My nation stands at the precipice A fledgling ready to leave the perch Yet a maven helming a new world A beacon of a wise and vibrant past A billion hopes ready to take wing Aspirations waiting to fly high A populace with a newfound voice Diaspora that has found the spotlight You know you can reach where you’re going Once you know where you started from India today is an idea whose time has come Our tryst with our destiny has only just begun
As I write this post on the occassion of Independence Day, the patriotic fervour has been higher than I have ever seen in my conscious years. In an age where the distance between thought to tweet is 140 characters and an entire nation can be bridged with seven degrees of WhatsApp group separation; thoughts and opinions can travel….fast.
69 long years since India became an independent nation. Time enough for an entire generation to pass. Today’s senior citizens are not those who fought during the Independence movement. We have a Prime Minister who was born in independent India. For a large part of the population today the mention of Vande Matram evokes images of the Bharat Bala produced A.R. Rahman rendered Maa Tujhe Salaam and not the original lyrics penned by
Bankim Chandra Chatterjee that used to float liltingly over the air waves every morning and perhaps still do.
The symbols of Digital India’s pride are different from that of the previous generation. The binding glue of today’s India is the mobile phone. If there is one asset that is availble in a majority of the 200 million households which have 996 million mobile subscribers it is the mobile phone and with 280 million of them connected to the internet!
No other medium today can promise this kind of reach or penetration. The various messengers services have woven a web where dissemination of information happens real time as it happens.
Rural-urban, literate-illiterate, the haves- the havenots, young-old there is no chasm that is not bridged today in terms of a common platform of presence. Today, more that ever before the average Indian speaks his mind, airs his opinions and views to the world at large, he tweets, blogs, creates and forwards WhatsApp messages. Today support is not silent, anonymity is not a required condition for going anti-establishment or for that matter anti anything.
The growing confidence of being one of the faces in the crowd and not afraid of being seen as one. Being a part of an uprising or a movement much akin to the crowds that were a part of the independence movement. Only difference, they now do it with a few key punches or screen touches on their phones. In the comfort of their homes or while on the move.
The dream of using the mobile as a vehicle for upliftment, progress, betterment (pick a term of your choice) is not a distant one. The first step of embracing change has been taken and how!!
Today, more than ever before, we really can understand the meaning of Rabindranath Tagore’s immortal words and maybe, just maybe, hope to make our tryst with destiny! To close I quote the poem that inspired this post.
Where the mind is without fear and the head is held highGurudev Rabindranath Tagore
Where knowledge is free
Where the world has not been broken up into fragments
By narrow domestic walls
Where words come out from the depth of truth
Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way
Into the dreary desert sand of dead habit
Where the mind is led forward by thee
Into ever-widening thought and action
Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake
Wishing that all of us find and revel in the greatest independence there can be… THE FREE MIND!!
खुली हवा है वो आज़ादी की शीतल करे जो जब मध्धम चले एक ओर जो हो हावी तो बने आँधी कैसे तूफ़ानों में कोई दीया जले अलगाव की चिंगारी कहीं दामन ना लगे मिल के बढ़ने के लिए दिल भी बड़े रखने होंगे दूर अभी हैं वो मंज़िलें जहाँ ख़ुशहाली मिले कटे तने से चलने से कैसे ये रास्ते तय होंगे इरादे नेक वही जो अमल में आएँ कथनी और करनी को अब मिलाना है तेरे मेरे के ये फ़ासले चलो मिल मिटाएँ विश्वास लेना देना नहीं कमाना है
I am your average Joe or should I say Janardhan. The middle-aged, middle-class guy who pays his taxes on time, spends hours stuck in traffic jams, generally apolitical, opinionated a few times and an optimist who believes that the larger good is good enough to prevail.
I write this since I am pained by the narrative of doom that seems to be enveloping this country’s psyche. Most people like me have a voice courtesy social media. Be it tweets, posts on Facebook or discussions in WhatsApp group my ilk has taken to expressing socio-political beliefs and views on events & happenings like fish to water. There are views, counter-views, opinions that get aired, debated and exchanged at the speed of thought.
It’s private yet public or vice-versa. These expressions often contain elements of pride or prejudice or angst; as misplaced or genuine as they may be. Those of us who have shunned social platforms and look at those who participate on them as souls needing redemption may just be having a quiet laugh. Let me assure you there is no escaping it. If it already hasn’t it will make way to your drawing room discussions. All of us are connected to “friends” in the real world too aren’t we?Question therefore is where the voices of reason are, is there really no middle-ground or is taking sides the new fad? I believe that at a subliminal level the sense of objectivity seems to be diminishing and that is my concern.A tsunami of communication on every issue seems to be drowning an individual’s capability to assimilate and formulate rational opinions. Today the long tail of communication means someone somewhere is still consuming it for the first time and should he/she choose to react to it socially it multiplies someone else’s consumption of the same communication. The result therefore is this continuum in which any fresh piece of communication or opinion just adds to the snowballing of what is already there. Then there is this auto-classification of people into Bhakts, AAPtards and a host of hash-tagged labels that get coined every second day to contend with.I for one do not want to fall prey to it and shall try my best to retain my sanity. Doesn’t mean I shall become a social media recluse, I am no ostrich.The World T20 is round the corner. Here’s a ball by ball account of my metro-social existence; my super-over of the events past 20 odd months and the way I played it:-
- BALL 1: The Acchey-Din Blitzkrieg: Sucker for it. Are we there yet? Hell no! But willing to wait.
- BALL 2: AAP ki Sarkar: Believer turned sceptic. Again, willing to wait.
- BALL 3: Modi the Globe-trotter: Reaching out much needed. So many of them, maybe not.
- BALL 4: My plate of food: Lay off! What I eat (or don’t eat) is my business.
- BALL 5: Rahul: Jaane bhi do yaaron
- BALL 6: Nationalism/Universities debate:
- Hyderabad University Suicide – Unfortunate. Abettors if any and whosoever must be tried and punished.
- Anti-India sloganeering at JNU- Unacceptable. Does it tantamount to sedition? Not sure about the law, its applicability or interpretation. That said, some exemplary punishment necessary.
That there is my humble take for all who care to know about what I (and I use that term as a collective here) think. And for those who don’t care good for you! So, here’s to objectivity and a balanced idea of India – one that is both yours and mine.
क्या बेवजह बढ़ रहें हैं ये क़ाफ़िले कौन सी है वो मंज़िल चल पड़े जिस रास्ते कुछ तो होगा मसला-ए-जुनून छिड़ गया है इंक़लाब जिस के वास्ते कितना और रुकें के जब होगी वो सुबह छीनी आज़ादी जिस लिए फ़िरंगी हाथ से रंजिशें तो तब भी उबल के उभरी थीं क़ीमत तो चुकायी लेकिन क्या सीखा सरहदें बाँट के सिकती रही है बिकती भी रहेगी सियासी रोटी थकते नहीं ये ले ले कर भूखे मज़्लूमों के नाम बनती भी हैं और गिराई भी जाती हैं सरकारें आज़माती है हक़-ए-जम्हूरियत जब अवाम हर कोई कहे मैं सही हूँ और वो ग़लत फ़िर दूर दूर खड़े हैं लोग आईन लिए हाथ में देर आयेगी पर समझ आयेगी ये बात यक़ीनन पन्ने बस अलहदा हैं लेकिन हैं उसी किताब के