‘At the stroke of midnight hour,when the world sleeps, India will wake to life and freedom. A moment comes,which comes but rarely in history, when we step out from old to the new, when an age ends,when the soul of a nation,long suppressed finds utterance. We end today a period of ill fortune and India discovers herself again‘
– Jawaharlal Nehru, ‘Tryst With Destiny’
Today, we celebrate the sixty ninth Independence Day of the country.It’s been sixty nine years since the British have stopped ruling us and we have so ‘graciously’ stepped into those shoes.
The history of Indian Independence sure is a rich and chequered one, it is an epic struggle of grit and non-violence, of perserverance and pure dedication. Those who paid attention in their history classes would know.
The spark of rebellion was ignited with the sepoy mutiny back in 1857. The hanging of Mangal Pandey further fanned the fire, and after a series of rebellions and related happenings that spanned one long decade, by the twentieth century, the protests began to take a concrete form,with the return of the Mahatma from South Africa,and this marked the beginning of a radically different way of protesting, one that is still held in high regards all around the globe – ahimsa. His ‘salt march’ and ‘Quit India Movement’ gained a wave of support. Long story told short, on June 3,1947,Viceroy Mountbatten declared that the British would leave the Indian Subcontinent given it got separated into a two states – India and Pakistan. And India gained independence.
The question is, how much have we utilised this hard-earned freedom? Is India really free in its truest sense? Thing is so much has been said and so little has been done over the years that everything seems cliched, right from the phrase ‘ From the ramparts of the Red Fort, the Prime Minister has said’ to the patriotic songs that the Doordarshan croons.
Even after sixty nine years of independence, almost 30% of the population lives below the poverty line, a lot of them are left with no option but to defecate in the public, and a sizeable population does not know where the next meal is going to come.
Even after sixty nine years,the fairer sex continued to be downtrodden. It is the height of schizophrenia that it happens in a country which worships Durga Maa and Virgin Mary.
India is home to the world’s largest number of child labourers. Female infanticide and untouchability, though not visibly prevalent are not uncommon either.
Corruption rules the country,to the point where democracy has gone from a boon to bane.
Politics is too serious an affair to be left to the politicians alone. Which is why the media exists- to act as a connecting medium between the rulers and the ruled, to let us know what exactly is happening ‘up there’. Unfortunately, the Constitution granted freedom, the so-called ‘right to expression’ works more like a licenced gun,but alas, without bullets.
Now I’m not being a complete cynic here. Sure, we have come a long way from the old days, buy there undoubtedly are so many issues that the country isn’t free from yet, issues that we as citizens shpuld not turn a blind eye to.It may not be possible to completely wipe th all off, but we can definitelyake the situation better.
And some day, we’ll be good enough to keep that ‘tryst with destiny’!