It has been 65 years since we broke free from foreign rule. We certainly have managed to uphold the democratic system that was established then, impressively. Yes we have a hundred shortcomings. But still, I remain proud of this ancient and great nation of ours that has always been a storehouse of wisdom and knowledge, both worldly and spiritual. And considering the fact that we have no dearth in terms of ability, it is my heartfelt wish that we put all that we have to proper use and shine forth as a beacon light among nations.
Looking at all the poisonous weeds that infest our country, I feel change is required at the level of the individual as much as it is required at the level of society, governing bodies and support systems.
First of all, as a country, we have unwanted norms for every possible sphere in life – ‘best’ fields of education, ‘respectable’ occupations, ‘right time’ for each stage in life. We are hopeless conformists. We have a big group of people who criticize the cream of our students going abroad to toil in foreign lands. But tell me, do we as a nation foster and encourage innovation like they do in other countries? Forget the nation, will the family of that brilliant student encourage him/her to do research in a field that he/she is passionate about in spite of the fact that returns may be delayed?
We are so scared of taking risks. We will walk only those paths that have been cleared up, swept and mopped clean with sign posts put up every meter. We want to be safe even if it means doing something we totally detest or find unbearably boring. God created every human being as a unique sculpture of his. Each one has certain inherent abilities. In the overall plan that he drew for the world, he ensured he sowed the seeds for a nice wholesome picture by creating people with different abilities so that every avenue of life on earth is taken care of. And here we are, working right against it, making clones of that ‘acceptable’ shape thus destroying the unique pieces. And this is precisely the reason why most of us work for foreign firms, for, we do not allow our own people to take a risk of starting one. We want to be safe all the time.
The other major problem that we have is the largely self centred lives that we live. That, according to me is a major reason for the disparity in living conditions of the people. We can see slums lurking around every posh area in the city. The posh area remains posh or gets posher. But the slum remains down in the dumps. The majority of our country lives in the villages. We, in the cities are busy populating the roads with the best international brands of cars and flooding our markets with the latest gadgets from around the world while the majority in the villages do not even have clean drinking water. Only the metro cities getting better and better can in no way compensate for the impoverished millions. India will still remain backward as long as the people in the villages suffer for basic necessities. Maybe we can think beyond enriching our lives and think about doing our bit to make life better for these people who are the very heart and soul of this country. We could educate their children, spread awareness about basic health and hygiene or help train them vocationally.
Next comes the media. That great power house which has such a wide reach but is hell bent on spreading negativity as much as it can. The media has a huge responsibility for it bombards the people with ideas. They condition our thinking and suggest opinions for us to hold in life. That being the case, imagine the damage they are doing to this nation by thoughtlessly spreading negativity!! How much of interest they take in digging into a celebrity’s personal life!! If they could show just half of that in highlighting the good things that still do happen in our country, they will be taking a major step in bringing this country forward. How many of us know about the mammoth village projects done by the Sri Sathya Sai Seva organisation? Or about the two super speciality hospitals where world class medical care is given completely free of cost to everyone in need who enters its portals. (There are many other such instances in our country. I am talking about the one I know. You can read more about it here) It is very sad that the powerhouse which provides our people with information and plays such a huge role in shaping their thought process gives absolutely no thought to the damage they are doing. I am amazed by this open show of social irresponsibility.
There is a big endless list in wait if we want to pursue the problems that plague our country. But what I want to bring to light is that first step that we as individuals have to take. We need to come out of our conditioned thinking and re-evaluate it. We have to start living not just for ourselves, but for the people around us too. We must shun the negativity that is thrown at us in the form of news and seek and take to heart only the ones that are worthy of our attention.
To me, India will become truly independent, the day the question of ‘engineer or doctor’ ceases to be put to a child that has barely learnt to talk, the day we take conscious efforts to bring up the people around us as well, the day we start shunning negativity that abounds around us thereby forcing the ‘systems’ that spread it to change their ways. For my country to change, I have to change first.