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August 01, 2017 Tuesday 12:22:49 PM IST

Abiding Lure of the Independence Slogans

Cover Story

Independent India is 70 years young! Even though it is not a long time in the history of an ancient nation like ours, it is not short for a country coming under the modern concepts of a nation. Hence, our discussion on the development of our country should be based on a long period of 70 years. Unlike other countries of Europe, Africa and Asia which developed as nations post World War II, India is a unique country with an ideological and spiritual background which did buttress our freedom struggle, kicked off in 1857.



The values our country has been standing for, the ideologies we have been nurturing well, the goal we have been struggling to achieve, the thoughts and wishes we have been dreaming for, etc. took shape over a period of time. The following were some of the most significant thoughts our country has been upholding since time immemorial; and, of course, the same mottos gave the spiritual power to our freedom struggle and related national and nationalist movements:


• Sathyam Vada DharmaChara (Tell the truth, practise righteousness)


• Nishkama Karma (Self-less or desire-less action, is an action performed without any expectation of fruits or results)


• Ekam Sad Vipra Bahudha Vadanthi (Truth is one, but the learned refer to it in different names)


• Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam (The whole world is a family)


• Jananee Janmabhoomischa Swargadapi Gareeyasi (Mother and Motherland are greater than heavens)

• Ahimsa (Non-violence)


Even though revolutionaries like Bhagat Singh, Batkeshwar Dutt, etc. resorted to armed rebellion for freedom of the country, the society by and large had accepted non-violence as their cup of tea. The society which resolved to move forward on the basis of the aforementioned ideals was definitely a dharmik and a value based one. They left no room for corruption in such a society. They did not give way to violence. There was no place for deception and exploitation or for communal and caste discrimination there.


But, once the foreigners packed up, what we witness in India is the opposite. Dharma has been put on the backburner. Communal passion has become the softest sentiment capable of flaring up due to a simple and single alibi, without any rhyme or reason!


In the independent India, corruption has become an order. This is what we have been witnessing for the last seven decades or so. One after the other allegations pour in, irrespective of whether they are proved or anyone convicted or punished. Scams like Pondicherry Licence of 1970s, Bofors of 1980s, 2G Spectrum and Coal Gate of 2010s are some of the serious ones debated in the public. Some even say, perhaps sarcastically, that they are just the tips of the icebergs!


But, the interesting aspect of the corruption in India is its generalization and institutionalization. It has spread from top to bottom. It is visible from the top to the bottom in the hierarchy of the system.


The present regime led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has apparently kept corruption from the corridors of the union ministries. At least no serious charge in this regard is raised by the opposition parties so far! It is not a mean achievement in our country known for high voltage corruption.


British historian and philosopher John Emerich Edward Dalberg-Acton (Lord Acton) said in the 19th century, ‘‘power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely.’’ But, here what we see is one does not need power to be corrupt; if one remains somewhere near the corridors of power it is more than enough to be corrupt !


Our forefathers and pioneers of our freedom struggle always maintained nishkama karma, as the key word. It is the short form of Karmanye Vadhikarasthe Ma Phaleshu Kadachana (the Bhagavat Gita, Chapter 2). Mahatma Gandhi used to say that his life style had been formulated on the basis of this principle.


But, what we saw post Independence was the other way round. Formerly, the concern of the ordinary people as well as the leaders was ‘how much we can give to society.’ But, now what comes across is a society with primary concern of what can be grabbed from the society. Some people do not hide their pride in saying that they are least bothered about what is happening off their door. They open their doors only when they need something from the outsider.


Our tradition used to be compassionate towards the weaker sections, women and children. But, these days, once we open newspapers and TV channels what we come across is alarming and frightening. Many atrocities are unleashed against women and children. Most of the people involved in these sorts of dirty treatments belong to the so-called creamy layer!


Ekam Sad Vipra Bahudha Vadanthi was and still is a sweet saying. But, what we see here in our country is muscle power and money power deciding what is sad (truth) and what is not sad. Organised power and bargaining capacity neutralize the parameters of good and bad. No reason or season can bring sanity there. Owing to this sort of situation, society and country are always pushed into a catch 22 situation. Political and communal clashes, riots and massacres are the natural products of these degenerations.


Our predecessors believed in and practiced ahimsa. However, the present day money power-muscle power nexus and ahimsa can never be comrades-in-arms.


During the freedom struggle, it was patriotism that burned like fire in the inner hearts of every fighter. They believed in Jananee Janmabhoomischa Swargadapi Gareeyasi . That is why they fought for freedom ignoring all sorts of temptations, provocations, fear and favour. But, these days, sometimes those noble ideals look like things of past! We come across hundreds of sons and daughters of unlucky parents who abandon their father or mother or both at some pilgrim centres and run away not only from the revered parents but also from the responsibilities. Materialism rules the roost everywhere. Those who betray their mothers may not hesitate to betray their motherland!


Need the Newgen accept these degenerations as paradigm shifts? No! They are to be cleansed and corrected. They should be uprooted and replaced with a rejuvenated will and fervor.

There is nothing beyond changes and correction. What we need is an iron will and commitment to the causes our freedom fighters carried in their heart and wished to materialize. It needs hard work in the sun and rain and in thoughts and deeds. It is a Herculean task which we cannot shy away from.