Thursday, August 16


The nation celebrates its Independence day this August.
"Independence from what? " is a question that often haunts my mind.

We are not free yet. We are bound by our own shackles, we have wrung our own voices, we choose to be prisoners to ourselves.

How can we declare to be independent?

Corruption is not limited to the ministers and MPs, we are all in our own ways corrupted, everytime we throw that dirt onto the road, everytime, we spit on the road, everytime we jump a signal and pass on that Rs50/note instead of paying a Rs100/- fine, we are corrupted, body, mind and soul.

Everytime we remain diffidently indifferent to the poor among us, everytime we refuse a rupee to the beggar, but spend thousands in a fast food resturant run by a foriegn company, everytime we wrinkle our noses in disgust at the slum dwellers - we remain bound - by economic shackles

Everytime a girl child is killed, everytime a woman is jeered at, everytime a hapless lady is raped, everytime one's caste is mocked at, everytime a pressure of "reservations" is brought about - we are bound - by caste and social shackles

Everytime we say "the XYZ country is a better place to live in", everytime we prefer an expensive MNC brand to a lesser known desi brand, everytime we fake an accent, everytime we show off "imported" stuff, everytime we tell our kids to aim for a seat in a foriegn university - we are bound, by the lure of the very people we decided to oust 60 years ago.

Everytime we say "adjust", everytime we adjust though the conscience screams out otherwise, everytime we evade taxes, everytime we encourage laziness, everytime we encourage incompetence under the shroud of "more employment" in the public sector, everytime we shirk from voting under the pretext that "yaar, all these people are the same - all thieves" - we are bound by our incompetence.

Where is Freedom? What is freedom?

Freedom is not the right to behave the way we want, freedom is the duty to behave ourselves.

Freedom does not mean the right to complain, freedom means the duty to roll up our sleeves and work at improving the very things we complain about

Freedom does not mean waving a plastic flag on the 15th and throwing it out with the garbage on 16th, it means having a sense of patritotism every single living moment of our lives.

Freedom does not mean remixed versions of the National Anthem, it means the collective voice of the intelligent and dutiful middle class who will stand up and say "we are the nation" and decide our future for ourselves

Freedom does not mean yet another holiday, it means you wake up and work harder that day- for by hardwork alone shall the country prosper

Freedom does not mean yelling for a bunch of 11 fools to win a match, it means working in the nearby slums and yelling for a bunch of 110 brilliant kids to go on and write their destinies.

nEnu saitam prapanch aagniki samidhanokkaTi aahuticchaanu
nEnu saitam viSva vrushTiki aSRuvokkaTi dhaaravOsaanu
nEnu saitam bhuvana GhOshaku verri gontuka picchi mosaanuu

( A telugu poem that literally translates thus

I too have contributed a log of wood to the world's fire
I too have contributed a tear drop for the world's rains
I too have shouted myself hoarse for the universe to hear the world

In the spirit goes thus

I have sacrificed my body, mind and soul for the betterment of the world
It is I who shall do it - for by me shall the change emerge)

Happy Independence Day to all.
(its a belated post - I know. I meant it to be belated.)


Phoenix said...

Gold for me. And gold medal for you, for thinking thoughts. To be upgraded to platinum if u do anything about imbibing them to ur kids n frnds, and implementing them.

Cheers to freedom :)

catalyst said...

read the post, appreciate the outrage :) but you sound like a chauvinist at some places, offcourse my opnion is not what counts but still.....had you said refusing a rupee to an NGO things would have been good, offcourse there are destitute but giving them money they havent rearned is not the sounds arrogant and presumptuous but why should one feel guity of earning and be able to spend more than others, you can use that for benefit of people but to think like this.....that i wont have a Rs 60 coffee till noone goes without a cuppa tea is impractical, though a commendeble thought. when you wrinkle your nose its because of the stench and the decrepitude, you cant ignore that.....the people might not be entirely at fault but the problem is there.
when an indian says he wants to stay in XYZ state but not bihar, not UP, not the naxal infested orissa, you might as well offer some kind words.......a mother sustains, gives opportunities to thrive, nurtures potential, birth is not enough......
if an XYZ colony in a big city can be said to be a better place to live compared to the village you were born in what is wrong in saying this about a country......we have our brands that we are proud of.......but to endorse incompetence just because it is Indian is killing the desire and incentive to improve.....same goes for education.......if you have no qualms in wishing an english medium education for your kids over hindi or any regional medium why make bones about having it abroad......

ignoring and hiding your fallacies is the best way to make sure you never improve.
i aquiesce to everything else :D please dont be ruthless if you decide to go after me :)

Gary said...

Who lives in an ideal world?
But as you say, let's do our bit to make it better.

Di said...

:) loved the telugu poem...

arpana said...

@phoenix - thanks, i shall try and do my bit to upgrade to platinum

@catalyst -
//destitute but giving them money they havent rearned is not the solution
It may not make sense economically; I am one of those people who say beggary is the worst way to lead a life. But think on a humane term once - I do not know if the NGO to whom I give money can help this frail small kid standing in front of me. when I can take time out to watch a movie, I can jolly well take time out to get a 5 rupee bread loaf. That is something I CAN do - remember what Ramakrishna said "religion is not for empty bellies" I shall rephrase it and say "ideals and education is not for empty bellies" when I say do not refuse a rupee, I mean it metaphorically, I mean it in the sense to say be humane. think and act humane.
//it sounds arrogant and presumptuous but why should one feel guity of earning and be able to spend more than others,

I do not feel guilty of being able to earn more than others, what I do feel guilty about is not being able to put to use all that I earn, and all that I have earned to better use to my country. It is afterall some tax payer who has funded my subsidised education ...
//wont have a Rs 60 coffee till noone goes without a cuppa tea is impractical
What you call impractical my boy(im assuming the gender, sorry, if im wrong) is what the Father of the nation did. He refused to wear a decent set of clothes, until the country could afford to clothe everyone ( no matter how low my opinion on the man, I respect him for this act of his) it takes great magnamity to show empathy, it takes hypocrisy to show sympathy
//when an indian says he wants to stay in XYZ state.......
I agree. Charity begins at home, one must look inwards and help oneself and one's villages and downtrodden cities before one looks up and points fingers, I totally agree.
//giving birth is not enough......
What a strange thing to say?
what more do you want is what I ask you. Every single thing that you can see around you is subsidised, inspite of having horrible governments and blood sucking ministers , education, fuel, LPG, the roads on which you drive, the licence to the business you want to begin, everything is subsidised. You are a collective burden for all the tax payers of the country, and you say "giving birth is not enough"? you who pile up your dad's money while you spend the tax payers', the governments' money studying, decide to spend the piled up money in a foriegn institute's coffer, no , you shouldnt be saying that statement. If only had Japan, South Korea, Thailand , Germany and such other countries had citizens who said "giving birth is not enough", we would not have looked up at thse countries in awe, they would too be counted #2 in scams and #2 in population.

//but to endorse incompetence just because it is Indian is killing
I did not ask you to endorse incompetence. I asked you to roll up your sleeves and work towards making it competent.I did not ask you to look down upon foreign brands, I ask you to make yours better than them.For it is you who can bring the change about, not by switching brands, but by making the existing brand more comptetent and competitive.

//if you have no qualms in wishing an english medium education for your kids over hindi or any regional medium

Language is not the question here, The question is brain drain,if you wish for a foreign education for the kid, I wld rather you throw the kid in the foriegn country from its birth, I do not want a parasite on my soil drinking my blood and money (which I cld have used to teach several other kids in slums) and running away to videsh when it comes to the question of "higher" education and settle down there. No thanks, I can do without such parasites.

Easy to critize, easier to turn a blind eye, difficult it is to accept, more difficult it is to work at removing those very thngs that we are ashamed of.

@Gary- accepted. Lets do it :)

@Di - I love the gult poem too, one of those who make you want to get out of your chair and do something.

catalyst said...

1. we ought to have patience to bring about the change in a proper way, think of what we encourage in wake of our irresponsible empathies. problems dont vanish by waving a hand, may be a part of them may, but creating a bigger one for the future. i remember all what ramkrishna said (in essence) but look the things in perspective, he wanted people to work first so that they have a living and then do whatever...

2. perhaps it holds in your case, not mine certainly. where there is a will there is a way :) i wonder why havent you found one already?

3. ....its the indutries and jobs that provide people with a decent living, gathering a bunch by your charisma and going half naked only can get attention and reverance in a nation who has long cherished virtues of self sacrifice........i thought you could make the distinction.

4. perfectly right there :) i admire the instincts. charity??? see, i just dont agree with your ways, but i believe in the same thing as you say, to make my home a better place.....its not charity.

5. why do you presume i belong to the kind whose family or who himself has never paid taxes ? :D
govt is not a bloody charity, it gives what it takes from people.......the so called subsidies are doled out from money levied in excess, when i see the number of those who dont pay taxes in this country i dont feel i am given any bloody subsidy, i am rather overcharged......but i dont complain because then i would be tagged parasite :)

6. but till they arent better, is it okay to continue with the better things???

7.on the contrary they are saving you money by studying here, so that you can deduct that amount not spent in excess for an expensive US education and spent it on those kids on the street.

intellect is a gift not a prerogative, and its our duty not to use it with immaturity and irresponsibility :) neverthless, i admire the wisdom behind those words :)
i am done here, ciao :)

arpana said...

@catalyst - hmmm, I get the feeling, we are working towards the same goal - but by methods that are different. and oh, BTW - I did not mean that you dont pay taxes - the you , we and I are general pronouns - it wasnt personal. as for "not yet that good, lets have the better things" its still something I dont agree. We NEED to make it better, we MUST.
No matter what path we walk, we have to - not for the rich and the affluent, but for the rest of us - the middle class and the poor.
I just hope we achieve what the country must have - as they say "by hook or crook"

catalyst said...

hehehe , sure :P

catalyst said...

you see i was waiting ;)

nasia said...

Thats an Awesum thought provoking post! and one gr8 amt of debate goin on in ur comments column..

"Everytime we remain diffidently indifferent to the poor among us, everytime we refuse a rupee to the beggar, but spend thousands in a fast food resturant " this is my fav line.. cause thats exactly the thought that goes thru my mind.. everytime.. i see someone askin me for money