Sunday, August 15, 2010

FREEDOM --- Really???????

Hi folks ... again the lazy me is back to writing stuff. The excuse this time?? Well, I was working. Yeah as lame as that excuse is, that was the best I could come up with. So what am I going to write about this time ?? Even I don't know. At the point of writing this I have really not decided what exactly to write about, and the title will be penned after I finish, if I do.
Let me start with today. What's so special about today? Ask this question to any Indian, and pop! comes the answer. INDEPENDENCE DAY. That's what majority of our countrymen (and women) know 15th August by. The day when India got its freedom from the British oppressors.
Or did it???????????????

Ever since we are born, we have been told by our elders, teachers and all sorts of people about India's glorious freedom struggle, the power of Satyagraha, which enabled the countrymen to overthrow the British rule in the country. And at last, when they left the country, India was proudly proclaimed as a free nation by the world. But coming to think of it, was it really freedom that we got? A nation proud of its cultural diversity was literally torn apart on the basis of religion into India and Pakistan. The very people who fought hand in hand against the British were now divided by the very same people against whom they had fought. The British left, calling us a free country, and we were left fighting each other for reasons nobody knew. Thus was born a new India, a highly diverse but totally confused nation not sure of its own identity.
As a country, India has come very far from what it was in 1947. We have developed in the field of art, science, engineering, medicine, sports and what not. Name the field and you will have an Indian who has made an impact on the global level. But still that identity confusion prevails. Till date we consider ourselves as inferior to the western countries. Be it in the brands that we prefer, the movies that we praise and even the people we idolise. As far as the movie scenario goes, I was one of the people who would always prefer Hollywood stuff for their perfection, special effects etc until one day I noticed in the credits of an amazing animated film, that 90% of the animators and technicians of the film were actually Indians.
So why did these people not stay in India and show the same creativity in this country? Why is the West always the place where one has to go to get appreciation for his/her talents. In India, first of all people are not keen to take a risk and invest in an out-of-the-way idea. Plus with the official machinery moving at a snail's pace, it always much easier just to go to some other place and have your dreams converted into reality. But who wouldn't want to work in one's own country and get the same (or maybe better) results. So here comes the need for creative freedom which till now does not exist in its true meaning in our country.
Next comes the freedom of democracy. Our Government is supposedly of the people, for the people and by the people. We elect the candidates ourselves and then blame the same people we voted for for all the mess in the country. While the population is largely to blame for again and again electing the same goons to the seat of power, is there much of a choice? Look at all the electoral candidates and we would be really lucky to find a graduate amongst all of them. Politics is treated like a swear word and no initiative is taken to change it. Basically this "Chalta hai" attitude of the masses is responsible for the problems we are facing. We were facing problems even pre-independence, but then the people got united and this united nation took over the mightiest empire in the world at that time. So if we could take on the might of the British back then, why not stand up for our rights now?
Then is the freedom of choice. A person who chooses to be different is labelled a "rebel" and suppressed. Take the scenario of our education system. Whenever a question is asked in an examination, a student has to first think how the examiner is going to perceive the question and then answer it according to what the examiner would want it to be like. If he/she tries to write the same thing in another way as per his/her view, they are marked wrong. So from a very early age, we are told to be what the world wants us to be. Creative thinking is hardly encouraged. So how can you expect the bright minds of this country to be the pioneers of the world? Even with this system, many Indians have shone brightly in the world. So just imagine what it could be if people are encouraged to think for themselves from an early age. Another sad thing in this country is the way women are treated. Though it has vastly improved in today's age, the female species is still bossed upon. A girl is not given the same amount of freedom that her male counterpart gets in the society. A starking example is that of Sania Mirza. When she was a rising star in tennis, many clerics didn't feel comfortable with the dress code that was required to play the sport, so they issued fatwas against her. Her crime, just following the tradition of the game.

So when we are celebrating this freedom that we have, what exactly are we referring to? If we are referring to freedom from oppression, well, we are still being oppressed only this time it is our very own people instead of foreigners. If it is the freedom of speech, we still have to think a thousand times how people are going to perceive it before doing so. As far as I see, we just have the freedom of blaming. Blaming the Government, blaming the society. How many of us are ready to take our share of the blame? We would rant about corruption in the Government, but how many of us would actually refuse to give a bribe to the officials to get our work done? How many would actually raise their voice when they see any illegal activity taking place?

Now this post of mine may seem unpatriotic to many, but here I am also readily taking my share of the blame. I am a proud Indian and would always be ready to serve my country if the opportunity comes. But the point I want to make is its time we separated emotions from reality. The feeling of patriotism has got nothing to do with raising the flag and chanting the songs, the same way that faith in God has nothing to do with performing rituals. People may show their so called patriotism on the stage and saluting the flag, but when these same people are involved in corruption and other such activities, its no use having such kind of patriotism. So while we are celebrating this day, I would prefer to celebrate it as a day when foreign oppressors left the country rather than the day when we got freedom.

This might have been a controversial post, but all the same, I would like everybody's frank views on it. And just to make it clear, I have nothing against hoisting the flag and chanting patriotic songs. The only thing is that unless I feel that freedom in my heart, I would never be able to celebrate it in its true sense................


  1. first and foremost i found ths article of urz to be very very negetive. if u go to find only negetives u will see negetive in each n every country. abt the education system, i feel our country has got the best of education system. otherwise u wud nt have seen so many indians excelling in all the field all over the world. wat made u think dat if v think diffrntly v r labeld as rebel?? who says hollywood is better thn bollywood. jus u. i feel bollywood makes the best of movies with or wo ur so cald technology. abt sania mirza its she who cald thngs upon herself. yes i agree there r radical extremists in our country but if sania wz doin gud in wat she was meant to be thn thngs wud nt have rchd fatwas. have u heard of any bollywood muslim actors being bannd by their comunity for wearing short skirt? ur US still nt ready to take a woman president wen v had prime minister as well as president as woman. so dnt u thnk ashwin dat ths is in ur mind dat india is still nt free??? n sorry to say may be u will b the frst to jump to ur US of America the day u get ur opportunity. u askd for frank opinion so giving u. i hate wen kids like u talk ths way. v hv got everythn from ths land, frm rich culture to best of education. frm art to sports. wat r v crying for?
    amit kamat

  2. If you read the post closely, I have definitely acknowledged India's success in various fields. Indians r definitely more talented and creative as compared to other cultures. What bothers me is that even though technically we are free, mentally we aren't. The points I mentioned regarding the education system were from personal experiences. Even with these flaws, Indians have shone brightly. So just imagine what we can be if they are rectified. About the way women are treated, the number of crimes against women, and the conviction rates for the same speak for themselves...maybe Sania wasn't the appropriate example to show the point
    And just to clarify one more thing, I am not one of the American bandwagon. I would rather be a part of an IIT than an MIT. So I hope that misconception is cleared.
    On a lighter note, if u r given a free choice between two pairs of shoes; Bata and Adidas ... which one wud you go for??? :P

    P.S: Really happy that I got a frank opinion... :)

  3. frst n foremost sorry for goin lil persnl. but jus cud not avoid it as ths is very touchy topic for me. n thn thot u wud dfntly undstand ur amit kaka. and u nt being american bandwagon, i luv it... again abt education system dnt u thnk wen u acknwldge dat v r talent n creative as compared to other culture smwhr the credit shud go to our system. do u thnk all ths ppl who made big were born talented n wud have been the way they r today even if they wre nt born in india? i feel no. i feel they rchd dat place coz of our system, our culture, our tradition... i knw crime rate against woman is hi but in the same country woman r reaching more n more heights. if v ourslfs start talking negetive abt our country hw othrs r gona appreciate it. i knw there r flaws. "koi bhi country perfact nai hoti, hume usse perfact banana padta hai" (rang de basanti) n v will make it perfact, but till dat time lets nt bash it... lets shw others our outstanding qualities.
    i hope i wz lil more practical ths time n nt as emotional as i was in the first coment. heehe
    amit kamat
    Ps. dnt knw abt shoes, but i dfntly prefer wada paav over burger. heheheeh

  4. btw jus remembrd bata is bata is not an indian company. so buying bata or adidas wud make it same. ehehehheheh

  5. Hurdles for India:
    .> Corruption till the lowest level. Prevents productivity and lack of responsibility.
    .> Inter-community or inter-caste hatred. Prevents reconciliation and lack of understanding to solve common issues. Dalits blame Hindus, Hindus Blame Muslims and Muslims blame the Americans!
    .>Concept of Subsidies and Reservations. Prevents the farmer or the person using these benefits to fully grow to his potential or from competing in the society/market. Govt posts filled with people either who got in through Caste certificate or who have been promoted using "Vashila" or reference. Prevents any bill or policy from moving forward. Also prevents any success for meritorious candidates to grow or perform their duties.
    .> Education system still follows the British style which Briton rejected even before India's independence. Two or three more systems have evolved and faded away since then to be continuously been replaced by better ones, while Indian education is still in Victorian era. The subjects taught are irrelevant for students, based on the concept of mugging or "ratta maro" and the teachers have no support from authorities to deal with students in an individual manner. The students who perform well and manage to make it to IITs, science institutes, marketing and finance still manage to do so in spite of these hurdles. Credit goes wholly to the students concerned, their parents (who support them through all the hard times) and to some few teachers who take the trouble to know what they teach in class. The rest of the folks in education are rubber stamps who do a day's work for wages.
    .> Current state of science institutes is in shambles as the posts are again filled based on political standing, reservations and years spent at the desk rather than based on merit or reviews by a committee of experienced people. The result is a saturated office made of people who do a day's job and the level of research is far below those in other countries, particularly China. Promotions and reviews no longer consider the work done, but rather take into account the time spent by an individual as "years of experience".
    .> The next is a cultural hurdle and that is a lack of free thinking and suppression of those who want to do so. New ideas are no longer encouraged wither in the field of religion, philosophy, literature, administration, law or politics. As a result we have a law system which takes 10+ years to give a verdict, religions/philosophies which no longer grow or accept new thoughts or rationality, non-influential literature and an administration which is still based on piles of paperwork.
    So far the boom in economy is based on IT exports and a few manufactured goods. That too will soon be jeopardized when China and other nations give better productivity. Whether to remain a strong economy is solely the responsibility of people who are in today's workforce.

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  8. Some positive factors:
    .> A well stabilized family culture. It is unmatched anywhere else in the world. No parents anywhere else have shown and given so much to their children. This is the most important strength of being an Indian and will always be so.
    .> Largest English speaking nation in the world. Multilingualism and a strong hold of English withe multicultural background gives an edge to Indians and this too is unmatched.
    .> Being a peaceful community, Indians are accepted anywhere in the world which is a great plus if India needs new markets for business and export.
    .> Having a large educated middle class forms a solid foundation of out national economy. Its ideal consumer market for industrial and revenue growth and to attract foreign investment in infrastructure and education.
    .> A mix of culture and exposure to competitive surroundings from childhood makes an Indian far better able to compete and to succeed. This can further be enhanced by a better system for education and filtering of talent based on a person's capabilities.
    .> Need to kindle a sense of oneness. This oneness or patriotism has nothing to do with where you come from or what your goals are. But its everything to do with a desire to do anything productive for the country from wherever you reside. Indians abroad have a great potential to influence global politics and international relations by creating a positive opinion of India. the flow of foreign investment also largely comes from India-influenced businesses controlled by people of Indian origin.

    Nationalism and Oneness as I see it is no different from being a globally educated citizen who has a strong wish to help India in the best possible way he/she can. A long journey to travel, but who knows, it may be easier than we think.