Happy 63rd, India.
Another Independence Day is upon us. I remember how we used to look forward to the 15th of August every single year when we were kids. We were taught to wear our patriotism on our sleeves, quite literally. And we'd believe every word they said about 'progress', 'liberty', 'tolerance', 'equality'. Words that showed up every now and then in our year four Social Studies textbooks. Words that we were required to learn and write down in tests, but never quite understood.
And then, we grew up. And opened our eyes to the world in front of us. We learned to tell the good from the bad. And the bad from the ugly. And we began to wonder, what do we have to be proud about?
India is burning. Nearly every corner of the country is in flames. We're nothing more than a tangle of differences, our unity waiting to collapse, the common fabric that makes us Hindustani ready to tear into a million pieces, at the slightest provocation. Whatever happened to unity in diversity?
We say we're proud of being the largest democracy in the world. And yet, we refuse to do something as simple as casting a vote. Last April was a mess. Where were you, Bombay? Where was all your anger? With all the enthusiasm you were building up before D-Day, all you could manage was a measly 42% voter turnout?
We talk about non-violence. Of tolerance. Of human rights and equality. Justice. And yet, we calmly instruct our army jawans to take innocent lives. We shield serial offenders from the normal course of the law. We deny our own citizens the process of justice.
We watch, unaffected, as the corrupt politicians who run the country make mistake after mistake. Fatal blunder after fatal blunder. We turn away from their incompetence. We'd rather stay blind than take action.
We continue to live our lives, cosily closeted in luxury, just because we're fortunate enough to have money. We toss around words of sympathy for the victims of the unfortunate disasters that hold our country ransom every now and them. And then, they're forgotten; they remain as long-lost memories in the dark recesses of our minds, gathering dust. We choose not to care. Yahan sab kuch chalta hai. We believe that we're somehow above the process of reforming our motherland. We wait patiently, in the hope that someday, someone who thinks along the same lines that we do arrives to set things right. But that day never comes.
63 years, and we're nothing but a land of empty promises.