Kanchan Banerjee urges each and every India to be an agent for change on the eve of the 67th Independence Day
August 15 – the day India broke free from colonial shackles– has come again. This is the 67th year. A new India was born out of the old with the image of a modern nation, and guided by a Constitution which is largely British inspired till date. But asking question about Indian Constitution’s effectiveness for the people may not be a politically correct act. Although the Greeks are given credit, the idea of democracy originated in India, even the celebrated American historian Will Durant noted!
Parade, flags, children singing ‘sare jahan se achha’, speeches, parties, holiday! Is it really ‘the best in the world’?
What do we really celebrate? Freedom? Liberty? Who has the freedom? Who enjoys it? The bottom of the pyramid, or..?
India has an education system which is till remnants of the old – British. Which Macaulay wanted to create clerks and ‘brown sahibs’.
India has a great healthcare system. Some of the hospital systems are the best in the world. But is the private and public management system best for the people – one may ask.
India has a robust legal and justice system which is old as well. But is justice delivered on time and to the needy?
Millions go hungry daily; millions don’t get potable water. Millions still cannot read. It’s been a long way since 1947. India could do better, and be better. It led the freedom of many nations, the last major one being South Africa. But India as a whole has failed to become a model for development. Many questions are there about India’s development model, which unfortunately don’t have too many illuminating answers.
What about the dedication of the old leaders, who had laid down their lives.
The next generation was expected to build. Alas! It has been almost a royal family ruling the nation, democracy is for them to get the extension to rule.
All nations’ inherent tendency is to call itself the best, akin to kids who consider their mothers to be the best in the world. That’s the emotional part of our being. But what about the rational bit? Where India is and which way it is heading? India has a destiny; it only depends upon her people and ultimately on leadership.
You may ask why I am being negative! If this is the reality, why blow a trumpet about it? Well, it would have been normal not to indulge in self-flagellation. Because writing an editorial like this may not change an iota. But hope springs eternal. That there will be few, who are in leadership position and will listen to some of us and take a call, enough is enough, let us change the status quo, let us change the pessimism, let’s change the expectations, roles and our outlook. Change happens when we change ourselves. So, first, be the agents for change. Let us all say, on the next Independence day, we have begun anew, for a newer nation with happy environment, prosperous and progressive society where development is holistic, where every voice has a meaning, every cry has an empathy, every hungry has food and every potential is at least given a chance to realize it. India needs leadership.
India is crying for such leaders and only the people at the societal level have the power to bring such leadership. Are you ready to make the pledge?