I know I am a little late – I had no internet connection at my hotel for last two days – but I wanted to wish a very Happy Independence day to all today on the 60th birthday of India.
This journey has been amazing with great twists and turns. The optimism and tragedy of the early few years to the stabilization period of the 50’s and the wars of the 60’s to the political quagmires of the 70’s, the terrorism spectre and the cold war sanctions of the 80’s to the resurgence of the 90’s and a new look confident (brash?) generation of the new century – we have seen it all!!
Some say at 60 years we are like an “old lady” – a comparison surely influenced by that famous Manoj Kumar song “Dulhan Chali”. But really speaking from the strict Indian context – a civilization that is probably 6000 years old (or more), 60 years is a blip!
What we have done in this period is very miniscule. What can unfold because of our strengths and inadequacies is significant. Mir Jaffer and family probably never knew what it was letting unleashed on India for the next 250 years! Or Maharana Sangha would have thought that his loss to Babar would lead to several centuries of slavery for India and Islamic rule. How that changed the entire landscape of this region is there for everyone to see. In a matter of 600 years – a predominantly Hindu region was converted into a predominantly Muslim region. Where scientific temper and exploratory spirit ran through – religious fervor and fundamentalism is the main emotion from Afghanistan to Pakistan and in Bangladesh. As for India – there is unbridled hypocrisy in the name of secularism.
What we do from here on will affect the world. No one knows who will get to unbeknownst play that pivotal role of affecting the centuries of this land – it could be anyone. That is why everyone of us should be ready to not to be found wanting when that time comes. When we face a Babar or a Robert Clive. When one move will mean unlimited and abject poverty for the masses.
Just one person’s efforts may, on the other hand, lead to long term prosperity for masses as well. It could be anyone of us. So, everyone should be ready. We have a rich heritage of giants from the Vedanta ages who faced the truth ruthlessly, incarnates who did not hide behind the veil of faith but entertained and welcomed relentless questioning and skepticism of Arjun to deliver the highest of knowledge. We are a land where Swami Vivekananda could discuss any topic from Spirituality to Science (he was invited to be the first Head of Indian Insitute of Science) will the eloquence and facility of a Vedic or a Nobel Prize winner! Let us realize all that potential.
Finally, as Swami Vivekananda said – the potential to become God is in everyone and everything in this creation.. how much and what we manifest out of that bounty is upto us. If we are poor, it is what WE have manifest. If we grow to be rich and prosperous and happy.. that indeed will also be our own manifestation.
Our future is upto us!