So I stumbled across this kind of an essay ‘My Country India’ which I wrote some 20 years back; and when I read it today I found that what I wrote then still holds true. In the last 20 years things haven’t got any better rather they are still stuck where they were. We have developed yes, there are newer technologies and all those things but India is stagnant in so may ways till now. Still social divisions are exploited by the political parties for their gains and still we fools are gullible and we victimize ourselves.
Anyway this is what I wrote in the year 1996:
“My country! In thy day of glory past,
A beauteous halo circled round thy brow,
And worshipped as a deity thou was.
Where is that glory, where that reverence now?……”
Thus goes the poem by Henry Louis Vivian Derozio, which he wrote about his native land ‘India’. His concern was right because India was a slave and is a slave today. A colonial rule ended and another tyrannical future took over.
India celebrated its sixty years of independence and is about to celebrate its sixty years of being a republic. It was on fifteenth of August nineteen forty-seven, sixty years back when thousands of people were massacred. Then we saw the abhorred face of the Indians; ‘because the now Pakistanis were Indians then’, and the massacre was the ‘loathsome’ fight of humans against humanity.
In spite of what all happened, there was a ray of hope in every citizens heart that the future could be anything but better than the past. Soon the poorer section of the society will have enough food to feed their families and a roof to live under. They dreamed of glorious future, where they will be Indians and not the slaves of a colonial regime; where they would govern themselves and solve their own problems and will be self-dependent.
Ironically what is happening is much different. Even today after sixty years of independence we are not sure of our future. We do not know where we are headed for; are we progressing towards developing a humane and cooperative society or are we heading towards a dark society, where there will be no ethics, only evil shall prevail?
Have we got answers to these questions, seemingly ‘no’, but are not these questions the deciding factors of future stand of our society.
The famous saying, “ hope is the backbone of success”; failed deliberately in our great nations context the wounds were still fresh after some years of independence, but with the passage of time wounds healed. People forgot the meaning of patriotism; greed and prejudice buried patriotism in the depths of their heart. Two generations after the ‘costly independence’, we no longer feel concerned about the ‘great nation’. The ‘Golden bird’ no longer adorns the gold but the shame of the doings of its ‘great leaders and citizens’. “Thy eagle pinion is chained at last, And groveling in the lowly dust art thou; thy minstrel hath no wreath to weave for thee, save the sad story of thy misery!”. It was written in context of India being enslaved by the British but it suits better in today’s context.
From the glory of being one of the greatest ancient civilizations, towards which the world looked at with awe, we have come to be known as a third world country. The world forgot that we gave it the much acclaimed religion of ‘Buddhism’ and ‘Buddha’ got his enlightenment here, we were the people in the ‘whole world’ to use ‘ahimsa’ as our tool to fight against the enemies. No it is not their fault to forget all this because we have made do so.
The biggest reason of our maligned image is the political and bureaucratic scenario. Any country’s political leaders together with the help of bureaucrats play a major role in the development of that country. And it is a very sorry affair to think about their role in India. For more decades now the most corrupt governments have governed the country; for now we are hitting the top ten lists for being one of the most corrupt countries in the world. “The Indians are yet not capable of governing themselves, they need another dictatorship for some years”, it seems that Subhash Chandra Bose was right in thinking thus.
There is another obvious reason for which both the citizens and politicians are responsible. It is none other than the division of the society on the basis of caste, religion, sect, region and linguistics. Politicians in order to en cash their vote banks use these sentimental issues to sting a chain reaction in the public. As for the citizens they are still Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Nagas, Kashmiris or Biharis. They have not yet learned to call themselves Indians. In their context the feeling of nationhood is nothing as compared to these.
Nationhood, responsible citizenship, and honesty such moral codes have taken a back seat and personal gain, favors, self-centered thinking and venality are on the upsurge. These are the facts because of which we are responsible for the pathetic condition of our country. We no longer represent the symbol of idealism and purity, but on the contrary we have shown the world how very gory deeds we can perform.
This is not only the time to introspect the various causes that led this once great nations of ours to such a stagnant darkened present; but to work to improve what is already done and avoid repeating those mistakes in the future. We have to take example from other countries such as Germany and Japan, which were almost destroyed in the Second World War. No not only in the industrialization or modernization trend but how they maintained the respect for their culture; how they maintained the equilibrium between the past and the present. There is a need to be inspired by them and follow the famous saying “ a wise person learns from other’s mistake, while a fool from his own”.
Instead of following the beaten track of escapism, we must learn to take responsibility and to be honest to ourselves and follow our fellow citizens. Then we would be fulfilling our primary duty. We must, stop idling and boasting, become more practical and realistic in our approach because “action is better than inaction”, and realize what has been said in Bhagvad Gita:
“ Those who abstain from action while allowing mind to dwell on sensual pleasures cannot be called sincere spiritual aspirants.
But they excel who control their senses through the mind using them for selfless service.”
This action should be selfless for Bhagvad Gita further says, “…….it is selfish action that imprisons the world; Act selflessly without any thought of personal profit.”
It is importunate to understand that the few outstanding gems represent India; they do represent the country but they do not form the whole of it. We should be proud of them but we cannot forget other fellow citizens. Yes, the technologies developed in India are marvelous examples of effort, teamwork and will; but are these all? Instead of complaining all the time, is there not a need to understand the various underlying issues? It is only to soothe our ears that we can think of being as a developed nation, because it is still in India that most illiterate and poor stock of the world lives. India does not represent or is formed of gifted few but all the billion people living in it. “Do not pride yourself on the few great men who, over the centuries, have been born on your earth through no merit of yours.”
We even cannot call ourselves civilized, if we do not see to it that each and every citizen is educated, gets justice, has enough to eat, a place to live and has access to all the basic amenities of the modern society. We must police ourselves and restructure the society for the betterment of all its citizens.
There also seem to be an imperative need to replace the old laws with new ones and modernize the entire thinking process. The rules, the constitution should be renewed to suit the present and the future. We have to come out with quick solutions and act on them before we are damned.
Let us join hands irrespective of any classification, to work and revolutionaries and to maneuver the country, towards a future best described in the words of Rabindra Nath Tagore:
“Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high;
Where knowledge is free;
Where the world has not been broken up into fragments by narrow domestic walls;
Where words come out from the depth of truth;
Where the tireless striving stretches its arm towards perfection;
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way into the dreary desert sand of dead habit;
…………., let my country awake.”
We – humans, are the greatest creation of God, so let us make him proud of it, not ashamed.”
And yes in the past few years the word patriotism has been given a different meaning; it no longer is about a person who is loyal to one’s country but it is about belonging to the “approved-class” which is decided by ones religion and their political stance.
I do hope that some day we will wake-up for real…