By Divyat Rungta
Edited by Shambhavi Singh, Senior Editor, The Indian Economist
Recently, Bilawal Bhutto made a childish statement while addressing his party workers in Mutan. He said, “I will take back Kashmir, all of it, and I will not leave behind a single inch of it because, like the other provinces, it belongs to Pakistan”. Suddenly, social media went buzzing with videos and open letters to Bilawal Bhutto, reflecting fervent love for Kashmir like never before. Further, the success of ISRO’s Mars Mission and Narendra Modi’s performance at the Madison Square filled every Indian’s heart with pride.
It is indeed regrettable as to how we show off our nationality on social media, yet display extreme apathy to things around us which are very much a part of India. In this selfish nationalism we portray, we often tend to forget our responsibilities as citizens of this land. We find solace simply in accepting or ‘posting’ that we are indeed proud Indians, leaving the progress of this nation in the hands of few good-doers. In more ways than one, India’s progress has been stalled by our lack of initiatives as a united workforce.
Responsibility needs to be inculcated in the Indian citizens. The first real change we need is a drastic shift in approach from individualism to collectivism. Unfortunately, a lot of this has to do with the cut throat competition which starts at a very early age. Overtime, this love for individualism has started to reflect in our attitudes. We have become indifferent to the mess outside our home. There is a lovely story of a farmer who kept winning the top prize for the best quality of corn. When a reporter asked him the secret behind his high quality corn, the farmer replied that he constantly shared the seeds of his corn with his neighbors. The reporter was naturally perplexed. The farmer further elaborated that the wind picked up pollen from the ripening corn and swirled it from field to field. If the neighbors used poor quality seeds, the farmer would not have benefited. The power of collectivism is clearly yet to be realized by us. A peep into our history, and we shall remember how a united India overthrew the British Empire without the use of violence.
Secondly, the media has gained an increasing influence over the Indian society today. Have we ever wondered, why when news channels are fighting for TRP, do all of them stoop to negative news? It is perhaps because we tend to enjoy it, or have become used to reading about the murders and scams. This just increases our apathy to the environment and people around us. What we need is a drastic dose of positivity in print and television media, with a paradigm shift in what we perceive as front page headline. There are a far greater number of noble souls out there who are helping society by making an enormous amount of sacrifice. There are umpteen number of success stories which the media just refuses to acknowledge. Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam, after a visit to Tel Aviv, wrote something we must take cue from. ‘It was the day after a lot of attacks and bombardments and deaths had taken place. The Hamas had struck. But the front page of the newspaper had the picture of a Jewish gentleman who in five years had transformed his desert into an orchid and a granary. It was this inspiring picture that everyone woke up to. The gory details of killings, bombardments, deaths, were inside in the newspaper, buried among other news’. We need a similar ripple effect of positivity amongst us, and more importantly, on a continuous basis.
As citizens, we also need to retire from the blame games. Every mother asks her children to do their basic household chores by themselves, despite there being a servant at their home, Mother India also demands from its citizens the very same. Public servants can only implement rules and regulations and facilitate the physical aspects of our society. The social fabric of this country lies in our hands. We cannot restrict our lives to our family and friend circle and expect things around us to change for the better. If we wish for development and civic sense, we cannot afford to jump red lights and expect an invisible hand to maintain law and order.
I feel that the youth of India has to take the initiative to cultivate this feeling of unconditional belonging to India and of being responsible Indians. The next time you update your status as a proud Indian when ISRO showcases its next marvel, please pause for a moment and ask yourselves a rather symbolic question, ‘Does the open garbage outside my colony belong to me?’ If you feel it does, and you take the effort to clean it up, you have every right to be proud. So let us not wait for things to arouse the pride in us. Let us take pride by taking responsibility. Let us not want to just see the nation rise, but in fact work to take it to greater heights.
Divyat Rungta is currently a second year student pursuing B.A Economic (Hons) in Shri Ram College of Commerce. He is a die-hard sports lover and enjoys listening to Indie music. He has been deeply influenced by his parents, teachers, and the Indian Army! As a member of Enactus SRCC, he spends a lot of time working on social entrepreneurship projects undertaken by the team. Having the opportunity to interact with various communities and give them a sustainable livelihood has made a huge impact in his personal life. He strongly believes the student community has the responsibility of shaping a new India, and wants to make a significant contribution to it.