Imagine this……. The year is 1994. A flight has just landed. Emerging from the cockpit is a jubiliant Harita Kaur Deol, the first Indian woman to perform a solo flight. Whoa!!!! This is the modern Indian woman. Intellectual, confident, strong and ready to take on the world. Starting from Jhansi Rani Lakshmi Bai, a fiery warrior, who stood against all odds to protect her territory, even if it meant facing the British to the suave and mesmerizing Aishwarya Rai, one of the jury of the prestigious of Cannes Film Festival and the brand ambassador for widely acclaimed international brands.
Nurturing, giving, an epitome for love and compassion, patience personified. The sacred feminine. Woman—- a single word, infinite roles. But inspite of all this, is the Indian woman really independent? Yeah right! If she were, the girl child would have been celebrated, not slaughtered; would not have to discontinue
her education for the sake of her brothers education; wouldn’t have been victim to dowry and terrorized by household violence; abandoned by the family. Think about it. We are glorifying the first woman President of the country. But what is the status of the Women Reservation bill? Come to think of it, do women need reservation? Doesn’t that just prove the fact that men don’t consider them as equals? Talk about hypocrisy!
Indra Nuyi, the CEO of pepsi is one of the most influential women of the world. And yet a Shashikala in rural India has to endure severe physical hardships to earn her daily meal. Medha Patkar, a woman of substance, who stuck to her stand on the Narmada Bachao Andolan. And a quintessential tribal woman who has to walk for miles to reach a hospital. Such a wide rift. Is this being liberated? Is this being independent? Glorification and oppression, the two faces of the Indian society. I ask yet again, is this the same society which worships women? The same society whose tenets lay down that women are equal to men?
Though, we have progressed immensely in the recent past, we still have a long way to go. And then I agree with Gandhiji, when he said Freedom is only when a women is safe enough to walk at midnight. That is Freedom at Midnight.
Everybody has a dream… Where did mine go? I saw a bright future, a resurgent tomorrow, a progressive today… what happened to it? I watched my country lead the way in upholding the virtues of democracy, liberty and fraternity.
I had visions of youth strong enough to take a stand and stick to it… no questions asked… a youth strong within itself…
Where has it all gone? What has it become?
Today my nation is a hub for terror attacks, a market for drugs, a convention of corruption… dormant youth, oppressive societies. What am I doing for my nation? To my nation?
I’m the youth of tomorrow, the child of today… it’s my responsibility to see a nation proud of its people, a family proud of its children.
They say we have come a long way from the days of British raj…I say have we come far enough?
Untouchability, slavery have been abolished… but are they truly gone? In the1900’s, we had a Mahatma who showed us a way out of the oppressive British regime… where is the 21st century Mahatma?
They tell us that India has become a progressive nation where equality and liberty are upheld… I ask what about those who face discrimination at work, defamation in society, and compulsion in lifestyle? Who will rise from the ranks of the slaved and lift their voice in a clarion call for change? Will it be me who shall shape their future?
Yes, we have come far from the oppressive stigma of the 20th century but can we afford to slow down now? Advances in literacy, standards of living, healthcare point the way to a healthy, vibrant tomorrow. Economically, militarily, diplomatically India is growing; at a fast pace…the question is what is the rest of the country doing? Why has it left the needy, the trodden-upon behind?
India has a voice in the World Bank, the United Nations. Why can’t I hear my own voice?
Nations today are measured by their worth in their own people’s eyes. One that addresses the maxim “for the people, by the people, to the people” is truly a great nation. A nation whose people are proud of their contribution is a proud nation, a blissful country, a home to come back to.
I want to make my dream a reality. I want to see my nation where it rightly belongs, a visionary, a pioneer, a leader. Must I not do something for my own? Shall I wait for another to see for me, act for me, dream for me??
What kind of world do we live in??? Practical, insensitive, humorless, almost mechanical lives which we have dubbed as “being busy”, “career planning” and the “ideal lifestyle” tag. You guys don’t agree with me??? Fine then when was the last time you truly enjoyed a walk in the park…And when I say truly I mean without your phone ringing or listening to your ipod. Hmm…thinking? Ok now don’t go back to when you were 2!Do you have a favourite tree in college , which you gaze at or laze around with your friends? What I’m trying to say is that all of us have become either couch potatoes or net addicts. I’m not against television or anything, infact I love television and the internet as much as the next person.
The point is all of us are so entangled and self absorbed in ourselves that we stopped paying attention to the smaller things in life. I remember the first time it rained when we were in college. All of us just stood in the corridor motionless, admiring the stretch of white fog engulfing the hills and a distant lake like a mystical blanket. We were awestruck, almost trance-like. We were brought out of our reverie when somebody in the background said “Damn! Yaar. We’re going to have a tough time getting home! Did it have to rain today?” But when was the last time you actually enjoyed getting drenched without worrying about your hair getting messed up or your shoes getting soiled? I remember a quotation “A few moments spent in the lap of nature would open the mystic doors of your heart”.
For generations, the environment has been a part of our living heritage. But now in a frantic race against time and pseudo-culture, we are losing the very heritage that is precious to us .I’m no fundamentalist but I’m just saying that we as a part of the environment should cherish the beauty around us. The seasons , the perfect geometry of an icicle, the wonderful color combinations around us, the wide range of sounds and fragrances. Nope … I’m not asking you not to go out of your way to hug a tree…I’m just suggesting that you go on a long drive or a walk when you are really bored, rather than watching Hrithik dancing to Dhoom Machale for the millionth time!!! There is more to life than an iphone or a new pulsar. Embrace other things, the smaller things in life. Like watching a rainbow from your balcony after a shower, or a walk in the moist grass or even gazing at your favorite tree……