Tag: Independence Day

The secret ingredient

The Right to a healthy life and a clean environment is a fundamental right under the Indian Constitution. Every year, millions of people lose their lives due to lack of clean water supply and inadequate sanitation. Their presence is essential for the welfare of families across the world. Cleanliness is also one of the Sustainable Development goals of countries across the world.

India launched the Swachh Bharat Mission in 2014 with an objective of achieving a clean India. A dream of the father of the nation, Mahatma Gandhi. His dream is now on the path of becoming a reality. The government is hard at work to achieve this dream. It has undertaken many initiatives for this purpose. Some of them are, ‘Open Defecation Free villages’, ‘Construction of toilets’, ‘Regularizing Waste Management’ etc. But is it enough? Can the dream of a clean India be achieved just by the government alone?

The might of the Roman Empire did not come from its military power alone; the people of Rome played a major role in establishing it as a superpower of its time. They actively took part in things which led to ‘Empire building’ like joining the army, participating in constructive politics and much more. Rome fostered one of the early feelings of patriotism. Similarly, for Swachh Bharat to become a success, the people of India will have to actively participate in it to achieve the objective of ‘clean India.’ The government has provided the means, but the people will have to take these means to reach the end.

Before the role of Mahatma Gandhi became prominent in the Indian Independence Movement, the masses were largely ignorant of the movement. It was only after Mahatma Gandhi that the sense of belonging and want of independence were realized among the people. This too took almost 35 years to develop. Changing the mindset of the people is one of the most difficult tasks in a mass movement. This is essential, if Swachh Bharat has to be made a reality. The people’s mindset has to change from ‘not caring’ to feeling a pinch when someone dirties (or even damages!) public property. It will take time, but the process has begun.

The people are what a nation constitutes of. If we want a clean India we will have to clean ourselves first. ‘Cleanliness begins at home.’ Then it extends to ones surroundings and eventually the entire nation. As a democratic nation it is our right to question the government on its failures. But it is our duty to ensure that we work for our nation as well. The secret ingredient to a successful movement? The people.

Happy Independence Day!

-Priyamvad Rai

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Happy Independence Day!

At the stroke of the midnight hour, when the world sleeps, India will awake to life and freedom.”
-Jawaharlal Nehru

With these words spoken by Jawaharlal Nehru 70 years ago on 15th August 1947; the nation state which we call our homeland, India came into existence. From the tyrannical and despotic two century rule of the British, we finally got a chance to take our own decisions and shape our own future. But do we really cherish this hard-fought freedom?

It is an undeniable fact that over the years 15th August and even other national holidays have become normal holidays for the majority of us to sleep in late at home, and even I am guilty of it. However we need to change this attitude of ours. But the question which comes up is how can this change in mindset be brought about? I have thought long and hard about the answer to this question and finally I have been able to come up with a not-so-perfect, but yet, an answer.

To truly appreciate our country’s independence and achievements we need to have proper knowledge of the history of our country and most importantly, how our independence was achieved, the sacrifices made by our ancestors to achieve it. This can only be done by emphasising on the history of the freedom struggle in our education institutions. Majority of the people do not know what really went down in those years of struggle against the British; and it is the same people who completely dismiss the contributions made by some of the leaders of our national movement.

Pride. Taking pride in the achievements of our country is probably the most important step in truly appreciating and valuing the independence. We have come a long way since 1947, even though most people refuse to believe that. Pride should not be taken to such a height that we completely neglect the shortcomings of the government. It pains me when people belittle our country at every opportunity they get, criticism is an important aspect of democracy, but more than criticism it is constructive criticism which goes a long way in the development of any country, something which we as people of this great nation lack.

Another step which we should take is feeling loyal to our State (By State, I do not mean the federal states like Maharashtra, Gujarat, Bihar etc. By State I mean our country i.e. India). Most people confuse the State with the government and often ridicule those who say that ‘we support the state’ or we ‘we support our country.’ The terms State/Country and government are often used interchangeably. Government is simply the machinery which ensures the State functions smoothly but; the State, at its most fundamental level means the people. We need to develop a sense of loyalty to our people, the same kind of feeling should come in us when we see a fellow Indian in a foreign nation, this feeling should come even when we are inside India, because that is what a country is all about. Feeling pride, loyalty and goodness when we are with our own people who are united by common history and circumstances.

As the years go by, India is moving towards a bright future but this future will only be enjoyable if we develop this sense of pride and patriotism in ourselves, in fact this bright future can be achieved more quickly if we attempt to instil these feelings within us at the earliest. Happy Independence Day to my fellow Indians, lets make this a better year.

Priyamvad Rai