“Unity in Diversity” has always been the most appropriate statement to describe India. Consisting of 28 states and 7 union territories, India is one of the largest democracies of the world. People from various religions, castes, sects, beliefs and cultures survive and thrive together in this nation. Having said so, in spite of so many variations and diversifications, there is one common thing that links all Indians, whether they be Hindus, Muslims or Christians, whether they be entrepreneurs or construction workers, whether they be men or women, and that is the “Indian Mind-set”.
Sitting at a coffee shop, or even just walking down the street, we very commonly hear statements like, “Kitna ganda hai ye road, koi aake ise saaf kyun nahi karta?”, or “Ye politicians hamesha paise khaane mein hi busy rehte hai, desh ki bhalai ka to khayal bhi nahi aata inhe” or very regrettably even statements like-“I will move back to US next month, I just cannot stay in India. Everything ranging from the education to the medical care is outdated. I fail to understand how someone can survive in this country”. Why do such statements arise in the first place? Why do we just stare at the television and hurl a slew of curses at the people running this country instead of actually stepping up and bringing about a change?
During the entire period of the National Freedom Struggle (1857 to 1947), all the Indians under the leadership of various able leaders like Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, Dadabhai Naoroji, Rani Laxmi Bai and many others, were united on one side with one goal against the British. Where has that unity, that zeal, that desperation to get our motherland free from the clutches of the British gone? The only difference now is that corruption, religious conflicts, terrorism and internal politics have replaced the British. A similar kind of unity was witnessed finally, although at a much much smaller level, in Delhi recently during the Nirbhaya case, after 60 years of independence. We Indians are always strong holders of opinions. Until and unless we don’t start acting on those opinions, nothing in this country is going to change how much ever we complain.
Our leaders today, are basically figureheads elected by us (remember “BY THE PEOPLE, FOR THE PEOPLE, OF THE PEOPLE”). Since they are elected by us, what right do we have to complain against them? To solve any problem anywhere, a person needs to understand the root cause of it. Here, the root cause lies in the participation of the citizens. According to statistics, only 48.7% people in 2004 and 59.7% in 2009 actually participated in the voting procedures. Where are the remaining 40-50% of the people? And, unfortunately, I bet they are the ones who complain the most. The first step that the Indians need to take is get up, get out of their houses and vote.
Another shameful side of the Indians is their “dream” of leaving India and settling abroad due to reasons like “lack of infrastructure”, “more money”, “lavish lifestyle”, “pollution” and many other such reasons. According to recent statistics, more than 35000 of the physicians in US are Indians, three-fourths of IIT graduates work in the US and 36% of the scientists in NASA are Indians. It is a matter of great shame for us that such astounding number of people who could have actually done something, are leaving their own country to pursue the comforts of life. The picture that would have been in the present India had these many people not moved out, would have been unimaginable. It is heart-wrenching to see the Indians participate in the success of other countries and even if they had put in a 100th portion of the work they put in there, India would have been at another level entirely.
It is actually funny when we see people on the streets just throw garbage anywhere and everywhere they want, spit “paan” in public places and say things like-“Arre yahan to already itna kachra hai agar main aur ek wrapper daalunga to kya farak padega?”, whereas the same people when not in India are extremely aware of the cleanliness around them and don’t litter around even by mistake. Not only that, we keep cursing the corporation for not getting the mess cleaned up! Ladies and gentlemen, this in fact is the essence of Indian mentality. These are the things that set our country back by a huge amount. It is not that the Indians cannot work hard or they do not have enough knowledge about things. We Indians always have had the benefit of bringing out the truth to the world. There have been many Indians without whom the world would not have progressed as far as it has today. Whether it be the ‘zero’ invented by Aryabhatta, or the beginning of medical care through surgeries started by Sushruta, without such contributions, the wheels of discovery and invention would have taken a long time to be set in motion in the world.
We flaunt our rich cultural heritage, the presence and the origin of the major religions of the world, the importance given to women in various fields and even the beauty of our country. But, are we really proud of it? I don’t think so. If we were really proud of it, why do all the religious conflicts keep occurring in our nation? Why don’t we keep our tourist sites clean and in turn go to other countries to appreciate their beauty when the real beauty lies at home? Why is it that women are constantly tortured not only through various assaults but also through our own so called customs? The old customs which were a source of agony rather than justice such as child marriage, sati, polygamy, the expectation of a male child etc. are still deeply instilled into our society. Why are we unable to let go of them? Why do we keep pressing on matters that are of no value? No one but the mentality of the people is to blame for all this. In the lure of following our “rich cultural heritage” we are in fact not allowing our country to move forward. We simply do not appreciate the beauty of our country. Just like a human being, the outer beauty of a country matters, but the inner beauty matters much more. Till the time we don’t “clean” all these unnecessary traditions and rites, and maintain our country how it deserves to be maintained, progress in any form cannot be achieved.
The Indians, as we all know are the most hard working and the most involved community in the entire world. We have excelled in all fields and are still excelling. India has made huge strides of development in the past 20 years. But, to make these strides larger a change need to be brought about. A revolutionary change, which will provide India with the boost that it needs, and provide it with the respect it deserves by all the countries of the world. This change is required to be made in our very own mind-sets and the way we perceive our motherland.
As it is said-“Millions of bricks one after another combine to form a castle”, each and every citizen of this country should make their contributions, however little they are, and it is these contributions that will unite everyone and make the castle that our ancestors dreamed of. We need to give our country the respect of the designation we have given it-“Bharat Mata”(our mother).
Agreed that our country is covered neck deep in corruption, agreed that our “netas” are more interested in politics among themselves than thinking about the betterment of this country, but, it is high time that we stand up ourselves, leaving all our personalized opinions on one side, and start putting our words into actions. As Kishore Asthana very rightly describes India as,”So, let us stop looting our own country and help it come back to its rightful place and make it the “Sone Ki Chidiya” as it once was called. Whether we belong to Chennai, Delhi, Bangalore or any place else, we are Indians first and Maharashtrians, Bengalis, Punjabis or Guajaratis later. So let us all fulfil our duties to our motherland and show the world the importance of our nation. Jai Hind!