Happy Republic Day

January 25, 2011

...and along comes the season of patriotism. It is that time of the year when we all forward "Happy Republic Day" and "proud to be an Indian" kind of text messages and emails. The time when we tag each other in "patriotic" images. And come 27th Jan, we return to being ourselves till the 15th August, where this process is repeated. Wait, is that not what it was all about?

The Constitution of India defines us as a "Secular Socialist Sovereign Democratic Republic". But the fact of the matter is, the only secularism that we see is used to protect the minorities' interests, as long as it fetches votes. The individual might have broken the law, but the real point that is made is that since he is a minority, these actions are being taken against him. Again, I'm not in favor of any kind of terrorism, be it region-based (think: MNS or Telangana for that matter) or religion-based (I'm equally against the Hindu terrorist groups as I'm against the others). I'm totally up for social and economic equality, but is that what we see around us? We might be sovereign in theory, but I have my doubts about the external powers influencing our country's decision making. Democracy is at best a de-mock-racy. Of the people, by the people.. and I can't stop laughing- for the people? I guess the "people" here are the ones sitting on thrones. We removed 500 kings and created 50000 of them. We indeed are republic in the sense that the Head of State is not a monarch. And why? Because the Head of State is a puppet in the hands of the real monarch. Definition of monarchy: an autocracy governed by a monarch who usually inherits the authority. Sounds familiar?

I feel sad when I remember the immortal lines "Shaheedon ki chita par lagengey har baras mele.. Vatan par marne walo ka yahi baaki nishaan hoga". Today nobody cares to remember the people who gave their lives to ensure that coming generations can breathe in a free country. Gone are the days when people like Swami Vivekananda, Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose and Shaheed Bhagat Singh used to be the youth icons. Today, the only people who are respected are the ones who have either money or power (well, one brings the other). And don't even get me started on youth. We have been so blinded by the wave of consumerism that we tend to feel proud in purchasing sweet soda water and thinking "This is cool. I'm doing a very youthful thing". We remember Valentine's Day, but seldom even notice the birthdays of the great people who lived and died for the country. (Just so we're clear, I have nothing against Love. It is a very beautiful thing. In fact, I believe Love to be the greatest power in the Universe. Refer 'The Power' - Rhonda Byrne). The so-called "icons" and "idols" are buffoons at best, leaving apart a few exceptions.

We have become used to entertainment. I'm not referring to movies or music or dance or any other kind of recreational activity, for that matter. I am talking about how the Media is offering us, what I can call in the most delicate terms, crap. We watch it with a similar interest as we would have had we been watching a soap opera. And the best part is, our interest/concern for the subject fades away in the same amount of time it would, had it been fiction. But what is sad is that its not fiction. Not even close. Its our lives. Pardon me for being dramatic, but I would go ahead and compare it to the situation of lighting your own house on fire just for the fun of watching something burn, or to slit own wrists for the fun of watching red color splatter all over. How? Maybe its not that easy to see it when you think of yourself as an individual, an independent entity. But what we can't and shouldn't forget is that we are not independent. We, as humans, were born dependent. And we will always be. That is the reason the structure of society evolved.

Sorry for drifting away from the point. I tend to get carried away when I write. The point is, we need to put some thought (and actions) into it. I don't need to reiterate over all that needs to be fixed. We are a fast growing economy, indeed. We have the best brains on the planet. And we have the second-largest population on the planet, and the largest population of youth (which, I'm citing here as a positive point. Why? Think what would happen if all the human resources can be managed and put to good use in the right way). We are blessed and gifted. But then, why aren't we innovating new technologies and products? Why aren't our sportspersons bagging the most awards? Despite Indians being the largest portion of NASA, Microsoft and the likes, why those miracles are not being done back at home? (I agree that they are technically far ahead of us. But what is stopping us from a speedy recovery?)

We live in a 21st Century India where on one hand women are equal to men in all aspects, yet a girl child is murdered before birth. The number of reported rape cases averages to around 15 a day (stats: 2009). Discrimination, eve-teasing and sexual harassment are the things which the women of our Nation have to face regularly. If someone marries against their folks' will, they are murdered. In the country of "Atithi Devo Bhava", tourists are raped and robbed.

I very strongly feel that the acts which involve taking the people's money and betraying their trust by not proactively performing the duties should be treated as Sedition - an act against the Nation. And the ones performing those should be penalized severely. These, by the way, include incompetence and corruption, for starters.

Why do we have a new scam every couple of years (last year topped it all) that amounts to hundreds of billions and the people who are involved continue to roam freely, not to mention with added money and fame? Why don't people like A. Raja, Suresh Kalmadi, Mayawati etc. get the treatment they deserve? Why Indians are so intent on breaking the Nation into pieces in as many ways as possible. Be it religion, caste, region, state; its a "you name it, we have it" situation. Why is the state of law and order so bad in some places that people prefer to choose the terror groups instead of the government? Why are the prices soaring?

This is quite a bag of questions, but I guess this is the simplest way to vent out all that has been in my head. And this list is far from complete. We're just getting started.