Sixty-three years ago, the Union Jack was taken down from the ramparts of the historic Red Fort in Delhi, and the Indian Tricolour hoisted in its place. After a long freedom struggle, the nation attained independence. For the first time ever, the nation was in charge of its own destiny. People dared dream big dreams. Social equality, education for all, an end to poverty, basic healthcare- dreams that people took for granted.
Sixty-three years later, we have failed on all counts. Vote bank politics have ensured that the country is still divided along caste, communal and linguistic lines. Our institutions of higher education may compare with the best in the world, but more than half the population of the country is functionally illiterate. Grinding poverty still forces millions of people to migrate from villages every year, despite the squalid conditions under which they are forced to live in the cities. And basic healthcare for all is as distant a dream today as it ever was. And add to it all a new problem- corruption across levels in all walks of life.
Has India, as a nation, failed?
Easy question. Difficult answer.
As a nation, India has failed to deliver on all the promises it made to its citizens. But despite everything, the people of India have survived. There are inequities and there is poverty, but at least in the cities, there are more people fighting to stay ahead of poverty than are people waiting for the government to bale them out. If only there was a way to wish away corruption, the people may just be able to make good the promises that the nation made to them.