The golden year of India’s independence is the year when we can look back and see what we have done in the last fifty years of our own rule. This is the year of celebration no doubt but, at the same time this is the juncture when we must spend time in restrospecting bout our achievements and failures. For achievements, yes, we can celebrate but, for failures also we must not only have a session of blaming each other but, each one of us most consider what we have done and what we should have done. Only if we compare honestly and genuinely what we have done and what is left to be done? Can we realize and truly assess what our mistakes really were. After having studied impartially our wrongs we must now plan ahead in such a way so that we avoid at least making the same mistakes now onwards. The lessons we have got from our own History must serve us as eye openers and at least now, we must adapt a more coherent planning for the future.
To my mind, the first thing for us to study is, why and how this all round deterioration has taken place, and specially why we have had a complete bankruptcy of leadership. Where have the pre-independence leaders gone, where have a Mahatma Gandhi, or a Jawaharlal Nehru or a Patel, or a Subbash Chandra Bose principle gone? Where do we not have a single mass leader like the ones just mentioned, who has now the capacity to call to the nation, and bring it under one banner, for nay purpose? Why this acute bankruptcy? Besides the stuff of the leaders, I ask where has the feeling of nationality gone, where is that single force that brought these same Indians together to fight as one entity against the mighty British force? Where are the Indians who, in the early part of this very Century gave their lives for this Nation? Where is our Nation, and where the Nationalists, and where the national fervour. To my mind, this single setback is enough for us to lament at a great loss – that of Nationalism. In the golden year of independence we must seriously look back and try to find out the causes of this great loss of nationalism. Fifty long solid years have failed to produce a single nationalist like the Mahatma or a Nehru whom we can talk of, or be proud of? It is a matter of serious concern why and how we have lost completely the feeling of and for the Nation.
Not only nationalism, but, the last fifty years have given a death blow to almost all the good that India once stood for. No doubt we have made big leaps in certain fields of progress but, having lost our identity, our Indianness is no meager loss, in that bargain for progress. We have marched far ahead in Scientific and Technological growth but we forgot to think as to what will happen to all this if we do not exist to enjoy all this.
Just as before independence we saw bonds of unity which helped us to win our independence, to-day, after fifty years we see an absolute lack of this same unity, in every field of our existence. This lack of unity is the cause of the weakness rampant in all spheres of our lives. We have seen the graph of progress rising no doubt, but the graph of beneficiaries has come down. All the progress is pointing to the betterment of the life of people already progressed. In the process, the rich are becoming richer, and the benefits of all progress are concentrated in 10% of the rich Indians. This was surely not the dream of those who fought for the freedom of India.
Regarding our standards of morality, and related corruption are not hidden from anyone, we have reached the lowest level of corruption and to-day, India ranks among the first few of the most corrupt countries. Is this what we had planned to achieve? Where is the comparison between the politician of before and after independence, where is the comparison between the common man of before and after independence. These fifty years of independence have sent he graph of courtesy, character, conduct and culture coming to the lowest level.
The fifty years have converted homes, schools, colleges, hospitals, offices, and every other conceivable place a pure and simple money making project. No doubt, money was always important, but, the post independence era has converted money into all important.
The one good thing that I can perceive happening to India in the golden year of India’s independence is the change of guard of the Indian people. If this change can help us change the aura, this will be the greatest achievement of the post independence era by now. There must always be a change in the hands that hold the reins of the Government, or for that matter, any institution, small or big, this prevents the embedding of roots of individuals deep into a system. If any system remains in any one single hand, it is bound to get prejudiced, corrupt and wavered. This, is I think one single reason for all the destruction of the fabric of India’s policy. The very roots have got rotten, rusted, corrupted because of a single hand maneuvering the system for the last fifty years. The change of guard brought, in 1998 may then, usher in for India, an era of real golden environment for India and Indians at large.
The India that has well nigh completely Westernised, must usher in a golden period of Indianisation, for, if the country loses its very identity to a foreign system, the very meaning and essence of its Independence is lost, in the wilderness. I do hope the losses of the last fifty years will now considered to be losses, and a full fledged programme to rectify the loss is made. We must learn from everywhere, but, we should never forget our roots, this is the very essence of independence. Let us not forget that, an independent country is that country that absorbs all that is good in others yet, it at the same time maintains its own identity and originality, for it is in this only that it will always be recognized. Let us, in the golden year of our independence, retrospect and see where, in the wilderness we lost our way, and they try to come back on the lead track. Let us develop our nationalism and then try to come back on the lead track. Let us develop our nationalism and then our Indiannes, and, I am sure then only we will be in a position to feel the difference of independence and slavery.