JUST 71 YEARS YOUNG

about 1 year ago
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On the eve of India’s Independence Day, we can at least say that the Parliament does function in Independent India.

We have completed 71 years of Independence and we cannot help but wonder where we are headed. Animosity with Pakistan has only increased with time and China is also back to bullying. And forget the tensions at border, internally, there is today so much turmoil. The same Congress which was the savior 66 years ago is today a sham. 

For the next generation, this Independence Day means just a holiday and the relevance of what our forefathers went through is not even comprehensible. But then it is understandable given the progress we have made on all fronts – economic yes but socially we have a long, long way to go to claim that Bharat lives in an independent India.

The Indian economy is doing OK but the Indian rupee seems to be celebrating the Independence day year by getting down into the 70s! Inflation on paper looks good but the reality is that value of rupee for an Indian within India has never been so low. Petrol and diesel prices are hurting while the price of vegetables and fruits is worrisome.

No doubt, India is safer than the neighbouring countries; we do have internal strife but there is no anarchy. We are a very cohesive and relatively stable country. Foreign investors do not fear for their lives when they set shop or invest in India; they only fear the ever changing rules and laws of the Govt. Our children can think of a future in India and education is good.

But at the same time, we cannot deny the falling values. Prices are high but values are at rock bottom. Corruption remains the big blotch and at least today, we cannot imagine living a corruption-free life. This is a big fall from 1947. Ditto for the leaders. Look at the quality of leaders we had then in 1947; their set of values were to die for. Today, when we read their stories, we cannot help but wonder whether such leaders, with such ideals, did really exist? 71 years down the line, we still cannot help but wonder about today’s leaders – how can they have no ideals and values?  This change in the quality of leadership is what is reflected in our free country today.

India has indeed come a long way since 1947 but the fact remains that we still have a teeming population and hunger, even after so many years, remains a big issue. The British planted the seed of communal disharmony, dividing the country on religion and 71 years later, this ugly seed has grown into a huge man-eating tree.

Ironically, we call our country ‘Bharat Mata’ but we do not respect the women of the country. For a girl, there is a fight for survival right since the time she comes into the womb. If and when she is allowed to come to life, then there is the fight against predators, right from an infant to old age.  

71 years ago, we knew who the enemy was but today, we do not know who all are the enemies. How rightly Winston Churchill had said in June 1947, just before India was to get Independence, “Power will go to the hands of rascals, rogues, freebooters' all Indian leaders will be of low calibre and men of straw.  They will fight amongst themselves for power and India will be lost in political squabbles".

Sad to admit this but his words proved to be prophetic. Yet, having said all this, can we deny the deep rooted patriotic feeling in our heart, the way our eyes water up the moment we hear a patriotic song or see our flag fluttering and hear our national anthem when our sports athlete wins a medal, even if it’s a bronze. Yes, the feelings we have for our country are as strong as what we feel for our mother…. we alone have the right to criticize her but will not tolerate anyone else doing that!  Yeh jo desh hai tera, swadesh hai tera…..

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