We, The People — Will We Ever Change?

Posted on August 18, 2010 in YKA Editorials

By Ruchika Joshi:

As I was surfing through the same old channels on TV that seemed to be saying the same old thing, I came across the movie ‘Gandhi’. Gandhi is a 1982 biographical film based on the life of Mahatma Gandhi, directed by Richard Attenborough. As the movie progressed through the first hour and Gandhi enchantingly worked his way through people, conflicts and ideas, I realized what was wrong this Independence Day.

I realized that we are a blind generation of Indians, that we do not see our nation as our own. We do not see the person standing next to us as a fellow citizen, we do not see the harm we cause, we do not see the injustice that prevails and we definitely do not see our future as one people. Indifference is the word, violence is our answer.

63 years back, when we achieved our independence it was only because our people put the nation before their selfish interests and petty differences. When they saw a future, they envisioned a nation that would emulate a Utopian model of prosperity, unity, altruism and justice. They envisioned their future together as a people. They weren’t blind to their own countrymen and their concerns. Indifference was unheard of and non-violence, as preached by Gandhi, was a code they swore by.

And today, I wonder, if we somewhere in our quest for a brighter India, have lost our way. I cannot count the number of times I’ve been stared blatantly into the face by the questions as to where my country is headed, and what my fellow countrymen have in store for them.

The five year old begging for anything we could spare, the myriad farmers committing suicide in parts of the country we’ve only heard of, the corporate-led destructive terrorism that lynches the poor, the corruption cases that greet us every morning with the hot cuppa, the Kashmir that still burns on its own…the disillusionment continues.

What happened to our leaders? What happened to the faith we placed in them? Gandhi led millions of Indians against a mighty British power solely on the basis of non-violence. Two hundred years worth of an empire came crumbling down, when one man and his fellow citizens decided to take charge of their own destinies as entwined with the destiny of their beloved motherland. Where did that integrity go, where did that patriotism disappear?

As the movie progresses, all I can seem to do is respect my country’s freedom struggle and hope that our love for our nation will be reborn. My country and its citizens will open their eyes to the truth and set themselves free again, this time from their own indifferent selves. Another wave of diligent and capable leaders will take this nation to greater heights, heights that our freedom fighters envisaged for us.

And as the movie credits rolled forward, I pledged to myself that Independence Day this year wont be ‘just another holiday’. It’ll be a day of reminiscence and a day that marks the beginning of something new, something better. Jai Hind!