Wishing 'Happy Independence Day' to all my fellow countrymen. In this fast paced life, these are few occasions when we stop for a moment and try to reflect what this means to us.
Few weeks back, a good friend of mine, R K Mishra, in a discussion thread on news of Ex-Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh being made an accused in the Coal Scam, had couple of questions for me. One among them was, isn’t time for me to stop being loyal to the Congress party? A conscious pricking question, a rhetoric diatribe required an answer. Looking at the sensitiveness of the question and serious answer it requires, I decided to do it later. On this auspicious day I am taking the liberty to answer that question.
Before I answer what loyalty means to me, let me add few words on this auspicious occasion of India’s Independence Day. There is no disagreement on mountain of problems that still needs to be addressed, but we have come a long way in these 68 years. Whenever this topic is discussed, I just cannot but evaluate through my late father’s life. His was the first young generation who had seen things before and after the independence. Post 1947, he was among those who had just finished their high school and was desperate for an employment. Massive expansion of central and state governments helped these youth to get into employment and bettered their lives. His generation did a great service to the nation by striving hard to get their children educated. We all are fruits of that hard work. In that pursuit they have helped the country move forward to grow and take on more difficult problems.
I had many encounters with people of that era who would narrate the poverty, helplessness that exist around 1947. Listening to those difficult days and looking today, I can say with certainty that we have come a long way in trying to overcome that helplessness, poverty and an opportunity to lead a decent life. On the same breadth I too agree that we have a long way to go before we can declare victory.
Till his last, my father remained a loyal voter to Congress party. Nothing would dissuade him to vote anybody else than Congress. Even the excesses of 1975 would not matter. He was not alone. I had couple of other relatives who remained loyal congress voters till their last. There were others who would swing from one end to the other depending upon the popular sentiments.
Now, am I loyal to one party? When I looked back to see what is the pattern of my voting, I find that I had voted for different parties. Unlike my father and others, I have been not been loyal to any party. As I have matured in my age, my vote didn’t go on party loyalty basis. Rather I would vote for the candidate who could make some difference to the constituency and the party who I see as better option.
I won’t limit loyalty to just the elections. To whom is my loyalty then? As an Indian, I am loyal to my country. I am loyal to the place I was born and brought up. This loyalty is the reason that my heart is still in Bengaluru though physically I am away on other side of the globe.
My loyalty is for “Idea of India” where people of all hue and color can live together with all their differences and diversity.
As a humble Indian, I am proud of my country in all times not just in happy times.