by Aastha Katyal
“Who wakes people up at 7 am on a holiday?”
“Flag hoisting at 7! Are they kidding? Ek din toh sone do yaar”
These are some of the various sentiments voiced by hostelites on the morning of 26th January as they wake up to go down for flag hoisting. You get the gist right? So, 26th Jan is just another holiday for people today, especially the youth, the “future” of our nation! The sentiment of patriotism is fast becoming extinct even as people just love cursing India’s bad politicians, corruption and inefficiency in the bureaucratic system, poverty, and other evils.
While I am usually a very patriotic person and feel myself welling with love for my nation every time I hear the national anthem, or the notes of vande mataram ring in my ears, or just a positive thing about the nation, and never miss a chance to tell my friends how I am proud of being an Indian and would never trade with anyone else, this year I am not feeling all that proud. This could be because of the string of scandals that shamed our country internationally last year (CWG, Raida Tapes, 2G scam), the inefficiency in our system screaming out all of a sudden to be noticed by one and all, the new level of lowness our country explored this year in various ways – all this just astonished me!
I was speaking to Binayak Sen’s daughter the other day, trying to get the true picture of what was his role in the entire matter, and she told me about how he was simply fulfilling his duty as a doctor by treating Narayan Sanyal, in keeping with his Hippocrates oath, and was not trying to represent Naxalites or their interests. Arrested on the accusation that he was acting as a courier between Piyush Guha (a businessman linked to Naxalites) and Narayan Sanyal, Dr. Sen was actually conducting treatment sessions with Sanyal, with the jailor’s permission and under his supervision.
She related the tale of how her father was framed by authorities over the “salwa judum” movement which prompted the authorities, encouraged by Multi-National Corporations (who were seeking profits) to clear out tribals from their own land for the MNCs to reap the benefits of that land. It was those tribals interests that Dr. Sen was representing, through his organisation People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL).
It is simply very scary how Corporations are in cahoots with authorities responsible for our welfare, and how they are together exploiting our interests for their profits. An innocent man is behind bars so some big companies and a few politicians can fill their already overflowing coffers with more money.
This fact has prompted me to think how good a republic are we? A republic is a state in which people or a significant portion of them retain supreme control over the government. The word “republic” is derived from the Latin phrase res publica , which can be translated as ‘a public affair’.
But what have we here? We have a bunch of administrators and the ever powerful, profit crazy corporates, busy indulging in personal affairs with a damn-all attitude towards public affairs.
So here’s something for all of us to ponder over as we ‘celebrate’ our 61st republic day. Is India a republic in its true sense? Or are we fast losing the essence of the word and moving towards a scary future for the people of the country?