Being away from home on Independence day makes a person do weird things. I was all pumped up to watch the Prime Minister’s address at 3:00 am in the morning when I remembered last year and decided to celebrate Independence Day a little differently this year. Thank you Facebook and all my friends who search the web for videos relevant to the day! If it weren’t for you’ll I wouldn’t have found the video that made this year’s Independence Day the most inspiring so far. (Check the video attached. If it doesn’t move or inspire you, you don’t even have the emotional range of a teaspoon!)
I’m not one of those people who suddenly realises the greatness of their motherland on moving to another country. I’ve always loved India and no country could come close to commanding the affection that I have for Mera Bharath Mahan! One thing I do understand now is the reason for the state of our country.
All day today, I’ve read posts about how our country, despite it’s 66 years of freedom, is in strife. About how we’re at war both outside and within our borders, the corruption that is plaguing our government, the loss of law and order, the lack of progress, and the list goes on and on. I’ve also had my rants where I’ve complained above all the above and added a few concerns of my own. But why is that this is all we ever do? Complain?
Roads are not proper – what’s the PWD doing? Eve-teasing – where’s the law and order? Another new government scam – all politicians are thugs! Never do we look for a solution, only look for the next scapegoat. If it’s not within the four walls of my compound then it’s the problem of the government. Well, if it’s the government you want to blame then save your breath and blame yourself first. It’s you who chose the government didn’t you? Or wait a minute, did you? Either way you’re to blame – either for choosing someone incompetent or for letting someone incompetent be chosen.
If you really paused to take a look around, you’ll realise, how many of the things you complain about you can fix by yourself. Take a moment and question yourself – did you pay the tax this year? if you did, were you completely truthful when you filled your taxes? have you ever slowed down for a yellow light? stopped people who were bothering a girl? given your seat to a senior citizen on the bus? Most of these questions will be answered with a no. Why is that? Why are we like this?
We’ve become a timid people. Gone is the fire that raged in the heart of every Indian to overthrow the yoke that was holding them enslaved. Gone is the passion that ignited the minds and souls of the young and old alike, to rise in rebellion against a foreign empire. The fire is now replaced by submission or greed. We either sell ourselves to the highest bidder (yes I’m pointing at you, who said that once you became someone you’d do something but got side tracked by your 5 digit salary, swanky apartment and expensive car) or submit ourselves to the daily grind (and now I’m talking to you, mindless drones, who are satisfied as long as your salary covers your food, gadgets and liquor)
What happened to the land, “where the mind is without fear and the head is held high”? We are confined to posting about the greatness of the yesteryear India and cribbing about today’s India. We forget that no nation is perfect. It is up to us, the citizens, to make it perfect. Yes we have our flaws, but which country doesn’t? I’m not being an idealist. Far from it! But if we for a moment reflect on the words of our national anthem as we sing it today, or about the significance of each colour of our Tricolour as it flies high and proud, how can you not feel moved and angered by the condition we’ve confined ourselves to?
We are a free people! But we continue to confine ourselves to the fetters of laziness and indifference while shirking our responsibilities and looking for people to blame for our problems. It is time to break those bonds that chain us to the past and make our own future! Take a stand today and make a difference. Let it be however small a step, but a step it is. Help an old lady cross the road, give your seat to that pregnant lady you see standing, educate a child, the possibilities are endless and the progress immeasurable. We are a land of a billion people. If each of us we to take the tiniest of steps each, imagine the step it is for India. As Neil Armstrong once said, “One small step for man, a giant leap for mankind.”
Today, I take an oath. I make this promise to my country and myself, that within the next 5 years I WILL make a difference. I am here today because my country has afforded me the right to education and an equality of status. Two rights which seem so common place today but which are still a dream to so many. I will be involved in the uplifting of the women and children of our country. It may just be one woman or child at the end of 5 years but I will have guaranteed my country of at least 1 future. After all, actions are supposed to speak louder than words.