Still the Golden Dove!

I always loved the Freedom celebrations in school. And not for the sweets, there was always a faint inner voice that made me take pride in those colorful dances, independence slogans and our National Flag proudly waving as we sang the National Anthem. Even on every Republic Day, I remember myself making it to school amidst all the January fog, I felt more adventurous, like I was doing one little thing for my nation.

Now that the only independence celebrations I can attend is standing beside the assembly of the kindergarten school in my neighbourhood, as I see the proud faces of young infants, all happy with the tricolour flags and bands, singing Vande Mataram at the peak of their voices, I realize that growing up really ruined a few things. We adults rationalize and reason all that we do, and that deprives us of the small joys of life. These young kids might not understand why they are made to sing a difficult song on a random morning, but they do not question it, they try to be as good as possible, as obedient as they can.

And that’s what we all need to be towards our motherland. We have spent much time, rather decades, complaining about all that is wrong with this country, with the system, we have never been humble, accountable or obedient towards it.

While enjoying subtle happiness at my beautifully decorated gym today, amidst the golden voice of late Lata Mangeshkar in the background, I started thinking of all the blessings I have enjoyed simply because I was born in this nation.

And this is not just a patriotic outburst, if you think about it, there is no better place to be alive in this world than India.

Just ask yourself, where would you rather be, if not this nation?

A nation where young children are more used to grenades and ammunition than toys and dolls? — Syria

Or a country that required foreign invasion to ensure the mirage of peace and security? — Iraq

Or a nation (if I can call it that!) where you have no freedom of speech, media or in a nutshell, no freedom of life! — North Korea

Or our brother nation, whose Islamic families feel more privileged and liberated when they migrate to India, whose young talents find immense opportunities in our industries — Pakistan

Or a nation whose strict censorship barely allows people to know all that is going on around the world — China

You would say I am being biased, stating all the countries which are politically unstable or not democracies.

I was in Germany for some time, and the weak family structure made me feel blessed to be an Indian. One couldn’t meet his father on his birthday, simply because he hadn’t taken permission and that was not polite. A large chunk of adults were suffering from acute depression due to broken moral support, and an acute feeling of loneliness.

The government pays for the young, the old, the unemployed, the disabled, practically anyone who cannot earn even temporarily. Still people take to streets for the smallest of reasons, as comfort is no longer a luxury, it is a way of life. Similar situations prevail across many parts of Europe and USA, where greater freedom has led to terrible family life and in turn, horrible mental repercussions for young children. What I am trying to say is that lack of problems or better governance doesn’t necessarily ensure more fulfilling and happy lives!

Under such circumstances, India really is still the Golden dove, it still is the best place to be in. We are proud to have a stable governance that ensures basic human rights, imagine waking up everyday in a nation where there is no security of life, and you would understand how elegant our democracy is!

We have all the integral elements that makes our tightly knit family life so beautiful, and a culture exposing us to such varied people that coexisting with humans from completely different backgrounds comes naturally to us. We live in a nation where we do not need a visa to experience a different tradition, it’s just an overnight train journey, or a permission to visit home on Diwali.

And for all the million problems that we keep cribbing about every single minute of our lives, I see them as opportunities. What is the use of existing in an ideal nation that has nothing to improve? Humans are meant to push boundaries, we are meant to leave this place better than we found it. If we all vow to do just that, in our own little ways, then all such obstacles will represent huge craters of positive change.

As our motherland celebrates her 70th birthday, I want you to reflect on all the blessings that are endowed on you by the land on which you walk, on which you have grown up. And then to find small ways to make this place a little better, any small contribution that brings more joy, peace and compassion in the lives of your fellow brothers and sisters, with whom you are connected by this land.

Jai Hind!

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