It is 15th August today, India’s Independence Day. This is the day to celebrate freedom. The freedom won by very many great souls who fought with every possible means from Parliament Bomb to Khadi and from Making Salt to Indian National Army, to make it sure that when someone like me was born, he would breath in free air. Sitting in my chair, I am pondering over the 60 years of free India as well as my own self, trying to find my role in this country.

Every time laying idle on my bed, driving on city roads, commuting in a local bus/train, walking in a public park and enjoying freedom in all those activities, I used to ask myself what I had done for my country. “What was my contribution?” But never ever there was an answer. Nobody asked me this question ever before but suddenly my conscious sprang up questions. “At my work place, I have to justify my presence every day to get paid, but why I am not answerable to my country. My job pays me money, but motherland has given me life and means to live it. Then why this apathy towards my own country?” These were some questions to which I could not find answer.

Every year celebrating Independence Day, congratulating each other through SMSes, being at home for whole day enjoying monsoon rains, I had that guilt in some corner of my heart asking me “What have you done for your Motherland? Do you really deserve this freedom?”

I tried to pacify myself whenever my conscious cursed me of being a non-performer for my country while I was “exceeding expectations” in my organization’s appraisal cycle. I tried to tell myself that it was not my fault that there were so many things pending in India for past 60 years, but I couldn’t convince. I also told myself that the India I saw was what India was destined to be and I couldn’t do much in changing the destiny of a billion people but I failed yet again. I tried hard to convey that “Bharat vs. India” was nothing but merely a fuss created by Media. I admit that I failed in that effort also. My conscious crushed all my false beliefs and explanations that I gave to shrug-off my responsibilities towards my motherland.

Then I gave up. I admitted to myself that yes I was wrong. I was wrong in every aspect. But what could I do, was my question to my conscious. “It is the failure of top leadership which is letting India down and not a person as small as me”, I argued to myself. So, I should not be blamed for anything. But am I Small? When I argue with my boss for my ever unsatisfactory appraisal, I portray a picture of myself which is just better than Einstein. Then why suddenly, I become a small guy when it comes to fulfill the responsibilities for my country.

None will find a hypocrite as big as I am. I want a smooth road to drive my expensive car but don’t want to keep it clean and in good shape. I boast of my freedom to use (many times burn too) public property but I run from pillar to post to avoid taxes which actually build taxes. I have given so many lectures to my friends and siblings saying how the system does not work properly, without thinking how the system shall work properly and what do we need to do to ensure the functioning. I cry for poor living below poverty line under inhuman conditions but I have an underpaid maid at my place doing daily chores. I go out and give lectures against Child labour at various informal sessions but the gentleman who comes to wash my car is less than 12 years old.

We all know that Freedom comes with a lot of comforts. I am free to do anything in India and I am proud of being free citizen of such a great county. But freedom also brings some responsibilities. Why was I running away from them? I have no answer. May be I was too immature to realize my responsibilities at that time. But better late than never.

Today, my heart beats for my country. And I will not let it go down now. If we have bad political leaders who have let us down, we have great icons like NRN, APJ Abdul Kalam, AHP and Sachin Tendulkar who have honestly done wonders for our country. We can follow their examples and excel in our life while we stay within the limits of ethics, values and true spirit. If I can adopt the Spirit of Wipro, I can create, adopt and help others adopt, Spirit of India. If I can be a true Indian, I would be contributing to my country in a big way because as per my definition of an Indian, he/she will be successful in not only achieving his/her professional and personal goals but also contribute in healthy growth of his/her countrymen. The quest is on to encourage everyone around me to shun every other identity and become a True Indian. I need not worry about the bottlenecks in the system because no blockage is big enough to discourage me on my path to pay back to my country. If I can gather some True Indians along with me, we can flood open any bottleneck. I am not afraid of being isolated in my run upto realizing my dream of being a true Indian because Shaheed Bhagat Singh never was afraid of anything like this.
We have precedence when the adversities have been faced bravely by the warriors and they have won laurels for doing that. Manmohan Singh might not have thought he was writing history while he humbly read out his strategies 16 years ago. None had expected that nerves of Indira Gandhi were made of steel, strong enough to lead a nation to defeat enemies while fighting so many adversaries. None expects me to be able to do anything. They never will. It’s me who has to do my country proud of its citizens and I will start by myself. I will become a True Indian.

Listening attentively to the National Anthem being played on a TV channel, I can’t resist my hand going on to Salute the Indian Tricolour and say proudly, Jai Hind!