This is more of a reflective post. Yesterday, India celebrated 69 years of independence from the British crown. And it got me thinking. I thought about the small things and the big things. I just wanted to share some of thoughts, hopes, dreams and fears with you.
69 years? Actually, it’s not that long. I can name several people who are more than 69 years old, from people in my own life to celebrities. My thoughts wandered to 100! What about 2047, when we celebrate 100 years of independence? What will it all look like then?
My first thoughts about 2047 were about small things; about my own life. Considering my current age, I can reasonably expect to be alive in 2047 to see one hundred years of independence. But I would be really close to retirement. And then I realized that by 2047, I will probably lose some of the most important people in my life, namely my parents. I wonder what the pain of that will be like. I don’t want to think about it, but there it is, waiting for me at some point down the road.
Then, I decided to have some happy thoughts. What will the workplace look like in 2047? Will it still have computers? Nah…I am willing to bet there is gonna be something infinitely cooler and more capable on my desk by then. In 2047, the youngsters will look at dinosaurs like me and wonder how people managed back in 2016 when all work had to be actually typed into a computer 🙂 Just think about it 🙂
But most of all, I began to wonder about how great and big the nation is and how small our lives are. The nation lives on, we live our little lives for a short little while and then we again become one with the five elements. Even the greatest among us are reduced to dust and covered under the sands of time. Time endures. Our land holds within itself the dust of thousands of these generations….and long after we are gone, there will be thousands of generations that will live their little hopes, joys and dreams in this great land.
Thinking about it this way makes us more aware of the great responsibility that democracy imposes upon us. It is this one motherland we have, handed down to us by thousands of generations before us…and the one motherland that we must pass on to the thousands of generations waiting in the wings of time. It belongs not just to us, but to those who came before and also to those who will come after.
But come to think about it: democracy means that the power to run this nation is vested in this generation alone. We are just one small number of stakeholders in the life of this nation. New stakeholders are constantly born and old stakeholders keep going away. Yet, WE …WE the ones in the present, get to do whatever we choose with it. Democracy is really a terrifying responsibility, if you try to think about it.
While reflecting on this responsibility, we may try to seek comfort in the idea that most of our lives will eventually mean nothing in the grand scheme of things. Will it really matter in 2047 if I spit on the street today? Perhaps not, but the collective life of a billion people changes things in 2047..
And what about the “S” word? Superpower. This is the hope we have for our nation. Will we reach it in 2047? The eternal optimist in me always says YES. But, our collective lives and choices matter. A few years ago, I arrived at Guanajuato in Mexico, where the border control officer gave me a very ornate passport stamp. On looking carefully I realized that the stamp was celebrating 200 years of independence of Mexico! India has been independent for less than 70 years!
I remember thinking to myself. Two hundred years? Mexico has been independent for 200 years? And…well…while I love Mexican food and Aztec sites, I am afraid Mexico is a rubbish heap. How can an independent country go 200 years without achieving anything?
So, well, no…it’s not just a matter of time. It is the choices we make. If we make the wrong choices, we might still end up as a poor country in 2047…or even 2147. The nation lives on, but it will be what we make of it.