“The future beckons to us. Whither do we go and what shall be our endeavour? To bring freedom and opportunity to the common man, to the peasants and workers of India; to fight and end poverty and ignorance and disease; to build up a prosperous, democratic and progressive nation, and to create social, economic and political institutions which will ensure justice and fullness of life to every man and woman.“
That is an excerpt from the landmark, “Tryst with Destiny“, speech delivered by Jawaharlal Nehru towards the midnight on 14th August, 1947. 67 years hence, the statement is still work under progress. We definitely have come a long way since then but we are not complete. No nation would be! Nation building and integrity development is a never ending machinery which will go on and on. All that we can do is to lubricate the gears to catalyze events. But it seems that the lubricant employed by our honorable representatives is of mediocre quality and doesn’t quite help in reducing the friction.
Partly, this might be because the vigor and fervor of attaining Independence has been forgotten. Subject to severe oppression, our ancestors sole objective was Swaraj back then. When it was attained, was there any more need to carry on the movement? The leaders felt there wasn’t. But what if, it was still kept active to check indigenous oppression? The British were so good at being bad, that we forgot our own internal evils. Not to forget age old political parties, which were initially formed for an immense cause, for example the INC (Indian National Congress) in 1885. Congress stood for what is right and employed moderate and sometimes extremist methods to corner the imperialist regime. Look at the INC circa. 2014. Its worthy of mention for all the wrong reasons. Likewise any other party, whose staple diet has been vote bank politics. We don’t care about the people of the country anymore. Win an election, loot for 5 years and then the cycle is continued, probably by some other party the next term.
But I am plainly surprised at why, we as a brothers and sisters and proud citizens of India keep quiet about this kind of oppression? Does it not fall under oppression too? Is it enough for us to feel patriotic only on August 15th and January 26th of every year? Is it enough for us to light candles and walk to the India Gate only when something terrible happens? Does something have to be really heart wrenching to wake you up? Isn’t regular dishonesty and cheating enough? Or is it that, we have elected our representatives and they are Indian, they are allowed to be corrupt and dishonest? Or, maybe we are way too busy to care for the well being of our nation!
Somehow, considering the frequency of crimes, scams and utter lack of ethics and values at all levels of society gives a clear indication of the immense failure of our constitutional democracy. I respect the founders of our nation, for drafting a really amazing constitution, but the essence and the life has been lost over the years. Rather, we aren’t producing good enough leaders who can stand firm and carry on the legacy!
Dr. Rajendra Prasad, the president of the Constituent Assembly, had this to say:
” If the people who are elected are capable and men of character and integrity, they would be able to make the best even of a defective constitution. If they are lacking in these, the constitution cannot help the country. After all, a constitution like a machine is a lifeless thing. It acquires life because of men who control it and operate it, and India needs today nothing more than a set of honest men who will have the interest of the country before them. There is a fissiparous tendency arising out of various elements in our life. We have communal differences, caste differences, language differences, provincial differences and so forth. It requires men of strong character, men of vision, men who will not sacrifice the interests of the country at large for the sake of smaller groups and areas and who will rise over the prejudices which are born of these differences. We can only hope that the country will throw up such men in abundance.”
I guess that is rather self explanatory and hints at what I have been talking about all the while. Yes, you can blame me too for writing something of this nature on a very HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY. You can ostracize me for being a traitor. But, let me tell you that, I am as patriotic about my nation as any one of you! Should I be happy on this Independence day for being freed from the British rule or for being chained a second time by my own countrymen? All of us might not be leaders, but we could be men of strong character and vision and support the right leaders.
Let us become men and women who will not sacrifice the interests of the country at large for the sake of our own development and well being. You might have led a wonderful and wealthy and healthy life but probably at the cost of 1000s of fellow countrymen. Wake up and think twice before you indulge in such activities.
Dressed in my Levis Jeans, a Benetton shirt and sporting RayBan aviators, I stop my car on a hillock and look down on the valley below and say this to myself:
” Mother India. On this day, the 15th of August, 2014 and in fact, any other day, I promise that I will be a man of character and vision and make you proud. Jai Hind!”