Today, 61 years ago, we were freed from the clutches of the British Colonial reign. A momentous achievement indeed for the founders of our nation, who discarded money & a cushy lifestyle, and donned Khadi to be able to live in India ruled by herself. They had stars in their eyes, as they built a nation brick by brick, uniting, educating, employing Indians - Independent sovereign Indians. They dreamt about an India - industrialized, rich, powerful. They dreamt of Indians - united in equality, educated, employed, satisfied, happy.
Today, 61 years later, I am tempted to ask, are we there yet? Are we even a tiny percentage of that yet? Well, not really. We still have discrimination based on caste in the remote rural parts of India. Well, reservation compounds the problem. Reservation is also a form of discrimination, wherein we are embossing the caste divide. We try to wipe out caste differences and the discriminated people try to forget the past, but our vote-mongers cannot allow this to just fade away! Higher education, which has been and will always be our USP as Indians is in serious jeopardy, as we become a politicised population and not a meritocratic population. Female infanticide and foeticide is an evil that looms in remote rural India. Corruption is still sky high. The crude, ugly form. One needs to shell out Rs. 2500 for a Rs 600 activity, in order to feed the corrupt. Our bridges and flyovers take years to get completed. Infrastructure is crippled. Pollution is a threat waiting to raise its ugly head. Terrorists have a field day in India, targeting poor, innocent people, over and over and over again. Inflation is no doubt high as well.
Whew! But then, life is never like driving on an autobahn! We have our issues. But our issues are not as full blown as it is in other countries. Ok, I agree, no comparisons. But well, in 61 years, we have risen from a plundered colony to a future economic superpower. Kudos to Dr Manmohan Singh, who has silently but surely forged India's path to the world. At a time, when India was teetering on debt, we started economic reforms. And now, the Indian railways is the only profit making railway enterprise in the world, in the category of its scale and reach. We still live by our principles. Never once have we made an aggressive move over any other country, but we have succeeded in thwarting 2 such attempts by our 'honorable' neighbors. We are not trailblazers in sport, but we have won some medals. A little nurturing and some time, will take us there. And in all these years, we do have a cricket World Cup, and a T20 World Cup in our fold!
Our strength is in our youth, our people. They, at least most of them aspire to make India proud. One of my friends remarked the other day, that many of his friends in US, who have migrated from India, are open, and sometimes keen to come back, after raking in some moolah. But the same cannot be said of immigrants from say China, or anywhere in Africa. They seemed to have run away, since they could not stand the crime and human rights violations. So, our super educated youth, with a will and a wish, are not averse to coming back and building India. And I have to conclude with one of my favorite lines from one of my favorite movies - Shawshank Redemption - "Hope is a good thing. Maybe one of the best things. And a good thing never dies." JAI HIND!