Let My Country Awake...

August 15, 2011

When I spend some time reminiscing about my school days (as I often do), 15th of August takes a remarkable spot in my memory. As far as my memory goes, I think, I was forced to be in the school on August 15 even if it was a Sunday, stand under the scorching sun; I remember once I was on my feet for a long time under the pouring rain!
But I never knew why I should be there, on that particular day. In my imagination then,  August 15 was one of those two days in a calendar year when that dusty tricolour, after a long rest, came out to greet the country folk. Even though I was made aware later as I grew up, that it was the Independence Day that we celebrated by hoisting the tricolour, the former thinking has undergone very little change. I have never understood what 'independence' means to this "captive' nation.
Captive…? I must admit that I am not getting a better phrase to describe India at present. History tells us that India attained liberty from the brutish rule of British, as many as sixty-four years ago. Indeed India is free from its external rulers, but then have we achieved freedom from the internal forces of this nation? There may be a handful of people still living in India who witnessed those historic moments of independence years ago with a hope of a new beginning. I am sure that they have seen with their own eyes, their dreams being vanished in thin air.
We are all well aware of the fact that the freedom fighters had to toil and slog, go on hunger strikes, break the laws, get beaten up and imprisoned, just for the sake of liberating their motherland. I am afraid, their incessant striving has taken us nowhere but into captivity; this time not under the so-called ‘outsiders’, but under our own political authorities. To the common people like you and me, being voiceless, it makes no much difference between the hegemonic British and that of our own power-crazy leaders.
India boasts of being world’s largest democracy and the Indians take pride in it. But at the same time, the corrupt governing system is also not a secret. Each official ‘faithfully contributes’ to the task of bringing disgrace to the nation, in one’s own secret ways. Adding to the drama is the frequent disclosures of various scams. The most irritating fact and ironically the funniest thing is the blandishments and blame game that follows. While the alleged official tries to salvage himself by hook or crook, his portfolio is forgotten and the betterment of the people is overlooked. In these circumstances all that the people can do is to look helplessly. When the people themselves who elected the person become secondary and insignificant, then where is democracy? Where is freedom?
In his famous speech ‘Tryst with destiny’, Jawaharlal Nehru made this probing statement: “The responsibility of the nation rests upon the sovereign body representing the sovereign people of India.” In my opinion, the misinterpretation of this statement by the authorities, has led us to where we find ourselves today. A small portion of people thinks and decides for the entire nation, but with their benefit in mind. While the real spirit that unforgettable message by the first Prime Minister is forgotten, the people cannot but come down to the roads in protests, go on hunger strikes, get beaten up and get behind the bars. The freedom struggle is not over yet…
For some, I might seem to be a pessimist and highly critical; but I am sure the majority of India, who dream of a better tomorrow, back me up. For most of us the fiasco of being slaves even after sixty-four years of independence is unbearable. All of us ought to know that the entire country is highly acrimonious towards its rulers.
Finally, I would like to commemorate the great contribution of the father of our nation, Mahatma Gandhi. It is a paradox that in a nation where a person of his caliber lived and died, we still have injustice and violence. Things have grown worse day by day. People live under threat of communalism and terrorism and spend sleepless nights. A person who leaves the house in can never be sure of his return. While the vision of Mahatma, the Ramarajya, is far beyond us, we need to be the carriers of the legacy left by him. I don’t see a perfect solution for the numerous problems in India today. May be we are in need of another avatar of Gandhi on this land.
“Free India means free Indians. Freedom is not something acquired or attained. It has to be felt.”


Celebrating Freedom:

By Wilson Saldanha
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Comment on this article

  • Charles D'Mello, Pangala

    Wed, Aug 17 2011

    Few years back some terrorists tried to attack the parliament...!!!??? had they succeeded .....!!???? We may be better today...!!!???

  • Vijeth, Dubai

    Wed, Aug 17 2011

    Good column with great thoughts Mr.Wilson!
    India is a country with so many resources which many of the developed countries do not have. Yet, we continue to struggle to be in the BIG league of countries. What is the reason??? The country is being run by a bunch of people with old mindsets whose only objective is to fill their coffers in the name of adminstration.
    I guess it is probably one of the reasons today that politics/administration/civil service is one of the least preferred career options by the youth today.Time to change this.
    Full on support to Anna Hazare's protest for creating a strong lokpal!! Great to see silent protests happening across the country.

  • Rayan Lobo, Rayan Lobo

    Tue, Aug 16 2011

    Excellent article....I enjoyed this critical, reflective write-up with a vision.

  • I J Saldanha-Shet., Mangalore.

    Mon, Aug 15 2011

    A very fair write-up indeed, keep at this good work my dear! Let more good people take the direction you indicate. All the best & Regards!-ijss.

  • ashenoy, magloor

    Mon, Aug 15 2011

    India is the one and only free-est country on earth. This is possible becuase we in billions live here and try to live in diversity and harmony unlike any country on earth. Let the world learn from us.
    Maha bharth ki jai on this independence day and make us dependent on ourselves- a billion of us. Let us all be very proud to be an Indians

  • Shekar Moily Padebettu, Padebettu/Udipi

    Mon, Aug 15 2011

    Thanks Mr.Wilson Saldanha for your heart provoking article.Really you are true gentleman.Indeed we have got freedom from outsider but not from insider due to corrupt political leaders and government.When we will get freendom from our own insider.Thank you once again Mr.Wilson.Keep it up and wishing you all the best.God bless you.

  • Bro. Lancy Fernandes, Jeppu/ b lore

    Mon, Aug 15 2011

    Dear Wil,

    Wonderful start. Let your pen speak and show its might with freedom.

  • Rony,

    Mon, Aug 15 2011

    May your dreams for our country be realised by all of us.Good article, Wilson!

  • Joy Rodrigues, Hangal

    Mon, Aug 15 2011

    Dear Wilson
    Thanks for the very inspiring article. I wish that our country may awake to end corruption and give us a peaceful and bright future.


    Mon, Aug 15 2011

    May my country INDIA, develop by leaps and bounds. May there be peace every where, may there be justice and well being for the poorest of the poor. Happy Independence day to all of u who are Indian at heart. May God bless this country....I'm proud of my India.......Jai Hind.
    Henry Misquith(Stalin, Bahrain)

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