Independence day for whom ?

Happy Independence day everyone ! And while we celebrate, lets give a thought to the idea of ‘equality of Independence’. Independence was the both the end and the beginning. The end of the rule of the foreign Colonial Masters, and the dawn of the responsibilities brought with Freedom. Each Independence day should we not evaluate how responsibly we, the people of India, have treated the idea of Freedom ? How many of the citizens of India and the institutions of India have upheld the fundamental rights and duties to the Nation, to fellow citizens, to our environment,
65 % of our population was born in Free and Independent India. To them that day is only marked by an event in History, lots of rhetoric, lots of celebrations, and of course a holiday. Very very few truly understand the nature of living under an oppressive foreign rule. I know because both my parents and the rest of my family were part of the freedom movement and I grew up on the stories of incidents like JalianWala Bagh where my uncles and Grandfather were present.
But to the people of today surely freedom must mean, the Freedom from Hunger, The Freedom from Ignorance. The Freedom from illiteracy, The Freedom from oppression from one of the most oppressive police regimes in the world, Freedom from Injustice in one of the most extended and chaotic justice systems in the world. For justice delayed is justice denied. Freedom from disease, in a country that has one of the highest rates of infant mortality, HIV cases, Diabetic people and Heart ailments in the world. Freedom from the Caste System – which is probably the most oppressive social systems in the world, consigning huge swathes of our population to a life of fear and economic and social servitude. And Freedom from one of the most corrupt places in the world to live.
Yes, India is shining. Yes India is the only growing economy in the world in the current downturn. Yes, India has a mass technological base, with some of the best scientists, entrepreneurs, doctors, technologists in the world. But these skills serve and live amongst no more than 5% to 10% of India’s population.
For 80% of the population of our country 65 years of freedom and democracy has done nothing other than the chance to vote in a completely imperfect and corruptible voting system. How would we ask them to celebrate the Independence day ?
What are we going to ask the poor farmer in Maharashtra, in Madhya Pradesh, In UP, in Orrisa, in West Bengal or Bihar to celebrate ? What about ? Ridden by debt, unsure of his survival, unable to feed his family leave aside educating them, this is the only life the farmer has seen in the last 65 years. Nothing changed for his Grandfather or his father, nor does he see any change or hope for his son since the British left. Other than that those that have used freedom to their own ends have gradually eroded his environment and sucked out water from his land and made it even tougher for him to survive.
I am sorry. But ‘we the 10 % ‘ that have walked away with all the advantages of Freedom usurping power for our own benefit and often at the cost of the rest of the people of India, need to pause on this day and ask :
” Are we following the true spirit of our Constitution and the idea of Freedom that Nehru spoke so fervently about in his midnight speech, that Mahatma Gandhi along with hundreds of thousands of people that gave everything including their lives and those of their loved ones for a great idea, a great dream ?
Or have we corrupted those ideals for our own benefit and good, thereby making mockery of their sacrifices ?”
Today, the 15 of August 2009, we should all pause for thought, and then take the next step foward in our lives.
shekhar

29 Responses to “Independence day for whom ?”

  1. Aline says:

    Wonderful post. Independence is a high responsibility.

  2. brahmastra says:

    You pseudo-secularists whine about the state of India yet you keep electing the UPA and Congress to power which is the main cause of this mess since independence. An alternate government (BJP) needs to come to power, get stabilized for a few terms, and should be given a solid chance at implementing their ideologies. They were the ones who had initiated joining the rivers to increase the water supply, and though they couldn’t do it on a national level because of the UPA, it has been a success in Gujarat. This is just one of the many innovative programs they had going on..but you sheep are easily swayed by the media and misplaced emotions.

  3. we have great regard for you,not because you are a great film celebrity(though this also earned by you)but you always showed your commitment to human values even in your TV shows the verdict given by you expressit .we love you too.

  4. Ritu says:

    “we the 10 % ‘ that have walked away with all the advantages of Freedom usurping power for our own benefit and often at the cost of the rest of the people of India, need to pause on this day and ask ”
    Do we see a communist bend of thinking from you Shekhar? Or has so many years of socialism caused this?

  5. Sudhanshoo says:

    I don’t think even the 10% you are talking about are “free” in this country. We gained independence from the Raj but we are still not free and subject to atrocities, direct or indirect, physical or mental, of The State. India has a long way to go to achieve freedom for its individuals.
    It is hard to visualize how the other 90% copes up with what has been happening since 1947 under The State’s regime 🙁

  6. Pradeep kumar says:

    Dear Sir
    It is wonderful read such an inspirational commends from a person of you stature. But the problem I believe is the so called 5-10% lucky people doesn’t want to share their power with the remaining. I remind you sir if people like you really believe in what you said you can bring many changes in this world. For that the only need is the courage for sacrfice. That sacrifice of millions in the freedom movement made us independent. But today for many Indians Gandhi is a beautiful creation of foreign film Director. This is the way we educate our children to think. Education became a tool to catogorise people and everywhere money power is used to make digrees. There is no trustable leader in this country. Either they are creation of a group to get things done to thier interest or a self made autocrat. There is no use of so called Saints and pious people, if they sit and watch this TAMASHA named Indian Politics. we need a movement like freedom struggle and sacrifice of millions of people for a cahnge to achieve the real meaning of Independence. Let us not allow this kind of Cheating to continue. Let us start today and follow the morals and values like non violence and boycott.

  7. Pallavi Gupta says:

    Dear Shekhar,
    I learnt about the show “India’s Got Talent” just two weeks ago, while on my annual vacation to India. I was completely awestruck not only by the talent we have in this country, but the obstacles most of the participants have overcome – be it physical, social, economic. There hasn’t been a time when I’ve watched the show and not been moved to tears. I share you sentiment in that some of us have everything – all the wealth and comforts, and yet our lives are not rich, there is something so lacking. And when I see the participants on the show, I feel I am so small, and they are the ones who are really rich. And I agree with your viewpoint that yes, although we are growing richer as a nation, we are forgetting the poor, leaving them behind. I feel helpless. I know inside me that I would really like to work up close with such people, which will (selfishly so) also contribute to my growth. Is there no way to set up some web site listing the various participants/groups where people can select and contribute to them, not only to showcase their talent, but also to uplift their lives in terms of education, health etc.
    This show is great because it gives people form all walk s of life the chance to show their talent, which otherwise would be lost. And I am particularly moved by your sensitivity, its like you are a man after my own heart. So many times I think of helping others, of being deeply involved other than just contributing, but feel lost. I think you could be a big factor in bringing people together to work for the upliftment of all people in our great nation. I really am moved, both by the participants and the judges, and laude you all.

  8. When soul is free – I am independent.

  9. seeker says:

    Problems created by the Mind cannot be holistically solved by it. More people have to go inward then a new freedom will begin to Arise not from the mind but from the heart!

  10. Manav says:

    This is not some socialist speaking as somebody pointed out above.. this is a true patriot speaking who has the guts to speak what he is speaking. This is really a moment of Pause to think as to what is going on for now… we always have been oppressed, first with caste system, then with voting systems, then with corrupt bureaucrats.. I mean this list goes on and on for ever. You donot have to be an artist or a politician to be saying things that you really feel out of stomach when you feel something or say something.
    Just say it.. .why not?
    Does it needs to be opinionated by somebody who has done nothing in their life times ? like this blog ? why cant we all just try to contemplate what is being said and spread it to people who know us.. that could be first stepnow who will take this first step ? I am taking, how about you !
    I SINCERELY believe that any thought that comes to human existence cannot really be complete in its form unless it is being shared.. Have you thought that the real happiness comes from the fact when we share something we really believe in.
    Worth thinking about ! and how about adding a “Substance” to it.
    Manav

  11. Manav says:

    This is not some socialist speaking as somebody pointed out above.. this is a true patriot speaking who has the guts to speak what he is speaking. This is really a moment of Pause to think as to what is going on for now… we always have been oppressed, first with caste system, then with voting systems, then with corrupt bureaucrats.. I mean this list goes on and on for ever. You donot have to be an artist or a politician to be saying things that you really feel out of stomach when you feel something or say something.
    Just say it.. .why not?
    Does it needs to be opinionated by somebody who has done nothing in their life times ? like many people on this blog ? why cant we all just try to contemplate what is being said and spread it to people who know us.. that could be first stepnow who will take this first step ? I am taking, how about you !
    I SINCERELY believe that any thought that comes to human existence cannot really be complete in its form unless it is being shared.. Have you thought that the real happiness comes from the fact when we share something we really believe in.
    Worth thinking about ! and how about adding a “Substance” to it.
    Manav

  12. navpreet says:

    Every word you wrote is true. I pause and think . where we messed up! Yes we got Independence. Yes we all are free. But where we went wrong!. We have every right, a great constitution swearing secularism, socialism, equality and democracy. But all the facts you wrote are true. We have all the people the altruist, Phlanthropists. Great NGOS working day and night to uplift our miserable billions but where have we gone wrong!. I wonder and ponder. ….. ” why i don’t see the people like you , and the million others whom i love and aspire, who cares for their breathen, love the environment, for whom the money is means and not the end , for whom power is responsibility to serve others and not a mean to fill the swiss accounts. Where are you where it matters the most..-The Indian political corridors.”

  13. bhootnath says:

    ???? ??? ?? ???? ??? ??? ??
    ??? ??-??-?? ??? ?? ???? ??…..!!
    ???? ??? ?? ????? ?? ?? ?? ??? ??
    ??? ??-??-?? ??? ?? ???? ??…..!!
    ???? ??? ?? ?????? ?? ?????? ??? ???? ?? ??? ??
    ??? ??-??-?? ??? ?? ???? ??…..!!
    ???? ??? ?? ?? ???? ???????????? ?? ??? ??
    ??? ??-??-?? ??? ?? ???? ??…..!!
    ???? ??? ?? ???? ?? ????? ??? ??? ??? ???? ??
    ??? ??-??-?? ??? ?? ???? ??…..!!
    ???? ??? ?? ??? ??? ??? ??????????? ?? ??? ??
    ??? ??-??-?? ??? ?? ???? ??…..!!
    ???? ?? ???-??? ?? ?????? ?? ??? ??? ??? ??
    ??? ??-??-?? ??? ?? ???? ??…..!!
    ???? ??? ?? ?? ?? ???? ?? ??? ?????? ??
    ??? ??-??-?? ??? ?? ???? ??…..!!
    ???? ??? ?? ?? ???? ?? ???? ???? ????? ??
    ??? ??-??-?? ??? ?? ???? ??…..!!
    ???? ??? ?? ??? ?? ????? ?? ???? ???? ???? ??
    ??? ??-??-?? ??? ?? ???? ??…..!!
    ?? ???????? ??? ?? ??? ?? ? ??? ??????? ?? ????? ??
    ?? ??? ??? ?? ???? ?? ??? ???? ??….!!!!

  14. ginak says:

    hi shekar!!
    well said but in spite of all the deficiencies I still think our country is much better than others. We have the right to vote which is a very big thing even in this day and age. i know of a friend, a mexican who took a transatlantic flight from a European country just to be able to cast vote for the first time in her country!!! I realized how lucky i am then and how lucky that i can crib and complain without worry or fear. Another inspiring thing was shown on tv during elections, in Delhi a dhobiwala and a chaiwala stood for elections and they said we want to take this opportunity to place our social situation and our problems before people. At least they have the chance to do that and also they take the initiative. Amazing so called illiterate poor people taking things into their hands and trying to do what they can to change things instead of sitting around complaining like a vast majority of educated us and finally ppl like you who take a long hard look at situations honestly and how we can go about improving them rather than just go on about culture and civilization etc which is there no doubt, but how many of us really know anythihg at all about it except feel some pride and throw it around to impress people.
    I try and do my little bit and I guess if everyone does what little they can there is still lots of hope cos we are special and our country has some very beautiful things to it still.
    I get scared seeing the kind of phobia in western countries against muslims and how muslims dont seem to get into highest political offices or prominent corporate positions (in my limited knowledge), here in India at least we dont have that kind of thing, but increasingly sadly it is not so. I am not saying we are perfect but I feel we are better than western civilizations when it comes to religious tolerance and giving equal opportunities to people of all religious identities. It is a startling thing I realized over the past year or so esp during Obama campaign where he had to work overtime to reassure ppl that he goes to church and downplay the muslim identity side of him. At least we are not that paranoid thank god, inspite of all the hindu muslim communal riots etc. Another irony is poor underdeveloped countries like ours have had women in power at the highest offices
    wheres in the US havent had one so far. They preferred an african american over a woman!!!! i guess divides and injustice and insecurities are there everywhere, we shud work towards wipingthem out no matter where we are. as for justice at least we have shown great restraint and are giving a fair trail to a terrorist caught on camera going on a killing spree instead of bombing the country we think is responsible. I am proud of our govt for that. In spite of all deficiencies, we do have so many positives which are promising. sorry if I rambled too much and sorry if I said anything wrong.

  15. shakti shira says:

    Dear Mr Shekar
    I think you are a man of words and action is only in your hands, knowledge turns into wisdom once acted upon otherwise its just knowledge. Your blog requires an arm for action not just mere discussion, otherwise your display is your intelluctual arrogance.
    I do not wish to offend and pardon me if I have done so.
    I have been reading your blog for a number of months now and what you write is inspirational and inciteful as a story teller or a film director.
    The world already has many storytellers and film directors.
    The world is in need of role models who believe enough to take active steps not just dinner conversation. These are very rare.
    I am sure if you reached out enough you could be the change that you want to see in others.
    What you write about I am in complete agreement, and what are the solutions, pointing fingers, opening conversation is in service of what? Politics! We have already enough politicians. The world and india is in need of a true leader who is an example as gandhi was for his beliefs.
    Gandhi himself had said judge me on my deeds for they portray my life.
    And on another note around freedom it should serve women also, so they are treated fairly.
    ‘we must become the change we want to see in others’ – gandhi
    Again this is written not to offend you and to offer another perspective.
    god bless

  16. Navpreet says:

    Well said shakti ji,
    BUt everything has to obey the time and wait for its moment. Its not that shekhar ji has no arms, his blog , all the inspiration we all get here , all the desire which arouses in us to get a good leader like gandhi ji is all due to him .We see in him a kind man who feels the pain which millions are in under. Time will come when all such people will gather in storm to tackle all the outstanding issues of india. I see a good hope in Rahul Gandhi he has already forced his opposition to say him ‘Baba ji’ and it is only time which could turn him into ‘Mahatama’. Only a great vigor youth who could get himself above party politics get himself to all good people outthere, connect himself to all the working NGOS a moment which is soon on cards…lets wait and see. Anyways today Mr Singhs war on delays in judicial process could spring a moment in itself and he is a mean man he says only what he do. Bharat nirman and Nrega are first govt schemems which i see are really effecting masses in more ways then one..
    best of luck to us all.

  17. Manisha says:

    read somewhere some years before, I thought i should share it on this blog
    Hamne chaha tha ek ghar banana
    YE kia bana baithe
    Kahi mandir bana baithe
    Kahi masjid bana baithe
    Parindo main hoti nahi ku firka parasti
    kabhi mandir pe ja baithe
    kabhi masjid pe ja baithe

  18. A B Mehta says:

    It is usually understood that eliminating terrorist attacks would ensure that India survives. Invasion or border wars are not sustainable in the present global scenario for long. Yes these are important from the physical safety of our people and countrys boundary. But just glance through the media headlines. Except on the day of such attacks, the rest of the days the headlines are Water Shortage, Monsoon deficient, Floods, Farmer commits suicide, swine flu cases cross 200, Shortage of vegetable oil, Dal prices hit the roof, sugar no longer sweet, couple burned by villagers for marrying against the panchayats wish and so on.
    For the real long-term survival of our country what we need apart from physical security is educational security, food security, health security, environment security and security from exploitation on the basis of religion, caste, language, gender and poverty. Many Yojnas are announced by the center and states in the name of leaders and goddesses. Are they likely to provide assured security against the above, only time will tell. There are sharks waiting for the announcements of such yojnas ready with a down the line plan of diverting funds to their pockets. 15 paisa in a Rupee is what Late Rajeev Gandhi said reached the person for whom it is meant. The figure may have gone down further since a large portion reaches a fictitious name in the paper work.
    More importantly we the citizens have the nature to pass the blame to governments, municipal bodies, bureaucracy and so on but do not like any measure that disciplines us. Each and every security mentioned above depends solely on our self-control and self-discipline. Government also is made up of people like us. We seem to have decided that what happens 50-60 years later is none of our business. We should live for today. What act of mine will hurt our neighbour why we should bother? If I am a city dweller what happens in villages is not my concern. Why I should save water or electricity as I can afford to pay. If this remains the attitude of vast majority of us, no government can ensure that our country would survive for long.
    -anand

  19. Navpreet says:

    Dear Shakhar ji,
    IN the light of above discussion and various views expressed at this blog i have come up with an idea. If you please could see to its feasibility.
    The idea is to bring to light all the good work going on in india by various ngos and individuals. You are a great director and well wishing human. If we could plan a reality show “Indias NGOs” and judge the Ngos on there works they have done in last seven days. The work and its effect would be shown in one two minutes documentary . it would be great idea to bring awareness about all the ongoing schemes and what the ngos are doing for the public. People would become aware and could get immense help from the program.
    i wish you please start a new post so that we can expand or atleast contemplate on this idea.
    regards.

  20. Atul says:

    This is the condition of our country because of the bloody Hindu caste system. These so called upper caste ppl do not feel for the country because they consider their caste more important than the country. These shameless creatures are the main culprits.

  21. manju says:

    Dear shekhar,
    Good thoughts, I know the fate of poor farmers. The fate of the people who are still slaves of some land lords. It is quite heart wrenching to see the situation. (I have no idea of how things were in those times, all i know is through history classes from the school.)
    But at the same time there are achievers amidst all the hardships, who stive hard, reach great heights. At times i feel some politicians take advantage of the poverty and illiteracy in the country and they nurture it. They would attempt to keep a crowd in the same pathetic conditions as they are the vote banks. If people get educated, and are aware of the opportuunities then they would rebel against the slavery.
    Some times i feel it is not poverty it is just lack of awarenes that is hindering the equality in India. There are some farmers doing wonders with one acre of land and, at the same time there are farmers taking their lives being unable clear the debts due to the purchase of chemical fertilizers! Monsoon failure is a big hindrence i agree, But over exploitation of natural resources is the reason for it. Awareness is more important. Many a times people working for construction of bridges buildigs, roads are poor not because they earn less, mostly because they spend money to buy liquor, the working class family has 2-3 working members earning money, but no 2 good meals for children. All the money is spent gambling or on liquor.
    Educating the crowd is more important, your water conservation capaign seems to be a good step. Unless we change the micro-environment, India can not shine bright! We need not blame anyone, nor the system, if there is will, find a way out!

  22. manju says:

    Dear shekhar,
    Good thoughts, I know the fate of poor farmers. The fate of the people who are still slaves of some land lords. It is quite heart wrenching to see the situation. (I have no idea of how things were in those times, all i know is through history classes from the school.)
    But at the same time there are achievers amidst all the hardships, who stive hard, reach great heights. At times i feel some politicians take advantage of the poverty and illiteracy in the country and they nurture it. They would attempt to keep a crowd in the same pathetic conditions as they are the vote banks. If people get educated, and are aware of the opportuunities then they would rebel against the slavery.
    Some times i feel it is not poverty it is just lack of awarenes that is hindering the equality in India. There are some farmers doing wonders with one acre of land and, at the same time there are farmers taking their lives being unable clear the debts due to the purchase of chemical fertilizers! Monsoon failure is a big hindrence i agree, But over exploitation of natural resources is the reason for it. Awareness is more important. Many a times people working for construction of bridges buildigs, roads are poor not because they earn less, mostly because they spend money to buy liquor, the working class family has 2-3 working members earning money, but no 2 good meals for children. All the money is spent gambling or on liquor.
    Educating the crowd is more important, your water conservation capaign seems to be a good step. Unless we change the micro-environment, India can not shine bright! We need not blame anyone, nor the system, if we are willing, we will find a way out!

  23. shailender says:

    Hi Shekhar,
    Its a truth that india is poised with many problems. I admire you for bringing it up on your blog, but i have seen you as a ray of hope who has transcended the place, language, culture and class barriers..What is truly dissapointing for me was the way you brought the problems without the solutions! Shekhar, india knows its problems we expect people of your stature to showcase optimism and solutions to lead the path for a new India. I believe India has the potential and resources to uplift the despair and downtrodden. It has the solutions for all its current problems of poverty, education, employment, healthcare, cultural distortion , the last which plays a vital role in all the above problems ‘POLITICS’ and its resulting burreaucracy. Todays india with its majority youth, large cultivable land, technology, knowledge from the other countries that victoriously conquered the above problems has the will, ability, knowledge and motivation to fulfill their dreams of living in a FREE INDIA. Todays india with the problems having the diversity of its own kind in terms of caste, creed, language, population and politics has still emerged truimphant to become one of the worlds biggest economies. That is truly a testimony of what it could achieve in future. Enough of brooding on the past, enough of sickening speeches of politicians, enough of voting greedy,uneducated and criminal politicians..This india and my india eternal has a lot to offer..People in their hearts has cursed the problems enough..Let us not make the mistake of doing it again and again.
    Starting acting on solutions!
    .Dont vote for money, liquor or people who you think may win. Vote for people you think will truly make a positive difference to the country.
    .Know that true future of this country lies in quality education and resulting employment, quality healthcare, strong leadership in politics and administration.
    .Believe that free india is only possible in striving for better energy solutions, irrigation, clean water, better transport and enviromentally consious industries.
    .India the true india lies in reviving its own culture and providing a mechanism for them to sustain the pressures of modern world.
    The future of india lies not in bullying and bragging the unwarthy politicians freebies and inconsequential policies but in making sure we vote to power and preserve the integrity of india by keeping the above in mind.
    Shailender

  24. Kaushal says:

    The collective entity “Nation” is formed by individuals of all sorts. Here, at this moment, we are so diverse and yet unified in abstract ways. The cumulative efforts are not all in the same direction, and hence the predicament. When national or global vision becomes priority for common man, the upsurge can be seen.
    Breaking up states in smaller segments, fighting for fundamental rights or even struggling to overcome total ignorance….these need to be got over with….
    Still i believe “be the change you want to see in the society”

  25. austere says:

    Can you stop the fracture?
    Have you been following the news from Jharkhand?

  26. ‘I am sorry. But ‘we the 10 % ‘ that have walked away with all the advantages of Freedom’
    how true!
    our mode of development is all skewed. the margins are encroaching on the core. a self correction is inevitable. but when & equally important, how?
    naxals, maoists, ultras – – –

  27. brahmastra says:

    kochuthresiamma p j
    if you think naxals and maoists are self-correction mechanisms, you are completely clueless..your contempt for the Indian high caste/class is despicable..don’t blame them for your own shortcomings..people are supposed to be kept in categories as per their evolutionary stage..well, at least it used to be so..these violent animals like maoists and naxals don’t have the sophistication to lead complex societies, just like dogs can’t become its owner by killing him..they will meet their demise in due time.
    The only viable self-correction mechanism for India is a return to ancient Hindu culture, with a rigid set of pre-requisities enforced for the administrators.

  28. Sidhusaaheb says:

    Er…actually, the Chinese economy is also growing despite the global downturn.

Leave a Reply