This blog post comes on the mid-of-week holiday. I had forgotten how much one can look forward to a lazy Wednesday. Only yesterday, I was complaining about no long weekends this year but today, on the 72nd Independence Day, I find it so beautiful to be living in this amazing country, long weekends or not.
As I write this, on the table next to mine, two girls are chit-chatting and one of them is very excited since she is migrating to some other country. Lata Mangeshkar is singing ‘Vande Matram’ in the background and in the foreground is this girl saying that her mother is so excited for her and I quote, ‘go beta! India mein rakha hi kya hai!’ While it seems her father was reluctant, but all is well now and he has come around. I will get a $1,000 every month for my kids, she exclaims. So much for evesdropping on Independence Day!
I decide not to get distracted by her conversation and focus on what I intend to write today, I put my headphones on and bring Lata Mangeshkar closer to me, I look at the sky which is dotted with so many colourful kites, birds flying, showing symbolically the freedom that is there in this country. The freedom, the independence that was earned with so much blood and sweat, the colours of the blood and sweat were the same, however, we have chosen to divide them.
But, how free are we really? Or lets put it this way, have we been able to grasp the true value of independence? Have we, the combined generations of X, Y and Z generations, the millennial, the non-millennial or whatever it is that the current generation is termed, have understood that this independence was not gifted to us, people fought for it.
It is really a torture to live in current India and hold a History (Hons.) degree. It is painful to see how one freedom fighter is given prominence over the other, how Mahatma Gandhi and all that he stood for is devastatingly abhorred, how the sacrifices of freedom fighters have become ‘urban legends’ and distorted, being circulated by ‘Whatsapp University’ without understanding the repercussions of such actions. How can people, especially politicians be so immature, as to erase the history of a country and for what all it stood for? Dividing freedom fighters on the lines of religion, caste, region, creed? I am sure all of them must be pained to see this India.
No I did not listen to the Prime Minister’s speech. I dint want to know the GDP growth for this year, whether we are 3rd largest economy or 6th largest economy based on Purchasing-Power Parity or based on nominal GDP; I don’t want to know which is the latest scheme which has been launched, basically with name changed. But, yes, I want to know why 3 girls died, not very far away from the Prime Minister’s house, due to starvation. And, this is not a burden for the Prime Minister to carry alone, it is a burden for all of us to carry. We have so much food wastage happening in our houses every day, is there anything that we can do to help people around us to not starve to death. I am guilty for it too, and am still searching for an answer as to how to make the excess food cooked in my house, reach the starving every day.
There is a lot of it that is wrong with us. A LOT! How can we be so gullible as to play in the hands of these politicians? How can we forget that we were raised in a secular environment? How can we forget that this country is the land of ‘Atithi devo bhava’ and we still have so much crime against foreigners? How can we forget that this is the land where a little girl is considered Goddess but we have so much lust in our eyes that the little girl is uncomfortable wearing any clothes, that she is raped, that she is killed? How can we be so immature as to be influenced by TV Reporters and their absolutely wrong coverage of news, which for ‘sensational news and higher TRP’ play with the sentiments of such large number of people? How can we fail to understand that a single successful woman is not a slut and that she has reached there by her hardwork and sacrifice? How can we still stigmatize divorce and find faults with either one of the spouse, when neither may be at fault?
I studied in Melbourne, Australia; lived there and I lived in Dijon, France. I have had my fair exposure to the Western World and it is suffice to say that there were instances when I felt as scared to be a woman there, in those first-world countries, as much as I have felt in India. I have felt extremely lonely in those countries especially one Diwali night that I spent in Paris (longing for one burst of cracker and struggling to find one light of diyas, to be surrounded by my parents and brother and sister for ganesh puja). As the girl on the next table, so excited for her future in Canada or wherever it is that she is deciding to migrate, rises to leave, I lift my eyes away from the screen and I see more kites on the lovely Delhi sky.
All the decisions that I took in my life, my country had a big role to play in it. It provided me the right environment, the freedom, the right values to nurture myself. Yes! There may be many issues that we all face in our daily existence, but those are mindset issues, which can only be changed when the citizen of my country decide ‘To Be the change, that they want to see’. I don’t know about that girl on the next table and her reasons to leave India, but I am staying back, hell yeah! And try and I am going to try and make my country a better place to be in (how much the trolls, politicians, society and whatsapp university wants it to be otherwise).
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