Saturday, August 15, 2009

Freedom!!

Happy Independence Day to Ya All Ladies and Gentlemen.

Hope each of us did think about our forefathers who struggled for independence, sang a couple of patriotic songs, watched some patriotic stuff on TVs which compete for TRPs, attended flag hoisting ceremony and ate sweets!!!

I was going to my office the day before yesterday. At a traffic signal, a shabbily dressed, hairs ruffled, cute kid aged about 4 came to me. She was carrying a board with the about 20 tricolor brooches pinned to them and a bundle of plastic tricolor flags; coaxing me to buy. She was so young that she was not even able to talk properly. She told the flag just cost 3 Rs in her innocent baby talk. I started a conversation with her. I tried Hindi and then Kannada.

"Don't you go to school?"

"Yes, I do"

"Are you not going to school today?"

"Its a holiday" (It was Thursday and there were no school holidays. I doubt if she ever saw a school)

I searched for some coins in my bag and gave her 4 Rs and bought a flag. She didn't seem to know math good enough to know she has to return me a rupee. The auto rickshaw driver asked her how much was it? Was it not Rs 2? She told it was 3 Rs. He asked for the change. I said it was OK and let her have it. And asked her -

"Do you know what this flag is?"

She was clueless and kept looking at me. The signal was about to clear and I told her to go. The flag is adorning my cubicle at office.

The parents of that girl have sent her to sell the goodies on the heavily crowded road knowing the psychology of people well. They would of course buy from that cute little girl. The girl was tender, her speech not developed well enough for her to sell things!!

We have attained independence. But have we really?

19 comments:

  1. Why you sit by the road for a while and see the stuff that goes around you it is sometimes so distressing, disheartening and sometimes shocking. Yes it has been 62 years, and yet I am very disappointed with the current scenario and most importantly the plight of our country. But I also think to myself, why I am so lazy and apathetic towards this whole thing. I know not. Yes, I am one of those people who cribs about these problems, but does not have the guts to do anything. Which is why I always make a conscious effort not to crib about something when it affects me as I am incapable of doing anything about it. With this issue in my mind, one thing that I keep telling myself, mostly to convince me, is the development of countries like the USA. They were mere savages, killing, looting people at their will after 50-100 years of their independence. So I keep consoling myself telling there is long way to go for us. We have done relatively good and I know we will continue to do the same. Yes, we are going eight steps backwards for every 10 steps of progress that we make, but I have the confidence that it will soon change. But alas, I am one of those fit for nothings who has more questions than answers in life and one who does not do anything to change the plight of our country, but am taking the liberty to express my convoluted feeling as this is my dear friend’s blog.  To make things worse, I am paying so much money to the US government for doing one sick degree called the Masters in Electrical Engineering. Man I am such a useless fellow.

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  2. http://picasaweb.google.com/ecegautam/NorthIndiaTrip2009Part5#5368802726123120626

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  3. Gautam,

    I agree with you. We crib...and crib...and silently witness what we could do about it.

    When I see street children like these - I have asked them if they want to go to school and have told them I'll help them join school. They just run away. Not becuase they dont want to go to school, because their parents choose their destiny. The same with this girl, she has been pushed into doing something which she is not even aware of.

    But I am hopeful things will change. It should change and it will.

    The least we can do is be good citizens of our country, and do something for the country which has given so much to us.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts and the picture. It speaks a thousand word. Conveys what I wanted to tell.

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  4. Excellent post. Happy Independence Day to you.

    This post sounds like a continuation of your previous post (Random Ramblings). In that, you wrote: stand at the traffic signal and literally harass commuters.

    If someone refuse to buy the flag, many people would accuse him/her as unpatriotic.

    Reminds me of what a famous Hollywood movie director said about the movie, Gandhi. He said: If I say that is not a good movie worth the Oscars, people think I disrespect Gandhi himself. All I said was that movie is not a good movie.

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  5. Hi SG,

    Thanks for your comments. Yeah, co-incidentally this post seems like a continuation of my previous post. I was just thinking about it that of late my posts have all become serious in content.

    Yes, that also would be a case when people would be termed unpatriotic if they didn't buy the flag. But I was more disturbed about the fact that this small child was selling it amidst heavy traffic. Parents were so careless to let her go.

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  6. This kind incident can be seen at each and every traffic signal in India. It's a shame that we still see these scenes even after so many years.

    But, its high time. If we cannot do anything. Yeah. I haven't done anything yet for my country and I am 24 now so I have no right to crib about this place. Only when I will do something, I will criticize my country!

    Jai Hind!

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  7. Hi Abhi,

    Thank you for your thoughtful comments. We have no right to blame the country for whatsoever reason. Our motherland has done so much for us.

    I am blaming the ignorant parents of this child. They might be her parents, but they have no right to deny her her childhood, her rights. When things like this no more happen, I could say yeah freedom!!!...for those children, for the poor....

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  8. myy gawd !

    its too touching..it hurts to see such hapless kids esp when govt is soo very corrupt...it makes their state more deplorable :(

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  9. Thanks for your comments AS. Dont know whom to blame, the government? the kid's parents?

    Its apt to blame her parents, what would the government do. The parents ought to know that kids are kids.

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  10. It really is tragic that a child as young as 3 or 4 is made to beg/sell/work at the traffic signals, and say stuff like "khana khayega" when what really happens is that they go and deposit all the money to the parents. No clue what happens to the money after that. I've offered to buy food to these children when they claim they're hungry but they refuse. Proves a point.
    But it's difficult to bring about a change when the people themselves are not ready to change. No use cribbing, it gets me nowhere, but doing something towards it makes a little difference. Two of us friends have actually sent two kids to a charity school and trust me, it's the best thing in the world.
    62 years into Independence, progress is slow, yet people seem to be waking up to things.
    Do check out my take on this too:

    http://sublimecreativity.blogspot.com/2009/08/independence-what-art-thou.html

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  11. We are far from achieving what freedom actually means. I wrote on certain issues in my post recently and was quite amazed to read some comments.
    Makes me sad for my countrymen.

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  12. Hi Shaunak,

    Thanks for your comments. I second your thoughts. No use cribbing when people don't want to change.

    Will surely drop by your blog. Keep coming! :-)

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  13. Hi Aparna,

    As long as people are happy, they don't see drudgery, kids get their right to life, education, its really not freedom.

    How many folks struggle to lead a decent life with basic necessities? Pray for our country when every other should look up to us.

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  14. Exactly how i feel! wow!
    And to think that we've really had 62 years of independance, when we haven't had anything.
    To top it all, you and i, and someone else will write about these things bothering us, but in the end, we live our lives!
    You may like reading this-http://insipid-kish.blogspot.com/2009_08_01_archive.html

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  15. Hi Kish,

    Thanks for dropping by.

    True on your words when you say you and i write about it and then we live our way. Things have improved a lot, but few things remain that has to be rooted out. Hope it does happen soon

    I will surely drop by your blog space. Keep visiting !!

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  16. I'd have to disagree with Abhinav.
    Freedom fighters fought for this country, they fought for the land that is so resourceful.
    Our parents pay taxes for what? The government should utilize these resources for the betterment.
    The only good thing that happened since independance was the Railways:P. But what good is that really in Bihar and the north eastern regions. One may argue that it's difficult to breach barriers, pay off farmers for land etc etc. But is that even an excuse.
    We have every right to blame to Govt.Even the private sector is doeing so.

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  17. Errrrrr...:-S
    Did Abhinav talk about government?

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  18. It was really bad and sad Ketan

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I'd love to know what you thought :-) Please shoot!