By Dr Jyots Bhattacharjee
India became free from British domition 69 years back due to the selfless endeavour of thousands of our country men. Who can forget the immense contributions of our great leaders like Mahatma Gandhi, Pandit Nehru, Lokmanya Tilak, Sardar Patel, Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, to me only a few? It was due to their sacrifices and untiring efforts that India became free from the shackles of slavery. Our imperial masters left India, but had taught Indians to dislike our glorious traditions. Indians accepted the legacy left behind by the British rulers. The situation is that we are neither Indian nor non-Indian in the true sense of the term and we have no ground to stand upon firmly.
Those forgotten great leaders paid a heavy price for freedom—they suffered untold misery and many of them were killed. And we are enjoying the fruits of their immense sacrifice, without being the least grateful to those noble heroes. Actually independence does not mean a thing to us; all we do is to celebrate the event and that too in the presence of a handful of dignitaries, with high security coverage. Common people seem to be indifferent to the significance of Independence day celebrations. For them it is just a paid holiday—to watch television—to go for picnic or to visit the zoo with the children or to do whatever they fancy. May be, they are disillusioned and are fed up with the hollow festivities and are no longer interested in listening to the rehearsed speeches of our dignitaries. The people have learnt to take their speeches with a tablespoon of salt. They have become disgusted with the disgusting situation of the state through the years and are fed up with the lies thrown around like confetti. And who can blame them for their disenchantment? After all, they have borne enough and their nerves are frayed. The old people often can be heard grumbling that the situation was far better during the British period. There was no violence, no conflicts and no hypocrisy. People could move about freely even at night without fear. There was no fear of bomb blasts in cinema halls, market places or buses. There was no fear of hijacking of planes, of abduction, or unnecessary killing of innocent people. tural flora and fau were respected and preserved. Rhino killing or killing of precious animals like elephants, tigers etc were unheard of. There was no destruction of forests. But now people are living in a chaotic situation. They are frustrated, since they had hoped for a ‘Ramrajya’ after attaining freedom, as the Mahatma had envisaged.
It is very true that from the scientific and technological point of view India has developed in an astounding fashion through the years, after independence. None can deny the tremendous progress the country has made in all spheres. During the British rule we had only a small number of educated people, but now due to all these literacy schemes people have become aware of the value and importance of education and more and more children have started going to schools. Now we have a large number of educated people. But many of our talented people have left the country and they have permanently settled down in the foreign countries. They are giving wonderful performance in their adopted countries. We have thousands of talented people, who could have done a lot for the country. They are reluctant to come back, and believe that they would not get all that facility here, which they are enjoying in their adopted country. Perhaps they are right.
India does not lack resources. The country has vast areas of fertile land and sufficient raw materials. With the resources in hand we have ample opportunity to grow into a great tion. Our country has sufficient tural wealth and our people have enough technical, scientific and defense knowledge—more than our expectations. India is one of the most important developing countries of the world, posing a challenge even to super powers. But all this progress have not been able to give us happiness. Most of the people are poor and are suffering a lot. Our experts have not been able to discover means to combat tural calamities. For instance, our state is prey to devastating floods each year. This year is no exception. Thousands of people become homeless, some people die, animals are washed away—communication with other states gets disrupted. And we remain helpless spectators when ture strikes her lethal blows. It is no use of leaders talking big and showing spurious concern for the plight of the victims. They have apparently spent crores on these flood control projects. Yet floods are as devastating as ever.
That is not the only problem. The country is reeling under corruption. Money seems to speak louder than words. Even precious animals like rhinoceros, elephants, tigers etc have fallen prey to man’s greed for money. The forests also have not been spared. Money has become the ruling deity for the most people. You may not be able to find an honest person even if you scour the entire length and breadth of the state. Decades back, in the pre-independence era there was not such large-scale corruption. But now you may not find a single corruption-free individual amongst the multitude.
Terrorism has spread like an infectious disease throughout the country and Assam possibly is the worst sufferer. Life has become so very uncertain that you cannot be sure that you would be back home in the evening from your office. A group of young men at your gate give you shivers. You are afraid to go down a dark alley, in case somebody lurking behind the bushes takes pot shot at you. You cannot go to a cinema or to the market with a mind, free from qualms. Bus journey is also not safe, nor is air or train journey. In short, nobody is safe anywhere. We do not know how to protect ourselves from violence. Shooting, stabbing, abduction, extortion, rape etc. have become the order of the day. We do not trust anybody and do not go to help a neighbour in distress. Fear has clouded our minds to such an extent that we cannot see or judge something ratiolly.
Our social life is a mess. We do not go to see our friends and relatives, as Television is ruling our homes. Adults and little children sit glued to the TV set without bothering if some of those programmes are worth watching or if the children would be adversely affected by them. The tragedy is that due to the impact of television we have lost our friends and our social life has become woefully restricted. Science has made progress by leaps and bounds and we are having wonderful gadgets, which were unknown to our forefathers. We are enjoying all the comforts that science has offered. But we are not really happy. We have forgotten the meaning of freedom and that is the greatest tragedy of our life.
Some people are grumbling, specially those from the pre-independence era, that liberty has become a liability for us. What has it brought to us? Merely moral decadence, price rise and violence. But that is not the fault of liberty. The blame actually lies with us. We have not realised that to preserve liberty we have to make some unified efforts. Freedom without responsibility is disastrous. It is like giving a loaded gun to an ignorant child. We are proud to assert that ours is a great democracy, yet we are not responsible enough to preserve it. Our democracy has turned into a mobocracy, as plato had envisaged. We only see chaos all around and it is money that rules the whole tion.
There does not seem to be any perceptible law or order in our country. People are suffering a lot and the crimils are merrily waltzing around with any number of anti-social activities. Corruption in every sphere has become a stumbling block in our path to progress. The talks of our leaders about a corruption-free society have become a damp squib so far. Lack of responsibility has made us float like a rudderless ship, and we have no idea about how to protect and preserve our hard-earned freedom. Infiltration from across the border has posed a tremendous hurdle in our process of development. Some people are trading freedom for persol and political gains.
People have to be made aware of their responsibility and here the children have a great role to play. They are our hope and the destiny of the country depends on them. Childhood is the most vital period in human life. What is learnt in childhood develops character. Hence instead of giving them career-based education, they should be given value-based education. They should be trained in such a way that they can be the worthy citizens of the country in future. The parents and the teachers should note that children learn from what they see and not from what they hear. So parents and teachers should teach them morality by example and not by precept. Every child has some potential divinity in him and this divinity should be made actual. Moral education is essential for the children and only then our state as well as our country will be really progressive and peaceful.
When India gained freedom people’s expectations were sky-reaching, but their ideal was not realized. It was only tural, as expectations often lead to heart ache and frustration. That is what has happened to us. Once terrorism was unheard of in our country. But now it has become a regular incident. Violence, terrorism, corruption and many other crimes have swept over the country like an infections disease. None has been able to check their cancerous growth. Murder, rape, abductions, extortions have become commonplace. There was a time when only one such incident would have shocked the entire tion. We have become so used to these horrible events that after reading about them in the news papers we just turn to the next page. It is really frightening if we consider our mental attitude. We seem to have lost our humanity and we are insensitive to the pains and sufferings of others. It is time we pondered over the problem and tried to regenerate our lost humanity. Unless we do that we would never be happy.
Renunciation was the ideal of ancient India and renunciation is the need of modern India. Traditiol values have to be revived before they are utterly lost forever. Helping others around us will bring us peace and happiness. It will also promote community well-being. Hatred and ill-will can be conquered only by selfless activity. Religious faticism has also brought suffering to the people. No religion advocates hatred and violence. The basis of religion is love. Every religion preaches love and brotherhood. But the fatics misinterpret the noble teachings of the saints and as a consequence they cause grievous harm to society as well as to mankind. Their thoughtless actions have agonized the whole world. I think these fatics should try to understand the principles of their own respective religions.
We have to forget petty things. Even a few good persons can do a lot for the good of humanity. India had a glorious past, but unfortutely the glory was lost in the mire of selfishness, corruption and cruelty. Corruption and modernism have ruined our society. Hence spiritual discipline has become an uvoidable necessity. The young people have to be trained in selflessness, spirit of service and truthfulness, so that they can lead the country in the right way in future.
Once India was a county rooted in spiritualism. But due to western influence now materialism has elbowed out our glorious tradition of spiritual discipline. As a result people have become incredibly selfish, greedy and cruel. In Bhagavad Gita Lord Krish tells Arju that greed, anger and lust are three doors to hell. So they should be discarded. We have lost all our higher values. For peace and bliss spiritualism has to be revived. That is the only way to happiness.