14 Aug 2008

Before the flag unfurls again

Tommorrow is the Indian Independence day - August 15th 2008. The flag will unfurl with pride. As the strains of Jana-Gana-Mana fill the air it will be a hair-raising moment for many.

Suddenly Indians all around the world recollect their roots, the patriotic fervour rises & chats, live shows, debates abound on television regarding how much India has grown in the past 60 years.

Of course Indians have made tremendous progress. In spite of being ridden with the democratic problem of freedom but no direction we have made progress in various areas. We have advanced in science & technology, in the IT sphere our folks have made a name for themselves, we are seen as a rising knowledge economy, thankfully - we have also won a gold in the olympics & so on it goes.

But has India as a country progressed ? Reports might say - yes, but I beg to differ here. A country's progress for me - does not mean just making material gains or being listed on world index markets. For our country it should reflect in advancements on fronts like basic & primary education, agriculture, research, rural empowerment, improved law & order etc. That sadly is yet to be seen.

Before someone points out that I'm yet another "whiner in the pack", lemme reiterate that atleast our government is now taking steps in the right direction. But sometimes our own framework of democracy stops things from moving on at a rapid pace. Any construction or infrastructure activity in the country meets so many objections that before it starts - the mood fizzes out. Half of the funds meant for rural empowerment hardly reach their targets - everyone knows why. Transparency is urgently needed in various bureaucratic matters. The media needs to stop behaving like a broadcasting station and work more as an arm involved in the country's upliftment - focus on development and social projects - track their status - ensure their completion and so on.

I know that towards the end of today and early morning tommorow one can see street-children selling stamp-sized paper national flags at major traffic junctions. India will have progressed when the condition of these lot improve.

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