Independent India at 67: Reflections from the Other Side   Leave a comment


Independence is a free and positive state of mind animated by strong and healthy social, cultural, political and economic factors that surround it. There’s still a higher and noble Independent state of mind which is when we all are free from the excessive physical attachments and desires, selfishness and self-interests, and selflessly work for our nation and its building in its truest sense!
Happy Independence Day wishes to all those who have a reason to celebrate it!
Special day to remember all our martyrs who laid down their precious lives in order to give us a reason to live and to struggle with renewed vigor!
Hope this overwhelmingly graceful day inspires us to get more and more new vistas of meaning for the word ‘Independence’, and to take all along in our long march towards glory!!

 

Any serious discourse on an important subject which has a bearing on society, and tries to reflect it, must have two sides, both bright and dark, just like the two sides of a coin. Many from the educated class always prefer to stay in their comfort zones, and intentionally, out of fear of persecution or whatever reason, allow only one of the two sides generally the brighter side, get even more light, and the other side is never allowed to be exposed to the broad bright light of the day, and is always doomed to be hidden and made obscure on purpose. The present article, in a reflective tone in first person singular, is an honest manifestation of the heartfelt experiences and feelings of the writer from his childhood through the adulthood. The writer tries to take stock of the situation in 66 years of post-independent India from the other side, i.e. other than the so called mainstream (or maiMstream?!), which has rarely been attempted at or brought to limelight by many of the so called intelligentsia.hupe gap Here, a genuine attempt is made to bring to light the dismal feelings of those disenchanted and sulky Indians for whom,

r-p divide2 Independence Day means nothing, and independence has never been felt by them in its true sense. r-p divideThe writer has chosen this unusual topic since there is no dearth of literature available at present, which trumpet scores of milestones and success stories in the course of a very long journey of post-independent India. The writer hopes, this article makes for interesting reading, and spurs some of us on to the importance of realizing the most essential need to pay attention to many dark spots that got accumulated in the course of the long historical march of post-independent India, and the need to understand the gravity of the current grim situation by listening sympathetically to the voices/shrieks of those who were/are never properly cared for by the so called mainstream society. The intention of the writer is to drive home the most urgent need to set certain things right by striking a proper balance between the two sides with diabolically huge gaps, in our collective march as a nation, towards glory. The timing of the present article is very much apt and relevant as India is celebrating its 67th Independence Day on August 15, 2013. It is an earnest attempt to shake and move some of us who are otherwise happy and contended with our cozy status quo, to the stark and bitter reality of post-independent India. The writer sincerely hopes his heartfelt feelings reach the deeper conscience of those who matter most for our all-inclusive nation building.

 

The significance of the day August 15, to me as a child-

The day August 15, always used to be very close to my heart throughout my childhood. This day always brought to me utmost happiness, joy and freedom, freedom from my rigid school masters, freedom from the narrow confines of the four walls (at least for one day!), the four walls which we still call the classroom: temple of learning; what a euphemism!

This day always conjured up various pleasant images in my mind- beautiful decorations of myriad hues, large banners and posters, and the mighty and magnificent tricolor, our flag, flag1which was a rich source of inspiration and strength for our freedom fighters during our long arduous struggle for freedom, and for our national leaders during the formative years of our nation building. It was also a big source of comfort and consolation for all those who were let down and frantically hoping for better days to come. When it was unfurled on every Independence Day, it always gave me the sense of comfort and assuredness that all is well, and I used to feel it amid the slogans of VandemataramMera Bharat Mahan, and Bharat Mata Ki Jai, coupled with the high decibel soul stirring patriotic songs.

How beautiful those days were, especially the day Pandrah August we used to call thus lovingly when I used to get up quite early in the morning, take a ‘head bath’, and dress myself up more eagerly and enthusiastically than on any other day, in a fresh attire, washed and pressed the previous night by my innocent mother who used to see in me clad in that vibrant white attire another Nehru or the neta of that ilk in the making, and I was much eager to go to my school (the only place I detested throughout my childhood except on this day!) and meet my friends, and used to enjoy and relish the sweetmeats distributed to us after the customary flag hoisting ceremony and singing the national anthem Janaganamana (though I did not understand the lyrics much, and regretfully, our teachers never bothered about explaining its content to us and make us understand and feel the import of it!) in chorus.

 

Songs of innocence and sweetness-

Thus, I was on cloud nine 2and singing the songs of innocence, much to the envy of some of (rather I should say, ‘many of’, the fact which I didn’t realize at that time!) the underprivileged and unprivileged kids of my age around me in those times.

 

 

 

 

 

The truth is always harsh and bitter-

As I started growing up, the stark and bitter reality of my surroundings, and the country as a whole, gradually started to unfold itself before my eyes, the very eyes which were accustomed to be treated with the magnificence and the splendor of only that around me in all their pleasant colors. The same slogans which used to highly elevate my spirits started sounding as an unintelligible and uneasy cacophony to my ears amid the din of the heartrending cries of the starving kids, starvingscreams of abused (in various ways) street children and the innocent and helpless girls abusedand women being molested,
mol1mol3tortured, raped, and brutally murdered by their brothers (I say this since I used to take the pledge and believed in- India is my country and all Indians are my brothers and sisters…, every day without fail in my childhood, and with much enthusiasm!) with apparent impunity, and the sobs of the female kids female foeticidebeing stifled from breathing their first, and desperate to see the first light of their lives, and the shrieks of the downtrodden and the marginalized who are craving beggarsfor a small piece of a political and democratic space of their own guaranteed by our noble and mighty constitution with much fanfare, and much more than these, the moans terrorismof those who are traumatized and terrorized by the unbridled terrorism terrorborn out of sheer fanaticism of various kinds, mainly religious, from both inside and outside.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Songs of experience, a bitter reality-

As I gradually started experiencing the things all around, I realized the hypocrisy and falsity of the contemporary political leaders and their huge followers in their slogan shouting hailing mother India. My brain and mind started to be flooded with so much indigestible stuff depicting the actuality of India, as I began to read some reputed newspapers with some social responsibility and watch some TV news channels with some accountability towards our society.

And now, I started singing the the songs of experience and the day Pandrah August which had been so dear to me is no longer dear, and it has started bringing the uneasy feelings of irritation and palpitations in my mind and heart, since what I used to believe which is that we were independent, and all my feelings of all is well were nothing but just a make believe! I started realizing that the day August 15, which we call it our independence day, the day when we were freed from the British tyranny doesn’t make complete sense to me now since independence and freedom are still NOT within the reach of the common man of India. The only difference before and after August 15, 1947 being that the pill was not sugar coated then, and it’s thickly coated with sugar and honey now, much akin to old wine in a new fascinating bottle!

We are still under the same system left behind by the British Raj, which has never properly been appropriated or made to suit the current circumstances and conditions. It’s been abused and misused to further the causes of certain vested interests. Men at the helm of affairs have had changed, but not the system and its loopholes, and the same exploitation, tyranny and lawlessness prevails even today! It’ll clearly be known to us, if we dare to come out of the make believe which we find ourselves in and thinking all is well.

I think it’s high time on the occasion of India’s 67th anniversary of its independence from the British rulers, to reflect and introspect whether we really got independence and whether we all are totally free from the evils of neo-colonialism and fascismneo-feudalismhegemony and imperialism in various forms, dreadful capitalism, graft and corruptioncriminalization of our political system300955_182486405160496_1644243928_nofficial apathy and lethargy, misgovernance and mismanagementred-tapism and nepotismpolice excesses, and judicial inactivism and inordinate delay, and also take stock of the situation whether we all are sharing and enjoying the fruits of our independence together even after a whopping 66 years!

 

 

 

 

 

It’s not my intention to paint a totally bleak picture of post-independent India and discourage all-

My intention is not to discourage and dishearten you all by painting a bleak picture of post-Independent India. It’s rather a realistic picture of India from the other side which may not go down well with us because we are always obsessed with the global, but the truth is, we have almost lost connection with the local. Global shouldn’t be at the cost of local, and we must use our global perspective in order to enrich the local. It’s only in our country where the multinational drinks like Coco ColaPepsiThums UpSprite, etc., flow abundantly when there is acute shortage of potable water, and water has turned into a costly commodity, and a rich source of highly profitable business. And about scientific & technological progress- yes, we made much progress and we flaunt it internationally but we can’t talk about our scientific & technological progress before our starving & destitute kidsemaciated rural poor and urban slum dwellers. They never catch our attention because they are never global and they never think globally! What we have achieved in more than six decades of post-independent period is abysmally low and it’ll clearly be seen if we dare to come out of the make believe which we (forcefully, or otherwise) find ourselves in and thinking all is well. Contentment, I regret to say, is the curse for us Indians, and the boon for the greedy & corrupt politicians and the crony capitalists.

 

Finally, I would like to ask you two small questions, but which require big and meaningful answers-

Can we Indians (barring a few who got immensely benefited after the independence) make some time on the occasion of India’s 67th Tryst with its Destiny, to reflect on those Indians poorpoorewho don’t really understand the significance the Day, and never felt/feel it in their hearts?

Are we really paying the befitting homage to those sung and unsung heroes 17who had sacrificed their prime youth, all their enjoyments, and even their precious lives our herosfor freeing us from the tyrannical rule, and for getting all of us cozy and comfortable lives?

 

 

 

 

 

Please read these famous lines once again and reflect on them just a while-


Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high
Where knowledge is free
Where the world has not been broken up into fragments
By narrow domestic walls
Where words come out from the depth of truth
Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way
Into the dreary desert sand of dead habit
Where the mind is led forward by thee
Into ever-widening thought and action
Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake.

Are we all still ready to enter that heaven of freedom as envisaged by Tagore?!

 

 

 

(Thanks to Dr. A.V. Koshy for his valuable inputs)

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Posted August 20, 2013 by Suntosh Haudakar in India, Indian independence

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