Friday, August 14, 2009

Young at 62

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Long years ago we made a tryst with destiny, and now the time comes when we will redeem our pledge, not wholly or in full measure, but very substantially. At the stroke of the midnight hour, when the world sleeps, India will awake to life and freedom. A moment comes, which comes but rarely in history, when we step out from the old to the new, when an age ends and when the soul of a nation, long suppressed, finds utterance ... We end today a period of ill fortune, and India discovers herself again."

- Jawaharlal Nehru’s message to the world, on the dawn of India's freedom; midnight, Aug 14, 1947

Tomorrow we will be celebrating the 63rd anniversary of our Independence. The Independence Day of any country is a moment of pride and glory. At this juncture, I think of the problems, we as a country face; how do we move from here.

Education is the biggest challenge that we face. More than 25% of our people are illiterate, which means there is almost no hope of their leveraging the opportunities around. Education empowers people and brings fundamental change to the way they look at their lives. Ensuring access to quality education for all, in particular for the poor and rural population, is central to the economic and social development of India. We need to invest much more and have an intensive and proper supervision of primary and high school education. The Right to education bill, passed recently, is a step towards the right direction. But here again we need to remember that many such great policies have hardly achieved anything substantial in the past and died within government files. The allocated budget ends up in the pockets of we know who. We need to totally overhaul our basic education system at primary and high school levels.

To be world class, we have to improve infrastructure. Transportation needs not only to be fast but affordable and reliable at the same time. We as a country are already spending a lot of money on education, infrastructure, etc. So it’s really a question of effectiveness. Hindrance to it is poor governance. What is most disturbing is the growing divisions in society along caste, communal and regional lines; and above the all, financial lines.

All these facts paint a poor image but don't stop me from being optimistic about our future. India has undergone a big transformation; from a British Colony at the beginning of the 20th century to a world power at the end of it. Experts no longer discuss the future of India, but say that the future is India. We have to define a strong vision ahead, if we want to accomplish what we dream.

On Independence Day, here I wish our dreams of a new tomorrow come true for us… NOW AND ALWAYS!

Happy Independence Day to all.

- Swapnil Saurav