As we celebrate our Independence day, I ponder..

I had written this post last year. It still feels relevant today in the wake of our 66th Independence day. Re-posting the same with some changes.


We are celebrating yet another independence day tomorrow. But, 65 years after we freed ourselves from the oppressive colonial rule, can we call ourselves a free nation? We are a democratic and independent country, sure, but sadly only on paper. We are worse off today than we were during the colonial rule. At least they were not one of us. Today, although, we are governed (deceived) by our own people, we really cannot truly call ourselves a progressed or progressing nation. Sure enough we have progressed in some spheres but in the light of corroded values in the form of corruption, red-tapeism and nepotism, we still have a long long way to go.

Each day a new scam exposes a shameful state of affairs in almost every sphere of occupation. Black-money is stashed away in the tax havens of Swiss banks by leaders, corporate and influential individuals who have been squandering away hard-earned money of common public in broad daylight. The aam admi is struggling hard to meet ends even as he is battling inflation, bad civic management, poor economic policies, heavy and multiple taxes.

Housing prices are on a perpetual high making the basic necessity a mirage for many. Most residential areas are reeling under water shortage and poor sanitation conditions. Women call themselves empowered and liberated today. Are they truly so? Every day, some woman is stalked, threatened, raped, brutally murdered, molested, or just subjected to some other kinds of sexual harassment that may be equally humiliating and disturbing. Girl child is still not welcome in many so-called educated families too. We need not even mention the rural areas here. People obtain fake certificates and degrees without any difficulty, even in case where public life is at stake. We even have fake doctors performing life-threatening operations. Education is a rare commodity for under-privileged children. The government, sure, boasts of having announced a reform granting right to education. Only that, the amount of school-drop-outs far exceeds the enrollments. Teachers are under-paid and not motivated enough to uphold the nobility of this profession. Corruption has seeped into every quarter making it so common that it is almost being brushed off as something that is a given and needs to be put up with.

Problems exist in all countries, however the approach to deal with loop-holes in the system is what distinguishes a good and progressing nation from a stagnating and sick country. Sadly our ruling leaders seem to be vying to lead the nation in the latter category. While, we lack solid systems in place, even the existing policies are not being adhered to. The government seems to be reeling under the "Andher nagari chaupat raja" syndrome with its knee-jerk responses to counter the prevailing imbalance.

Such mediocrity and apathy by governing bodies notwithstanding, we cheer the rising (grossly misinterpreted, I think) economic rate and build it to the levels of it being enough to take us on the road to be a super power. Cricket matches become a platform to promote patriotism. People become dumb enough to cheer up on a superficial feel-good factor created by the over-active media from time to time. The media itself is a biased body which is affiliated to respective political parties. The news is largely filtered, with the facts twisted to suit the larger interests of the party it (the channel) serves. The truth however can be tracked if one follows the internet carefully (thanks to private and not-so-private blogs maintained by politically aware citizens).

On a positive note, some states like Gujarat are doing truly and enviously well. The Modi government, contrary to what the media might like us to believe, has done amazing work. Sadly not one news channel features a programme on this front.

When the civilians in Egypt and Libya went against the military governance of 30 odd years, we lauded and cheered them for their fearless and persistent struggle for their rights. We spoke at lengths about how each country should be a democratic one and how people should wage a war against unjust and extreme rulers. Closer home, do we really spend so much thought as to- are we free?
 
True, we are having spurts of civilian movement spear-headed by the likes of Anna Hazare and Baba Ramdev but the cynic in me wonders if these will indeed bring about the revolution we need. Will these be enough to awaken us from the slumber we are in? Are we, as a nation, ready to swallow the bitter pill necessary to cleanse our country and start afresh? Are we even willing to exercise our voting rights and vote for the right person? Are we as citizens truly motivated and involved to shed our comfort zone and participate in an internal freedom movement?

35 comments:

  1. Thought provoking post Uma... so true. We are celebrating 66th Independence day but what happened few days ago in Delhi ( I am referring to power failure) is not something which a developed nation would be facing.

    We are crippled with so many problems yet we seem to deny them and continue to run in the race only to lose badly...Sigh!! Wish your leaders would understand the harsh realities we are surrounded with

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    1. The problem of our leaders is that they are so rooted in making money and profit for themselves that they cannot think rationally when it comes to finding solutions to problems. No country is without problems but the attitude towards us people is what gets my goat and makes me feel hopeless.

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  2. and on top of that, we even have a compulsory off on Independence day..honestly do you think its worth it...I can understand the sentiment behind the leave when you really want to celebrate the joy of being independent..but 66 years down the line...do we need this? how many of us rejoice the independence day for its real reason...Most of us, including me, more look forward to it as a day of holiday *I stand at fault and I am ashamed!*

    Lovely post Uma,

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    1. Yes, sorry to say RM, am also someone who considers it as any other holiday. And considering the tight holiday bookings all over the country, am sure there are many others like you and me.

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  3. DOnt know WHY we are celbrating .. it shud be changed or renamed to "independance day from British" .. thats about it , because we are defenitely not independant.. and there is nothing ot celebrate I am all those who will be going to this function WHAT FACE will they take for the celebrations is what I want ot ask them ARE THEY BLIND

    or is it another case of CHALTA HAI


    Bikram's

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    1. It's all a matter of practice, I guess. Maybe some show of respect for at least a few hrs in a year to our country, that's it. I am not sure if there are many who even think as to why they do what they do.

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  4. Today itself my mom asked me, Tomorrow is independence day but how free are the women in India? There are soo many issues our country is grappling with...What is the Independence that we celebrate?

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    1. Don't know, Divya. Sometimes I really feel very dismal when I think of the situation. The recent news regarding women's safety is simple not worth cheering :-(

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  5. Very well written. Agree with you 100%. However, we are better than many countries. For example, this post would not have been allowed to be published in a few countries. The writer (you) would habeen incarcerated.

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    1. Ultimately we start looking out for whatever little good that remains and start to feel grateful for it. Shouldn't we be competing with better than us countries, SG?
      welcome here SG and thanks for the comment.

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  6. We do have freedom of speech and freedom to express our views and the right to vote. We have hell a lot of problems but there is still a flicker of hope .Thats what I feel.

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    1. Is there still hope, Jayashree? I'll go by your hope then.

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  7. Very well written post Uma. I feel the hope is extinguishing given things are going from bad to worse.

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  8. very well written uma.wish many people read your article and get motivated.....to go for a revolution...am i being too optimistic?!!!

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    1. maybe you are a little too optimistic here :-))) thanks, ma!! :-)

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  9. Superb post Uma!!
    True, we are in a very state of affairs .. I specially agree about quality education not being available to all and the gross neglect of the teaching fraternity .. That is the surest way to ensure that we remain exactly where we are or get even worse .. Can't agree more with you about the media too ..
    Do check out my take on this .. I have also celebrated independence day in my blog :)

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    1. thanks, Aarthy! did check out and commented :-)

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  10. It's the same thing every year, Uma! You know I might sound like a true betrayer but twice every year when public's patriotism awakens, it makes me sick! Really. To bring a change in the "System", first we need to change ourselves. And that is where we lack. Like you said, even educated families do not want a girl child. There are so many similar issues.

    An outsider might ponder why we keep voting the same political party to loot us over and over again. Our major strength and weakness is our population. Votes are bought for mere rs. 100 per family!!! And then there are the rest of us "educated" ones, who will never go vote, because they feel they are doing the right thing. I ask, what is the difference between those corrupt ministers and yourself if you don't vote? You are not doing your job, then why expect those lousy rats to do theirs?

    In fact, I think we are too free in our country. We freely bend and flout rules according to our whim. One blast and the security all over is tightened for 3 days max. 4th day all is forgotten. Once when I went into a mall, the lady sec checked my purse without even peering into it. She was chatting merrily with another guard. When I said check properly, she says "jao madam. Kuch nahi hai." What if I was carrying something dangerous with an intent to harm people? Would even her life be risked? She cared less.

    We need to curb the "chalta hai" attitude in us, which is way too rampant. We see the macro version of everything while forgetting to target the problem areas in micro regions. We need to begin from "me".

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    1. this "chalta hai" attitude is surely going to spell doom for us sooner than we think :-(

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  11. Very genuine concerns and so well articulated Uma! A law abiding citizen shudders to think of what lies in store with every passing day:( I only wish some wisdom prevails!!

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    1. I hope wisdom dawns before the doomsday, Rahulji!

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  12. A though provoking post indeed.. yesterday a lot people had their status messages saying "Proud to be an Indian".. but what are we proud of??? It's like saying "Sau mein se ninyaanwe beyimaan, fir bhi mera bharat mahan"!! Not just the government, even the people of this country(WE) need to change their mindset to bring an overall change..

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    1. People utter slogans without even pausing to think. The pride for the country emerges only twice a year with the television and media going overboard with patriotic songs playing all day!

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  13. I am very disillusioned personally, Uma!

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  14. We still have a long way to go.
    Such well-written piece Uma. So clear and crisp.

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    1. looong way is right, Divya..:-(
      thanks, Divya!

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  15. Excellent thought provoking and informative post UMA!!!
    on this day every year and all thorough out the year so many people rise their voice against such current situation, but just our leaders are totally blind towards all these!!! I sometimes wonder did we elect them!!!
    Uff it has tons of things to it :) let keep voicing our concerns hoping for the light to dawn upon the blind people!

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    1. The government, esp the current one, seems to have nose-dived into the act of plundering away the nation's assets with some single-mindedness. If they are not out thrown in the next elections, there would be no hope left.

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  16. Great post Uma. You've captured very well the state of our country after 66 years of independence. Democracy and secularism just don't work for us. There is not one single thing we can pick up and say we are proud off or stake a claim for an honest achievement. Gujarat is indeed an exception but nobody is blind to the role and antics of media and opposition parties to defame and bring down an honest, uncorrupt leader. Our leaders are not voted on merit and action but they buy their way to power and there are enough poor and gullible folks to bribe. And when we the educated do not vote it is indeed very irresponsible. I think we need some military governance or dictatorship - anything drastic to come out of this quagmire.

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    1. seriously, Vibha, some drastic steps are definitely needed to save us from getting ruined at the hands of these scamsters.

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