Millennium Post

Here’s to ‘more than half full’ India

It's that time of the year. The time of the year when we are expected to dust our khadi kurta and Nehru cap. The time of the year when newspapers give us tips on painting pretty much everything, including the tips of our fingers, tricolour. The time of the year when radio jockeys make us listen to Jai Ho as we drive to work – just in case we forget, heaven forbid, they even remind us: 'tomorrow is Independence Day, yaar'. The time of the year when our inbox is inundated with emails that try to sell by punning on freedom and independence. The time of the year that means nothing, but we still mark it with fervour.

Never mind, this should be the time of the year when we should actually be cringing, thinking of the 65 years that went by, making no real impact on most people's lives. India may have emerged stronger, may even contend to be the world's third biggest economy, but two-fifths of Indian children still suffer malnutrition, says the Economist, as of March 2012. Oxford researchers estimate that eight states of India are home to more poor people than the 26 poorest countries of Africa.
Between last Independence day and this, we have the Assam violence that uprooted at least 4,00,000 people and sparked the Mumbai violence; massive power cuts that practically brought us to a standstill for two consecutive days; public de-robing of a young girl; and, of course, six Olympic medals. These elicited outrage, shock and jubilee, respectively, among our social-media obsessed middle class, 'trending' them their due 'five minutes of fame'. Countless shares and re-tweets later, we are done with our quota of nationalism for the year, and we leave the rest to the netas to have their five minutes of fame at the Rajya Sabha and the Lok Sabha, in the pretext of arguing our case.
And the feather in our Nehru cap: a president who sweeps all that India faces with a gem of a statement in his D-day speech: 'I am not a pessimist; for me, the glass is always half full, rather than half empty. I would go to the extent of saying that the glass of modern India is more than half full.'
Jai Ho.
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