Since wresting independence from the erstwhile colonial rule of Great Britain in 1947, the transformation of Bharat, the name by which the country was known in ancient times, to India, has been both turbulent and vibrant.
The vision our great freedom fighters and martyrs had for independent India has not yet been achieved and we are still on the path of progress in realizing the dream of a country where all citizens live a life of peace, prosperity and wellbeing.
India is considered one of the fastest growing economies in the world, with steady growth being exhibited during recent years. Yet, India is considered as a developing nation. A developing nation means some regions have developed up to the standards we deem as developed, while others are only picking up the pace to reach there. In the continued effort to develop those regions that lag behind, the government has at different times formulated laws and rules for their uplift. But still the gaps remain unabridged.
In the past decades we have seen India emerging as a nation of great interest for other countries. While we have achieved significant progress and growth in our economy, infrastructure, defense mechanism, knowledge, education and living standards, the undeniable hard truth is, this growth has in large measure been unbalanced. While a small section of society is remarkably well-off the vast populace continues to suffer from problems of poverty, malnutrition, poor transportation facilities and unemployment. Child labor, farmers’ suicide, communal riots and other social tensions continue to rake the country and project it in a very depressing manner. It is a disheartening situation for all citizens.
To an extent, stodgy bureaucracy with its tangling red tape can be blamed for this situation, but they are not the only factors that drag the nation behind. One main reason which cannot be denied is the irresponsibility of citizens. India is one of the most populated nations in the world and as a responsible citizen we have a greater role to play in society. But in most cases we either shirk that responsibility or deny it entirely.
Every citizen should be made aware of their responsibility and should voluntarily reach out for the betterment of society, whether he contributes in a small or large way. A contributory model of living in society can include small steps, such as keeping our surroundings clean, taking care of the public property or imparting education to the underprivileged children.
Small startups and cottage industries that leverage locally available human resources could help with unemployment. Each locality could also form small groups that understand the requirement of the area and leverage the various plans being implemented by state and central governments. All of these small steps can come together to create the ripples that eventually bring about change in society.
However, for all of this to be realized, each civilized, educated citizen should consider the country as their own homeland. Patriotism in its full sense can be achieved only though internalizing this concept and not just by celebrating our independence or standing up for the National Anthem.
To bring about inclusive and integrated growth and help the country on its path of progress, every citizen must voluntarily contribute their efforts. We must learn to cross the barriers of religion, caste, region, gender and language, and to see ourselves as one people with pride in our unique Indian way of life. Only then can India realize its dreams of becoming a truly great nation.
Let us celebrate this 68th Republic Day of our nation with the above thoughts in mind and strive to realize it in every way possible.
By Vibheesh Tikkodi