Sometimes I wonder it’s the same country which once Mahatma Gandhi dreamt of. Our country, India known for its biggest democratic system and versatile population still begs for answers, answers to questions we fear to ask. I just open my eyes and see a beautifully decorated concep
t of democracy everywhere, but when it comes to actual democracy, the nation fails miserably. I a
m not talking here about the big statistical figures and data which compare our country to other nations and finally prove that we are doing fine. When I see around, I don’t see “fine”. I see failure of the system as a whole.
One of the eminent books written by Mahatma Gandhi is “Hind Swaraj” published in 1909. In the book he mentioned reasons and solutions for the Indian misery. As he quotes “…It is Swaraj when we learn to rule ourselves. It is, therefore, in the palm of our hands. Do not consider this Swaraj to be like a dream. There is no idea of sitting still. The Swaraj that I wish to picture is such that, after we have once realized it, we shall endeavor to the end of our life time to persuade other to do likewise. But such Swaraj has to be experienced, for each one for himself. One Drowning man will never save another. Slaves ourselves, it would be mere pretension to think of freeing others…..”
In this book, Gandhi Ji mentioned many problems at that time i.e. 1909, when our country was being ruled by Englishmen. The problems were related to Education, Railways, Advocates and advocacy, health system and doctors etc. The fact which I came through was painfully shocking after seeing that the basic problems before the freedom and now are not different. The change is just, the people who were ruling us. Before 1947, we were ruled by British and now the place has been taken by some of our own. At the time of British rule, rich were getting good education, healthcare, security and the poor were deprived of the same. Indian rich class was as comfortable then as now. The poor were dying of hunger, no healthcare and poverty and the scenario is no different now. We don’t need to compare ourselves to countries like Somalia, to boast that we are doing well; we just can compare the metropolitan cities, which are few in number to the vast majority of rural India, to know the discrepancies in terms of economy, healthcare etc. Obviously, things have changed, but have they changed to an extent of utmost satisfaction?
As Mahatma Gandhi said “…One Drowning man will never save another. Slaves ourselves, it would be mere pretension to think of freeing others…..” The point to contemplate is what nature of slavery is being discussed here? Is it the literal “master and slave” slavery or the slavery of opinions? If it’s the literal slavery then why our situation hasn’t changed since the freedom of our country? The current shape of the nation clearly describes about the form of slavery we all live in. ”The slavery we don’t know about. The slavery which has crept into our lives and our hearts and we dread questioning it coz we fear the consequences. The slavery which not only impedes us to act on which is right and wrong, but also stop us to even mention it from our tongues. It’s time we ask ourselves questions, the answers to which the nation demand. The answers to which we know but pretend as we don’t. It’s time to do the right thing…..