Tryst with Destiny Dream Gone Sour

Aug 15, 2009

August 15 is approaching and once again India is celebrating its independence day with the usual celebrations that have lost much of its meaning and the rhetoric which has also lost much of its sheen.   No doubt it is occasion that makes every Indian proud of being free from the servility of the imperial power that ruled us for nearly 3 centuries.  However there are several unanswered questions that make us uneasy and squirm as we happily move on mouthing platitudes of having attained independence.    

Just as the entire nation is going to celebrate Independence Day there are more Indians who must be asking questions to themselves and to our netaas who guide the destiny of this great nation, “Are Indians really independent even after 62 years of independence, what independence mean to most of us or how independent are we. Have we strived to achieve the ideals we had set for ourselves”?. 

Independence in the true sense 

The answer to these and many more such questions is both yes and no.  Speaking to a cross section of the people it is evident that “No” outweigh the yes factor.  We are independent when it comes to the field of art, literature (with a question mark) science and technology etc. But we are dependent on religion for most part, on vote bank politics, caste and reservations, dependent on American imperialism and their approval to deal with the issue of terrorism in our own country..…….and the list goes on.  

When the same question was posed to freedom fighter B V Kakkilaya he went hammer and thongs pouring out his disappointment at the way we India has conducted itself since independence. “Freedom means proper progress of the people, their right to education, right to employment, right to live, right to work and right to free movement. Today in our country freedom in all fronts is being eroded. Can we call it freedom when people go hungry, farmers commit suicide, when youngsters don’t get opportunity to educate themselves or women are beaten publicly in the altar of morality?  The number of criminals and crorepatis are on the increase in the parliament whereas a poor person cannot even think of contesting elections.  So how can we say we Indians are independent in the true sense” asks this deeply hurt nanogerian whose memory is razor sharp and intact. 

He further adds “It is pathetic to see young students who have just completed their SSLC are on strike in the premises of Mangalore University demanding college seats for them.  Unless we succeed in providing these basic necessities the very meaning of freedom is lost”.  While the younger generation is not truly perturbed or concerned over the issue of what freedom and independence entails, most of them view it in the narrow sense of the term.  The infamous pub attack which brought ignominy to Mangalore finds a mention everywhere when youngsters talk about freedom and independence.  But in reality freedom goes beyond the realm of going to the pub, disco or enjoying at parties. We have poverty, illiteracy, unemployment, inequality, of opportunity, child labour, recession, rising population to deal with. Terrorism is the biggest enemy lurking at our doorstep creating mayhem. We Indians live in an atmosphere of fear and threat to our existence. Our farmers commit suicide, a large majority of our people is deprived of a roof over their head, proper food or basic health care facilities. 

“We can call ourselves free and independent only when we feel safe and secure and are able to lead a decent life without worrying too much about where our next meal is going to come from”, says Gaurav Raj, an engineering student who has recently landed up a job in Bangalore.  

Is the future really bleak? 

Prof K V Nagaraj of the department of Mass Communication and Journalism, Mangalore University is very ruthless in his views on the way we Indians have conducted ourselves since independence. “We are still slaves of the feudal structure.  Nearly 40% of the population lives under dismal conditions.  Even the so called middle class is keeping quiet and is being tightlipped.  We have become prisoners of greed and consumerism.  Within Bharat there are many mini Bharaths. There are multiple divisions within the society which are detrimental to our unity and integrity, Prof Nagaraj points out.     

Prof Nagaraj has some harsh words reserved for the media.  “The mainstream media has gone corrupt.  It was very much during the recent general elections that the media has become a part and parcel of corporate world which is full of machinations. Ours is a society of “sellation”, where channels sell dreams 24X7.  Now the only scope left is the alternate media like small newspapers, independent radio stations etc., which needs to wake up to the responsibility  it has”, he opines. 

So is the future really bleak? Prof Nagarj says that the future of our country is the hands of young people.  They have to raise their voice.  Today’s younger generation is impotent.  Naxalism has raised its head in the country because of the widening social and economic divide.  “Younger   generation should not become prisoners of America.  They should become the torch bearers of Indian dreams.  Or else this country is going to be cut into pieces”, he cautions. 

Chancellor of Nitte University N Vinaya Hegde says in no uncertain terms: “We have not even reached 50% of the expectations which the people believed the country will be able to fulfill after independence.  Though there is a substantial increase in the percentage of middle class nearly 50% of the population live below poverty line in our country.  The benefit of economic growth has been overshadowed by our inability to eradicate poverty.  This is not what Independent Indians aspired for”.  

Vinaya Hegde attributes it to the limitations of a democracy which is not the best form of government.  In an underdeveloped country democracy gives too much leniency for people to non-perform.  At the same time it is right of the people to have democratic way of governance.  “China has overtaken India though India was better placed than China when they became independent.  The root cause of this non-performance is mainly due to the unstable government we had both at the centre and state and also due to rampant corruption pervading our everyday life”.  

Collective Efforts Needed 

Needless to say the pledges of yesteryears remain unfulfilled and the ambition of the greatest man of our generation Gandhi to wipe away the tears from the eyes of majority if not every Indian remains only a distant dream.  We are facing the dearth of strong leadership of the stature of Mangal Pandey, Azad, Swami Vivekananda, Tilak, Gandhi, Bose and Nehru who strived to make India independent.  A strong leadership would help guide us move in the right path eschewing everything that is greedy and destructive and assimilating that which is in the best interest of the nation. 

What we need is a collective effort and a capable leadership that can help us to withstand the difficulties and adversities. People with vision and the zest to work for the betterment of the society should be given a chance to serve the country.   It is time every Indian decides to arise, awake, think and act in a manner that makes all Indians proud of being the citizens of an independent India. Only then Independence has true meaning for Indians.  Jay ho! Independent India on its 63rd birthday !  

Independence Day Special from Daijiworld Archives:

by Florine Roche - Daijiworld Media Network Mangalore
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Comment on this article

  • A.D''Cunah Shenoy, Mangaluru

    Tue, Aug 18 2009

    India is the best country if I had a measuring stick to measure the immence resources it has. From population to culture and in between and surely it might miss some things if one compares to other countries. India is just 63 years young and we cannot compare Indias progress to countires who are between 100 to 200 years of progress. We have 4 crops growing to feed the multitudes and compared to western world who live on imports from the poor countires. we are much better off. We have plenty supply of labour and resources. Our intllectuals from doctors to engineers and scientists basically flourish around the world.

    Yes, there are poor and yes they are everywhere but boxed up. Our democracy is the finest in the world, Our freedom and easy lifestyles is second to none. Our cost of living is a meagre one when compared to other western countries, Our education is superior that is why our people can work around the world. The only thing we are a little shy is in patriotism, Some Indains disown India. Let take ownership to our country and all will fall in place. Just wait with your measuring stick. It won''t be long enough. The goliath is just waking up. Jai Hind.

  • Ashok Kamath, Mlore/Hobart

    Mon, Aug 17 2009

    India now needs the discipline of the armed forces and everything from politics to dustbins have to be organised and put in the right place with special mention of honesty and sacrifices for all the wrong doings since 63 years. Jai Hind

  • Antony Crasta, Mangalore/Sydney Australia

    Sun, Aug 16 2009

    It`s not all doom and gloom situation, as by and large, proejcted by the Writer. Agree, there are some problems and issues like rampant corruption and also the threat of terrorism exist, but these problems are not akin to India alone - they are being faced by all over the world today. Look at the positive side though. When we got independence, a large section of the population used to be illiterate, medical facilities used to be ancient, life span used to be short, and except food, textiles and leather goods, etc., we practictically imported everything.

    Look at the changes and developments that have taken place since then - there is an alround awareness with issues like health and hygiene, safety, cleanliness, even in the villages and remote areas, largely due to the strident steps we have taken in the field of education and literacy. Even in the homes of an ordinary factory worker, or a farm labour, you can see today a Motor Cycle or Scooter, TV, Fridge, Telephone, internet, and such other facilities and comforts, which are, by the way, locally manufactured and supplied!. There is electricity supply and communication lines even in remote and far flung areas.

    The country`s enonomy has improved tremendously and everywhere there are plenty of opportunities to earn a decent living, provided one is ready to work hard, and unlike some of the Western Development Countries, where people are dependent upon the Government for dole and social security payments in the event of unemployment etc., Indian people are financially independent themselves, which they should be proud of!. India has also made tremendous advances in the fields of Manufacturing Industry, Agriculture, Electronics and Information Technology, Medical and other fields of Sciences, in that we make our own Motor Cycles/Scooters, Cars, Trucks, Buses, Railway Engines and Carriages, Aeroplanes, Ships, Industrial Machines and Spare Parts, all Defence Artillery, tanks and equipments, etc. and we all should be very proud of once again! We have a large and the best educated and trained Defence Force supply - the Army, the Navy and the Airforce, who are very capable of defending the country.

    So, get rid of the corruption, terrorism threat, and most importantly, curb the population - bring in the one child policy like China did - or you can have two, the maximum, we will be right. Finally, after living in 44 years in India, and living abroad as well for 22 years, I can assure you to all those pessimists, India, in spite of some of its cited negatives and problems, is the best country to live in. Bharat Maatha Ki Jai!

  • Juliet mascarenhas, bejai/mangalore

    Sun, Aug 16 2009

    Every individual is to be blamed including you and me. Every citizen is independent in this democratic country and it all lies how best we make use of this freedom without depending on others.

  • Lancy M Fernandes, Jeppu/Pune

    Sun, Aug 16 2009

    Good message. Good thoughts floowing from the heart on the special occasion.Happy I-day to u.

  • Max & Jessie Rasquinha, Mangalore/Houston, Texas, USA

    Sat, Aug 15 2009

    Dear Mr. Florine Roche, Thank you so much for your wonderful and timely msg on India''s Independence Day. India''s population of less than 300 million people in 1947 has now exceeded more than 1200 million. While the global population is about to exceed seven billion, India remains to be the second largest population with challenging democracy, growing secularism, and expanding literacy. Within the next 40 years we shall possibly exceed China in population.

    There are bound to be more questions and less answers because we are living in a world of enormous complexities that are often beyond human control. Regardless of all kinds of frustrations the world at large is confronted with economic, religious, cultural and population challenges, we in India are still gifted with so many blessings that have enabled us to survive day after day, year after year with basic necessities unlike many other developing nations, including so many of our own neighboring countries that are small and less populated than us.

    Our population growth just does not match with our resources hence we shall always suffer with scarcities and deficiencies beyond human control. Let us therefore remain grateful for what we have accomplished as a secular democratic nation, and let us give the very best that we have for our country''s continued peace, harmony, progress and prosperity by helping and guiding our leaders. Future challenges are one too many indeed, hence let us get prepared for greater challenges so that our families are safe, homes are safe and we are safe. Jai Hind.

  • Wilfred, Mangalore/AUH

    Sat, Aug 15 2009

    Thanks you for this nice article.It is not fair enough to blame the govt for being back ward in develoment of the nation.It requires a collective effort by every Indian.The Govt has done it''s share to put India in the global map,but as individual,we have divided.distroyed our nation by ing weak govt,by communal voilences,inter religion conflicts,and inter political parties.This should realised by every Indian

  • Venu Bhandary, Putturu/Oman

    Sat, Aug 15 2009

    We are independent on books.The dream of a common man to live an independent life in India may remain dream only unless it turns kingdom so that one man decision will apply ,number of looters may reduce. On the occasion of celebrating 62 nd Independence our achievements remained only to develop anti social elements in house and sell ourselves to the terrorists. Our million leaders failed to keep India intact and apply the devide and rule to sit on the chair and lead a selfish luxury life.Common fed up with the sky high prices,taxes,shameless vote seekers and terrorists. This is the result why we can not punish “ajmal kasab”being caught red handed.Why we need trial to punish him?This is as per our constitution which gives 100 ways to escape for a criminal.

  • Thilak Shetty, Dubai, Mangalore

    Sat, Aug 15 2009

    America is 7 times bigger than India, but its population is 30 crore. Just imagine America with 7 times more population than India,ie: 900 crores. With that much of population America can''t survive at all. But in India law makers are just for vote bank purpose neglecting Population Issue. Without controling population India will never develop.

  • george borromeo, angelore, mangalore

    Sat, Aug 15 2009

    I have born in Independent India, so i do not know, or I didnt feel the pain of being a slave to a foreign power. When I grew up I was free to educate myself, free to follow the religion of my parents followed,I was free to enjoy my child hood along with my neighbor children mind it with my own class(poor). when I joined Defence Services (IAF)at the age of sixteen and half,I felt that my freedome was curtailed, my free wings were clipped and I was moulded in to a disciplined Soldier.Then I realised what the independence means. When I watched my companions from North, West, East and South,I really felt the difference, as they used to call us Madrasees or Kukkudu.Thank God Mangaloreans were the only people jelled with every body, as we knew bit of Hindi, and our hybreed culture, a mixture of Aryan and Draveedan.Hence we were friends of every body, let them be from Punjab, Bihar, Rajastan, Bengal,Maharastra,TN,Kerala and Nagaland etc. But the Name identified our Religion. We were the Minorities. Still we used to visit Campus Temple and Guru Dwara, Eat Prasad and Food in the Langar.Celebrate Bengali Durga Pooja,Marathi Ganesh Pooja, Keralites Onam,Tamilians Pongal and Christians X''Mass. We were ONE as we have adopted and respected every ones Language, Culture and Religion. When I came out from the service in 1986, I was a different Person. I didn''t feel the difference between a Hindu or Muslim, between a Keralite or Punjabi, between Tamil and Oriya language. Hence I presume True Independence is depends on our mind set, How we have been moulded in the society, How we have been exposed in this society. We have been lucky to born in this Great Nation, a colorful nation amalgamated with Different Languages, Different Religion and Different Culture. A bit of Discipline, A bit of broad Heart and a bit of sincierity will allow us to eat the fruit of Independence,Our Fathers, also called Freedome Fighters Under the Leadership of Mahathma Gandi,Sardar Vallabha Bai Patel,Nehru and Kamaraj, given us over a Golden Platter. At the same time let us fight unanimously the forces who devide us in the name of Religion, Language and Culture. Jai Hind, Bolo Bharath Matha Ki Jai.

  • Roshan , m''bidri/A''dhabi

    Sat, Aug 15 2009

    Sare jahan se accha hindustan hamara,hum bulbulain hai iski, ye gulistan hamara....hamara....yo, east or west, India is the best. Happy Independence to all my fellow indians.


    Sat, Aug 15 2009

    Congrats to fellow indians on the ocassion 63th independence day.We pledge ourselves to advance hand in hand to the prosperity.Let us share equally to stregntern our UNITY IN DIVERSITY.There is no caste,creed,sect,whatsoever in building INDIA a secular,democratic,prosporus.INDIA is one, We we are INDIANS. JAI-HO JAI HIND.

  • Robert Rodrigues, vitla,kuwait

    Sat, Aug 15 2009

    I wish to all my country nations happy Inependence day.

  • John Stephen Roche, SVD, Fajir/ Mangalore/Mexico

    Sat, Aug 15 2009

    John Stephen Roche SVD, Mexico "China has overtaken India..." because China may not have the problems like naxalism, strikes, curfews, ''bundhs'',''rasta roko'', communal clashes, terrorism ..etc. as we have in India.

  • Dr.Anand & Geeta Pereira, Sakleshpur

    Sat, Aug 15 2009

    Dear Florine, thank you for the thought provoking article. "Independence "has lost its original meaning and we are now ruled by bureaucrats. Most of the people in responsible positions are mediocre, yet cling to positions. The Delivery system is pathetic, unaccountable and non transparent. We as one Nation need to be proud and should speak in one voice. The youth will definitely be Sensitized with your article.

  • Lalstha 85 yrs old, Tirunelveli

    Sat, Aug 15 2009

    I blame the various Govts ,both at the Central and States.Now it has become muscle power and money power to rule the country where ordinary man has no voice.BUT IF SOME ONE CAN MOTIVATE THE ORDINARY MAN WITHOLUT ANY SELFISH MOTIVES, HE CAN THROW THE GREEDY POLITICIANS AND TEACH THEM A LESSON. BUT WHO IS TO BELL THE CAT.


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