August 15, 2022 marks 75 years of India’s independence. Celebrating the same, we have with us, our founder and managing trustee, Dr. Swarna Rajagopalan, who has shared her thoughts on the India of her dreams and the India she cherishes. Click here to watch a video of the same.
Dr. Swarna Rajagopalan
I inherited India from a family of freedom-fighters… But who didn’t?
After all, countless Indians, unnamed, unheralded, gave of themselves, participated in the freedom movement.
All my life, being Indian has been a precious element of my identity.
“She was like some ancient palimpsest on which layer upon layer of thought and reverie had been inscribed, and yet no succeeding layer had completely hidden or erased what had been written previously.”
Nehru’s ancient palimpsest is my rich, complex, layered heritage, studded like the walls of the Taj Mahal, where stones of many colours become an artistic wonder.
This India, where we are different and disagree but all still owners and co-creators, squabbling but working together… Tagore’s “Heaven of Freedom.”
My dream for India? Let me recall (and annotate) Tagore’s…
Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high because truth brings courage
Where knowledge is free because we are open-minded and unafraid to learn
Where the world has not been broken up into fragments along any human-made lines
By narrow domestic walls that barricade our empathy, compassion or fairness
Where words come out from the depth of truth after learning, reflection and introspection
Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection both in the means and the end
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way,
muddied with sentiment, clouded by credulousness, egged on by performance pressure,
Into the dreary desert sand of dead habit, induced by laziness or apathy or blind faith
Where the mind is led forward by thee, “thee” being our consciousness and conscience,
Into ever-widening thought and action, thoughtful action,
Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, my Mother, my fellow-Indians, let my country awake.
What gives me hope? The countless Indians I know who wake up every morning, and overcoming the obstacle course of everyday life, go out to work for a better world, creating safe spaces and shelters, supporting those in distress, enabling people to support themselves and their families, seeking justice for the wronged, re-building shattered lives and speaking and writing truth, everyday, quietly, against all odds, working without expectation of reward or fear of the consequences. They never give up on the dream.
75, and counting, but our “Tryst with Destiny” is incomplete.
Let us renew our promise to be better Indians by being better humans, more humane, more accepting of other humans, more compassionate, more courageous, more committed to the values that constitute us.
I am Swarna and I do so now.
We, the Prajnya Team, would also love to have you send us a small text or art project or voice recording or video, telling us what you cherish about India, what your dream for the country is, and what makes you optimistic about India as we inch closer to celebrating 75 years of India’s independence. You can email or share your contribution with us via Google Drive at <email@example.com> or via Whatsapp at +91 97908 10351. We look forward to hearing from you!