Sunday, August 16, 2015

69TH INDIAN INDEPENDENCE DAY: Dependence or Independence Where Do You Stand?

Someone driving a car on the NH 47 is prone to feel himself to be independent. Freedom of movement is one of India's fundamental rights. But in order to implement freedom of movement everyone needs something other than a bunch of papers that tell them they have a fundamental right to move anywhere they want. Let us talk about the independence of the car driver. It is certain that in our minds we had already created this picture of the man driving a car down the NH47. But you won't believe me when I say he is feeling independent. You may say, he is not truly independent. He depended on a lot of people to buy the car, to fill the gas, to help him navigate the streets, etc. Those involved in making that car and those involved in helping those people may all be included in the picture in your mind. What about the concept of freedom of movement? I am asking this question to the average Indian, the one with no cars, except in one’s dreams.  

Image Courtesy: Indu
That middle class Indian may not have personal means for conveyance. He or she would take a bus or train for daily commutation. Within that context, freedom of movement does have a seriously limiting meaning. In essence, freedom to move is limited and knitted with illusion in the life of a person taking buses for his daily travel. "Independence" may have a political meaning. This word also has a strict personal meaning too. In a philosophical sense, independence is possible only in the form of pure consciousness. Therefore, this state of being is beyond the usual sense of understanding the term. In a political sense, the same sense the term is used with these days, "independence" may mean 'no dependence on a colonial power'.  
Tell that to the new generation of India who does not have any memory of being ruled by a colonial power, at any time in the history. History books teach it in schools. Textbook learning without physical and emotional experience is bound to be ineffective. Colonial rule is not part of their personal lives. Their lived experience tells them another story: the story of career planning, fast growth, financial security, and social status. To think anything beyond these quasi-basic-necessities, the youth of India must struggle being independent of the image of success they have often being fed by the various social and cultural value systems. Recently, I had the chance to read an article written by one of the prominent critics and academicians in India. In the article he states that going to Oxford of Harvard makes an individual capable of standing over one’s peers. He limits social status and academic excellence to these two universities. The excellence disseminated by these universities is beyond any doubt or question. However, the real question is, why do we place such a standard before our young people, across many political and cultural spectrum, when talking about growth and progress?  

To be contd.
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