God, Show us the way

We wish each other with passion on 15th August, reaffirming our nations independence. We celebrate the holiday, and buy the Indian flag being sold by the little guy while we wait for the signal to turn green in our swanky air-conditioned cars. But are we aware of what it means to be independent? More importantly, are we independent?

I do not refer to geographical and political imperialism but rather the binds that stop us from reaching out true potential, the binds that propel us to judge others harshly for being different, and the binds that sow seeds of indifference into our hearts.

Sixty-seven years have passed since we rejoiced that night as a nation, jubilant to be independent. Sure you and I may not have been there, but we have heard the stories and read the books, emulating the emotion and the spirit of the times. Economically we have come a long way, but in terms of social inequity that plagues are society, the story turns grim. Class divides still exist to this day, and we perpetuate it. Look at any matrimonial website and you will see what I am taking about. Brahmins seeking out Brahmins, Telugu seeking out Telugu and so on and so forth. Reading these, I do not feel that I belong to a united, free India, but a divided, sectarian India. What does give me some hope is with cities and schools being a melting pot of different age, experiences, states, religion and languages, that more and more people come together to question the class divide.

In terms of gender issues as well, I believe that India has much to achieve and we can not afford to be silent or indifferent about It anymore. Just saying that “the city is unsafe for women” or “ come back before its dark” won’t suffice anymore. If India has to be competitive in the global market, it has to capitalize on its women. With the second largest workforce in the world, just after China, India has a great potential, yet, only 27 % of women make their way to this workforce. Why? Because they need to cook lunches and dinners? Are the less intelligent? Less educated? On the contrary! And the women themselves have to be able to break free fro these often self-imposed restrictions in order to advance.

Like any country, India has many challenges to meet, many battles to win. Battles more of the mind and of the heart. I think we are at a stage of economic and educational development where some of us can turn this tide of passive observation into passionate action. What steps must be taken of course would vary from one individual to another, but what would unite us yet again, is the need to break free from indifference, and surge ahead shedding our inhibitions that stop us from really being the “change we wish to see”  (M.Gandhi).

ImagePhoto Taken July 2013, Outer Ring Road, Delhi.