By Bhavita Kukreja:
Now that we have completed 65 years of independence, I am sure it makes each one of us proud to be a citizen of a democratic country like India. India is the largest democracy in the world. The Constitution of India gives its citizens six rights known as the Fundamental Rights. We have the:
– RIGHT TO FREEDOM
– RIGHT TO EDUCATION AND CULTURE
– RIGHT AGAINST EXPLOITATION
– RIGHT TO EQUALITY
– RIGHT TO FREEDOM OF RELIGION
– RIGHT TO CONSTITUTIONAL REMEDIES.
We have the rights and we do exercise them in the most appropriate way, but are we truly free? We did get freedom on 15 August 1947 from the British Rule but now we have to get freedom from a whole lot of social evils and problems that have their stronghold in India. In the recent past we have seen personalities such as Anna Hazare and Baba Ramdev sitting on dharna or fasts in order to protest against the Government and its policies that give rise to corruption. Baba Ramdev has particularly been demanding to get back the black money from other countries to India. Hazare has been demanding a stronger Lokpal Bill to punish the corrupt. This is one of a long list of evils that has been highlighted in particular but the others are similarly prevalent in our society today.
What I feel is that India will become independent when we are free from corruption which has to be wiped off from the grass root level. In whichever sector we go, starting from the clerk level to the higher officials, everyone is corrupt. They openly demand money in order to get work done. Even in schools to get a child admitted we need to pay a certain amount of money to these various levels, from the receptionist to the Principal.
The next evil in my view which is important is the female foeticide. Even in the 21st century people take a girl child to be a burden and force the pregnant lady to get abortion done after undergoing a sex determination check. On one hand we have role models like Chanda Kochhar- who was the only female CEO amongst all other men in the list of Top 10 CEO’s of India – and on the contrary, the male-female ratio even today is disturbing. The need of the hour is to change our mindset and give this gender equal opportunities as boys, giving them a chance to prove their worth. In order to create awareness amongst the masses about the protection of girl child we need to first educate them.
Education is yet another necessary step towards Independent India – a nation where people are literate, have jobs, where through the medium of education they can rise up in the hierarchy and live a respectable life as others. Even today untouchables or people from schedule castes, schedule tribes and other backward classes are not given the rights due to which they are ill-treated and get abused, not just verbally but also physically. Untouchables even today in villages have to resort to manual scavenging in order to earn a living.
The crime rate has increased in the cities; not just women are being molested, teased on the way they dress, but also old age people and children are a victim of such crimes. Old women are molested and raped by rickshaw pullers, auto drivers, servants and even acquaintances. There was a time when the aged were worshipped, were looked after; the irony is that now they are treated as a burden and left to live in dilapidated old-age homes.
Today when we do not even cherish or respect what we have, rather we try to exploit it in any which way possible. Then how can we say that India is independent in the true sense of the word? Until and unless we eradicate all these social evils, completely get rid of them I personally cannot term India as independent. For me the day everyone has access to the rights that are their due, everyone is treated equal, manual scavenging isn’t required by anybody, male-female ratio is equal, the aged people are no more a burden but respected the way they should be, women are not exploited or treated as commodities, people are educated, poverty is eradicated and employment opportunities are available to one and all, it is on that day that India will be truly independent for me.