August 11, 2017
The preparations are on full swing for our 70th Independence day. There couldn’t be a more appropriate time to reflect on our achievements and failures as a democratic nation. Just as we can gloat on how far we have come as a nation to be regarded as a ‘future super power’, we can hang our heads in shame for all that we haven’t been able to achieve, or provide. We speak to our very own people to get a sense of what this day means to them and whether they truly feel Independent.
“ To begin with, no matter how much we criticise our country and the country folks, this day awakens the patriot in me. But having said that, we are free from the British rule after long years of slavery, but we are still the slaves of our system that exploits us. There is caste, class, gender based violence. Look at the plight of Dalits in our country. After 70 years of Independence, we should have been able to shake-off these internal systems of discriminations,” says Alakananda Bhattacharya, a News Reader. Furthering the discussion, R.Mittal, A Consultant to an MNC says, “ Patriarchy, caste practices and religious orthodoxy are some of the problems that still plague us, and we aren’t independent of that.”
Expressing the same concerns, Ayesha B,Journalist says, “ How are we truly independent. We aren’ a perfectly democratic nation. We are still a work in progress. We aren’t independent of the bias against women at workplace, defunct labour laws that fail to support employees fight for their rights and violence against women.” Expressing anguish on what Independence day means to her, Sumitra Amma says, “It means nothing. It can’t mean anything for people who are struggling to make ends meet. It can only be celebrated by people who have it all. To criticise or celebrate, one needs to have the wisdom independent of emotions. I don’t think we have that.”
It is said that freedom can only be celebrated by people who aren’t sleeping empty stomach, or else it rings hollow. And how true. But Nishtha Bhatnagar, a mother of two daughters, and a Manager, offers another perspective.
“ We are totally independent. I don’t think too many world citizens can exercise independence and liberty the way we can.The only people who aren’t are mostly victims of their circumstances and devices.” It is a given, that the day will invoke different sentiments for different people but as citizens of this country, we need to make the change we wish to see. “We indeed need to embrace PM Modi’s appeal of invoking the Quit India Movement again in order to encourage countrymen to use the same spirit to expel problems like corruption, communalism, terrorism, casteism, poverty, as well as dirt forever from the country by 2022. He requested people to take a pledge to throw these evil from root out of the country and create a “New India”,” concludes Tilova Ghosh, a proud Indian.