Realise the dreams of freedom fighters

Realise the dreams of freedom fighters

We wish all our readers A Very Happy Independence Day! We have completed 75 years of enjoying the fruits of sacrifices of lakhs of freedom fighters....

We wish all our readers A Very Happy Independence Day! We have completed 75 years of enjoying the fruits of sacrifices of lakhs of freedom fighters. It is also a matter of pride that during the year when Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav is being celebrated, we have elected a tribal woman as President of India.

On every Independence Day, we come up with slogans like, "My love for my nation is boundless. My love for my people is endless. All I desire for my country is happiness." "This Independence Day, let's take a pledge to protect the peace, diversity, harmony, and unity of our great nation." We also liberally quote the words of Jawaharlal Nehru: "At the stroke of the midnight hour, when the world sleeps, India will awake to life and freedom."

Administrations in all states and at Centre organise several programmes and spend huge amounts. Prime Minister at Red Fort and Chief Ministers in states unfurl the national flag, sing national anthem 'Jana Gana Mana…' play recorded version of 'Vande Mataram,' display the power of police and other services, hold parade, gun salute, release some prisoners and give speeches listing out what the respective governments have done and how the states and the country are progressing... and the celebrations finally end.

No one tries to find out what the few living freedom fighters feel about all this. No government makes any effort to tell the present youth about what exactly was freedom struggle, how people jumped into the movement without making any calculations about what would happen to their families, or never bothered whether they would be alive or hanged. We now talk of women empowerment. But it was 100 times more during pre-independence period. Several women displayed their patriotic fervour by taking a plunge into the freedom movement. Some fought with forces, some actively participated in agitations while those who could not go out of their houses, extended financial and other logistic support to the freedom fighters. But none of speeches by our leaders reflects such sacrifices. We don't have such stories incorporated in school textbooks. No short films depicting real stories are screened; yet, we want patriotism to be imbibed by the present-day youth. For the youth it turns out to be another day for outing and fun with friends.

When leaders list out the achievements of their respective governments, no one really looks back and there is no assessment of how the system is working. They boast about the technological revolution in the country, but no one makes real assessment of how effectively it is being used in making the administration transparent. No one reviews whether there was any systemic failure nor are they bothered to rectify the shortcomings. This happens because at the outset they refuse to accept that there is systemic failure.

Till two decades ago, when technology was not so advanced, the intra communication among various wings of government – whether in states or at Centre – used to be much better. Now things seem to have become centralised. Even to finalise the itinerary of a Chief Minister, no official gathers guts to ask the CM about what to include and what to reject. They want directions in reverse order.

Every leader would talk about his government's great achievements, but no one looks back over the pathetic conditions in several remote areas of the state or country where people have no ration cards, no birth certificates and do not have even road connectivity. Technology has developed by leaps and bounds but their lives have not changed in the last 75 years.

Azadi Ka Amrit… Amrit means nectar. Should it remain restricted to urban areas only? Can that be called real Independence? Well, these are some of the questions which some of the few living freedom fighters ask. It's time the Centre and the State governments learn to be more pragmatic and more realistic in governance and see that their vision expands beyond urban areas.

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