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60 Years of Indian Independence August 14, 2007

Posted by astralwicks in 15th august, 60, babri masjid, blustar, celebration, hindi films, icons, Idea, iit, Independence, india, nation, obituary, rti, timeline.

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Tomorrow is the 60th year of India’s independence. 15th August 1947-2007. Every year the ritual begins in earnest…where is India? What is India? Is it the end of India? Is this India’s best year? More often than not the strain of such journalistic exercises reek of the stench of obituaries. More often than not one sensed a sense of despondency about India. As if it’s a country on its last legs, about to collapse.

What were the landmarks that made us think like that almost believe in the imminent death of a nation that we all loved and sometimes…

I remember 1983 the epochal cricket world cup; 1984 operation Blue Star and the killing of Indira Gandhi; 1987 the IPKF; Kashmir, 1989 killing of Rajiv Gandhi and Mandal Commission; 1992 Babri Masjid; 1993 Bombay Bomb Blasts not to forget religious, ethnic and other parochial strifes that perpetually kept the nation on its toes.

Everybody fought. The North East, Kashmir, Hindus and Muslims, upper and lower castes…a nation torn apart at its seams. The nation tried to come to terms with this by immersing itself in two passions – cricket and films (Hindi and regional) but that was not enough. Liberalization brought in its attendant evils – proliferating money, the speculative stock market barons who run roughshod over small investors and corrupt regulators who had patrons in the government.

There were minor victories for sure. V. Anand, semi – finals at the cricket cups, a defeat over Pakistan, Arundhati Roy, Indian or Hindi films, the Indian technological foot soldiers who left their country, made their mark in the US or Britain and became a part of its national mainstream without forgetting their country…eating pickles, wearing saris and watching garish Hindi films. But our national sadness had more avenues to escape. It was not limited to cricket and films. We had more icons. Wipro, Infosys, IIT graduates, Bangalore, Sania (she is back), still some Hindi films, Medha Patkar, Sunita Narayan of CSE, the Mass Media inspite of its shameful tabloidisation, new power structures, equal opportunities and coalition governments.

We still have farmers committing suicide and the agriculture minister chairing BCCI battles. Infanticide in the richest states and the non-implementation of the RTI. We still don’t have the right to reject out candidates who rule on the district, state and national levels.

So are we more confident as a nation now as we enter the 61st year? Have we been able to project a united front to the world outside or importantly have we been able to make sense of all the diverse elements that we celebrate but have not been honest to its differences and inherent wish to be autonomous. Are we only in love with the idea of India as an ancient civilization, home to different faiths and blah blah?

Or is their a greater destiny that waits India, only its instruments are not ready and able to write it, too busy in their past hurts, recent upswing and future prospects to think of the nation…too busy surviving to nurture the GREAT IDEA.



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