Republic Day Musings

This morning when I woke up and switched on the television to catch the Republic Day parade live, I was filled with a feeling of soaring pride that I have come to associate with Republic Day celebrations. That feeling however was short-lived.It was quickly dampened by the barrage of cynical and even melodramatic posts on social media. It seemed as if the celebration of nationhood that Republic Day stands for had turned into a platform for publicity of everything that ails our country. Yes our problems are huge but so are our accomplishments.
It made me wonder if this seething discontentment and pessimism is a national phenomenon or something that afflicts our middle-class. Our middle class is the most vocal critic of our democracy. It is also probably the least participative in democracy. It also is symptomatic of all the afflictions that ail our country be it corruption or crime. The anger almost seems hypocritical considering we are the ones who are corrupt and breed corruption.
We expect world class facilities but would never shy away from any opportunity to deface them. The people who want to protest at Rajpath because it belongs to the people and not the politicians are the same people who drop peanut shells in a train coach. Aren’t the trains, parks, walls and roads we deface and damage public property too. The media which is another middle class vehicle was quick to announce that the tragic Delhi Gang Rape had shocked the conscience of a nation. The incident took barbarism to another level and the perpetrators have no right to be alive. However, was all the activism that followed the incident caused by the middle class being jolted out of their comfort zone? There was a realization that this could happen to one of us. The middle class doesn’t have a conscience or sensibilities. We just have a comfort zone. How are we different from the corrupt and useless who govern us?
The middle class in my opinion is the part of our society that fails India. While we were baying for the blood of the policemen who were guilty of dereliction of duty in the tragic rape case, was anyone interested in those who had been martyred in the line of duty? Do any of us know and recognize the Ashok Chakra awardees for this year ? How many of us know what an Ashok Chakra is? Isn’t it incumbent upon us to make heroes out of those who set an example for the rest of the nation in execution of their duties? Why is it that the beheading of our soldiers did not spark mass protests across the country? Why were there no candle light vigils, no facebook activism? Was it because those who died weren’t a part of us, because it can’t happen to us? The villages of the fallen were mourning but were we morning with them? Rapes continue to be a daily occurrence in the hinterland, but that doesn’t outrage us. We are cocooned in our comfort zones.
We associate lethargy and inefficiency with the ‘system’ but are we any better? I regularly interview software developers as part of my day to day work. Many of them are referrals and expect special treatment. Some even go to the extent of writing their referee’s name on the resume so that it doesn’t escape the eye of the interviewer. Do we do a truly excellent job at work? As somebody who works for one of the so called sunrise sectors of our economy, I can attest to the fact that most of the code we write is so substandard that it wouldn’t even pass a peer code review in a truly world class setup. But the same inefficient people expect world class efficiency from the system. It is sickeningly hypocritical.
The real hope and core of our nationhood lie in places where people are still simple and not corrupted by materialistic glitz. It’s places where being a soldier still brings honour to the family and kids still join and attend NCC camps. Kids in the hinterland still have soaring ambitions when a jet flies above them. It’s the little boy in Arunachal Pradesh who wants to be a soldier or the little girl in Almora who wants to be a Kalpana Chawla that are our greatest hope for the future. It’s because they are hopeful. It’s because the tricolour still instills a sense of pride in them. It’s because they want to march on Republic Day and salute the national flag when many others just want a holiday to crib. It’s because they are proud, hardworking and hopeful Indians or maybe it’s just because they aren’t still part of the rut that the urban Indian middle class is.
Happy Republic Day to all proud and hopeful Indians! To the rest – Get Well Soon Mamu :).

6 comments to Republic Day Musings

  • Of AAP and Hum!  says:

    […] about the same time in 2013, there was an air of despondence about how our politicians are ruining our country and Kejriwal and ilk were being projected as the […]

  • Divya  says:

    People need to shed their cocoons and stand strongly against on-going evils in the society. Middle class forms the most powerful chunk of Indian democracy. Need of the hour is to mobilize latent energy and walk towards designing a brighter India.

  • RS  says:

    brilliant post Abhigya. stay hopeful.

    • Abhigya  says:

      Thanks Ravi.

  • Adil Zaid  says:

    what you have said is absolutely true. protests in delhi were majorly because the people were concerned about their own safety. victims of crimes will continue to suffer without anyone to hear their cries.
    but i disagree that media is a middle class vehicle. no, this is absolutely untrue.

    • Abhigya  says:

      The reason I said that the media is a middle class vehicle is that the media tends to cater to what are perceived as middle class sensibilities. That's why our media is as fickle as our middle class. Middle class focus ensures high TRPs and ad revenues.

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