75 years ago, on August 15th, 1947, “at the stroke of the midnight hour, when the world slept, India awoke to life and freedom” and promised to bring equal opportunity, justice and fullness of life to everyone who lived in India.
As a child of the 70s, I saw my country steady itself towards this north star every time the billowing waves of religious turmoil rocked it to its very core. Not a day went by when we didn’t take pride in its religions, languages, cultures and communities that were so diverse and yet so uniquely and equally Indian. In fact, my non-Indian often ask me, “You all speak different languages, eat different foods, produce different textiles, yet I don’t know of any community who identify so strongly with their country of birth and strive to go back to there as often. I fail to understand what, despite all these differences, makes you feel so Indian?” I have no answer because it has always been this way. Each Indian community takes pride in its language, foods, faith, and culture, and yet knows we are all connected through our shared history.
Today, as that country of my childhood steers far far away from fulfilling that pledge of equality made some 75 years ago, are we brave enough and wise enough to yet again realize that quintessential trait that is at the heart of our Indian identity – that despite all our differences we are much stronger when we embrace our Unity in Diversity?
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