Monday, 23 May 2016

My Vision for India

The India I was born in was not the India I live in right now. And The India I will die in will most certainly not be the India I live in right now. Change is inevitable and while I try my best not to be pessimistic, we haven't seen the best of change in our country so far. Our founding fathers gave us the country on a silver platter. They had the Herculean task of nation-building and they did it without a frown. Hindus and Muslims, Brahmins and Dalits, rich and poor – they all came together to lay the foundation a country as diverse as ours deserved.

And yet here we are, 66 years down the line, and our country is already falling apart. Issues like communalism and corruption that sound hilariously dated have only grown stronger. If our founding fathers gave us India on a silver platter, their successors today are sending it to hell in a hand-basket. And if anyone is to blame, it's us.

I am ashamed that the country that had the cojones and maturity to elect an openly atheist man as its leader purely on the basis of merits in 1948 has entered the 21st century with communalism and religious terrorism as its biggest plagues. The world whizzed past us in slow-motion and nobody even noticed. You know why? Because we were too busy bloating in our jingoistic superiority complex. Religions were meant to lend us morality and solidarity. Not to justify a dishonest group of criminals from asserting unquestioned authority over the masses at the cost of ethics and lives.

Don't know about you but this is certainly not the kind of India I was looking forward to be living in as we entered the century meant to blur the lines between science-fiction and reality. I was not looking forward to a democracy that still picked its leaders on the basis of religion rather than merit.

Our founding fathers gave us pillars of civilization such as the IITs, IIMs, ISRO, Bhakhra Nangal dam, etc. And what did we give ourselves? A string of scams from fodder scam to Lalit Modi, and a string of riots from Godhra to Malegaon. As a democracy, we all have some basic expectation from our government. When did those expectations change from development and advancement to Ram Mandir and food censorship?

So, here's my vision for India. I do not care how we stack up against the rest of the world. I do not care if Pakistan does better than us. I do not care if we were the richest country in the past. Because I am a grown-up and grown-ups don't believe in pissing contests. The India I want my kids to inherit is the one where our leaders are honest in their attempts to make this a better country to live in. I want an India where the government doesn't behave like characters in a soap opera. They were elected to govern, not plot. I want an India where the government prioritizes fixing potholes over renaming roads. I want an India where educational institutions do education and not politics. I want an India where textbooks are vehicles of knowledge and not of propaganda. I want an India where hospitals and schools take precedence over temples and mosques. I want an India where my tax rupees are not spent on subsidizing personal political rhetoric. I want an India where governance means uncompromising integrity. I want an India where criminals are barred from politics regardless of their party loyalties. I want an India where no color is deemed superior to another. I want an India where the Constitution is held above scriptures.

I want an India I can feel proud of without being forced to.

I want an India where patriotism is innate and not manufactured.

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