Happy 60th India

It took just 15 minutes. But I knew that for once it was real. What 12 years of schooling and an innate sense of identity couldn’t do, 15 minutes of contemplation did. And in my mind’s eye India came alive. It all started with Ms Pratibha Patil. I was fully prepared to write a scathing commentary on a presidential poll that underlined the integrity-less nature of Indian politics. But it never came. Somewhere the usual gave way to the unusual and unexpected. It’s I presume a bad time to feel and proclaim your love for your country and to actually write an article on it( even a 60 th independence day does not sound like a good excuse to bore you with another India –the-Great article)So anyway why not start from the presidential election itself. It might have been a shameless exercise in politics that is morally bankrupt but there is something more to it than what meets the eye. Shift your focus to the last presidential election where Dr. APJ Kalam, a renowned scientist i.e. respected figure, was the consensus candidate and (pinch yourself) maintained that reputation for his entire tenure as president. For a whole five years you almost believed the country had grown up, And here we are again!

I say we because we are after all a very ‘we the people kind’ of nation or simply democratic. Democracy may mean lots of different things to different people, but a non-prudish definition could be the right to, be wrong, to make mistakes, as people, and we sure have made many. The inconsistency that we display in our political affairs is a testimony of our youth as a nation. There is a crackling vitality about India, something or the other is always brewing beneath the collage of everyday life. We are dynamic, though not necessarily always in the progressive sense of the word. We are a country that is in battle with itself. It would of course be hard to validate everything that forms our history, but look a bit carefully and it becomes clear that India’s history is one, where we have always tried to take everybody along at all times. If not successfully there has at least been an effort. Our annals are not marred by a Holocaust or a Communist Repression, a war we started, or even a Great Depression.

How can you not love a country like this?

Frankly my generation is one which has been almost a movie audience to India’s past. We may admire the manner in which our nation has come together, but we can only love our country for what it is rather than was or is going to be. I never took to the word ‘patriotism’ partly because it’s so difficult to pronounce and more importantly because love is so much simpler easier, and something I feel capable of feeling. When I close my eyes, I see the country I have known, seen and lived in. It is not a day older than me. There is no kali like mother figure that flashes in my mind or a slave genie which shall provide for everything I want. A cross between parent and friend comes closest to describing India for me and somehow that’s what makes the relation a personal one. I for one know that neither my friends nor parents have ever come close to being perfect. It’s a notion I don’t seek to justify. I cannot ask you to love potholed roads, a piece of land or even a burgeoning Sensex, I can only ask you to look upon India for what it is. For what you are. An ambitious, reckless restless youth making its way in the world. But Living. For who knows life may begin at 60!

Malavika Vyawahare