Six decades ago, an age old idea of an independent unified India reached reality. The old power structures of empire, kingdoms, and fiefdoms were shed. Few countries have had such a pantheon of varied and enlightened founders as India did on it's independence.
Indian civilization has always been about the human mind and in the age where mind meets technology, the nation has found its calling for the future. In the second largest human nation in the world, there's a new self confidence among the people and pride in their own abilities. Hope is easier to find, and a realisation is spreading of the possibilites.
The rest of the world is in various states of curiousity and discomfort with the rise. The press of the developed nations keeps pointing to the long tail of economically lagging population and cites a percieved economic gap (it's more of a continuous distribution than a gap). They try to badger the achievers into guilt for not taking care of everyone. Socialist preachings from the supporters of capitalism.
Remarkable transitions in the last one and a half decade has and will continue to create turmoil. Change is never easy, but its inevitable. The world's largest democracy has plenty of space for representation and amalgamation. Every faith is represented here, as is every political ideology. Yet they are all unified in searching for a better and balanced future.
Following are some memorable quotes and speech excerpts:
... I am proud to belong to a religion which has taught the world both tolerance and universal acceptance. We believe not only in universal toleration but we accept all religions as true. I am proud to belong to a nation which has sheltered the persecuted and the refugees of all religions and all nations of the earth. I am proud to tell you that we have gathered in our bosom the purest remnant of the Israelites who came to Southern India and took refuge with us in very year in which their holy temple was shattered to pieces by Roman tyranny. I am proud to belong to the religion which has sheltered and is still fostering the remnant of the grand Zoroastrian nation. ...
- Swami Vivekananda, leading spiritual and Vedanta philosopher, addressing the 1893 World Parliament of Religions
I don’t know which is the greater task: to decentralise a top-heavy civilization or to prevent an ancient civilization from becoming centralised and top-heavy. In both cases the core of the problem is to discover what constitutes a good civilization, then proclaim it to the people and help them to erect it.
- Mahatma Gandhi, founding father of India
India is industrially more developed than many less fortunate countries and is reckoned as the seventh or eighth among the world's industrial nations. But this arithmetical distinction cannot conceal the poverty of the great majority of our people. To remove this poverty by greater production, more equitable distribution, better education and better health, is the paramount need and the most pressing task before us and we are determined to accomplish this task. We realize that self-help is the first condition of success for a nation, no less than for an individual. We are conscious that ours must be the primary effort and we shall seek succour from none to escape from any part of our own responsibility. But though our economic potential is great, its conversion into finished wealth will need much mechanical and technological aid. We shall, therefore, gladly welcome such aid and co-operation on terms that are of mutual benefit. We believe that this may well help in the solution of the larger problems that confront the world. But we do not seek any material advantage in exchange for any part of our hard-won freedom.
- Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, India's first Prime Minister, in a Speech to the US Congress, 1949
... The building of a free, democratic India has been one of the greatest adventures of humankind this past century. In these sixty years we have done much and we have achieved much.
[...] Today, when we look back and look around I believe we can say with some sense of satisfaction that India is on the move. There is a new dynamism in our people. A new sense of confidence in their capabilities. A new sense of hope in their collective future. They recognize we have a long road ahead in our tryst with destiny; and more to be done to redeem our pledge in full measure.
However, the people of India also know that they can do it. This new sense of confidence, this new outburst of energy of our people, has to be harnessed and channelised in the right direction for India to regain its due place in the comity of modern Nations.
- Dr. Manmohan Singh, current Prime Minister, speech
on the occasion of 60th anniversary of India’s IndependenceRelated article