India just turned 73. Many generations of Indians have now enjoyed a hard fought independence that saw us struggle through poverty, war, malnutrition, corruption and much more. Independence Day as an occasion is regarded as a celebration of us getting back the reins of our country from the British occupiers. I think for us as countrymen, it’s time to redefine the whole meaning we attach to this momentous occasion. True that it needs to stand for the freedom we obtained from the British, but going forward I think it needs to be a calendar day for looking back at what we have achieved as a country. It also needs to be a day to look at what we intend to achieve in the future for our fellow countrymen.

For the last seven decades, we have been talking about how to move away from our status of an undeveloped country to a developed, global superpower. We have made great strides in this direction by getting hundreds of millions of people out of poverty. With one of the largest middle class populations in the world, India aspires to be a USD 5 Trillion economy in the next 5 years. In recent times the union government has also introduced many innovative ideas and schemes like Swachh Bharat Mission, RERA, GST and more to achieve this ambitious goal. But this is just the macro picture. On the grassroots level there is much that needs to be done to confidently call ourselves a developed country. To change the big picture, we need to start improving the smaller pixels that make up the picture.

Imagine an Independence Day celebration, where along with celebrating the independence we enjoy, we also take a pledge to work towards ridding this country of centuries old scourges like corruption, illiteracy, caste barriers, religious intolerance, hoarding of wealth, tribal poverty, gender inequality, etc. As individuals, organisations (private & public), NGOs etc. let’s see every Independence Day as an occasion to review a report card about how many individuals we have freed from the shackles of the various social and economic vices I mentioned earlier.

Again, imagine Independence Day celebrations in your workplace or school or housing society where every participant is required to show a report card of how he/she/they worked in the interest of the nation. I am sure that if we started celebrating Independence Day in this manner, we could very well be a developed economy before India turns 100. As a fellow Indian, I urge you to think more about what you are contributing to our country and the people in it. Have you joined any NGO or charity? Do you do philanthropy in your personal capacity? How many people have you helped financially or otherwise in the past year? Once you note down the answers for these, I think you will get a clearer picture of how you can make a real difference as a proud Indian.

In fact, this should be a goal that we can personally set for ourselves. As one, we can work towards helping our country become a developed nation in the next 27 years or less. Prepare a set of goals that you would want to achieve before the next Independence Day. Share your goals with your family, friends, co-workers etc. and see how they can help you achieve them. Let’s try and leave a legacy that the coming generations will remember us for.

Image by Shouvik Raychowdhury from Pixabay