The birth of a Nation

I do need to apologize for not being more current with my posts. I have had ideas fade in and out, as life trudges along in a mechanical fashion ( the forthcoming trip to India maybe a saving grace). I have finally decided not to let this thought fade out. As India celebrates its 58th birth anniversary, the times surely have changed.

Its that day of the year again in India and the Indian diaspora abroad. Time to wear their patriotism on their sleeve (for a day of course). I remember wearing the paper flag on my shirt pocket and attending the flag hoisting either at school or the apartment complex. It was day to remember long forgotten hero’s and their sacrifices only to forget them the next day. I may sound a little pessimistic but that’s the ground reality.

The last couple of days I have received emails and read articles on independence day, most of which seem to run along on just two thought streams. One talks about how proud you have to be an Indian and why you should not leave the country … blah blah … a lot of idealistic stuff that everybody needs a shot of once in a while. The only thing is in all the idealistic and patriotic fervor they forget the ground realities. And are content with making sweeping statements about the rest of the people with a holier than though attitude. The other line of thought is the pessimistic one blaming “the man” or actually blaming the politicians on how wrong our freedom has been used. They have a ready target – the politician – for all of India’s ills while taking no responsibility for their own actions.

I agree to both schools of thought, but think that they fall short of being pragmatic or making a difference. People in general are ready to be patriotic and do great things as long as it doesn’t cause them any discomfiture. Everybody wants a change but nobody is willing to bear the cost.

Born as it was after the second world war and in the midst of strife, both internal and external. The large behemoth of a country like India was indeed a hard place to govern for novices. The strides that the country has taken so far alludes to the common man’s determination to rise inspite of the system. It was born during a time when socialism was only way to go for a country that had been broken by the capitalistic nature of imperialistic western power. The fact that it has embarked on the path of capitalism speaks of progress. Though the path so far has been full of great and ambitious dreams, poor planning and worse execution.

Sometimes I wonder and I know a sizeable amount of people would agree that we have only exchanged a foreigner’s yoke for a domestic one. The amount of corruption that has permeated the society is alarming for such a fledging young country. Some might take offense to the term young country, claiming the inheritance to a 5000 year old civilization. But the fact remains that as a nation state India is relatively young. Corruption is a scourge that most countries face specially the developing ones. It is also one of the evils that cannot be blamed on external forces. Some people are content with putting the blame on politicians, while at the same time gloating on the fact that India is the world’s largest democracy, which if true puts the blame squarely on the people’s shoulder for electing such politicians. If you want the vicious cycle of corruption to stop then you need to stop giving bribes. If there is nobody to take bribes then there wouldn’t be anybody to take them.

The other major factor that keeps a lot of Indian’s down apart from corruption is dwelling on the past. If you want to move forward then we need to stop resting on our laurels and being satisfied easily. I have received a lot of emails from time to time about how Indian’s created the number system thousands of years back and all the other things that happened thousands of years back. Because none of those matter too much now. If Bill gates says India has potential then the media is full of that quote and everybody is happy. It doesn’t matter that we have potential unless we realise that potential. We as a country need to be willing to take risks, instead of being content of going down the beaten path. Even now kids are only give three choices – doctor, Engineer or IAS. So who the heck is going to teach ? I am not even going to talk about dowry, caste or religious issues (I have spoken on those before and anyways this post would never end then). We also need to realise that men were not made for traditions but traditions were made for me.

And the most sensitive subject of all, Kashmir. The right wing needs to accept the ground realities and not expect a miracle in the form of a akhand bharat ( we are definitely not going to annex two ailing countries). Also the people need to see through the politicians using Pakistan as beating horse to cover their own pathetic economic and domestic decisions. Pakistani ISI is easily blamed for most of India’s problems (they do cause some) while the domestic terrorist is let go or even better given a government post! I wish they would spend more money on revitilising the agriculture sector than they spend on nuclear weapons.

Now that I have vetted my anger on the system(or the man as some prefer), I can go on to the good parts. I am proud of the changes specially in the last couple of years that has taken place in India. A change that allowed a middle class person like me to go to a foreign country to study, which was previously only the prerogative of the filthy rich or well connected. India is an experience … a lifetime experience. The diversity that is present in it is incomprehensible to somebody that has not been there. The fact that each state has its own language and culture makes it rich in culture. As I have written before I have done quite a bit of driving in the US and the thing that irks me the most is that I get the same burger King of McDonald everywhere I go. It wouldn’t be the same in India, which adds to the spice of it all. Sometimes that makes me wonder how we survive as a country at all? Inspite of the various religious tensions caused by extremists, it is truly a secular country, not by removing religion out of its life but by integrating it(religion) into its fabric, a fact that the second largest democracy(US) finds hard to digest. Some people make fun of the honour system, of paying respect to elders, of following the family dikat (right or wrong), forgoing individual happiness for the greater common good … I could go on … that make life worth living. Those are the things that money can’t buy that, and you would see a lot of those around here.

Here’s to India hoping that

  • more people will take risks,
  • sports other than cricket will be patronised (First need to kill the bureaucrats in those associations),
  • people will stop giving bribes and taking them too (dowry is bribe)
  • people will not be satisfied with mediocrity or even good
  • the young will not be disrespected for their idealism
  • the old will be respected for their wisdom
  • people will not allow just scoundrels to be politicians
  • people will not be satisfied with election gimmicks
  • caste would be rooted out
  • dowry would be rooted out
  • people will know who has the power
  • people will not kill me for saying the things I do 🙂

in the coming years

Jai Hind

Vox populi, vox dei


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