At the stroke of the midnight hour, when the world sleeps, India will awake to life and freedom — Jawaharlal Nehru on 14 August 1947
Cut to 63 years after freedom and we wake up to an India that our martyrs never dreamed of. Today, India has become a land of more wrongs than rights as our nation is symbolised by abject poverty, corruption, a huge population and lack of transparent governance, to name a few ills.
India is free; so are we, but have we really valued the freedom that has been granted to us by martyrs who fought valiantly so that we could be born free? Do we think it's a part of our legacy that has been passed on to us through the years?
Freedom is not about being free, it is a great responsibility. Freedom does not give us the right to misuse our rights, but it gives us the power to make better choices. This Independence Day, let us stay away from the usual festivities and pledge to free ourselves from the ills that exist in our society to build a better India. For this, we need to get rid of the six deadly sins.
When it comes to corruption, we are second to none. Year after year, Indians have consistently hit rock bottom when it comes to the global corruption index; from an ordinary peon to our highly decorated babus, everyone has their hands full with bribes or ghoos as we fondly call it.
I can't remember a single year when we were not hit by a money-laundering scandal; this year too, the Commonwealth Games organising committee has been in the news for misappropriation of funds. What a shame — Commonwealth Games could have been a great way to show the world that we are well-equipped to organise global events but what we achieved is quite the opposite. It's time we said no to corruption.
We take pride in calling India a democracy, but from time to time our country has witnessed violence in the name of religion or caste. Violence has very much become a part of our lives as we readily resort to force when things don't go the way we want them to go.
What is more lamentable is the fact that India projects itself as a progressive nation when we still have killings in the name of honour and female infanticide is still rampant in many parts of the country. It's a shame that our leaders still play the caste card to garner votes when development should be the agenda. We need to get rid of the bias that deprives us of peace and tranquility.
We need better governance for our country to be on par with the best. We all know of the Naxal threat that India faces today, but have we really contemplated the cause behind their uprising? The reason is simple — even as India prides itself on its growth rate and on how it is fast becoming one of the most important economies in the world, an important facet of that development remains skewed.
We need effective leaders that can banish such ills and make people feel that they all are a part of our fabled growth story. How long can we have leaders like Mayawati who mindlessly squander people's money on some statues? The need of the hour is to banish leaders like these by voting them out of power. So next time you think why vote, just recall Mayawati and her statues.
We need to stop ignoring the wrongs that are happening around us. As a thumb rule, we Indians are a self-centred lot and things simply don't bother our conscience as long as our homes are in order. Why are we like this? This has to stop; we have to wake up to our duties as we are a vital cog in the wheel as far as the nation's betterment is concerned.
We have utter disrespect for the law of the land as we tend to be mute spectators as we see children being employed or a accident victim lying helplessly on the road. We have to shrug off this callousness and apathy for a better tomorrow.
When it comes to greed, we are second to none. I am not saying that others are not affected by the greed bug, but Indians stand out. I am really not being harsh or unpatriotic — take the example of private hospitals where the patient is fleeced of his very last penny or held to ransom until he pays the bill.
Even our institutes of learning are here to make a fast buck. These institutes may or may not provide you with quality education but what is for sure is that the fee will burn a huge hole in your pocket. Traders in India for sure know how to make a windfall, as most of them have mastered the art of hoarding, leaving many to die of hunger. All they care is about the moolah.
It's a shame that thousands of poor farmers are forced to commit suicide year after year. A widening spiral of debt and despair has forced at least 200,000 farmers to take their own lives in India over the past 13 years. Such is the economic disparity in our country that the rich are becoming richer and the poor poorer.
Ours being an agrarian nation, efforts should be made to see that our kisans should have access to the best of the facilities at their disposal. For India to prosper, the real 'Bharat' has to have a piece of the pie called prosperity.
If we work towards eradicating these sins, then we can truly celebrate our Independence Day — Jai Hind!