The constitution of India was adopted by the Indian Constituent Assembly on 26 November 1949, and it came into effect on 26 January 1950 and India became the Republic of India. And today, on 26 January 1950, we celebrate India’s 69th Republic Day.
Today morning while I was watching the Republic Day parade held at Rajpath a question struck me. The armed forces were displaying their battle-ready weapons, different states were showcasing their cultures, schoolkids were dancing on folk songs, and not to forget the 21-gun salute as a military honour. All this was going on. But in midst of all this, I was there perplexed by my own question- ‘Are we really proud to be Indian?’ was my question.
I’m not talking of the army personnel or some other person who actually works for the nation, here, I’m talking about a common man, someone like you and me (I’m expecting that the Prime Minister is not reading this). Are we really proud?
If yes, then it’s really good. But if no, then why?
I feel that it’s always the question of ‘Why’ that makes us think the most.
So I did some brainstorming and found a few reasons as to why a lot of us do not take pride in saying ‘I am Indian.’ Some reasons are decided not by us but by other people and there are some which are reliant our personal beliefs. But believe me, all of these can change.
A major part of the problem is credited to how we are taught, both in schools and in our homes. Let us take the school or the formal education part first. So what actually is happening is that our schools don’t teach us something called the Indian-ness. We are actually being taught about the western world and what the western world teaches. So we are basically inculcating the western values in our children. We are no longer Indians.
I feel India was the country that taught the world how to teach and it doesn’t really require any other way of teaching. Nalanda University is still the first known university in the world. We should certainly stay in touch with the outer world but still retain the valuable soul that we have.
And since children are taught of the western world and its culture, they go abroad for higher studies, later they settle there and they lose their identity.
I remember the time when I was with my friends from Lithuania, who were in India and were staying with me, and while we had some conversations I realized that they knew so much about their country that if compared to my knowledge about my country was huge. They knew in and out about their country. And compared to India, they are a very young country, just a little over 20 years old and it also became a part of European Union in 2004 and this can only happen when each person takes pride in being a citizen of a country.
So what should be done? Children should be taught about their culture, their history, their values. We should learn about our heroes, instead of Iron Man or Captain America. We also must learn about our literature, our way of life, to retain that Indian-ness.
Nowadays we are emphasising more on the need of learning foreign languages and slowly forgetting our vernacular languages, forgetting our roots. This is also leading to ‘Linguistic Pollution.’ I see around me parents talking to their children in English, earlier it used to sound cool and I thought it was great but now I realize that the next generation might not even know that there was a language called Hindi or Urdu or whatsoever and this is really bad for a country like India.
I observe this within myself to some extent. Like today only I was watching a play called Draupadi by Atul Satya Koushik which was in Hindustani language, which is a combination of Hindi, Urdu, Punjabi, Haryanvi, and many other languages, and I couldn’t understand 20-30 percent of it. Which shows what is happening right now.
We must promote or regional languages and help preserve them.
So, it is high time now that we promote our culture and heritage amongst ourselves first and then to the world. This Republic Day let us take pride in saying ‘I am an Indian.’
Also see: India: 70 Years After Independence