Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Independence Day

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. 


  1. Well-put!
    True Aarthy, we need to change to bring about the change we need to see around us.
    You've raised valid points here. But somehow I feel perhaps you are hinting at an idealistic rather than realistic society. We are a nation where most of us are still aspiring to get to the better of the best in all possible spheres. There is no basic standard of living. The benchmark is rather too low is most faculties of life. Imagine the government saying Rs. 32 per day is enough to stay above poverty line!
    When even the basic lifestyle is not set, it is a rat race where nobody is willing to think for the fellow human being. The basic groundwork or foundation needs to be laid down by the government for they are supposed to be the repository for funds and resources to carry it out. Only when the average man has some respite from the daily battles for basic necessities, can he even be educated about doing his bit for his neighbour. Maybe am being too cynical here but this is my opinion..:-)
    There has to be stricter norms for corporates who keep flouting the business rules and have no ethics. Only when the corrupt are put behind bars, will a precedent be set for the next generation who will perhaps go beyond the profit making motive and serve the lesser fortunate ones. But when the law makers and law breakers are hand in glove where does one start in cleansing the system?
    Education system needs a complete overhaul in terms of changing the rigid mentality of choosing one's stream based not on interest or aptitude but on score cards. Higher education needs to be affordable and the quality needs a lot to improve.
    sorry for the mini post here. :-)

    1. You are correct Uma .. There are a lot of problems that infest our country and a lot that the government ought to do ..

      All am saying is, instead of asking for things that are not in our control(namely Government officials, policies, loop holes and atrocities in practice) to change, we can look at what we can do ..
      Am not even thinking of an end state here .. Am only suggesting that we do our bit .. Let it not work, we still would have tried .. Which is much better compared to inaction from our side as well .. If we also do nothing about it, what then is the difference between us and the flawed systems around us ?

      I may not be able to adopt a village,but I may be able to do my bit to teach a few children .. Or teach a vocation I know to a few women ..
      And maybe it will have a ripple effect that will go to create a better future(If not for the entire country, atleast for those few whom I managed to touch)I may not live to see it .. But for my part, I would have atleast sown a few seeds .. The seeds may sprout out or die .. I do not know .. But I would have still taken that step forward .. What if it does work?
      As they say 'A journey of a 1000 miles begins with a single step' ..
      Let us not hesitate to take that first step is what I want to say ..

      I have written a mini post too :)
      Thanks for the comment!

  2. Liked your post aarthy.
    I think where we met amiss was in the very beginning, where nehru adopted a mixed economy model. A developmental state model such as singapore or other east asian nations who were also in the same situation as us in 1947, would have helped us in gradually moving towards a welfare state as we grew richer. Perhaps by now with proper planning we would be a rich country which provided for the poorest of its citizens so that no one went hungry, unclothed or homeless!
    Easier said than done isn't it? :) It's so easy to suggest solutions in hindsight!
    I am with Uma in believing that the govt first needs to lay a solid foundation to take care of necessities for every citizen. Unless that happens, the 'trickle-down' effect is not going to work seamlessly. But agree with u that we all have to do our bit without waiting for the former to happen (who knows how long that will take?!!!)

    1. True Aparna .. We seem to have gone amiss all through our journey .. Am not sure if the choice of adopting a mixed economy was really wrong .. Anything can go wrong if not adopted and implemented properly and if we have people with vested interests in power as is rampant now ..
      And going by the fact that the Government has till date not succeeded in providing basic necessities for every citizen, I feel we must do what we can, rather than imitating them by doing nothing .. We should bring about a state of affairs where the government is embarrassed into action looking at the positivity of the people in thought and action .. An instance of such a situation is explained in the article to which I have given a link in this post .. It is connected with a service project taken up during the Orrisa floods ..
      The little bit that each of us can do may not change things overnight .. But it can still make life better even if it is in a very very small way .. Who knows, maybe it will bring about a big change when each of our small efforts add up!! Even if it doesn't, we still tried and are not guilty like the systems we blame .. So lets do it :)
      Thanks for your thoughts on this :)

  3. I think the major problem with a country like ours is - lack of or zero understanding of its people towards the society and the country. No one actually understand their responsibility.
    Roots of corruption are deepest in India.

    Nicely written and vry thotfull post!!
    :) :)

    1. Thanks Prasoon!
      That is a valid point .. We do not understand our responsibilities .. Even if we do, it is not a priority for us .. Sad but true ..
      Thanks for the comment and welcome to this space :)


An attempt to break a hiatus - The A to Z Challenge

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