|Time for course correction|
As I introspect, I am proud of:
Democracy: While it has not been a success in many nations, in India it has worked reasonably well; there is no foreseeable threat. May be we should be careful not to take our democracy for granted.
Technocrats: Our researchers in a variety of fields from agriculture to space and computer science have found indigenous solutions to our problems.
Diversity: India is a continent, in a sense. North, East, West and South have very few things in common - be it local traditions or weather. The vibrancy of variety is truly refreshing.
Tolerance: Our nation has gone through hell during these seven decades. The social fabric has been stretched a great deal. We have withstood it all.
Equal opportunity: In the eyes of the law, fully; and on the ground, to a reasonable extent, all people, irrespective of any differences, are equal. The strides some of the disadvantaged have made is truly remarkable.
Inclusivity: The vastness and diversity of India has meant that there is space for all. Like any society elsewhere, in India too there is social stratification. But this is one country where you have the luxurious and the spartan, or modernity and tradition, or science and faith coexisting side by side.
Indianness: Diversity has not taken away the Indianness from all of us. When the need arises, as it has on many occasion, all Indians have rallied together as one.
However, I am not too proud of:
Casteism: There was a time when it mattered. We are done with it. There is no place for it in today's society, and we need to move on.
Insensitivity: Big issues bring us all together, but not the trials and tribulations of our daily lives. There is a certain amount of selfishness, and lack of concern for the person beside. This lack of social etiquette is reflected in our daily interactions everywhere.
Indiscipline: I get a feeling that we love creating problems and then taking pride in solving them. There is so much chaos and disorder. While the law of the land has generally prevailed, there are numerous instances of that being breached. The State machinery is weak, because it's the same undisciplined lot who get the power to rule the State.
Lack of accountability: Any society will have its share of disrupters. But here they seem to get away because they is no one holding them to account. That in turn becomes an incentive for that tribe to breed.
Lack of professionalism: Be it any profession, there is a lack of willingness to conform to standards. Rules are bent at will in total disregard to the severe damage our society suffers.
Pollution: Sound, air, water and the general environment around all of us is constantly getting polluted in every way.
Symbolism: We love slogans and labels. We like grand stages and large displays. We make a big show, even if on the ground, there isn't much happening. Cosmetic changes give us the false satisfaction of a mammoth achievement.
The fact that we have reached this far should not make us complacent. The future is more challenging than ever before. Unless we correct ourselves, each of us individually, in our daily lives, we will be saddled with more problems than we can solve.
(National flag image credit: All India Roundup)