Saturday, August 16, 2008

Independence Day 2008

Indian tricolour fluttered in the backdrop, as Neelam Deo, the country’s consul general in New York rung the closing bell at the world’s largest stock exchange NASDAQ, which celebrated India’s 62nd Independence day on Friday.
This was the first time that a consul general has rung the closing bell at the stock market in a prestigious ceremony, which marks the recognition of a fast growing Indian economy.
Outside the exchange, the huge electronic board, which overlooks the historic Times Square and displays quotations during the day was also lighted in saffron, white and green colours, with the words “India Independence Day”.

But is that Enough ????? I am asking this question to me and you can also ask who am I to stop u asking.....

61 years on, as we look back, we must ask ourselves two pertinent questions. Where have we come? Where are we going? Would those men and women, who died to rid us of oppression, would they be satisfied at the progress we have made? Or would they once again, prepare for a new andolan?A nation, which had once been described as "a functioning anarchy" by noted economist JK Galbraith, is now being showered with the choicest of praises. Yet, as we look through these phrases, we see that there is more to be achieved. Where we create the largest amount of millionaires per capita we consistently rank at the bottom half of the UNDI (UN Development Index). Where we have the largest middle-class in the world, we are also home to the largest levels of illiteracy. Where we have world renowned institutions such as IISc, TIFR, IIT, we also have children who study in woefully inadequate classrooms. Where we have a Muslim President administering the oath to a Sikh PM belonging to a party headed by a Roman Catholic to serve a population of 800 million Hindus, we have at the very same time, politicians claiming to decide who will be allowed to reside in a particular state and the means by which they shall reside.
We have, for long enough, put up with policies which while claiming to provide social equality, strips our countrymen of their very identity. We have for long enough, put up with voices who seek to divide us. To use Barrack Obama's words, there are those who are preparing to divide us, the spin masters and negative ad peddlers who embrace the politics of anything goes. I say to them, there is not a BJP India or a Congress India, there is the Republic of India. There is not a North India, a South India, a North-East India, there is the Republic of India. There is not a Hindu India, a Muslim India, a Sikh India, there is the Republic of India. There are people also seek to fragment our states, by drawing Orange states and White States, Orange for the NDA/BJP and White for the UPA/INC. I have news for them too. We say "Id Mubarak" in the Orange states, and we celebrate Ganesh Chaturthi in the White States with equal fervour. We fill up RTI applications in the Orange States and we support those who are less fortunate than us in the White States. We celebrate the success of Irfan Khan Pathan in the Orange states and we reminisce the works of Vijay Tendulkar in the White states. We are immensely saddened when terror hits the Orange states, and we are relieved when a terrorist is sentenced to death in the White states. We are all one, pledging allegiance to the Republic of India.

In finishing, we are standing at the precipice of an unheralded moment in history. Already, the media is filling us with the optimism that this century will be known as the Asian Century, and there are parallels being drawn with the "Indian Elephant" and the "Chinese Dragon". As we begin the 62nd year of Independence, let us recall the facts. We have around 250-300 million people between the ages of 15-35. That includes many of you as well. This population is more than ten times the entire population of Australia and comparable with the population of the United States. Which power on earth can stop us if we all decide to achieve to the best of our abilities? For far too long now, India has been spoken of as "getting there" and "emerging superpower". When shall we "get there" and be "a Superpower". I don't know about you all, but I want it to be in my lifetime. Else, the debt that I owe to those who fought for a free India, will be a "promissory note returned marked insufficient funds".Swami Vivekananda once said "Give me a few young men, and I shall change the face of this nation". I am putting my hand up now, anyone willing to join me?

Jai Hind!!!

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