By The Editor: Siddharth Sehgal
On 15th of August, 2015 India will celebrate its 69th year of freedom and democracy. Rebellion that started in 1857 culminated with flying of tricolor at red fort in 1947. Those days are a memory in pictures of black and white in museums and books but a country of more than a billion people is now more poised than ever to turn the shape of history.
We are no longer an exploited vassal of a queen but a world power to be reckoned with. There was a time we were dependent on British for as basic things as cloths but now we send their satellite in space for them. No doubt some problems of old days haunt us to this day, we carry a lot of baggage from the past, poverty, cast and religious divides to name a few and some are most recent like crime against women, inflation, terrorism, strangling corruption, congress etc but Indians are also more positive than ever about future, people are more educated, aware about their rights, responsibilities. Change might be slow but it is happening. One of the things that is different for our young generation is that lot of Indians are going outside, from homes, from their native states to other cities and countries. Government and experts call this brain drain, some more call it escapism but there is a different side of it too.
Venturing far from home would open us to new ideas, to new opportunities that would benefit India in the long run. Spanish Conquistadors left their shores in search of new worlds in hopes of gold and they shaped an entire continent in this process. Danish, English, Portuguese and countless other western explorers sailed to unknown lands and expanded the boundaries of their small countries to those uncharted shores. Indians are an extension of India, and they are the key to bringing India to the world and world to India. Our culture, practices, beliefs and philosophy have intrigued the world, it’s a foundation and strength on which our land has endured countless invaders and oppression. Egyptians, Mesopotamians, Persians, Romans, Greeks all vanished in time but we survived, thrived and prospered.
World is a more dangerous place now, the fire of extremism that’s inflaming Middle East now will more likely spread with time. India has to be more vigilant than ever to guard against such threat to its security and unity. Government has to be decisive to counter such subversive activities but it should take caution to not extend that sternness towards its own citizens, freedom of expression and free thought. Bans and prohibitions would not help anyone, India has always been liberal and tolerant towards diverging views compared to other neighboring countries. Such intellectual freedom fosters growth of ideas which bolster democracy and our society as a whole. ISRO is one such example; despite initial setbacks it has made its mark in aeronautical and space development. Mangalyaan is just a glimpse into future and potential of this organization. ISRO and its people are pride of this nation.
India is not just a country on a map, its a spirit of freedom that lives in its citizens. This spirit will continue to propagate, it will guide our countless generations to come and remind the world of core human values of mutual coexistence. No matter how hard the trials are we have always prevailed against all odds and hardships. 15th of August is not just another date in calendar, it’s a reminder of the sacrifices made by our freedom fighters, soldiers and revolutionaries so that we can choose our own path, our own destiny. Jai Hind.