Saturday, June 21, 2008

Uniting against and uniting for

Sixty one years after our forefathers achieved freedom and Swaraj, we still struggle against the shackles of our own mediocrity and indifference.

The glorious achievement of 1947 was only so because we rose, albeit after hundred odd years of enslavement, and united against a common cause. The keyword here being against. The north, the south, the east and the west of India united in glorious harmony to overthrow the evil of the day – the British Raj.

Today’s India lives it life in a manner that would serve as a shameful blasphemy to the whole cause of the Freedom movement. And you have no one to blame but us. With the end of the British Raj, came the end of unity. India was born, a constitution coughed up, a government instated and so crawled and toddled little India. ‘Unity in diversity’ was proclaimed and celebrated. Freedom was cherished, pampered, spoilt and ultimately forgotten.

Decades later we see India disunited as never before. ULFA wants Assam. Telanganas and Telugus are at war. Tamil Nadu and Karnataka both want Kaveri. MNS has managed to brain wash a fair share of Maharashtrians that North Indians are responsible for their incompetence. Goa has sold off its land to the Russians. Gujjar’s are convinced that the only way they can move forward is by blocking others’ paths. The common ingredient in all of these tussles is unity of one group against another. Much like we united against the British. Discrimination against one group of people to justify the inadequacies or troubles of one’s own group seems like the only plausible solution.

European countries dissolve borders and promote a common currency. In India we construct imaginary boundaries stemming from the most trivial of differences and cling on to them as justification for our own inadequacies and shortcomings. Times like this make me truly wonder – Is the only thing we ever had in common as a country the British? If it were our only cause for unity, then our unity as well should have ended there. But it didn’t. The shadow dance continued.

We united once before – against a common evil. We now need desperately to unite again. Unite for progress, unite for smart governance, for the nuclear deal, for the masses, for countless reasons.
It all boils down to one question that begs for an answer – We once united against. Can we now unite for?
And in that answer lies the future of India.

-Rohan Saharia

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