Wednesday, August 15, 2007

India's 60th B'day 07-0815

The 60th Birthday of India

Mirza A. Beg

Written, Wednesday, August 15, 2007

The American Muslim, Monday, August 15, 2007

Cross-Cultural Understanding, Friday, 17, 2007

The Tuscaloosa News, Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Indo-Canada Outlook, September 2007, Vol. 2, Number 2

The 60th Independence Day of India is a happy occasion for not only India, but those who value democracy. Birth anniversary of a nation is important. The concept of Nation and Country often cohabitate and become one, but it requires effort. Country is a geographical expression of the boundaries within which people decide to sublimate their future as one. They do not give up their individuality, but aspire to contribute their gifts for the benefit of all. It is not an allegiance to the majority, who are some times wrong, but an allegiance to the constitution that embodies and gives substance to the idea of the nation.

There have been times that this concept has been severely tested, and the nation came up askance. The anniversary was still important but leaden with sadness. Riots and sectarian conflicts, often ignited by the political parties for electoral gains, even pogroms against weaker sections by the fascistic parties in power were not punished. The essence of a nation is how it treats its entire population, particularly the weaker sections.

The heart of the nation is the Judiciary; the guardian of the justice system, justice for all, irrespective of power in money or numbers. The executive often takes short cuts for maintenance of power and tends to harm the idea of the nation and does end up harming the nation when the judiciary fails.

India at 60 has matured. The higher judiciary has always asserted itself; the political system is trying harder to be a government and guardians of the rights of all the citizens. Lower rungs of judiciary have a long way to go. A limited economic pie pits interests of some against the others and a system burdened with caste considerations tends to fray.

Though the visionary first Prime minister of India, Nehru is not appreciated as much for his vision these days, it was he with his colleagues who laid the foundation of infrastructure of industry and great educational institutions. It took time for it to mature and yield results. Thanks to that vision, India has arrived. With a booming expanding economy better educated people are finding more and better jobs. The distribution of educational opportunities is stilted and needs to be better spread. Efforts are under way, as the government as well as the deprived communities have realized the benefits of education.

Even in the dark days, India has consistently nurtured its great conscience keepers who do not fall prey to crass nationalism but beckon their fellow citizens to the pristine idea that gave birth to the nation. The nation is listening and growing and moving towards a better tomorrow for all. So it is a happy birthday indeed. In accordance with the sentiments of Nehru, it is indeed a tryst with destiny, and we have not yet given our full measure, though Indians have some times deviated and succumbed to the baser forces, with the present government, we are back on the right course again.

Mirza A. Beg can be contacted at or

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