Dr. Sanjiv Agarwal

27.08.2011- While India celebrated it 64th independence day early this month, independent India still struggles for freedom in more than many ways. It is indeed time for one and all to introspect in retrospect and prospect as to what we have achieved and what we ought to be, as an  individual , as society and as a nation, particularly in backdrop of the famous speech – ‘Tryst with Destiny’ of our  first Prime Minister on 15th August 1947. Social values, national character  and mutual respect on one hand and selfish wealth accumulation, mass and massive corruption and gross mis governance are the two extremes of the divide and we ought to travel from one end to other. 

Why it is so that people in India are generally still not happy with the progress made and achievements reached in these 64 years. While lot has been done in terms of economic growth, innovation, infrastructure development, agricultural advancements, service sector, exports, technology, intellectual and human capital , yet India suffers from may perils to be truly called independent India where mind and soul are both free and pure to nurture India into a bright future.

In today’s era, what does   freedom imply-  to a child it could be freedom to play, to  a teenager  it could be freedom to be a free bird in whatever he or she thinks or does, to a businessman it would mean freedom to do business with peace and to help build Indian economy, to a journalist it would mean freedom of expression …… . Today, an average Indian is struggling for independence in independent India. Truly, at the moment, we all desire to have freedom from corruption, corrupt officials & politicians and politics of breeding corruption which is a parasite on our system and society. Corruption, scams, kickbacks, misappropriation of public money, leakage in Government sponsored schemes and like perils …… India needs to be free from all these, sooner the better.

At the same time, while inflation free environment is not a practical wish, yet, the people of India rightly deserve freedom from persistent, high and even increasing inflation, more so food inflation coupled with high interest rate making life of businessmen and people enjoying various loans difficult. Businesses have to live with associated risks but such risks ought  to be free from artificial setbacks as it happens with our price policy (sugar, cement… are examples) . In an era where corporate governance become the buzzword today in India Inc, there is a scarcity of independent directors .

Coming to investment, while investments are relatively much easier and hassle free today, they suffer from high volatility , particularly in capital markets. With globalization and inter-linkage of markets, there is a ripple effect with  any thing happening in one market to other markets. Recent developments in US and Europe have just crippled  the markets here, though India still has strong fundamentals. Though we should not expect to be a shock  free market, we will have to learn to live with such volatility and its correlated risks . However, such situations do offer window of opportunities too. You talk of Indian women and they are all finding themselves at a distance to buy gold and silver. They cant freely buy and wear jewellery. Thanks to their prices being out of reach.

Last but not the least  in a democratic country like ours, after all, after right  to education and right to information , we also deserve right to  live peace fully and demand from the government, desirable  good governance, not the one which is being displayed there days.  If that can be assured, India does not require protests from people like Ramdev or Anna Hazare but if does not happen, many more such revolutions  will take place.

Mahatma Gandhi said-  “Freedom is like birth. Till we are fully free, we are slaves….. No charter of freedom will be worth looking at which does not ensure the same measure of freedom for the minorities as for the majority….True non. Violence should mean a complete freedom from ill-will and anger and hate and an overflowing love for all….Complete independence does not mean arrogant isolation or a superior disdain for all help…..If it is man’s (sic) privilege to be independent, it is equally his duty to be inter-dependent….Freedom of the individual is at the root of all progress .  I wan freedom for the full expression of my personality.  I must be free to build a staircase to Sirius if I want to……”  He wanted that type of independence for India in its real and fullest sense.

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