Competition Entry #20 | Freedom to Dream: India at 70

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ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival Blogging Competition Shortlisted Entry

 

Different Shades of the Indian Dream
By Gitanjali Maria, 27 years, Gurgaon

 

India is both 70 years young as well as over 5,000 years ancient. Like every nation, every society, and every family, India too is built upon the bedrock of many dreams. Dreams of our freedom fighters, dreams of our erstwhile emperors, dreams of our political class, and last but not the least, dreams of every single Indian, alive or passed away, living here as well as abroad.

The India that is today carries a lot of souvenirs from its past. The souvenirs in the form of our monuments, relics, and practices continue to influence much of our lives. Nehru dreamt of building ‘Temples of Modern India’. The powerful dams, the various factories, IITs, and IIMs that we are so proud of today are a result of that dream. Sardar’s dream and efforts of a unified India is manifested in the united yet diverse and vast subcontinent that we are proud of.

The dream of Ambedkar gave us a constitution that promotes equality and equal rights. It is this strong foundation in a profound constitution that continues to support democracy in this country of varied hues.

Jamsetji Tata’s dream of a world-class hotel that allowed entry to all individuals gave us the iconic Taj hotel and the Tata empire. Verghese Kurien’s dream of white revolution and MS SwamiNathan’s dream of green revolution opened the gates of prosperity. Narayana Murthy’s dream of Infosys sowed the seeds of a knowledge economy and made India a source of intellectual might and an IT powerhouse.

And not to forget, Mr. APJ Abdul Kalam, the People’s President. He canvassed tirelessly to ignite Indian minds to dream. A revolutionary space scientist and political figure, his speeches have inspired many young Indian minds to think bigger.

It is this freedom to dream that has propelled India forward. We too can say that it is the ‘Indian dream’ that we are living every day.

Many dreams that we as a nation had in 1947 are very different from those we nurture in 2016. The simple necessities of having ‘roti, kapada, makan’ have been transformed into desires for better lifestyle, better education, good nutrition, and better standards of living. Today we strive for cashless economies, a Swatch Bharat, an India that develops various products and goods on its own soil.

At least a section of India can dream of super luxury cars, multiple apartments, foreign tours, and expensive health treatments. And many Indians are living their own dreams, starting up their own enterprises which today are globally recognized.

But another India has either stopped dreaming or continues to pine for those same dreams as seventy years before. There is still an India that dreams to have three square meals a day. There is still an India that hopes to survive the harsh weather conditions — bitter cold and scorching summers — with just the minimum that they have. There is still an India that hopes to have equal status, proper honor, and be safe while alone on the roads.

Our dreams of a secular nation that treats everyone with dignity remain half-done, sometimes abandoned. Ambedkar’s dream of a casteless society remains unfulfilled. So much so that often just the ability to be able to express oneself without fear is suppressed.

Many dreams continue to be shattered due to unavailability of resources and suppression from family and society itself. Many of our girls are still not allowed to dream of careers and good education. We still have unfinished dreams of ending poverty, electrifying the entire nation, eradicating many diseases, and having good relations with neighbors.

But we have also embraced new dreams of being an economic power, cleaning the economy, and emerging as a global power to be reckoned with.

Our dreams have grown as the nation has charged ahead. But some dreams remain as is since the days of 1947. As Nehru has pointed out in his speech Tryst with Destiny, ‘And so we have to labour and to work, and work hard, to give reality to our dreams.’ In the 21st century, APJ Kalam too voiced similarly, ‘Dream, dream, dream! Conduct these dreams into thought, and then transform them into action.’

Let us move forward, united in body, mind, and soul, to achieve our ancient as well as modern dreams of peace and prosperity.

 

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