TRUTH BOLD FEARLESS

What we never learnt in 65 years of Independence – Being Indians

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Indian Democracy. Photo by Luit Chaliha

By- Priyankan Goswami

More than six decade ago, India transferred to itself the ruling powers from the hands of the British and called itself an Independent democratic republic. Our proud Indian rulers and their new found powers made promises to a dreamy population to eradicate each problem of the country with the best constitution and the best governing system. Everyone promised to learn and develop. Hopes were really high.

Yes, India did progress and prosper. We are now going to be a Super Power (whatever it means to our 40% population below poverty line), we are now world champions in cricket and corruption, we have won a handful of medals in Olympics (though we don’t remember the name of those who won them for us), we have few of the richest people in the world who can gift airplanes to wives and sons, we have mastered the business of education, we have learnt to convert news into entertainment and most importantly we have learnt to remain clean of any guilt. You would question me the last point. The answer is very simple, we remain clear in everything by blaming.

A train accident takes place; – blame it on the railway minister and ask him to resign immediately.

Your son fails the tenth exam because he watched movies and hung out with friends more than sitting at study table; – blame it on his private tutor and his school teacher.

On the road, you see a car hitting a man who just decided to cross without checking left and right; – break the bones of the driver and everything of the car. Blame it on the government for not making good bridges when a drunken bus driver sees a river for a road and leads the bus down right to death waters instead of straight.

You do not make it to the IIT, – blame it on the reservation for ST, SC or OBC if you are a general category student or blame it on the government for not providing sufficient reservation if you are not. (No offences to anyone, agreeing not everyone thinks like this). Many more examples, – we know it better.

We never learn to take the second step

When Anna Hazare or Baba Ramdev started his movement against corruption, did all of us suddenly wake up from our sleep! Millions started to support and shout against corruption. People started fighting in Facebook why corruption should be stopped. People started criticizing those who wondered if Jan Lokpal would actually be helpful or not. But, how many of these people, all of us, really are against corruption? Fighting corruption does not does mean catching a government official taking bribe red handed and sending him behind bars. Fighting corruption means to change the scenario from the root to the top. I would ask to those millions who shouted against corruption in Facebook, – how many of you have the original MS office or windows in you pc or laptop? How many of you have never bought pirated music cd or downloaded mp3 albums for free (kicking the singer’s and the musician’s right at his stomach) and always bought original cds to stop piracy? Is it not corruption too?

We all say that Hazare or Ramdev’s step is the first step and it is necessary, but are we all ready for the second step? The second step has to be taken by us, creating a clean and morally strong young generation who would not be ruined by power and money when given an opportunity. Has this step started? No. We are not ready to learn.

We never learn to be equal

After six decades of enjoying a democratic environment, India’s trouble with the lack of national integration, languages, caste systems, poverty, illiteracy, malnutrition and poor health conditions have only have got worse. Poverty in the country has seen no improvement with more than 40% of the population living below the global poverty line and more than 70% living on an earning of less than 20 rupee per day! The rise of the rich to richer has been phenomenal though, due to the monopoly of the capitalist class of India only whom the democratic government of India seems to supports. Yet most of us, we urban youth says, Wow, India is so developing fooled by the glam and glitter of Malls in the Gurgaons and Mumbais. Ever wondered why?

Not because of just politics. Because of us, ignorant, who have killed the fundamental rights of our democracy ourselves and thereby allowing our masters to rule us at will. We continue to discriminate between the different castes, males over females killing the right to equality. We continue to ignore each other’s problems. For example, we, North eastern, does not need to be reminded how many of “mainland Indians” ever heard about the draconian, un-democratic Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) or about the lone silent warrior called Irom Sharmila. On the other hand, child labor and trafficking continues to rule our corners, children being worked in factories, mills, restaurants and as domestic servants. Probably we, the common people should have something called Right to exploitation!

We feel satisfied when some angry students protesting for something destroy a government’s office. We say good work. But when some of those students, further frustrated with injustice, takes up guns and become an extremist, we blame it on the leaders, not ourselves who encouraged them to take law on their hands when they were young. Are we learning?

And to make matters worse, we have the reservation systems based on ancient caste and creed system. Yes, it must be agreed that this was done with a purpose. For example, our blood brothers, all the ethnic tribes and communities of Assam have seen injustice and ill treatment somehow or other by some well-to-do chauvinist Assamese, especially from some self proclaimed higher caste liberals. But the time has come now to think out of the box. At one side we want everyone to be equal, yet we make some of our people feel alienated and handicapped by giving them special privileges. Of course languages, culture, traditions, etc has to be safeguarded based on ethnicity and community. But education, employment, professional career, administration and every such thing which does not depend on caste or creed must be brought out of this sad box of inequality. Let there be reservations, if necessary, on per capita income. Let the poor be helped, the needy provided need irrespective of the surname or the God he/she believes in.

The number of taxes that we, citizens of India pay is more than the fundamental rights we enjoy. Let’s create more value of it, let’s not blame and complain, let’s do some learning to make most of what we have or what we can. Let’s learn to become Indians.

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What we never learnt in 65 years of Independence – Being Indians

By: Priyankan Goswami Read time: 6 min