a peaceful event in the rest of our country. Booth-jam, rigging, terrorising the common masses to remain away from casting their vote and various other malpractices take place in order to secure maximum seats in those socially and economically backward areas. Casting a vote pressurised by some goons is equal to staying inside a prison and acting like convicts. After the voting, while the winner along with his/ her supporters conducts a rally, an imbecile like me also can’t suppress the laughter.
Earlier, we were under the British rule. With independence, a transformation of power took place. Those who were oppressed, deprived and neglected in those days, still remained the same. No change has appeared in their life style. The ’Sun of Liberty’ has risen for those who can move the stick and dominate over the less fortunate by any and all means.
Shocked! well Then tell me what will make you happy to call India an independent nation! That depends.A country cannot be independent till it can freely express its opinion and act based on its national and strategic interests. Is Iraq an independent nation? Why not? Well you say their Government is hand picked exiled puppets of America. Well it is true! Then who is Manmohan Singh? Can he or Sonia madam really oppose Iraq war knowing very well that Saddam was India’s real friend! Well why are we negotiating with Pakistan knowing very well what Pakistanis are up to! Well you will say it is better to live in peace with neighbors! Well that is what Pandit Nehru and Natwar Singh said in early fifties about Pancha Seal with China! Did the Chinese give a damn about India in 1962?
So what are the prerequisites of independence?First, we must be a self-sustaining nation with least dependence on foreign culture, money, power and influence. Let us start with culture – are we not eager to shed our “ego and parampara” and embrace the Americanism for money and status symbol? Money – isn’t our national reserve dependent on how much foreign money comes through foreign institutional investments? Let us take power – did we not withdraw from Kashmir border on insistence of America? Did we not settle in Kargil and not cross the LOC because of what the super powers will do in United Nation? Are we not compromising with China to keep America and Pakistan in check?
OK,for a moment lets forget about international relations.lets talk about basics ? After 62 years of independence, the Central government has failed completely to fulfill three basic needs of the common people – food, clothing and employment. At least 9.05 per cent of youth community are still fighting against ’unemployment’. Yojanas after yojanas arrived, a number of policies and plans were executed, but the water has remained stagnant.
Our Central governments as well as state governments shout a lot about development, but that is very much limited within the boundaries of the metropolitan cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Chennai and a few more. But what about the villages?Shortage of pure drinking water comes first in this list. May be the residents of A-1 cities/metropolitan cities get volumes of drinking water regularly through municipal corporation but those who dwell in the remote villages, strive daily for a bucket of fresh drinking water. Keeping apart Rajasthan, the only desert state of India, until you visit the villages of Orissa, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, Tamilnadu, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, you will not realise the level of distress. Everyday, women in groups from these places cover a long distance just to get one or two buckets of drinking water.
Electricity is the next issue. India is a country consisting of over six lakh villages. But alas! After sunset, a major percentage of Indian villages go under an impregnable curtain of darkness due to lack of electricity. Thermal power, hydro power, nuclear power...so much power, but still a large portion of Indian population lives without electricity.
Just read any newspaper thoroughly.It will be full of news of people getting starved to death.Such a news is nothing but a shame for India, which is globally known as a developing country. It is a striking fact that while a large amount of food grains are wasted each year, people starve to death due to non-availability of foods.
Ok lets forget about basics also.Let us peer deeper into ourselves rather than taking a dig at government and its functioning.What does we feel about independence? Do we feel we are independent?Let me tell you “yes” – we are independent according to the definition’s minimum benchmark. We have an independent army, our people think that we are independent and we have an independent political system and most important we are free to express ourself.
Still pondering about last point whether we are really free to express ourselves?Here are some of the many examples about our freedom.
1.Just check our independence during frequent power-cuts.What we do?We have a readymade solution to these problems, don’t we? We like to gather some angry friends, uncles and chachas and storm the nearest power office. There, when the heated arguments get hotter than the weather outside, we resort to throwing stones. Unfortunately, getting stoned is not what it is made out to be. Sticks and stones will break their bones but won’t get power into your homes.In return the power office workers also dont forget the matter,afterall they are also independent? Aren't they? So, they follow a strike and ultimately even with power present in stations it doesn't reach to our homes n then the process continues.Wow ain't it independence?
2.We are independent in raising voices against the racist attacks in far situated australlia and thus making situation more worse for our fellowmen present there.But wait aren't we racist? Well,more than aussies n americans i guess.But then why do we react?It's because we are so racist ourselves that we are so quick to react to a racist slur: it takes a racist to catch a racist. And our racism is colour-coded in black-and-white terms: white is intrinsically superior and desirable; black is inferior and undesirable.In the Indian colour scheme of things,black is far from beautiful.For us,fair is lovely, as those abominably tasteless TV commercials keep proclaiming: Don't get sunburnt, use skin whitening creams, or you'll end up dark and no one will marry you. (When did you last see a matrimonial ad seeking an 'attractive, dark-complexioned life partner'?).Even the trucks on our road had a racist comment on back of it ''buri nazar waale tera mooh kaala''.What more can we say it proves that being black is a sin n only bad people performs them.Our racism is largely, but not exclusively, based on colour. Caste is India's unique contribution to the lexicon of racial bigotry. Whether 'caste' - a result of cultural and social segmentation - can legitimately be conflated with 'race'.Then one of the latest racist item comes in our long menu-regionalism.well,less said is better[after all raj thacrey is also free n independent n he is just keeping his point.so,what if 100s lost their life].But then why we are over-reacting?we cannt stand racism racism because It reminds us disquietingly of the face we see in our own mirror.But then we are independent to even break that mirror or maybe change those eyes.
3.We are free to make movies like Newyork which justifies the terrorism yeah the same terrorism from which we are worst affected.We justify the concept and make that movie a blockbuster.Yeah i agree FBI was harsh that time but seeing the end result i dont entirely blame them.Afterall America hasnt suffered any terrorist attack after 9/11.Had our government taken such harsh or ok rude step we had been terror free also and i guess its better to feel the pain for 1 month rather than to reamin in contant terror for nearly one decade .But then we don't like our government,buerocrats to be rude no matter how much we became the same? still shocked just go with a 500 rupee to nearest shop and deamnd the change.see his face,what is rudeness may become clear to you.Even then if you doubt me,just remember the situation of second class compartment in train when in place of 4 ,six peoples sit n 7th one comes n says plzz adjust and then at next station the 8th one come n says the same the most quicker to react will be the 7th one.But then that's what we call freedom? isn't it?
4. Girls are free to wear what they want ,not what their parent's want.And in return we boys are free to make comment on them.yes even the biggest slap on humankind face the adam and eve teasing is nothing but a result of independence.
let me clear you I am not anti-independence.i also love to be independent.But my question remains the same.Are we really independent?
well,forget about our activities[some of them which i mentioned above].Just follow my advice.
Go through the streets of the metropolitan cities at night, you’ll find a number of homeless sleeping under the sky after day long hard work. Each day, these homeless come to your house to clear your dustbin, to clean your car or to polish your shoes
But we fail to provide those, with whose help we all are moving faster, a shelter. If your air conditioned car stands near a red light in a busy road, little hands holding some noted magazines appear outside the film-coated glass, begging for some money to have a piece of bread in lieu of these books. Girls fear to come out alone in cities as well in villages at night as they anticipate rape and molestation. Children are kidnapped for money; people vanish and then their dead bodies are found without kidneys and other rare organs. Blinded by religious fanaticism, one community mercilessly kills the other and pose as if they have done a feat.
So, are we really independent? We were under the bondage of British, and now we are under the bondage of poverty and darkness. If we are really free, then why are we still under the curtain of poverty and backwardness? Crackers worth of millions will be burnt on the eve of 62nd Independence Day, hope all the scars of negativity will be wiped away by the light and sound of firepower. Hope a new India, a real ’Independent – India’ will take birth again.