Friday, 26 January 2018

69th Republic Day: Wishlist for the Nation

26th January 2018. 

It is that day of the year when we gather to witness the Nation's military and cultural razzmatazz.  The only time of the year when we get to see some discipline on display!

When I am asked what I would be doing on the 26th, I nonchalantly say 'watch the parade.'  Others generally laugh at the answer, as though I am being facetious. 

They probably expect me to say that I would be doing something worthier instead, like visiting overcrowded malls.  No people, I mean it.  I do watch the parade.  If that's odd, so be it. 

This year's observations:

1. Touching moment when the President shed tears after presenting the Ashoka Chakra posthumously to the deceased soldier's wife and mother.  Never seen this happen before.

2. The same President in high spirits; laughing and cheering towards the end of the parade when the BSF women's contingent did the acrobatics on motorbikes.  Extremes of emotions!

3. The best tableaux (IMHO): Maharashtra with Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, followed by Assam with its depiction of masks - Ravana and other characters of Ramayana. 

4. Unique tableau by Karnataka: only animated animal models; no people on it (P.S.: the baboons rocked!).

5. Not one, not two, but TEN chief guests!  The Singapore PM was right next to PM Modi, and was probably taken aback by the discipline on display!  

6. Mesmerizing effect when the overhead camera showed the cadets marching away with robotic precision.

7. But the highlight this year had to be the BSF women's daredevilry on motorbikes; another first this year!

All these are fine.  But I do not want the discipline, decorum and bonhomie to be confined to the annual jamboree.  I want good things to happen in our Nation 365 days of the year. 

So here's a wishlist of things that I would like to see happen for the collective good of the country and humanity in general:

1. Population level to come down.  There are one too many of us!  This, IMHO is the most urgent need of the country, because every other civic problem, arguably, is related to this one factor.

2. Poverty eradicated!  Poverty, quite simply, is unacceptable.  Economic prosperity to reach all individuals, even the poorest of the poor; no more rich/poor divide.  There should not be a single homeless person on the streets, or for that matter, any stray animal on the roads.  And I don't just mean cows; all animals to have shelters in all towns and cities of India.

3. Everybody obeys traffic rules.  No wheelies, no jumping red signals, no driving on the wrong side of the road, no jaywalking!  Discipline on the roads, people!

4. No reservations!  Only merit based admission or employment; not based on caste/religion.

5. No dynastic politics or nepotism of any kind.  No place for such phenomena in any public service institutions of a democracy.

6. Terrorism rooted out!  No safe havens; no closing the door after the horse has bolted.  Constant vigilance and prevention of attacks rather than chasing terrorists after the attacks.

7. Speedier justice for all - because justice delayed is justice denied.  No influence by the rich and famous; more errant politicians/celebrities brought to justice.   

8. Common education curriculum for the whole country across all levels: primary & secondary schools; and professional colleges, including engineering and medicine.  No divisions such as state, ICSE, CBSE, etc.  Career guidance counselling and aptitude test for all students before they embark on professional courses.  Dharma/ethics/culture to be the basis for formative education; not blind western fact based bookish education.  And yes, no capitation fees!  Parents not to be reduced to beggars to admit their children to schools.  RTE to be fully implemented.  Government schools upgraded to match city schools.

9. Health for all.  And health coverage and/or insurance for all.  Custodians of healthcare delivery to have better life.

10. More care, concern and efforts to upkeep all natural habitats and national monuments; such as our rivers, pilgrimage centres, historic buildings, architecture, arts & crafts, scriptures, forests, flora & fauna, tribes, and indigenous cultures.

11. No conversions!  No place for bigoted, narrow-minded interpretations of religious scriptures that lead to enticement/coercion to lead the gullible away from their culture/heritage/faith.  Likewise foreign residents/illegal immigrants overstaying their welcome and/or creating law & order problems to be deported back to their countries.

12. India, primarily, is a spiritual place.  Sanatana Dharma to show the way for spiritual oneness; full realization of the potential that is inherent in sanatanic statements such as: vasudhaiva kutumbakam; ekam sat vipra bahu vadanti, and sarve janaha sukhinobhavantu.  Divisionists and secessionists to be rooted out!

Wishful thinking, do I hear you say?  Maybe. 

I am well aware that these are complex, complicated and multifarious issues subject to the vagaries of multiple variables. 

But wishing, thinking and doing are the only things that are under my willful control.  And the wise say that there is a lot of power in thoughts and words.  So I will wish away!  

The above list is by no means complete, but I feel these are the most pressing needs of the Nation if it has to progress and really achieve its immense potential.  

Here's hoping that the governments and we the people work towards realising this potential.

Kale varshatu parjanyaha
Pruthavi sashya shalinim
Deshoyam kshobha rahitam
Sajjana santu nirbhayaha!

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