After 30 years from now India will be celebrating its 100thyear of independence from the colonial rule. What will happen in the year 2047-48? Will India be able to fulfill the vision of those who fought for the freedom? Will the country be able to adapt itself to the dreams and aspirations of the present and the future citizens of the country? When India gained freedom, those who struggled and sacrificed their lives for India’s independence had a dream, a vision, a hope, an idea of the free India. They had heaps of expectations, loads of desire and a yearning that in the independent India, the generations of people will enjoy freedom and opportunities in all forms away from the problems and situations they have faced then? They have imagined that India after attaining freedom from the clutches of the Imperial rulers, and liberation from all from of colonialism and the colonial mind-set, will provide all of its citizens’ equal rights and opportunities to develop and grow.They envisaged of India that is secular and democratic, where people rule over themselves, India where people live without any discrimination based on their background, India where people are healthy, educated, well fed, free from all kinds of diseases, India where poverty, inequality, hunger, malnutrition and other such vices find no place, India which is progressive, rational and enlightened, India where every person is respected and everyone enjoy freedoms of various kind including that of expressing dissent, India which accommodate differences and promotes diversity of all kinds, India which is envisioned by great men and women such as Tagore, Ambedkar, Nehru, Gandhi, Tilak, Sarojini Naidu, Maulana Azad, Rani Lakshmi Bai, Bhagat Singh, and number of such other such freedom fighters and leaders, India which Nehru visualized as modern and plural, India about which Tagore said “where mind is without fear and head held high, where knowledge is free….let my country awake”.
In 30 years from now, will India be able to retain its sovereign, socialist, secular, republic, democratic, equal, liberal, fraternal structure as envisioned by those who have sacrificed their lives or by those who wrote the Constitution of India? In the current scenario, when fascism is rising and the feudal forces are arbitrarily claiming spaces while denying fundamental rights to the ordinary citizens in their zeal to make this country a Hindu rashtra, will India be able to retain its tolerant, democratic, sovereign, secular, socialist and republic sanctity? Over years, since independence, India has witnessed various ups and downs, emergency and riots, man-made disasters as well as natural catastrophes, wars and terrorist attacks and a lot more of such situations where human rights of ordinary citizens are violated. The legislature, judiciary and executive all have, at some point of time, acted sensibly, and at times, have made decisions against the interest of common citizens. Yet, India has been able to retain its secular, democratic, sovereign and socialist spirit. Will it continue to retain this essence in next 30 years?
Will India 30 years later be able to claim that it has achieved peace with all of its neighbouring countries and emerged as a leader among the South Asian nations that proclaim for justice and peace at the international level and willbe able to fulfillits vision of VasudhaivaKutumbakam which entails viewing the world as one family?
Will India after 30 years be able to claim that it has ended all forms of wars – internal or external, at the border or inside the country within various state territories, or in the hearts and minds of its citizens? That all the resources are sagaciously being spent on people’s development rather than being deployed for collecting nuclear or other forms of weapons for war including bombs or guns?
Thirty years from now when India will be rejoicing having been complete its 100 years of freedom, will the people of India be able to claim that the democracy has matured over a period of time and the governance is accountable, transparent, effective as well as people-oriented? That people have right to criticize the actions of the state and that the right to dissent and protest exists and that no emergency in any form is imposed in any form and that people’s interest prevail over political interest? Will India be able to ensure its citizens that the state is succeeding to fulfill its welfare role and function and is working for the interest of common people rather than the vested political gains of few?
When India will be celebrating its 100th year of independence, will it be able to boast of its achievements for its inclusive,just, enabling policies and actions that empower weaker and marginalized sections including poor, women, children, Dalits, STs, workers or farmers? Will the India after 30 years be free from depravity, corruption, beggary, homelessness, poverty, illiteracy, diseases and all other such vices? Will the India in 2047 be able to claim that it has protected the biological as well as cultural diversity in all forms?
Will India be able to claim that by the year 2047 it has acquired not only cent percent illiteracy but all its citizens, young and old, men and women, are educated enough to think freely and critically? Will India be able to say that in terms of primary and secondary education, all its children irrespective of their ability to pay or irrespective of their background, class, caste, religion or gender are well placed and achieving the goals of learning? Will India be able to claim that all the institutions of higher education are free spaces that allow the youth to think critically, examine the situations rationally and express their abilities in creative and imaginative ways? Will India in the year 2047 be able to state that there is no discrimination in the institutes of higher education and that no young people such as RohithVemula are murdered institutionally or are forced to commit suicide?
Will India in another 30 years be able to claim that all its citizens are healthy and free from all forms of diseases, that there are sufficient resources being invested to take care of sick and needy even in the remotest corner of the country? That no children are dying because of lack of care facilities. That the child care facilities including creches and homes are available at every nook and corner of the country. Also, that no person is compelled to sell their organs to earn money.That no person is discriminated upon on the ground of disability, sickness or orientation. No women are forced to undergo operations, abortion or compulsory sterilization, no women’s bodies are being tortured for the sake of controlling population, that all women enjoy autonomy and freedom in terms of their reproductive rights, that no women die because she could not receive proper maternal care, that the child marriage is abolished, that the domestic violence, incest, female foeticide, all are prevented, that no old or sick person is deprived of health benefits?
Will India after another 30 years be able to say that patriarchy in all forms has been eliminated, that it is safe for women, where no women are raped, brutalized, beaten or tortured, no female fetuses are aborted or killed, no girl child is discriminated, no women are molested or killed for honour, no women are sexually harassed at the work place or in public spaces, no women are trafficked or sold, that violence against women has been eliminated in all its form? Will the India in 2047 be able to claim that it has eliminated all anti-women practices such as dowry, bigamy, domestic violence, witch hunting, sati, and similar such practices and that all laws are just and women friendly? Also, that women play significant role in decision making, that occupy senior positions in the Parliament, the Supreme Court, the lower courts, the Public bodies, the political parties, government offices, universities and other such places? Will India in 2047 be able to say that there are no more Mathura’s, Bhanwari Devi’s, SoniSori’s, Rameeza Bee’s, Manorama’s and innumerable others who though fought for justice but could not receive the same because the patriarchal norms work against women who knock the doors of the courts?
With the capitalist forces acquiring more and more wealth while denying poor of their rightful claims and making India more unequal, where income inequalities are widening, where the unemployment numbers are increasing day by day, will the India while celebrating its 100th year of freedom be able to claim that all of its workforce is gainfully employed, is better paid and is socially secure and that the rights of the work force in all sector is protected and promoted? That the interest of small vendors, fish workers, marginalized workers, farmers, and other such workers are protected and promoted. That every person employed earns not only money but also dignity and respect to live a meaningful life. Also, those not employed are secured socially through one or the other welfare scheme taken up by the state.
In today’s India, the formal sector is shrinking while the informal sector is expanding where the worker’s rights are violated day in and day out. In such a situation while celebrating its 100th Independence Day 30 years from now, will Indian government irrespective of the political party or the leader it will be governed by then, be able to say that as a country it has secured its citizens the decent work places and rightful work environment?
Will the India after 30 years be able to claim that it has eliminated all forms of pollution all its air and water sources are clean, and that the natural resources of the country are safe, that no tribal rights to forest or natural resources are violated in any manner? That the issues relating to internal disturbances in several states in the country are resolved peacefully while upholding interest of and justice for local people.
Will India be able to claim that its agrarian economy is flourishing and that no farmers are exploited, that no land is grabbed by the state and given to the corporate sector compulsorily, that the country is capable of feeding its population and that the food is distributed appropriately without any discrimination?
Will India when celebrates its 100th year of freedom be able to say that all form of casteism and caste based discrimination is eliminated and no people are being discriminated, tortured, abused and murdered because they have been born in particular family? That no Rohith should die with a thought that `his birth was a fatal accident.’
Wil India after 30 years be able to say that bonded labour, debt bondage, child labour, manual scavengers and all other worst form of slavery, trafficking and bondage has been eliminated? That no human is being discriminated, tortured and enslaved because one hails from particular community, class, caste or gender?
Will the India in 2047 be able to claim that no communal tensions or riots, exist in the society and that humanity prevails in all forms, that no Army rule or unjust laws such as AFPSA or UAPA exist, no human rights of persons belonging to any particular community are violated in the name of terrorism, no women’s bodies are raped and tortured in the name of war and terrorism, no children are orphaned because of violence in any form? Will India in 2047 be able to say that no more Akhlaqs are being lynched or no more Najeebs are missing from the educational institutions?
Will India after 30 years be able to claim that no farmers are committing suicide, no workers are protesting against any form of injustice, no migrants are deprived of their rights, no soldiers are dying, no wars are being fought at borders and that peace prevails everywhere and the rights of all are protected?
Will India in 2047 be able to claim that in a century it has achieved success in terms of promoting rational and scientific thinking among all its citizens, that there are libraries and laboratories, playgrounds and places for recreational and cultural activities such as dance, drama, music, health facility, orphanages, shelter homes and hostels at every nook and corner of the street just as gated Malls, prayer sites and other such services catering to religion or business are existing currently? That besides roads and toilets, the habitable areas also have proper schools with all facilities, libraries, justice centers, legal aid services, health care facilities, crisis centers, shelter homes, laboratories in very place. That the scientific activities are being promoted to venture out into the horizons of space as well as to deal with day to day activities such as dealing with natural and man-made disasters. That superstitions, black magic, unscientific views all have been eroded.
Will India in 2047 be able to provide free and secure environment to all of its citizens irrespective of their caste, class, religion or gender so that they can exercise all of their fundamental rights and freedoms as endorsed by the Constitution? Will the courts, the police, the bureaucracy, the politicians all will be reformed to achieve the goal of justice, liberty, equality and fraternity? That the law and legal system ensure speedy justice in fair manner while protecting the rights of vulnerable people, that the red-tapism has gone and that the people of India play a strong role in governance of the country.
Will the India after 100 years of its independence be able to claim that it has a strong independent unbiased media which is free from any form of control from business of politics and act like a fourth pillar of democracy apart from judiciary, legislature and executive. That this independent media reports true stories and critically analyze the facts and data with neutral perspective. That no sexist, misogynist approach is adopted. Will India after 30 years be able to claim that the state is protecting the rights of its citizens against all forms of exploitation by the corporate sector?
Will India in 2047 be able to claim that besides creating smart equitable inclusive cities, all the villages and towns are all electrified, have proper infrastructure, are well connected?
Will India be able to claim that it has fulfilled the basic requirements of
<em>roti, kapdaaurmakaan’</em> for all of its citizens? Will the India in 2047 be able to say that the struggle forjal, jungle aurzameen’ is no longer required because the rightful owners fully own and have access to their resources? That dignity of all citizens is protected and promoted in all forms. That the right to privacy of all the citizens is ensured and that no person is exploited in any form.
One may use any words, phrases or metaphors to describe the idea such as
Modern India’,Ìncredible India’, `Shining India’, New India’, but will this India be able to fulfill the hopes, dreams, ambitions, and aspirations of billions of minds who live differently, think differently and prefer to have diverse life styles or have lived in socially and culturally diverse ways? Will this India be able to ensure that the basic dignity and respect is ensured to each and every person irrespective of one’s background?
The list is long. More can be added. Expectations are high. Dreams are many. This is just a glimpse of idea called India. There could be debates and discussions on various issues. Yet the question that remains is that will India be able to fulfill all such dreams, aspirations and visions of billions of its people from diverse background?
In the given scenario, this appears to be a far and distant goal, yet it is not impossible. I place my hopes and dreams on such an idea of India where the rights of all its citizens are protected and that the vision of those who sacrificed their lives for making India independent and those who have worked to make the Constitution of India a reality may come true in the future.In other words, let us work together to realize the spirit behind such an idea and surely Hum hongeKamyabek din….
The author is a citizen of India and is a practicing advocate, researcher and an activist working on gender, human rights and governance issues. She has written several books, articles and papers and is associated with several organizations. She may be contacted at email@example.com