- Ruchi Junnarkar
When we were told that this is a compulsory topic for this assignment, I knew I wouldn’t be able to do justice to it. Not with my limited knowledge, inadequate experience and next to zero exposure. Here I was, a nineteen year-old who had lived a greatly sheltered life as a part of the small percentage of privileged people in India, and had been granted 700 words. 700 words to represent the lives, challenges and accomplishments of all the people who have ever lived on this piece of land called India, since the beginning of man. Because that is what India is to me – The People.
The people that lived here through the various stages of India’s history, those that are remembered today, as well as those that are not, everybody who played any role in making this nation state what it is today, is India. The people who constitute it today – those that are lucky enough to be reaping the benefits of a “rapidly growing economy” as well as those who ended up getting a raw deal in this glossy package-deal of “development” – they’re all India.
Our massive country is one that is made up of extremely diverse people is all respects imaginable – economic, social, religious, geographical, physical – everything. It is a state that should ideally strive to run on the ideals enshrined in the constitution by the people of India’s past. Ideals of delivering to the people of India a space where they can live freely and prosper. It doesn’t take too much awareness to realize that a very large number of India’s people are being wronged in a number of ways. Some are being robbed of their land, livelihood and home, while some are being robbed of the basic freedom to determine the course of their own lives. Some are being robbed of their hard-earned money by the very people who promise to uphold the interests of the people; some are being denied the very right to live. And there are those that are causing this to happen. The ones that are doing all the robbing, stealing and denying. The unpleasant truth is that these are the people of India today. This is India.
It’s not a very rosy picture, I have realised. If to me, India is the people, then there’s not too much to be optimistic about, considering the state of a majority of these people in the country today.
But then I remind myself that there are also, the other people. The people who believe that the denial of these basic right to others is a cause worthy of devoting their own lives to. These are the people who stand up and speak out for those who cannot. They give up privileges that they have earned to fight for those who don’t even have the option of earning privileges. These are people who believe in the possibility of others. They may be a very small percentage of the actual percentage of India, but they strive to create an impact far greater than their number should logically allow. And very often, they succeed. They create something that makes them more than just people.
This too, is India.