The Changing Shades of Indian Culture in the Last 75 Years

I have seen almost 50 springs in Bharat, my Desh.

When Nehruji addressed the nation for the first time as a prime minister, he said that “at the stroke of the midnight hour when the world sleeps, India will awake to life and freedom”. And, yes, we did, and for the last 75 years are enjoying the privilege of being a country with the largest democracy in the whole world.

If given a chance to travel back in time, I would like to go back to the times of the 1900s when each street of Bharat echoed the sound of Vande Mataram and Bharat Mata ki Jai ho. This sound is now fading away from our hearts and confined to special occasions like Independence or Republic day. 

Indian Flag

However, the country still retains its uniqueness of keeping in her lap the diversified culture and customs that were restored by our Iron Man, Shri Vallabh Bhai Patel, when he joined the scattered princely states into One India.

Yes, the squabble and discontentment continue in many States, but it’s similar to a big joint family, where members have differences of opinions and ideology but remain together. 

The Changing Shades in Poverty and Education –

As a child, I remembered asking my helper why her children go to work and not school. Still remember those helpless expressions in her eyes, where poverty has engulfed the future of her children. Thanks, to our progressive government policies poverty rate has come down from 70% in 1947 to 21.1% now.

However, we still have many extra miles to go. The educational schemes launched at various intervals of time like Shiksha Sahayog Yojana, Saakshar Bharatand more are ensuring that every child avail the right to education. The hike in the literacy rate from almost 18% in 1951 to 74 .4% now, is a graph of slow but steady progression.

It feels good to see many of our underprivileged children nicely uniformed marching to the school rather than trolling in dhabas and factories. 

The Changing Shades in Technology & Modernization –

Today, the country is on the path to becoming an economic powerhouse with significant progress made from agriculture to space technology, from manufacturing to services industries, from world-class educational institutions to modern infrastructure, and the affordability of healthcare to all. 

A breakthrough in technology and modern facilities has made our lives more comfortable. We Indians are making our names in various fields all over the world. The country once known for snake charmers is one of the growing technology hubs in the world. 

From the hand-fan to the air conditioner, from clay-slate to computers and the internet, from bullock carts to airplanes, and bullet trains, my generation of 60, & the 70s have seen stupendous progress in Bharat.   

golden temple amritsar india

The Changing Shades in Cost of Living –

Back again in my childhood, I heard stories from my Dad about how he as a child, used to get daily 5p (Paach paise) in school to bear all his expenses. My eyes always rolled in disbelief. The money given to me as a student was 50p (Attani). That 50p has now multiplied to 50 rupees. Now, my kids refuse to believe me that in my times, 100 rupees meant party time.

This inflationary economic growth is the outcome of the subsidizing social schemes (food, shelter, education,) and Reservation floated by the post-independence government to support the poverty-stricken country- A need of the hour at that time. But it’s high time to revise these schemes to match the present scenario of the social strata that have risen above the poverty line.

Though the Indian economy is considered the fifth best amongst the others in the world, we had less control over our ever-going high inflation rate for the past 20 years. This high cost is a setback to the savings of the middle class and prolongs their struggle for a quality life. It’s no denying that the quality of living is improving but is snail’s pace and needs a strong push-up, especially in the lower segment of society.

konark sun temple odisha

The Changing Shades in the Mindset –

Now I’m feeling nostalgic. I miss dressing up for flag hoisting on Independence Day and eagerly waiting for the Republic day parade to start at Rajpath. The community celebrations, speeches, and motichoor laddoos, later distributed after the flag-hoisting celebrations, still leave a sweet taste in my mouth. With passing times, love for the nation is becoming an Instagram post for Generation Z.

I miss those simple ways of enjoyment in playing hopscotch, pittu, and hide-n-seek or just hanging around with friends and families. Now that has been replenished by V games, PlayStation, text messages, and Virtual chatting. I love technology and the benefits I’m reaping from it. However, I wish we could balance our techno-fast life in such a way that we could also enjoy the simplicity of life as we did in the past. 

Modern India’s changing outlook of conventional society toward women, the LGBT community, and transgender is a welcoming change. But what is disheartening is that the country that took pride in its diversified culture is again getting sucked up into fractional communalism. The scars of partition have taken up a more demonic face of hatred and intolerance towards each other religions.

More heartbreaking is to see the fight put by our brave heart freedom fighters getting politicized. The new trend that has started to discriminate against the intentions of our freedom leaders is berserk. We’ve no right to question the decisions and wisdom of our fighters then.

The senseless talks of Nehru overpowering Vallabh Bhai Patel or an ideological difference between Mahatma Gandhi and Subhas Chandra Bose, what are we trying to prove? It’s the joint effort and noble wisdom of all the freedom fighters that we breathe in free India. A simple definition of patriotism is rooted in intent rather than biased opinion on methodology and religion. Let’s keep Communalism miles away from Patriotism.

Our flag does not fly because the wind moves it. It flies with the breath of each soldier who protects it. I sincerely hope that the changing shades of future years bring back more community feelings for India, attached to its cultural roots. A united India is a key to making our nation attain its vision of becoming an economic superpower.

Let us all work towards it.

Jai Hind.  

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