(pic courtesy : zabrigraphics.com via Google)
India celebrates its 67th Independence Day today. It was at midnight, on 15th of August, 1947, that Jawaharlal Nehru proclaimed India’s Independence from the British Raj with his “Tryst with Destiny” speech. That was India then. An India whose history was full of invaders from other countries, who settled in the country, claimed it as their own and set out to plunder its riches.
Here we stand today, 67 years later and yet, realist that I am, the one question that repeatedly resounds in my mind, is this :
Is India truly independent ?
What exactly is independence ? How would one define independence ? Is it freedom of thought, freedom of speech, freedom from subjugation, freedom from foreign rule. ? Is that it ? Is that all it is ? Yes, it is all of that and much more. Independence is not just about rights, it is about our duties to the nation as well. Independence is not just about a sense of belonging that we all profess to, but it needs involvement too.
Today, 67 years later, one realizes that the term “Independence” is not as objective as it seemed then. The journey to “true freedom” still continues in the country. For some sections of the society, women in particular, the path to ‘freedom and independence’ is just beginning to take roots in the country. Women are just beginning to recognize the need to establish an identity for themselves and evolve into a faction whose contributions towards the society and the country are recognized, accepted and acknowledged.
As an Indian, I am proud of our country’s heritage, of its history, of its rich culture and its ethnic ethos. However, that is not to say that I’m blind to the shortcomings in the country. It has saddened me many a times in the past, the way politicians now seem to be driving this great country into a downward spiral, rather than driving its youth to reach for the skies and beyond. The poor are probably just as miserable as they were when India attained freedom from the British Raj, national wealth is still being plundered (now by people within the country), social inequality is rearing its ugly head more visibly than ever before and we still have scores of social evils to contend with.
67 years after Jawaharlal Nehru’s Tryst with Destiny speech that ushered India into independence as a state, those high ideals and that sense of possibility that suffused the speech then, have more than dulled. Corruption has seeped into the very fabric of our constitution. The population senses a feeling of hopelessness and of late, this is not just a matter of perception – it is tangible reality.
At the risk of sounding like an idealist, what we, the people of India really need to start with, in an attempt to gain true independence is a change in attitudes and mindset. Our nation will become truly independent when thought processes become independent. People need to shed whatever narrow mindedness there is and in exchange, embrace broad mindedness which brings with it, a flow of positive thought and energy. It would have to start at the grassroots. It would have to start with people taking responsibility for their own actions, it would have to start with people refusing to give bribes and feed corruption in the country, it would have to start with people making their voices heard rather than staying quiet due to fear of a backlash.
We need to truly imbibe the spirit of those words that are imprinted at the base of the national emblem “Satyameva Jayate” (Truth Alone Triumphs). When I say “Satyameva Jayate” I do not mean Aamir Khan’s show on TV. I mean the actual essence that will lay the roots towards driving our country to true independence. Let truth triumph, Let the optimism in the minds of the people work towards strengthening the country, Let us be free of the negativities that are dragging us, as a people, down. May the youth be ever strong, inspired and motivated in moving towards an India that is progressive, strong and truly independent.
Vande Mataram !