Happy Independence Day! It is our 65th Independence Day and we should have a lot to be proud of. But do we. Sixty five years is three generations and that is a long time by any standards. Certainly enough time to honour and redeem all sacrifice made by those who fought for the very independence we seem to take for granted. Kamala's (my mother) family was one of those who have up everything to ensure that we would be born in free India. They had dreams, dreams that I had the privilege to share. They dreamt of a hunger free land, of a land that would give the most enabling environment to their children, a land that would prosper and grow, a land that would respect values and traditions. Their dreams were so well enshrined in the Preamble of our Constitution
which secured all its citizens justice, liverty, equality and fraternity.
Justice social and economic, Liberty of thought belief and faith, Equality of status! One does not need to be a rocket scientist to see that none of these have been respected. Today, 65 years after independence millions sleep hungry, more than 5000 children die every day of malnutrition, there is scant respect for belief or faith; invisible and impregnable walls are erected between the rich and the poor. Corruption is rampant. Those who have the power have lost the ability to use it well. Whilst the children of India waited more than 60 years to get their right to education, bills that seek to increase the goodies meant for those in power are passed in minutes. Though more than 3 children die every minute because of lack of food, grains rot in the open across the land. Food meant for the poor children is hijacked and sold as cattle fodder. Caste divides remain ugly and respect for our brethren has vanished. India @ 65 is not pretty.
my mother wanted her child to be born in free India. She was 32 when I was born in free India. I guess what motivated her to prefer life as an old maid to life as a mother of a slave child was a dream. A dream that saw her child thriving in a country that enshrined the values the likes of her sacrificed their lives for. Today in my seventh decade I cannot but hang my hand in shame as we have failed our freedom fighters in every which way possible. Can my tiny effort be even considered as a step in the right direction.
The India my mom dreamt of was one where children would receive good education and aspire to wonderful morrows. How can I begin to tell her that this is far from reality. The children of India have been let down hook line and sinker by one and all.
Last week I came to know of the shocking reality
of the state of schools in XXIst century India. As a tribute to the one who gave me a free life I need to cast my apprehensions and start taking pro active steps in the right direction. Sitting in the comfort zone of pwhy is not acceptable any more. My voice needs to become the voice of my kids. So I am taking a few of them to an activist lawyer so that they can share their angst and perhaps be heard.
The tragedy of our country is that those who have a voice and can make a difference remain silent and ataxic. It is time this changed or else the Independence we all pretend to celebrate once a year, will all be in vain.
It is time we took ownership of our Independence.
Happy Independence Day!