New Delhi: Seventieth year, and a set of questions asked. Some repeated, some created, but somehow, one question remains. What is Independence Day?
An event that provides us with a holiday in our busy life, an event that provides us with a day when we can hoist the national flag and sing patriotic songs and satisfy our patriotic being. A reason for texting the people around wishing them happy Independence Day. A reason to ask questions about independence and seek answers from the society? None of the above actually seemed convincing… Then I realised, independence was a very simple thing… it means not being dependent on anybody for anything… it means you can survive independently!
On the 15th of August 2016, which was a few days back, I was going through my news feed on Facebook. And all I found were questions; people asking in their own individual ways, if we, after more than half a century of independence, were independent in this country from corruption, from girls being insecure, from poverty, from child labour, from unemployment and many more topics of national relevance. They all were asking questions with the answers already in their minds. As I scrolled down, I was thinking, they were right. We definitely are not in a very good situation to celebrate a “happy independence day”! There is so much still left to do to reach the level of the “independence” that we are seeking for… fair enough!
But again, there was this thought that crossed my mind. Why do we always question the things we don’t have and don’t realize we ourselves have hardly made any contribution towards what we want to achieve. We don’t forget to complain about the dirty roads, but how many of us actually try not to throw an empty packet of chips on the road? We never fail to complain about child labour when we see a young boy who brings a plate of noodles for us in a hotel, but what do we actually do other than eating the noodles, showing sympathy to the boy, giving him Rs 2 tip, and walking away! The same people who have so much to talk about the insecurity of girls in the country, will never come up to help a girl being molested or raped.
The second side of this two-faced coin known as independence is a little funny actually. Independence day is celebrated all over the country as a happy occasion because on this day we managed to set ourselves free from the clutches of the British.
Now arises a small question… Are we not dependent on the other nations for the products we use in our daily lives? Either when we use a “Nokia” phone, or we wear a “Rado” watch, or we carry a “Gucci” bag… If we are so independent or at least aspire to be so, why do most of our birthday treats take place in McDonalds or KFC? Why do we spend so much on branded clothes that help the other nations earn? And if we are being able to do so, isn’t this a part of our independence? We are dealing with people today, who 70 years back ruled over us. We complain that girls are not safe out at night, but we forget there was a time when girls were not allowed to be out even during day time; when their world was limited to the walls of the kitchen. We complain that we don’t have a good government, but the fact is, we have the independence to choose our government.
Basically, it is those people debating over “independence” or “no independence”, who have actually tasted some level of independence. If we cannot be called properly independent, we definitely cannot be called entirely dependent either, because though we’re progressing slowly, we are progressing.
Now many would ask, is this level of progress enough? Well no! It isn’t, but for people who’ve done nothing to get this level even, it is more than enough. If we don’t expect to pass in an exam without studying, how do we expect a nation to progress in merely 70 years at such a pace that it matches the nation that once ruled us, that too without the citizens doing anything towards its development? Everything demands effort! Even if it’s a feeling like independence.
If we want our daughters to be safe at night, we need to teach our sons the value of respect for women. If we want to stop corruption, we need to stop bribing the traffic police with a 100 rupee note each time we violate a traffic rule. If we want to educate India, we need to pass on the privilege of being educated to the less privileged. And then I’m sure we won’t need to demand independence.
Asking questions is easy, seeking answers even easier, but being the answer is the difficult part. It is high time we start searching for reasons to celebrate “independence” and stop complaining on posts on “Independence day”. There is a lot to do, but if we don’t “do”, it will not be “done”…