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India at 71

Teachers were on hunger strike till day before the 71st I'Day across the state

I am 71 years old now since I felt free from being a colony. I have travelled through waves of troubled existence and silent deaths in the last 71 years. Today at the threshold of being free and fair I have many thoughtful reflections. Do I celebrate the freedom of 71 long years or do I believe in the mirage of being free? I am a country with millions to be precise more than a billion odd persons in diverse contexts. My progress lies with the progress of these people and all others around me. My ecological existence is getting very diverse with changing moments in the history, politics and social relationships around my borders. I have survived a million mutinies which are both violent and non-violent for justice, peace, equality and democracy. I have thousands of landlocked, remote and hard to reach places where my existence remains inaccessible in the struggle for survival. My life depends on the people and their decisions which either protects me or creates vulnerabilities for me. I have struggled for the last 71 years during disasters, health epidemics, famines, public outrages, riots, social unrest and numerous events which have shaped me to survive till today. My laws, structures, customs, traditions, social, economic and cultural perspectives have ranged from various approaches and they are plural in nature. 

I have nurtured my talents in multiple fields of excellence and expertise through the hundreds of achievers both within me and those who move out of me. My wrinkles are showing in different cracks which emerged due to age, assumptions and atrocities which I had to bear. I have survived these seven decades in keeping myself safe, sane and silent in moments of deep misery and treachery. I have made friends with many other nations of the world for trade, trust, cultural communes and multilateral issues of welfare, peace and significant progress. Sometimes I offend my neighbours and in most situations I defend myself from my neighbours who seem stranger than my imagination. I thought I was one but I have seen myself delicately stitched and intricately woven into one with many parts within me.

 Sometimes I feel I am better off in some parts and do not feature at all in other parts of my own geography. But then I realise the diversity and differences are also an important feature of my identity. Without such diversity I shall never feature at all in any context. I wish to move towards another freedom where my citizens feel happy, safe and healthy and inspired to do anything they want to do to make me and many more countries like me free. I have a huge treasure of self-confidence, knowledge and social awareness amounting to some of the most sought after talent which will be important for future.

My development lies in regeneration and reaffirmation of my lost ethos and heritages which are slowly getting extinct due to invading forces of artificial intelligence and plastic money. I want to ensure every living being thriving on my surface a lot of space, scope to define them and solace to survive with whatever nature offers me. Nature offers me abundance in every possible way but I begin to lose the abundance in some stroke of luck which is beyond my understanding. I want to ensure a better world for all those who are yet to be born in my land but always fail to do so. My patriots and protectors are bothered about their own livelihoods and prestige more than mine. Hence they tear me up every now and then with their guns, bullets, bombs and chemical pesticides which are harmful for my physical health. 

I have been constantly drained and dredged to let my minerals and treasures get traded at times in unknown markets too. In today’s world I have opened up my spaces to anybody from the world to build, produce and manufacture within my territory for cheaper costs and labour and market those products at heavy prices in other countries. My governments earn revenue through my lands, forests, rivers, underground waters, mountains and air that I breathe in to sustain their families and their authorities. 

Some people do regenerate me through local traditions, festivals, sustainable livelihoods but most of the people degenerate my resources for their own selfish needs. I am fatigued with the burden of my wastes, weeds and wishful desires of my citizens. I need to rest well for some centuries to be able to rejuvenate every bit of natural and artificial parts which define my existence. Hope people living within me understand me and enrich the freedom which I have gained through million mutinies. I need to restore my senses for all life on my territory and also for those around my territory who depends on my existence. This August 15, I hope to ensure some freedom for my own existence beyond the plans, policies and politics which normally destabilise my essence and ethos. 

Samhita Barooah


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Foodie and Travel Writer.

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