“Long ago, we made a tryst with destiny, and now the time comes when we shall redeem our pledge, not wholly or in full measure, but very substantially. At the stroke of the midnight hour, when the world sleeps, India will awake to life and freedom.”
-Jawaharlal Nehru, on the eve of India’s independence
Have we really redeemed this pledge? Yes, we definitely have. We are 61 years free and are still going strong. From the difficulties faced post-independence to liberalization, India deserves a pat on the back for such marvelous progress.
It hasn’t been a very smooth journey, we have faltered many a times but have risen and fought back with equal potency. At this juncture, India’s economy is flourishing and is at par with almost any other developed country. One such recent example is inflation, which is rising at break-neck speed and has close competition with China. So, welcome aboard the India of 2008.
Long ago, if one had to visualize Indian women, the first image which would cross our mind would be of sari-clad ladies toiling hard to complete the household chores. Is this the same anymore? The modern Indian woman is an ideal to many. Not everyone has the art to balance official as well as household work with such effortlessness. But, I have always felt that an Indian woman still has to fight with her family, her colleagues and with the society at large, for her rights. If she cannot fight, she has to live a life that is dictated by others.
Being a country earlier known only for poverty and malnutrition, India now boasts of a well equipped software industry and has made a name for itself in the manufacturing sector too. A recent report by Goldman Sachs says that by 2050, the US economy will fall to third place in the world pecking order, eclipsed first by China and then by India. But even after achieving enormous success, we still have to overcome numerous obstacles to reach the pinnacle. Furthermore, there is still one question to be asked; is India really respected in the global arena? Put on your thinking caps, do people really appreciate its progress?
Unfortunately, the answer is no. The other day, I happened to meet a friend of mine who had come down from the United States and we happened to talk of India’s reputation abroad. And of all that she spoke, I realized that India is still associated with snake charmers and rule-breakers, and I was extremely shattered. Why is it that India has to always bear the brunt of being called a backward state time and again? Why can’t it get its share of praise that it deserves? In my view, the problem lies in us. The recent Parliament sham further contributed in hampering the image of our country which was telecast worldwide, on BBC and CNN. The conduct of our leaders really gave a lot away. Why are we doing this to our ourselves and our nation and in the end, not taking the blame? We must critically examine the areas where we are lagging and work towards the betterment.
I feel Independence has a deeper meaning than just a mere national holiday. It is about going ahead and taking risks; about keeping the spirit alive. It is all about working for the betterment of our people and our country, and, most importantly, learning from our past mistakes. So let us get together and salute our Indian spirit and vow to keep it alive forever…
Happy Independence Day!