Six Decades of Freedom

Tomorrow, India will turn sixty years old. To me, who has seen only the post-liberalisation era, the stories of fighting for and attaining freedom, and the struggle after that, to make India a stable economy, are fascinating. Sometimes I wish I lived during the time of the freedom struggle, the time when all people of India rose together for a common cause. Especially when I read a collection of speeches by Jawaharlal Nehru, which I got from the library. What great leaders and visionaries we had, then! I guess necessity made natural leaders out of them. Many people of my generation take everything that we have and enjoy, for granted.

There is still a lot to be done. An awful lot, and unfortunately, there aren’t any visionaries in our age, and the lack of a common cause (like in the times of the freedom struggle) means that people who do well are quite satisfied to get on with their own career and their own life, and it doesn’t strike us that there’s a lot every one of us can do, and must do, to help those who are not as fortunate as us, and realize the ideal of equality. An area that needs a lot of effort is primary eduacation. 41% of children in India do not reach fifth standard. Of the countries that rank lower than India in the human development index, only about four have higher percentage of children that do not reach the fifth standard, and those are sub-Saharan African countries with extreme poverty. Obviously, the amount that the government spends on primary education is insufficient, or it doesn’t reach the intended target because of the corruption at all levels of the beauraucracy. The huge subsidies that the government pays for the higher education institutions like IITs and NITs are a national waste. Read this article – Who Actually Paid for My Education?

All of us can, and must do our bit. There’ll always be some way to contribute, if only we keep our eyes and ears (and hearts) open. Wish you a Happy Independence Day (I’d prefer to call it Freedom day, though. That’s more appropriate. It’s not so much about independence as it is about freedom)! Jai Hind!

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