Yesterday I read this article in the newspaper where men in their late 80s and 90s, who had fought for India’s freedom from British rule in the 1940s, talked about how they felt Democratic India had eventually turned out. It was heart-breaking.
Three years ago, I had met a group of elderly men, who similarly in their youth had been a part of India’s struggle for freedom in various ways. Many had sacrificed college to do so. It was shameful for me as a ‘born free’ Indian to hear their hearts breaking as they talked about the state of India today.
Sometimes when I hear the ‘born free’ generations of Indians talk about India it feels like their measure of how India is doing doesn’t extend beyond themselves. Their attitude seems to be : If I’m OK, India is OK. If I can buy a flashy car, go to fancy malls, then who cares if 40% of Indians go to bed hungry and more than 50% can’t even read and write. We have nuclear power and Bollywood. Hey, we are on our way to Super-powerdom!
I wonder do younger Indians really care to know what the people who fought for India’s freedom really think about the state of the country today. And would it make any difference to our present generations?
Sudhangshu JibonGanguly is 98 years old. It was in his mother’s kitchen, as a 10 year old boy, that he was taught about India’s freedom struggle and their duty to be a part of it.
He says, “We were euphoric when the country became free [in 1947] though we had to concede with the Partition. However, we never thought that corruption, terrorism and petty self interest-based politics would reach such a level. Look at the Congress party. It is today a skeleton of what its founders had envisaged…”