Let’s Free India

India: a land of myriad cultures, where emotions transcend the borders to form a unified diverse land; my country, my pride.

Let me clarify before I even start, I love my country. The smell of earth right after it has soaked the pouring rain, the way the tricolour swirls in the centre of Cannaught Place in Delhi, the fragrance of Hyderabadi biryani, the tangy flavour of Gol Gappas (Indian street food) — every single moment here is cherished. It is a land where different traditions come together to unite in one single strand of diverse joy.

Despite of cherishing all the things that I love about my nation, we have come to inculcate certain habits that are shamefully painful. As India celebrates its 68th year of Independence, I reflect at those habits that we as Indians need to let go off, irrevocably.

Spitting or urinating on roads

Found exclusively in India, the habit of treating the country as a personal wasteland has become a normality. Have an urge to pee? Move down the zipper, turn your back to the road and pretend they can’t see you just because you have averted your eyes. We all know this isn’t an uncommon sight. At times I wish we could all gather guts and go about humiliating those who urinate on roadsides like Nargis Fakhri did in the movie Rockstar.

A sincere message needs to go out to those who use sidewalks as urinals. It’s high time that these people learn to hold it in and utilise the urinals and public washrooms that have so generously been provided by the government.

Pushing on the metro

Time surely is money in metropolitan cities these days; we are all in a hurry to do things, to reach somewhere. But does that justify pushing people in the metro and acting like it’s one’s personal battle of Sparta?

Not only is this exceedingly annoying, but potentially dangerous as well.

Throwing garbage

Picture this: You are driving in the city and suddenly a bunch of wrappers, fruit peels, peanut shells are seen flying around your car. An outsider would probably think it’s magic, but that’s just another fallacy of the Indian mind. We’re so accustomed to immediately rolling down our windows and discarding our waste that if anyone actually tries to correct us, they’re laughed at. Personally I’ve been called kabaadiwala (junk dealer) innumerable times by my family members.

But if we think it’s our right to crib about how dirty the roads are, we must realise it’s our duty to stop ourselves and others from dirtying the sidewalks. Nobody expects you to carry a broom around and start sweeping the roads, but saving the wrappers for the dustbin that’s making desperate pleas of “Use Me”, is surely not something difficult to do.

Writing on historical monuments

Enough has been said about this already. One may love Sheena or Meena, and may not be able to live without Chintu or Pintoo. This however does not need to be expressed on the walls of historical monuments.

Historical monuments adorned with declarations of love are not in any way funny or romantic. These monuments are meant to be signs of national heritage. Marring them with markers and paints is nothing short of a lowly disrespect.

Restricting and objectifying women

Once again allow me to emphasise on how nauseating it is to be glared at with roving eyes  every time I board one of the local buses. Every time I want to get out from the house even if it’s for just a walk or to the market close by, I’m told, “Bhaiya ko saath leja” (Take your brother along) because he can protect me. No, woman is a commodity and contrary to your belief, regardless of what I’m wearing, I’m not provoking to get raped.

As a country, we need to change our mindset. I’m not weak because I’m a female. Frailty is surely not a characterizing feature of every woman.

It’s time we let go of the “chalta hai” (It’s a normal thing) attitude and actually harbour on a change. We love with our hearts, but are we ready to accept our faults and work on them?

Watch this short film by Allu Arjun created on the occasion on the 68th Independence Day with the title “I Am That Change

Vichaar kijiye (Think about it).

Arushi Walecha

[Image Source: http://www.harapnuik.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/gandhi-be-the-change-quotes.jpg]