August 15, 2014 will see India celebrate the dawn of its 68th year of Independence. To my mind, it’s a birthdate and not an anniversary. An anniversary celebration commemorates a special occasion. A birthday, on the other hand, celebrates the birth of a new life. Wasn’t India born on August 15, 1947?
Birthdays are also more special because somehow the occasion heralds new beginnings rather than look back on past achievements. Why else would a birthday wish go, ‘ Many, many happy returns of the day?’
In the days leading up to India’s 67th birthday celebrations, here’s my wish for the many, many happy returns for India!
I wish that India remains all welcoming and embracing of people from all walks of life. That she walks the path of peace and non-violence, always remembering her dharma of insaniyat (humanity). India’s spirituality has always attracted people from all over the world. Let her forthcoming actions not belie the truth of what she professes to believe and uphold. Instead, let India be the flag bearer of world peace and earn the returns for herself and for people everywhere else.
I wish that India works towards restoring the geographical beauty she was endowed with at the time of her birth millions of years ago when the subcontinent collided with the European plate to form the beautiful Himalayas. At the time of her rebirth in 1947, around 40% of her land was under forest cover. Today, it is less than 10%. And her river beds are heartbreakingly dry, sandy tracts. I wish that India restores the fertility of her dharti Ma (Mother Earth) so that she continues to yield forth the fruits of the loving labour of her farmers and feed her children in the cities.
I wish that India creates an environment that channelises the intellect of her people into creating products and services that India can proudly export, instead of being a grand nation of imitators. On her 67th birthday, let India become truly independent and learn to live on her own strengths. And not borrowed ones. Ancient India had such a tradition. In this case, let’s look back on the inventions of our forefathers, be it Shushrata’s surgical techniques, our knowledge of Ayurveda or our giving the world the concept of zero, and get inspired by our ancient rather than colonial past. In this lies the hope of many, many happy returns for India and her people.
I wish that India recognises that she will only truly be independent when each of her children are! Today, only the haves in India can claim to be free. The day has yet to come when all of India’s children are set free from the constraining handcuffs of poverty. There has to be educational and employment opportunities aplenty if Mother India is to bring her children up to be free and progressive.
Till then, India cannot claim to be independent. The day has yet to dawn when Indians stop expecting hand outs. The day has yet to be born when the dignity of the majority of Indians is restored through a culture of taking pride in self-sufficiency.
India’s children have to build India and bring about the many, many happy returns for their Mother India.
Featured Image Credit: India – A Multitude of People and Cultures (Mosaic). Image by Dinesh Cyanam (Flickr.com under Creative Commons license)