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

Indian Democracy. Photo by Luit Chaliha

By- Priyankan Goswami

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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.

About Priyankan Goswami

Priyankan Goswami Priyankan Goswami is the Editor of Times of Assam's Political Analysis section. He is also founder member and member of the Executive board of Times of Assam. By Academic Priyankan Goswami is MBA & Mechanical Engineer.

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14 Responses to "What we never learnt in 65 years of Independence – Being Indians"

  1. Sachin  August 15, 2011 at 03:33 PM

    Systems do not change from root to Top but from Top to Bottom. Yatha Raja Tatha Praja.

    If everyone around me is getting more money, power and comforts by corruption, I will do the same…it is a question of survival…However hard you try you cannot change people unless you make it rewarding for them to do so…

    Reply
  2. Swaran  August 15, 2011 at 04:22 PM

    Well written, please sell your article to other famous newspapers too.. Let this piece of writing be a national message not just a news column..

    Contact Ramdev baba’s Astha channel if possible… Or print them and send out for circulation… I am not sure what to do, you know better.

    Reply
  3. Rajbeer  August 16, 2011 at 09:01 PM

    Very Good Article.

    Reply
  4. Migang  August 17, 2011 at 02:44 AM

    really appreciate your ideology from the depth of my heart. thanks a lot for those beautiful lessons.

    Reply
  5. Shruti  August 17, 2011 at 03:44 AM

    One of the best contemporary write ups I saw ever.. I read your other write ups out of curiosity and must say, you write really cool.
    The ones on Ramdev vs Anna were very courageous and shocking thought process,I never thought it like that!
    the one on challenging Anna to do Irom Sharmila made me feel so proud

    …I wish we had more writers like you man.
    All the best!

    Reply
  6. Rumi  August 17, 2011 at 03:49 AM

    Another amazing one from Mr Goswami!

    I must say though that the best write up from you here I found was “What do you do when your son gets married and someone dies for your motherland on the same day”

    gave me goose bumps when I read it. So beautifully written! I have become an instant fan

    Reply
  7. Tombisana thokchom  August 23, 2011 at 07:27 PM

    Equal pay for equal work.
    Why there is division of labour?

    Reply
  8. Sathish  August 26, 2011 at 11:32 AM

    I’m corrupt I’ve paid bribes. I say lets change but people around me will not change since I’ve changed. But we need some serious laws to tackle corruption and it is also a serious issue which is in India which will never change unless laws are strict. So we say the government bring some serious laws and punish them who are not abiding by. If we pay a fine for not following the laws, either people or bureaucrat or politician, they will learn themselves that laws have become strict and they will change and moral ethics will be followed. I pay a bribe of Rs. 100 will affect the nation by 0.0001% but the scams done in the nation have affected by at-least 10% . The money looted are supposed to be an income for the nation where we can feed millions of people below poverty line, provide free education, provide health care but that din’t happened because people in the top are more corrupt than normal people like us. So we ask them to change and will say we will also change. The Leader leads the path and not the followers and also followers should not blindly follow the leader, they should go with some common sense. Late but not too late, lets change ourselves and the environment.

    Reply
  9. P Das  August 30, 2011 at 08:29 PM

    I request the author to go through the Mandal Commission Report to see how the disadvantaged (socially) people continue to be exploited in independent India despite reservation. All the lucrative jobs are being cornered by the upper caste. What can be expected if one archer (Eklavya in the Mahabharata)has to sacrifice his thumb so that he could not defeat a upper caste competetor (Arjuna). The trend of exploitation continues through century.

    Reply
  10. Krishna Pediredla  September 16, 2011 at 09:26 PM

    I salute you for your thought process! I agree to your article completely. You cannot expect a whole country to change if you do not have the balls to say no to corruption yourself. Bribing has become a problem not because the corrupt officials have forced it one us. It has become a problem because we PAY them to get a premier service. From a small traffic fine to sourcing material for your new house construction, people want to get premier service, they dont want to wait and fill up the applications and processes to pay their fines or fees, they pay a few extra “Karcha” to these officials, to get their work done faster. And then come out one fine day and start shouting get the corrupt politicians out.

    People need to change their thinking, there is NO small or LARGE bribe or karcha. Any form of bribe is a BRIBE and leads to corruption.

    Reply
  11. Ritu parnna baruah  September 24, 2011 at 01:19 AM

    Good ariticle

    Reply
  12. vikram beriya  September 28, 2011 at 11:47 AM

    5c that has ruined INDIA
    C–CORUPTION
    C–COMUNALISM
    C–COMPROMISING WITH EVEY SITUATION
    C–CASTING VOTE CARELESSLY
    C–CHAIR (every one running for)
    WHAT I WAS TRYING TO THINKIG AND MAKE MY VIEWS CLEAR………was in the article
    VIKRAM BERIYA
    +919707851296

    Reply
  13. Mrinal Das  September 30, 2011 at 12:40 AM

    Thanks for this article. We needed this. I just hope people have read it and realized the underlying current and fever of the emotion. The author’s words are buried in the depths of truth and evokes sentiments worth mulling over. You (read the author) gave us something to ponder upon. Article such as this is rare in this contemporary world of media where journalism is mired in a yellowish hue and ethics mortgaged in some forbidden dungeon. News aren’t reported these days, they are sold. And the author rightly brings up the subject of our dead consciousness which more than often allow us shroud and conceal our own mistakes. And it’s true that we always take shelter under some or the other excuse.Guess, it’s time to shut that umbrella up and face the truth, the reality of things. Good luck to the author. Bravo.

    Reply
  14. MINAXI YADAV  July 20, 2012 at 09:39 PM

    MINAXI YADAV

    20JULY2012
    Its very nice essay tank you for this artical ilike this and i am copy your essay i hope you never mind.

    Reply

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