Two years ago, a media presenter in Auckland got into serious trouble for his unwarranted remarks about the then Governor General and the Chief Minister of Delhi. His comments caused uproar among the members of the Indian community, forcing him to resign from his post.
It was not clear whether his comments were intentional or borne out of ignorance or arrogance but a majority of Indians found it hard to forgive him.
The Indian community was shocked and offended when Thakur Ranjit Singh, a person of Indian origin, insensibly and disrespectfully remarked against India, asking Indians to bow their heads on their Independence Day celebrated on August 15 (see related stories in this Section).
A true Indian would understand the value of independence and pay homage to thousands of people who sacrificed their lives for freedom.
Pride, not shame
Independence Day is an occasion when every Indian would hold their head high with pride, and not hide it in shame as Mr Singh has suggested.
While everyone has the right to freedom of speech, they must not provoke divisiveness in the society or disturb the existing harmony.
Mr Singh’s irresponsible comments have surprised and disappointed the community.
It is often said, ‘a little knowledge is a dangerous thing.’
I wonder if he understands the bonding and value of Independence Day for Indians. His remarks were no different to those of a few ill-informed western media interested to show only the poor side of India, because their mind set is still locked to the pre-independence era.
Mr Singh should know that India is today the third largest economy in the world, with a much faster growth rate than most other countries of the world.
With its Gross Domestic Product in excess of US$ 4.515 trillion, India is regarded as ‘The Future.’
Most people understand the efforts made by Indians to reach this stage of modern and proud India.
Mr Singh’s hate comments have also disappointed the Indo-Fiji community, when he said that he was proud to be a Fijian and that he thanks his grandfather ‘for running away from India in 1915 to Fiji.’
I hope someone can apprise him of the history of the Girmit, which witnessed the sufferings and struggles of innocent people shipped as labourers by the colonial government.
I salute those Girmitiyas and their wonderful generations who proudly preserve, treasure and celebrate their cultural heritage and values of being Indians.
People quoting Aamir Khan’s ‘Satyamev Jayate,’ must understand that the actor’s television programme earned accolades for highlighting social issues and for campaigning against those responsible for the social evils.
He never condemned India as a nation or its people.