India is my country and all Indians are my brothers and sisters.
I love my country…
Yes, I love this corrupt, dearth-stricken, hungry, ragged, homeless country.
I love the litter, sewage, rowdiness, flippant movie songs, hoodlums and goons, pollution and famines in this country.
Stray dogs on roads, wandering cattle, dirty pigs and flocks of crows… I love them all.
Dry brackish farms, dead rivers, dried lakes, murky coasts and lost forests I love.
Potholes in roads, broken taps and leaky tanks, power cuts and scanty petrol…I love.
Empty schools, crowded multiplexes, dusty libraries and glittering malls…I love.
If not all of this, what else is there to love? I do not afford to buy an iPhone or iPad. But I can afford this country…. Why afford! I got it for free since my birth, didn’t I?! So I love this country.
I know it is not so perfect… so I cannot really love it for its immaculateness. But yeah, I can set it right a bit. How to change it without loving? Even if an animal is to be tamed, needs to be loved… loved unconditionally! And here we are considering a young country that is thousands of years old! It must be loved with its strengths and flaws, wholesomely if it is to progress.
But even this is not the real reason why I love this country. Love just surfeits and overwhelms! Just as a mother loves her child irrespective of its notoriety! We made mistakes, behaved badly; still our parents never gave up on us did they?! They taught us to fix our mistakes. Now that we are all grown up, do we just discard them off?! We don’t! A country is just like a parent… we cannot blame it for its imperfection and move aside. Carl Schurz felt the same when he said, “My country, right or wrong. If right, to be kept right, if wrong, to be set right”
Not that we must overlook the flaws. We see the things gone wrong. It makes us angry. And anger is good…quite necessary. It should bring upon the change. Anger should make us do something creative… something constructive.
Progress in my country cannot be measured on the parameters set by someone else. Development in another country cannot be applied in this country with an easy “copy-paste” command. Progress should take shape in this soil, water, climate, culture and people. A man cannot unlearn his past to create his future. He must learn from the past, use it as a foundation to build his future. And here we are talking about a past of ten thousand years of solid cultural history. We cannot really wipe all that out and create a modern civilization. History imparts a character to the nation…without that, the nation looks like an uncivilized man dressed in an impeccable suit. It is not modernization… it is just a global sham…nothing more.
Yes, there are problem, quite grave too. But how creatively do we address them? If we change our paradigm, we will realize that the solution is secreted in the problem itself. We are habituated into a national melancholy, somehow! If we just break out of that, we can see those solutions smiling serenely at us, inviting us to do something incredible!
For that we will have to work ceaselessly, unashamed. We will have to fight a lot… and find our path against the irresistible trends. If we look upon this as hard work, we might give up even before starting. But there is joy of freedom, insolently proud laughter and incredible satisfaction in this. Those with stubborn daring and endless patience will find that treasure of realizing a utopian dream!