Independence, Still a Far Cry!

After 64 years of independence, I somehow feel a lot far from patriotic, because I wouldn’t like myself to be deemed as ‘unpatriotic’, or at least in the eyes of the public. As the Indian nation yet again unfurls its tricolour, I find very little reason to actually cheer. All those speeches about how India achieved her independence, those mundane parades in the capital, showcasing India’s heritage, etc, bring a creeping sense of hopelessness and a feeling of ridicule in me.

Seriously, what have we as a nation achieved since independence? Abject poverty, skyrocketing corruption , rampaging violence in its every corner, an incompetent judiciary, female feoticides, farmer suicides, honour killings, raging political ‘gundaism’ ,vandalism; nothing has changed ! From an ailing body, which India was at its independence, it has gradually, but surely transformed itself into an infested one, which I believe it, now is.

India with its burgeoning populace has about 250 million poor, which is a little less than the size of the US. Nearly one third of its people still survive on less than a dollar per day. Beggars throng the roads, every time we stop by the signal, blaring at us their brazen display of poverty. Street urchins, slums, shanties, with their proud residents performing their daily ablutions are very much a common sight in our towns and cities. And if I need to talk about social conditions of India’s remote villages, spare me the horror because after all this, I desist from dwelling into those details.

We boast of being the largest democracy in the world. But I ask you, what kind of a democracy are we, if we cannot ensure that even the most basic fundamental rights of our citizens are implemented in their true spirit? With our politicians fleecing money like bloodthirsty hounds from the common man and the laxity of the public officials in providing the basic facilities like food-grain, clean drinking water, quality education, the condition of the common man has far from improved in this impoverished, malnourished children and ‘ forever developing’ country of ours.

We have consistently hit rock bottom on the annual global transparency index. We stand 128 in human resource development index (1st being considered the highest) and 133th in woman empowerment index. India ranks among the top five nations with the highest aids concentration in the world. India has the highest concentration of the poor in the world. In fact, some states in our country are poorer than even those of the sub-Saharan Africa.

‘Satya meva Jayathe’, meaning truth always triumphs. This is supposed to be our national slogan. But, in reality, truth and justice in most of the cases has always been denied to its common citizens. Be it the case of the Bhopal gas tragedy which has been dragging on for almost an unbelievable two and a half decades now, or the horrendous recent Mumbai terrorist attacks, the victims and their families have since been living in the delusions of hope that justice would be done to them.

On the contrary, armed with money and political clout, the perpetrators of these crimes are let off with a slap on their wrists, while the aam aadmi continues to languish behind the bars of utter helplessness.

All that we care about today is to only achieve the two digit growth. This has become our sole plank to measure development. While the post ’91 economic policies have resulted in the nation’s industrial and economic progress ,improper administration and ineffective implementation of the welfare programmes by the all the governments since then (and up to now) have made the rich to grow only more richer, and the poor poorer. Hence it should come as no surprise to know that while India Inc. continues with it’s oversee acquisition spree, 40 percent of our country’s children flourish under severe malnutrition.

We are a country where hypocrisy has become our birthright. The colours of our national flag have never stood for what they actually meant, green for prosperity, white for peace and orange for sacrifice. Democracy in India has failed miserably. So, what kind of independence are we celebrating about? I suggest that on this independence day parade instead of showcasing our military might ,cultural heritage etc, why not we parade out our corruption, poverty, naxalism, poor infrastructure, so that the entire world could get a glimpse of our ‘Incredible India’ which it sure is!

Vishnu Charan