The date : 15 August, 1947. This date had wreathed the faces of every Indian of that time with smiles because we had become free from the British. There were dreams, there was the aspiration, the desire to be rid of sorrows. There was the dream of a new India in the eyes and every person had started to walk with the assumption that rivers of ghee (clarified butter) and milk would now flow in the country, because everybody at that time had faith in the leaders of the country. They did not have any fear of what would happen to them in the future.
15 August, 2013. Now, on this Independence Day, even after trying a lot, the mind cannot become joyous. There is no desire to hear the speech at the Red Fort. Reading the Government advertisements seems annoying. Overall, it seems as if we have gone into such a dark tunnel into which it was not necessary to go at all. Today, which segment, which section is there in the country which is happy. It may be those who are hardworking, those who are farmers, those who are students, it may be youths who hold big, impressive degrees, it may be those who are without degrees — useless, unemployed, or it may be Government employees with jobs — no one is happy. Looking at the sections bigger than them, the traders, the industrialists, people working in large companies, none of them are happy. It seems to everyone there is some drawback, some shortage, some deficiency somewhere. The means, the remedy to remove this deficiency cannot be seen with anyone.
If anyone appears happy, then it is the group of the highest ‘class’ in political parties. They have no sorrows of any kind. Whether they are in power or in the Opposition, smiles can always be seen on their faces. They don’t grieve over losing. Defeat or losing also gives them both the same kind of thrill as a win and a share in it.
But the workers of political parties are not happy at all because their condition in their respective political parties has become like that of a broker. If they go to meet an MP, MLA or a Minister of their own party empty handed, or if they take someone with them who cannot give any gift, then they are not given any attention there. Getting tickets is a far cry for party workers. Tickets are available first for the people of the family, then tickets for the servant, driver and ‘munim’ (clerk or book-keeper) and then for those who can purchase the ticket with the largest sum of money. That’s why Rajya Sabha MP Virender Singh without quite realising it disclosed that the price of a Rajya Sabha seat is Rs. 100 crores, but he had got it for Rs. 80 crores.
Everybody retracts from what they say, Virender Singh retracted too, but Virender removed the veil from sales and purchases in politics. Did the people of the country fight the battle of Independence for this? Was it for this that Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose formed the Azad Hind Sena (Army), was it for this that Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev, and Rajguru, and before that Ashfaqullah Khan and other brave fighters like Thakur Roshan Singh and Ram Prasad Bismil sacrificed their lives?
It seems to me that people who even today take the names of Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev or Ram Prasad Bismil are believed by politicians to be great fools. It seems to them that some fault has come into the minds of such people or some component of the past in their mind has become loose that they are moved by the name of martyred freedom fighters being taken. I had a survey conducted by my correspondents in which it was disclosed that there are no picturisations in any of the leaders houses of any of the martyrs who sacrificed themselves for the independence of India. Chandra Shekhar Azad, Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev, Ashfaqullah, Thakur Roshan Singh and Ram Prasad Bismil are names behind whom there are lines of hundreds who took bullets for the sake of freedom or kissed the noose of hanging. I am fully convinced that if an MP or a Minister are asked the name of those who sacrificed their lives during the freedom struggle, except for Bhagat Singh and Chandrashekhar Azad, they will perhaps not remember a third name.
This is the difference between 15 August 1947 and 15 August 2013. To end unemployment, no Government or party has any plan. Inflation cannot be ended, because all the political parties are share holders in a company called Inflation. And corruption is an easy path for all. They do not feel at all that the people of the country will ever get angry or annoyed. The people of the country appear to them to be submissive, helpless and foolish. That is why they have ruined the entire educational system of the country so that ‘big money’ schools can be opened and run, to which two-thirds of India will not even be able to think of sending their children and they have reduced the health services to the same condition. Now people are getting literate on paper, they do not go to schools. Now, they get fake medicines even for ordinary fever. A poor person now does not even think of living. If somebody in the family of a poor person falls sick, he thinks in his mind that the sick person should take leave of the world quickly, otherwise there is no guessing how much money will be spent on the treatment. Now, even the people in the immediate neighbourhood or vicinity do not give a societal taunt on why you are not getting any treatment done because their condition too is no different.
Inflation cannot be ended, because all the political parties are share holders in a company called Inflation. And corruption is an easy path for all. They do not feel at all that the people of the country will ever get angry or annoyed. The people of the country appear to them to be submissive, helpless and foolish. That is why they have ruined the entire educational system of the country so that ‘big money’ schools can be opened and run, to which two-thirds of India will not even be able to think of sending their children and they have reduced the health services to the same condition.
In 2013 farmers are committing suicide every half hour, that is what is being said. Cultivation has already been destroyed. Those who do cultivate do not get the benefits of the crop. The farmer’s life has become that of the lower middle class. Gradually, everything is being kept in mortgage and this situation has shredded the fabric of India. The young are wandering away from the path because they have no employment. Jobs are getting fewer. But our politicians and Government officials do not want to be conscious of this. More than half of 2013 has passed, less than half remains. If in the remaining five months the people of the country stand up and begin to ask politicians the account, what will the picture of the country be like? Just thinking about it makes one afraid.
Anna Hazare is advising the people of the country to keep patience and adopt the path of non-violence. On the other hand Naxalites are exhorting and motivating people to take up arms. The media is not listening to Anna Hazare’s words and neither is the Government listening to Anna Hazare’s words. Political parties consider him an ‘irrelevant’ person. The people are suffering. They are troubled. No section is happy. In this situation, if the people, out of anxiety or panic start a civil disobedience movement in the country. If they begin stopping rail, road transport and on being misled, descend to violence, then what will be the picture that will form? One feels frightened. Very frightened. In our country the thread, the yarn of democracy is very strong, but the democracy which is running is unconstitutional. When Anna Hazare tours round the entire country and places the distorted form of the democracy that is functioning against the Constitution before the people, they understand and clap enthusiastically. Nowadays, crowds are not gathering for the meeting of leaders of any party. Buses for bringing the crowd, eating, daily allowances and some extras too, there is a lot of temptation that is given. Whereas in Anna Hazare’s meetings people spend their own money to come to hear his speech. I fear only one thing, that if because of the indifference and apathy of the Government and political parties, an ‘andolan’, a movement of students starts. If a movement of the youth starts. If the farmers get to think that before starting a movement, since they are going to give up their life anyway, they should take the life of one of those who are responsible for their suicides, what would happen in this country. Political parties forget that it is the children of farmers who are recruited the most in the police and the army. In their minds, they are greatly troubled by the circumstances in their homes. On those youths there are today the handcuffs and fetters of discipline but if they will hear more of sorrowful crying and lamentation from their homes, then the handcuffs and fetters of discipline will not be able to bind them for too long. They themselves will break the handcuffs and fetters.
The 15th August of 2013 does not make us rejoice. It frightens us. But perhaps for those political parties sitting in power and in the Opposition, 15th August 2013 may seem to be the usual 15th August which, after 1947, they have been celebrating every time in the form of a ritual.