Realm Of Randomness

October 3, 2007

36 hours of Gandhi Jayanthi

Filed under: India,Opinion — Randomizer @ 5:52 pm

gandhi.jpg

As a fitting end to a great month in India, I ended up traveling back to the US on October 2nd, Gandhi Jayanthi, resulting in nearly a 36 hour day beginning in Mumbai and ending back in Texas. Like I mentioned in my previous post, I finally watched the movie ‘Gandhi’ this time in India, and it opened my eyes to so much behind our nation and its father.

Learning about the freedom struggle via a history text book through at least 2 years of high school somehow didn’t really affect me the way three hours of watching the movie did. I guess the fact that having to write exams about the freedom struggle and memorizing the dates and details of it took away most of the raw emotion involved in learning about that time not too long ago. The very term ‘freedom struggle’ seemed bland , though it contained in it a word as painful and powerful as struggle. A fight. Something you were trying desperately to get but was so hard and painful to attain. The freedom struggle.

To think that just 60 years ago, we were ruled and exploited by another race from a foreign land, forced to submit like slaves to their wishes, seems utterly revolting to me. Just 60 years. Our grandparents were adults like you and me then, with aspirations and opinions just like we have right now. They were alive and conscious and frustrated with their occupier, and they fought it out. Our grandparents lived in those times, thought in those times, wrote in those times, cried in those times.

We owe our lives to Gandhi and his followers. He granted us our freedom, the same freedom which we take for granted everyday. While protestors in Burma are shot dead in broad daylight, and middle-eastern countries continue to oppress their women, Gandhi gave us a fair and just nation, a nation that has been propelled on its way to overtaking its very occupier’s economy (hat tip Salman for the link). More importantly, Gandhi made us win with our heads and not our swords, and we can look back on those days with a sense of pride, of not only where we came from, but how we came to be.

As women security guards partrol our institutions, young minds work meticulously in their high-rise offices, judges decide the fates of the rich and the powerful, representatives argue away at the parliament, and everyday laborers send their children to school for free, one thing is strikingly clear – that we have made the future our forefathers were fighting for worth every drop of blood, every second of humiliation and every tear of desperation.

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2 Comments »

  1. Nicely written. I guess I need to undo my history-exam-view of Indian independence. =) Although, I’d instead watch a documentary or read wikipedia maybe.
    Your consecutive patriotic posts are making me very nervous =P.. I recently had some good ideas for a blog about why patriotism is bad and why we should fight that emotion.. Specifically, I saw a striking similarity in the way the American People were supremely offended by Ahmadinejad’s proposed trip to ground zero, and the way the Indian People were by some Britisher’s proposed trip to pay respects to their war hero. I don’t mean to say that either of the proposed trips was proper, just that patriotism prevented any meangingful debate. But I guess I’ll save that for my sometime-in-the-distant-future blog entry..

    I do agree though that we Indians never fully comprehend how awesome Gandhi was, and how great the concept of gaining independence through non-violence really is.

    Comment by eyw (decaffeinated) — October 8, 2007 @ 4:49 pm | Reply

  2. I guess it all comes down to the pros and cons of individuals vs teams. As individuals, we were forced to surrender to occupation, and no one man could do anything about it. Cliched as it sounds, United we stand divided we fall, is not only an over-used quote but says something profound about the way human society works. Companies work because of the teams, and because of the structure. If everyone loves the company they work for and continue to give it all their efforts, the company usually succeeds – which results in better rewards for its individuals.

    Its the same way for the citizens of a country, I think. If we love our country and this helps us in continuing to put efforts towards its betterment, the economy improves, the value of its currency improves, and individuals end up being able to buy more with their money. Citizens benefit by contributing towards the country …. All in all, with the exception of wars and armies ( I know its a big exception ) , the concept of patriotism and countries has been an amazing thing. Now wars and armies might have worked if all of them stood still and merely defended its freedom. Its when these armies are used for conquest, aggression, and so on that the concept of countries takes a beating.

    Since the second world war, however, we have had a pretty peaceful existence on earth. Probably a great example of how the concept of patriotism has worked to save its citizens is the creation of Israel… Im not speaking of what it is doing right now, but at the time of its formation, jews all across the world were being hated and killed (holocaust) … and when this whole bunch came together in israel and built an army to defend themselves, they were able to save their own lives. Similarly, the creation of India saved the lives and futures of all its citizens..

    Patriotism definitely blinds people from the ethics of the government`s policy… it`s at these times that the concept seems ridiculous. I believe that patriotism should mean the loyalty towards your country`s people, founding principles, justice system and so on – not blind loyalty to the country`s government.

    Comment by Randomizer — October 10, 2007 @ 3:41 pm | Reply


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