Indians all over the world celebrated India’s 66th Independence Day recently with great pride, joy and fervour.
India today is nothing like what it was on August 15, 1947.
We celebrate this day because not only we cherish the freedom but also to pay homage to thousands of people who lost their lives in this struggle.
In recent times, we have come across people who love ‘India bashing.’
They were quick to compare the achievements of India with other nations.
It is easy to pick faults while enjoying a drink in your home but we should all ask, “What have I done for my country?”
Such criticism stems from ignorance, especially when it comes from people who have not lived in India.
India has always been a great nation. The fact that Indians were ahead in commerce, economy, astrology and medical science, proves their ability.
The Dark Ages
Like every nation, we went through dark ages. We were ruled by Mughals and then by the British for nearly 700 years.
British left us with a divided country, millions of refugees, bloodshed, hatred and poverty. We had no resources.
But India today can boast of being the world’s eighth most powerful nation with the third largest army and the fourth largest economy. India is among a few countries that has conquered space and has nuclear capability.
In 2010, India bought 740 tons of gold. It processes about 90% of the world’s diamonds. About a quarter of the world’s steel is with Indians, who also own Jaguar, Tetley Tea and the East India Company.
There are many achievements which would make every Indian proud; you can see through the Google search engine.
Undoubtedly, we have problems but please remember that it is a vast country with over a billion people and diversity.
When people say that 300 million people in India are poor, I want to tell them that 100% of the population was poor in 1947. Today 900 million are not poor.
When people talk of corruption in India, I say, ‘Yes, it is a curse on us but tell me, is it worse than what we have seen in corporate America, Europe and other countries, where billions of dollars were siphoned off and companies went bankrupt?’
When people talk about Olympics, I have to remind them that until recently, we could not afford the resources and more importantly, parents were keen that their children should study for a secure future.
The situation is now changing. We celebrate the fact that ordinary middle class families are producing and encouraging young talent.
Look at our Cricket team. The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) controls the International Cricket Council (ICC) today.
‘Satyamev Jayte’ displays the excellent work done by actor Aamir Khan but it must be viewed in the context in which it was produced.
We need more people who can help change the society rather than write and talk against India.
I am an Optimist and I have seen India for more than 50 years.
It amazes me as to how fast India and Indians are moving.
I have no doubt that in the next 20 years, India will be restored to its pre-slavery glory. Therefore, let every Indian and his dog celebrate India’s Independence Day to come with this affirmation that each of us will make our little contribution towards its progress.
I am proud to have been born and raised in the largest democracy of the world and I am sure many of you will echo my sentiment.
Dr Anil Channa is a former President of the Manukau Indian Association. Related stories appear under Homelink.