Saturday, July 3, 2010

Celebrating our 2nd July's- Time to go beyond

I start with the disclaimer that this topic actually calls for an elaborate essay than a blog post. 

Lets try to see how an individual's progress is typically understood in our society-
  • Birth
  • Education resulting in Physical, Social, Psychological and Intellectual development
  • Employment- Economic success
  • Marriage
  • Family expansion
  • Material milestones- home, vehicle etc
  • Professional growth
  • Children's education
  • Children's marriage
  • Retirement from service
  • Demise/Voyage
A nation's growth would look like this I guess considering that a nation is more of a concept, a continuum.

  • Freedom from any external political hegemony (this is not equivalent to birth since no one one knows when a nation took birth since then we have to go back to development of civilization (not talking in political context here)- One time
  • Journey towards Democracy - One time
  • Development of Governance machinery- Executive, Judiciary and the Legislature - One time
  • Development of institutions of public service- education, healthcare, water, sanitation, infrastructure etc- Continuous
  • Design of the economic engine- Continuous
  • Constant striving for improvement of public life- Continual
  • Protection of rights of people- Continual
  • Propagation of peace and amity through cultural discourse with the help of religion- Continual
  • Creation of environment that fosters economic and cultural richness for all- Continual
  • Establishing the nation in a global context- Continual
  • Inclusive growth- Continual
  • Establishing an environment that characterises nurturing human enterprise, balance of economic growth and protection of nature, protection of rights, political vigilance on the part of citizens, religious pursuits, cultural development through nurturing art- Continual

 I may have surely missed out on a lot of other aspects in this list but the point is that the birth and growth of a nation is far more complex and also painful than the progress of an individual. The latter becomes complex when the person is economically marginalized or else when the state fails to deliver on several accounts. Also, the journey of individual's growth is characterized by a lot of struggles on account psychological issues, social complexities, at times physical challenges, knowledge gap etc. The other difficulty about the latter is the fact that mostly it is a very lonely journey unlike a nation's journey which entails the commitment and energy of millions of people over a period of time.
At the outset it is difficult to understand how nation's progress can be ensured if you merely look at the individual's growth journey. So how do you map the progress of the complexities of nation building with the conventional line of growth of individuals as expressed above. Probably thats the very reason it calls for countless experiments and human efforts for hundreds of years to reach a mark where it is looked at respectfully by its own citizens first and then by other nations. 
Now where does 2nd July stand in all this? 

Last year 2009, July the 2nd, Justice Shah delivered a landmark judgement to decriminalize homosexuality and to uphold the rights of people people who are different on a specific level. If means a lot for someone who on account of having a different sexual orientation has lead a life of shame and ignominy for long. Gautam Bhan has taken a wonderful perspective on this by bringing to light the importance of upholding Constitutional morality in matters which should be considered purely personal in any civilized society. He has rightly pointed out that our examination of these judgements becomes all the more critical in the light of growing intolerance as being seen through Khap Panchayat idiosyncracies of Haryana and 'honour' killings.
The importance of these days has to be seen in the light of the fact that it takes several years of struggle to bring about a legal change and then probably another several decades to translate that change onto the social reality. Its just like dowry. It may be illegal but still there are instances of dowry related violence that one gets to read on a day to day basis.
Thus if we want to examine the progress of our society, we need to celebrate those moments which can be construed as inflexion points or milestones in the progress of a nation. Such episodes of important judgements or government policies should be included in the curriculum of schools and discussed thoroughly by students if one wants to create a community of people to gauge how one should position one's private growth pursuit amidst the larger pursuit of nation building which would call for several thousands of such changes spread over probably few centuries to see that dawn that makes one feel proud of one's country.
Has talking about 2nd October or 14th November really lead us anywhere?


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