Amritsar, 15th August 2022
As we celebrate 75 years of Independence, it is certainly a moment to rejoice. Yet, it is more important to reflect. Reflect upon our achievements and failures.
Our greatest achievement is that we have stayed united and cemented our bonds with each other. Many chided Indians at the time of independence, saying that the idea of India would not last long. Religious, linguistic, and cultural differences would tear apart the young nation. We proved the naysayers completely wrong and moved ahead with confidence and togetherness. Though some of our politicians and political parties keep on trying to create wedges amongst communities and work overtime to generate hatred amongst our people, they are bound to fail. Our Indianness is strong enough to nip the nefarious ideas of such politicians in the bud. There are difficult challenges on this front with the bogeys of Hindutva and Hindu Nation being propagated by one group of politicians and minority appeasement being promoted by another group. True Indianness is staying away from such propaganda and steering the Nation on the path of development, morality, knowledge, and empathy. We must not forget our traumatic partition, which killed millions and deprived many times more from a life of dignity. Our partition was the handiwork of some politicians who got the tacit support of the British Government. We must not fall prey to any such evil design that threatens to fracture our Nation and society. Down with all divisive forces and more strength to thinking and sensible Indians!
Our greatest failure has been in creating a national character that works in the best interest of the country and its deprived section. A life and career dedicated to honest work in a selfless manner. Over the years, our politicians, administrators, entrepreneurs, and everyone else in positions of power and influence have behaved in an extremely selfish and corrupt manner. Accumulation of illegal wealth, peddling of influence for individual gains, lack of respect for the rule of law, etc. have made us a hollow society with great inequalities. Corruption has spread like cancer and has eaten up the vitals of our nation. All political parties are silent on this and use illegal money to influence voters and buy their votes. Our democracy is today a hostage to huge sums of illegal, black money. Astounding sums are spent on elections and the winning candidates immediately make plans to recoup the money spent on the elections. An honest citizen who wants to serve the country through the legislative process hardly gets a chance to do so. His good intentions and dedicated plans get buried under an avalanche of black money, liquor, violence, and false promises. We the citizens of India can salvage the situation only if we refuse to sell our votes. Trading in votes is a recipe for disaster and results in the kind of diseased democracy we have today! A democracy in which the people have hardly any voice. The politicians call the shots aided by a bureaucracy that’s the epitome of a cracked steel frame. Today bureaucrats are becoming their masters’ voices and are indulging in rampant politicking which is a gross violation of service rules. Let us shun the corrupt and compromised through an effective use of the ballot.
Our greatest achievement and failure call for rejoicing and reflecting. Just pause and introspect without rushing through life.
Chairman, Sarat Kar & Anima Kar Foundation