August 15th. When we were kids, we would make little tricolour-ed flags and run around the neighbourhoods. And sing the national anthem. For India’s Independence Day.
As India approaches another Independence Day – we, as a nation stand on the crossroads of history. We, after 60 years of democratic existence, finally have a chance to effectively transform our country, a kind of “once a generation” opportunity to effectively uplift our people from the grinding poverty that still afflicts, from the social discrimination that still pervades, from the divisive forces that still unfortunately, play.
It was a coming together of a lot of factors – globalization, the Internet, the strength of our educational system, our latent intellectual prowess, the dot com bust, our demographic advantage etc that created this. And now, India is at the threshold of a seismic transformation. Of the country. Of our perception around the world. Of our perception of ourselves.
However, as we transform – where do we see ourselves. I have been thinking about this for sometime now – and before I could even begin to articulate my thoughts – I found this on Outlook.
Before we even begin to decide – we must define. What are we? What is it that defines us as Indians. A country of a billion people and 2000 languages and dialects. As Shashi Tharoor wrote in his book India, a place where there are over a thousand ways of cooking a potato, a millions ways to pray to the same god, a dozen ways to wear a sari. A place where standard parameters of language, religion, traditions, customs has never defined us as a nation. What defined the “nationhood” was the choice we made to be a nation together inspite of our myriad differences. And that intangible. Of being Indians.
I think the Outlook article did a wonderful job in articulating where we need to be. But I think before we can even start – we must define, who we are. As a nation. Of a billion different aspirations.
Tomorrow stares at us on the face. And India, finally, is awakening to show the world, what we always knew.