Exclusive opinion from IndiaGBnews.com special correspondent Aline Dobbie.
“I shall work for an India in which the poorest shall feel that it is their country, in whose making they have an effective voice; an India in which there shall be no high class and low class of people; and India in which all communities shall live together in perfect harmony. There can be no room in such India for the course of untouchability. Women will enjoy the same rights as men. We shall be at peace with all the rest of the world. This is the India of my dreams.” Mahatma Gandhi
India is the land of my birth and I was but a babe when the Midnight Hour struck for India’s freedom from occupation and British rule. I grew up in newly independent India and feel very privileged to this day to have had that huge wonderful experience in a loving home with parents who loved and were committed to India. Hindi/Urdu was spoken extensively because my parents were bi-lingual as indeed from babyhood I became. Our domestic staff all spoke Hindi and very little English and often the parents’ friends would lapse into Hindi, whereas initially it might have been Urdu in northern India. It truly was a great way to grow up, and I return with warmth as often as I can to this day.
I was in India for two months earlier this year and made an extensive journey around the country arriving in Mumbai for Christmas, travelling through Madhya Pradesh, flying down to Kerala, then up to Delhi and then by train to Dholpur and followed by a lengthy car journey through Rajasthan and finally a flight down to Karnataka and another beautiful short sojourn before my departure from Bengaluru. The diversity of experience be it wildlife viewing, heritage inspection, long hours on the road, the calm of Lake Vembanad and its serenity; the bustle of the capital Delhi which I love with friends, fun and new experiences, then Rajasthan with its vibrant colour, wildlife, smart new city and ancient heritage and then rural Karnataka……a feast for anyone.
So much is progressing in India and giving a chance to the aspirations of its people, but equally the challenges continue. Well of course, because that is happening globally to all the other countries, and indeed our own the United Kingdom is going through a positive sea change this year.
The Rural Poor, the Empowerment of Females, Education, Health, national infrastructure, the Sciences, Engineering, Arts and Culture are all constantly showing progress but what has to be achieved is the feeling of ownership for each Indian, the feeling of custodianship of their beloved Bharat, the feeling that ‘yes I can’, and ‘I will succeed’. That is the essence of this reflection…for as Gandhiji said ‘Indeed we must in our beloved country teach the rich to live more simply so that the poor may simply live….’ My good wishes to all in India for their Independence Day on 15th August.