– By N.K.Mohanty : Faculty
It was the night when the country was preparing to celebrate it’s 61st Independence Day and some students in a small town were busy in a pre-welcome interaction session (some people call it ragging) with their juniors in the hostel. Interaction topics were mind blowing: write a passage of thousand words on an empty glass. To enhance the concentration you need to keep an empty glass right in front of your eyes and watch it time to time while writing. Scold your best actor or actress as badly as you can. Tell the names of all your thirty seniors in one breath, if fails try till you succeed. It went on like this till one topic came in which juniors were asked to tell five things that make them proud to be Indian. One junior started saying Taj Mahal, Kohinoor diamond, before he could tell the third one he fell on the floor with a sudden heavy slap from a senior. You idiot, don’t even know five things to be proud about India. They are population, poverty, illiteracy, corruption and unemployment. No other country has done as much progress after sixty years of it’s independence as we have done. So why don’t you feel proud about all these? Silence prevailed in that room for a next few minutes and the junior who had been slapped was sobbing very badly. It was almost 2am when all the seniors left the room.
The next day at 9am on the 61st Independence Day, not a single student was present for the flag hosting ceremony in the college ground. The only people present there were the principal, four lectures and around three peons. The students were busy making arrangements for a cultural program at 10am in the hostel premises followed by a sumptuous lunch. Famous DJ of the town has been called for making the function more attractive. To emphasize the importance of the Independence Day there was a program called “patriotic speech unlimited” by the juniors. It was generally meant to tease the juniors in public.
After the singing program got over, the long awaited “patriotic speech unlimited” program got started. A junior girl brought some written stuff and started reading it out on the stage. The senior boys and girls started teasing her for every line she read. By the time she completed her speech, she was literally crying. Next came the turn of the boy who was slapped the previous night. I could see his eyes which were red; no doubt he has not slept the whole night. Some of his class-mates started murmuring, “what will he speak, he has no preparation. At least he could have written down some stuff on a piece of paper”. If somebody fails to speak properly on “patriotic speech unlimited”, he and his group will be declared unpatriotic. This means they have to practise patriotism by singing the national anthem loudly in front of every senior’s room at 6am before they start any ritual of the day. In the college, if they see seniors in the canteen or corridors, they have to salute and say “Jai Hind”.
The boy started with a very low voice, ” we all can not forget one thing .We are always viewed as Indians no matter how much gum we chew, how much ever expensive car we drive or how much skin we manage to expose. Remember if we do not respect ourselves, no one else will either. We the Indians have been able to safeguard our culture for five thousand years despite innumerable invasions, because we held on firm to some values. Those values are just as relevant today as they were in past. There are people who have nothing good to say about India. They always blame their society and country for their slow growth. Whenever they see their country, they see uncontrolled population, malnourished children, corrupt politicians, illiterate villagers and unemployed youngsters. Moreover, they see India not as an Indian but like an American or European. There is a very simple logic, when we don’t know ourselves, our own abilities, we always get blind with others brightness and start feeling ourselves inferior. What I mean to say is, different people have different prospects to view a particular thing. We have our own problems but there is a lot of achievement at the same time. Things never change over night. The first war for independence started in 1857 and we got independence after ninety years of continuous struggle in 1947. So look at your country as an Indian and you will find that it is the most beautiful, prosperous and happiest place on the earth to live in.
My country, India, is the largest democracy, 2nd largest populous nation and 7th largest in geographical area on the earth. The natural barriers, Himalaya on the North, Bay of Bengal on the east, Indian Ocean on the south and Arabian Sea on the west are safeguarding the home land from invaders. In the indomalaya eco zone as one of the eighteen mega diverse countries, it displays significant biodiversity. It is the birth place of four major religions Hinduism, Sikhism, Buddhism and Jainism. Mark Twain aptly said, “India is the cradle of the human race, the birthplace of human speech, the mother of history, the grandmother of legend, and the great grand mother of tradition. Our most valuable and most constructive materials in the history of man are treasured up in India only”.
For their kind information of those who think that our people are illiterate I would like to inform them the world’s first university was established at Takshashila (now in Bihar) in 700BC. More than 10,500 students from all over the world studied more than 60 subjects here. Sanskrit, the mother of all the European languages and the most suitable language for computer software is born in India. Charaka, the father of
medicine consolidated Ayurveda 2500 years ago here. Sushruta the father of surgery conducted complicated surgeries including plastic surgery and brain surgery 2600 years ago. The technique of algorithm used in computer science, the science of algebra and trigonometry, the value of pi, the place value and decimal system, the concept of zero all are invented in India. Albert Einstein said it so well, “We owe a lot to the Indians, who taught us how to count, without which no worthwhile scientific discovery could have been made”. The Vedas, which describe science and technology in a very profound way, were written in India thousand of years ago. When many cultures were only nomadic, forest dwellers over 5000 years ago, Indians established Harappan culture in Sindhu Valley (Indus Valley Civilization).
Not only the ancient India but also the 21st century India is shinning in the world’s map with its extremely talented and revolutionary Indians.
India has the record of publishing largest number of daily news papers (348 daily and 98 non-daily news papers in 15 Indian languages).
Indian film industry is the largest in the world.
India has the 2nd largest army(11,00000) in the world after china(16,00000).Pakistan is 5th (5,50000) and USA is 6th (4,77,800).
India is the 3rd nation in the world to develop land based and sea based cruise missiles.
India is the 4th largest in the world in terms of billionaires’ population (by American business publication Forbes it will top the list by 2017).
India is the 5th largest economy in the world.
India is the 7th nuclear power in the world.
There are four Indians in the list of world’s top ten richest personalities- Lakshmi Mittal (4th), Mukesh Ambani (5th), Anil Ambani (6th) and KB Singh (8th). Some success stories are well known, such as Vinod Khosla, co-founder of Sun Microsystems, and Sabeer Bhatia, who founded Hotmail and sold it to Microsoft for $400 million. The number of New Economy millionaires of Indian descent is now in the thousands. The list of 21st century revolutionary Indians in tech companies are too long to mention here but some of them are Ken Bajaj CEO AppNet, P. Kaul CEO Hughes Network Systems (HNS), Krishna Kushwaha Executive Vice President, Research and Development cybercash, Sanju Bansal co-founder & COO MicroStrategy, Rakesh Gangwal CEO US AirWays, Sanjay Kumar President and COO , computer associates, Srinija Srinivasan – cofounder and Vice President Yahoo, Amar Bose – of the almighty Bose sound systems, Jim Wadia – head of Arthur Andersen and many more.
In spite of all these achievements we are still viewed as inferior, backward and poor people. Forget about foreigners, our own people misinterpret our country in many occasions. We are the victims of our own success. With this last line, suddenly the tears flowed down from his eyes. His voice became low again. All the students were so engrossed in the speech that they lost track of time. Students those who never attended Independence Day or republic day in their whole college life were listening to this boy’s speech in rapt attention. Suddenly one of the seniors started clapping and it was followed by rest of them. Within a minute, the whole atmosphere changed, all the students jumped on to the stage and applauded the boy. It looked as if the boy had his share of revenge in his own way.
I was clapping, sitting in the last row and thinking. Really we are victims of our own success; we have forgotten what we are. Patriotism is not a ritual to practise on the Independence Day or Republic day. It is something that inspires us to take the initiative to change the things which we complain everyday and move forward.