At the midnight of August 15, 1947, a charismatic leader and visionary Prime Minster Jawaharlal Nehru delivered a powerful address that has gone down in the annals of history as one of the greatest speeches in history. 

70 years later, today, India stands at another crossroads. Under the current government, which was expected to change the order of things after 10 years of the Congress-led coalition, Prime Minster Narendra Modi cuts a sorry figure. 

From pathetic employment numbers to the degradation of India’s cultural and moral fabric, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) regime has been at the helm through some of modern-day India’s most challenging phases.

The situation only furthers the need to relive the words of the country’s maiden PM from the first midnight of independent India. If only they could bode the desired results. 

A moment comes, which comes but rarely in history, when we step out from the old to the new, when an age ends, and when the soul of a nation, long suppressed, finds utterance. It is fitting that at this solemn moment we take the pledge of dedication to the service of India and her people and to the still larger cause of humanity.

Many in the majority thought that 2014 was a moment of change, and the long suppressed voice of the common man will be provided a platform to break the shackles of corruption. But those in charge of lending their services to India and her people have largely served their own interests, forget the cause of humanity and citizens.

The service of India means the service of the millions who suffer. It means the ending of poverty and ignorance and disease and inequality of opportunity. The ambition of the greatest man of our generation has been to wipe every tear from every eye. That may be beyond us, but as long as there are tears and suffering, so long our work will not be over.

It’s a sad reality but worth being restated that the rich have continued to get richer while the misery keeps piling on the unfortunate. Farmer suicides in the country spiked by over 40 per cent between 2014 and 2015, government sources told The Indian Express.

On top of that, according to a Labour Ministry report, only 6.41 lakh new jobs were created in eight major sectors between July 2014 and December 2016, as compared to 12.8 lakh new jobs created in the same sectors between July 2011 and December 2013.

Even basic food items like dal have witnessed meteoric rise in prices as the tears and suffering don’t seem to go away anytime soon.

We have to build the noble mansion of free India where all her children may dwell. The appointed day has come-the day appointed by destiny-and India stands forth again, after long slumber and struggle, awake, vital, free and independent.

The free and independent emerge from an education system that promotes debate and discussion. But the attack on many differing institutions like JNU, Hyderabad University and the ‘change’ in history even at the school-level, does not bode well for a democracy.

The freedom of press has continuously come under attack of late with various media houses taking pro-right wing stances on all major issues. Even the CBFC has become drastically regressive with granting certificates to films that are supposed to be a mirror to the society.

All of us, to whatever religion we may belong, are equally the children of India with equal rights, privileges and obligations. We cannot encourage communalism or narrow-mindedness, for no nation can be great whose people are narrow in thought or in action.

Talking of narrow-mindedness, what can be worse than killing people for their food choices. The past few months have only witnessed the rise of self-appointed gau rakshaks who are literally hunting down minorities across the country.

Equal rights have also eluded women of late. The fact that BJP leader Babul Supriyo shames victims by defending molesters speaks volumes about the state of things. And then there are vocations like the anti-Romeo squads to further gun down the freedom of choice and principles of liberty.

To the nations and peoples of the world send greetings and pledge ourselves to cooperate with them in furthering peace, freedom and democracy. And to India, our much-loved motherland, the ancient, the eternal and the ever-new, we pay our reverent homage and we bind ourselves afresh to her service. Jai Hind.

The absence of liberal worldviews has even become the new definition of patriotism. A country that was expected to remain ‘ever-new,’ that has historically welcomed new cultures and ideas with open arms, is being currently ruled by internet trolls. A mob that pounces on you everytime you speak up against something wrong. 

When our country’s apex leader breaks the protocol to support the violent ideals of a country like Israel and chooses to completely ignore the plight of the Palestinians, it doesn’t really send out the message of furthering peace globally either. 

As a free-thinker who doesn’t let all this bog your spirits down, you are most certainly forced to ask — where is the peace? Where is the freedom? And sadly, where is the democracy?

Happy Independence Day!