Chairman Emeritus Reconnect 15 – Changing Meaning of Independence

My dear young friends,

I was asked to speak at the 67th Independence Day. Having turned 67 myself, I agreed to speak on changing meaning and spirit of Independence. I recalled how as a primary school student I used to join the procession led by our Head Master Shri Sharmanlal Gautam (President awarded) echoing the small town “Mandla” in Madhya Pradesh by the slogan “Bharat Mata ki Jai ”. After a few days of one such Independence Day I heard that my “Gautam Guruji” was in Jail. I went to meet him without any difficulty since my father was Jailor there. Guruji told me that he volunteered himself under “Jail Bharo Andolan” on some social issue and that I should not request my father to extend any special facilities to him.

Our Gautam Guruji used to check our nails before the morning prayers and then we were supposed to operate Charkha’s (spinning wheels) sitting on the floor. He used to run his Charkha very elegantly and efficiently and used to wear clothes woven by the yarn made by him. Today it is a fashion to grow nails, whether hygienic or not and wear clothes suiting or not to the “decency-decorum-dignity” expected from us-a sign of our growing independence. People debate very often the independence of dressing. In this context, I remember one instance. In a jammed traffic one of the mid vehicle’s driver was blowing his horn recklessly. The driver of the next vehicle went to him, wanting to know what was wrong with him. The reply was “It is my horn and my wish”.

When I started my primary school, copying in an examination and getting caught was such a big sin that one would feel like getting buried in the ground. When I reached 4th Class and was giving my final examination, I remember, our School Inspector’s daughter was sitting behind me. Suddenly I noticed my Class Teacher behind the standing Black Board hinting me that I should facilitate her copying my answer book. I ignored for a while but then his staring eyes with anger made me allow her copy my answers. Years later, while appearing for our 11th Board examination our Sanskrit Teacher who was also an invigilator wrote down “Hindi to Sanskrit Translation” on the board for all the students to copy. He thought he was doing his duty utilizing his freedom to help his students.

I recall one different kind of incident from my engineering college 4th year examination. One of the fresh lecturers of our Mechanical Engineering Department caught one of our classmates copying. He boldly declared he was nephew of HoD (Mechanical). The lecturer said it did not make any difference since he was caught red handed. First time many of us realized what it means to have a backbone. A rare meaning of independence of an invigilator in my memory!

Recently in a local Medical college in Mumbai, a candidate was found copying in the final examination from her mobile phone, which was confiscated. The messages were still pouring in providing the answers of the question paper. It was investigated as to where the messages were coming from. It was found that the source was her own father in whose conviction it was his independence to send messages to his daughter. In 67 years we have turned a full circle. As we have right to information, we seem to have right to copying. In recent past we rejected a Project Report since it was found to be a “copy-paste” from different sources. This “copy-paste” culture will not only make us “copy-cats” but also immoral in the name of freedom.

In our childhood we used to be advised “Learn more-Become a big man” and by a big man our elders meant “a person with authority particularly moral authority” and today we find the advice “Learn more-Earn more”. People talk of package and measure the status by it and that is our choice and freedom.

In independent India people started feeling that “paying” and getting the work done was their freedom, which has increased not only the non-productive middlemen but rampant corruption. How much Kejriwals, Khemkas, Durgas and my Engg. College Lecturer can change this price of independence has to be watched.

Right to Information was considered a sign of freedom but when applied to Political parties became encroachment on their freedom. They immediately utilized their freedom to amend the constitution retrospectively to spare them.

Off late (10-July-13) Hon’ble Supreme Court directed that people under Lock-up can’t stand for elections since they have no right to vote. Also they directed that criminals awarded punishment of 2 years and more imprisonment by any court become debarred from Parliament/ State Assemblies. Most of the political parties joining hands together decided and lodged a review petition. Getting a sensible decision reviewed is their freedom. Otherwise they will exercise their freedom to amend the constitution itself.

With the above kind of independence of law making, it seems to be the most opportune time for the “most wanted” to come back to India. They will be able to contest election from the lock-ups. If our normal politicians have to spend Rs 7-8 Cr. for their election (as recently admitted by a Maharashtra leader) these criminals will have capacity to spend Rs 800 Cr. They will use independence of our voters utilizing their own strong net-work from Film Industry to Match fixing Industry. Once elected they become Hon’ble members of Parliament. They will easily get bail and become free. They will be able to spend another Rs 800 Cr to get the court hearing dates extended till they are alive (as Hon’ble constitution makers).

Crossing “Luxman Rekha” everywhere is perhaps taken as independence today. Where will it lead us to? 

Best wishes and Regards,

Dr. B.S.K.Naidu

M.Tech., Ph.D., CBI Scholar, D.Engg.(Calif), FNAE
Hon.D.WRE (ranked amongst 30-most eminent scientists in the world)
Chairman Emeritus, Great Lakes, Gurgaon, NCR, New Delhi, INDIA
Former Director General (NPTI & CPRI / REL), Ex-Director (REC)/ Executive Director (IREDA)

No job is small or big, the way in which you do, makes it small or big (c)

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