Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Is India truly Independent?

On the Road to our 60th year of Independence, lets look back to see where we really stand.

Is India truly Independent? Mahatma Gandhi once said that only when women wearing all her jewels can go out safely at any time of the day, is India truly Independent. Yet 59 years after India got freedom from the British rule, she is yet to find her path to true Independence.

We talk a lot about India’s growth and achievements in the last six decades, we have at our disposal an array of Industries in every known sector and we’ve proved time and again about our potential to excel in all fields we lay our feet on. Our GDP has grown, we have become economically self reliant, and by all means we changed the way the rest of the world looks at us, and you bet I am proud of this. But the big question is “Are these just smoke clouds concealing the harsh reality beneath it?”

Let me illustrate, On 15 August 2006, in view of the Independence day celebration, the national capital was declared a No fly Zone (height of insecurity), Public coming to watch the parade were not allowed to bring their mobile phones, radios, and worse even water, the Prime Minister was on his way to address the nation, the whole area is fit with signal jammers, he travels in a bullet proof car, and his escort convoy was as dramatic as the parade itself. Are we calling ourselves Independent? Whom are we trying to fool?

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, respectfully known as Mahatma Gandhi, is the father of our nation, although I don’t subscribe to many of his Ideologies, he is definitely a National Icon in my eyes, but is the country anywhere closer to accepting his ideologies? Easier or hard, Gandhi was Instrumental in a non-violent freedom struggle and in creation of an independent India 60 years back, but on this very day every year, our Prime Minister accepts a Military Guard of Honor! Except on October 2nd when the youth remember him for many reasons but for his birthday, and our leaders garland his otherwise crow-befriended statue, we hardly recognize him and his much talked about contributions. Is Gandhi good enough only for the currency notes? A recent ad-hoc interview by a leading news channel of few of the members of our honorable Parliament revealed a lot of disheartening facts. Many didn’t know who wrote “Jana gana mana” or “Vande Matham” and more horrifying the full name of Mahatma Gandhi. When a question was asked to a sitting MP as to who wrote our national anthem, the MP said “There are many who wrote it, I am getting late for the parliament session, we’ll sit one day and I’ll tell you in detail who wrote what”, another MP was asked, “what is Mahatma Gandhi’s full name” and he replied “I call him with respect as Bapu, how can I spell out his name” and when he was insisted all he said was “um…mm…um…”, and we entrust these morons (forgive me for using an un-parliamentary word here) to decide our fate? Is this what we envision for Independent India?

India is the world’s largest Democracy, and we get a pat on the back for being “Of the people, by the people and for the people”, and till date the only contribution this democracy has give us is, over 900 political parties split across every division of Religion, caste, creed known to India. On an average every state in India has 30 political parties and more are coming up for every friction in ideology. Interestingly, close to 90 parties have the word “Congress” in their name in some position or the other. Surprisingly almost all of them will have a huge turn over when they make public speeches; it’s a shame when crowd is gathered for Rs. 25, a pack of Biriyani and a bottle of local liquor. The members who get elected may know nothing about economics and development but are masters of vote bank politics. It has more than just co-incidence that in most of the electorates, tickets are given to a person belonging to the religion or caste that has a vast presence there.

This was in news some days back, The Home Ministry ordered all the states to crack down a banned outfit that was linked to many terrorist activities in the country, but still one state gave a deaf hear to the order since election was round the corner. More recently when a death sentence was passed against the primary accused on the 12/13 parliament attacks, a section of people of Kashmir, many leaders and even the Chief Minister of Kashmir requested a Presidential pardon. When a minority religion after 60 year of being Indians suddenly said they won’t recite Vande Matham since the words meant worship the nation, the ruling party was more than happy to make it optional. Is this only because all of them belonged to a Minority religion? Is that community and votes bigger than the country itself? How many more days are we going to tolerate this cheap politics to woo those votes? People who know nothing about history and economics can write white-papers on hypothetical minority oppressions, demand for reservations in every place they know public have access to, and can talk hours together about (pseudo)Secularism, but still have no privy to what this polarization can cause to the nation. While India continues to fight anti-Indian Terrorist attacks in the north, anti-government militant attacks all over central, south-central and eastern regions, underworld dons controlling the western region, our humble representatives would be busy (just) playing blame games on one side and having high-tea on the other. Is this what Independence gave us? Did we free ourselves from the clutches of a lion only fall prey to a vampire?

Yes, India has grown multifold, its is an emerging superpower, we did have over 8% growth for the past five years, but we still are fighting our battles and until every Indian starts to think rationally, every step we take towards a better tomorrow, we will be finding far more powerful issues to deal with. It is as the saying goes, “It’s the duty of science to make better mouse traps, and it’s the duty of nature to create smarter mice”.

Jai Hind.


If you were wondering whether I’d said that I was back or was I showing my back after my over hyped “I’m back” article way back in August, we’ll I am not to be totally blamed. My office in India blocked all blog sites and message boards and my home system was down with viral fever for a long time giving me no access to the site. I just got past one hurdle and wanted to show my attendance.
Expect more soon!