Thursday, August 6, 2009

True freedom

They say that we gained freedom on 15 Aug 1947, to me its an ongoing quest.

They say that the British never used atomic arsenal on India.Only much worse, that generation after generation of Indians being born in their own soil have a maligned perception of their own land, it persists as though it was a form of a genetic mutation.

We read about Buddha and Ram, but we Idolised Michael Jackson and Madonna. We ate the humble ‘dal-chawal’, but craved for Mc Donalds. If I had a choice between wearing a Salwar-Kameez and Jeans, its obvious what I would choose. One evening while pondering on why I preferred all things ‘western’, I came across the following statement of Lord McCauley in his speech to the British Parliament, to colonise India, on Feb 2,1835

"I have travelled across the length and breadth of India and I have notseen one person who is a beggar, who is a thief. Such wealth I haveseen in this country, such high moral values, people of such calibre,that I do not think we would ever conquer this country, unless webreak the very backbone of this nation, which is her spiritual andcultural heritage, and, therefore, I propose that we replace her old and ancient education system, her culture, for if the Indians think that all that is foreign and English is good and greater than theirown, they will lose their self-esteem, their native self-culture andthey will become what we want them, a truly dominated nation.

The ‘Education system in India’- its one of those ‘cliched’ debate topics that I would get to hear at every debate competition in school. In college the reality of all the debate sunk in, when I first encountered the ‘reservations’, and finally when I got a job, it was reduced to being a mere butt of all jokes. But it never stopped affecting my life, or the lives of all those around me. As an innocent child, I first read about Bhagat Singh, referred as a ‘terrorist nationalist’, and my only knowledge about the ‘Jaliawala Bagh Massacre was a paltry three line mention, where the description mearly said ‘British opened the fire’. I never learned the fact that Pythogores theorem was discovered first in India by a Mathematician called Bodhayanah in 800 BC.Growing up, it was cool to read Enid Blytons and Tintins, and uncool to read ‘Amar Chitra Katha’.So guess what I ended up learning, it was those biased and even delebrate misinterpretation by the westerners to mislead a generations after generations of Indian kids, who grow up feeling inferior to the west. And the results are clear, India has become a truly dominated nation. So much so that an average Indian dreams of crossing the shores to the ‘superior territory’, and no sooner, their inferiority catches up with them with instances of racial discrimination. So much so that we never grow up to be proud Indians. Bringing us back to the ‘Great Western Hangover’, which is solely attributed to our education system. And unfortunately with the Indian government assuming a ‘Socialist democracy’, by frontier Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, a self confessed anglophile himself, a legacy was thus set, where education system has become but a playground for the politicians to roll their dice and create the bane of ‘reservations’, where instead of youth being empowered, are further marginalised.

“Such wealth I have seen in this country, such high moral values, people of such
calibre,that I do not think we would ever conquer this country.”

How I wish the statement would have stopped at that. But the British didn't give up. And I dream of a nation that doesn't give up either. In spite of the challenges we face today, we are changing, slowly but surely. I recently noticed that while shopping I don't look for Jeans anymore, and I skip McDonalds without a second look. The best part is that its not just me. Those ‘Amar Chitra Kathas’, are selling out in book stores, and Indian who went abroad are coming back to find the green pastures, right here at home. Great Western Hangover still exists, affecting many lives, if only we could break out of the shackles of our education system, and let the spirit of true Indian nationalism shine forth. And for that we might need another freedom movement. A spritual freedom movement.