August 15, 2022 marks 75 years of India’s independence. Celebrating the same, we have with us, our trustee, ACR Sudaroli, who has written the following piece, ‘Integrity of Diverseness‘.
Integrity of Diverseness
It was my morning walk. I was lost in various thoughts while progressing with every step faster and faster. One of the thoughts lingering on throughout my morning walk was what do I cherish about my country? My mind was very blank; a sudden hopelessness out of the current situation of the country blocked my thoughts completely. My legs slowed down and were not moving forward. Suddenly I heard a cheerful “vanakkam” at my back and I turned to the direction of the voice coming in. The regular ‘walker’- a North Indian face gleamed at me. A greater energy flew through my mind – I thought, this is what I cherish about my country. A fellow countryman who originated from a different state, follow different culture says ‘vanakkam’ to me every single day with a friendly gesture. Immediately the memories of my student days flashed into my mind – I lived in New Delhi for about five years with my friends. We rented the house of Bapa (we call him that way) who decided to stay back in India during the partition of Pakistan from India. His family included us in every other celebration at their home as we were away from home. Many times, they used to send the meal for us which are entirely a different cuisine that we enjoyed a lot. I was a girl who never had gone out of my town anywhere and was pampered by my family. The experience of living away from the family in New Delhi widened up my way of thinking towards life, people and my own country. My friends and I were never treated differently and we felt very secure though we lived away from the family. I had an opportunity to mingle with people from different cultures, states, linguistic, religious backgrounds. In short, I got my own space to widen up my thoughts, reflect on my ways of living. This element of ‘diversity’ is what I cherished.
I remember, I have been always captivated by ‘UNITY IN DIVERSITY’ of my country, from my school days. This sense of UNITY IN DIVERSITY made me always proud of my country. It was mostly a topic out of my choice that I had chosen to write an essay in the language paper during my high school exams too.
Digging into the memories of my school days, I could recollect the instance of our teacher preparing us (my classmates & I) to dance on Independence Eve. My heart echoed out the song that we were made to dance on almost every other independence or Republic day functions.
“இந்திய நாடு என் வீடு
இந்தியன் என்பது என் பேரு
எல்லா மக்களும் என் உறவு
எல்லோர் மொழியும் என் பேச்சு”
“எல்லா மதமும் என் மதமே
எதுவும் எனக்கு சம்மதமே”
‘India is my country
Indian is my name
All people are my relatives
All of their languages are my speech’
“All regions are my religion
I accept every religion”
If I remember correctly, this was the song from the Tamil movie ‘Bharatha Vilas’ (the house was named after the name of the country). The scenario of the song compares the house with India and the families of diverse religious, lingual and cultural backgrounds live together under the same roof as it has been in the nation. We, the kids, nicely dressed up representing the people of different cultures from various states and then danced to this song on the stage. I still hear this song many times in the school premises during Indian Independence day celebrations though the movie was released in the year when I was born. I am quoting this song here because what is rooted in my heart is reflected in the song – I am always proud of the elements of ‘multi’ ‘diversity’ twinned with the thread of UNITY. This sense of UNITY IN DIVERSITY made me always proud of my country.
I have friends, neighbours and co-workers of various religious and cultural backgrounds throughout my life. . We mutually respect the cultures or religion that we follow. We used to visit and be part of each other’s festive celebrations. During my visit to districts for a research project, I had a conversation with the Muslim community people and they expressed their oneness with the other religious community people who stood with them for anything happened against them. (Example CAA protests). Any adverse situation in the national and international arena affected neither our relationship with each other nor the mutual trust. We always felt equal though we are from different socio-cultural and socio-economic backgrounds. I could sense the Unity in Diversity as the life principles JUSTICE, LIBERTY, EQUALITY AND FRATERNITY mentioned in the Preamble to the constitution of India to treat my fellow people.
In 2019, when Prajnya conducted the ‘Preamble to Democracy’ sessions for the college students, we loudly read the preamble together in English, Tamil and Hindi. I used to initiate the Tamil reading of the preamble and I did this several times along with the students. This was a greater opportunity to repeat the preamble loudly, reading it together with other fellow people that added up to the greatest experience to feel and explore the values of Justice, Liberty, Equality and Fraternity. This exercise helped me to sense and to realize the integrity of the preamble.
The aspects of diversity brought me a sense of respect and admiration for my country. It provided me with an inner strength of oneness among the diverse features of the nation such as topography, culture, language, food, life-style of the people and what not. Such a strong feeling helped me to respect fellow people mutually with our diverseness.
On this 75th Indian Independence, we stand together, hand in hand and loudly say
WE, THE PEOPLE OF INDIA, having solemnly resolved to constitute India
into a SOVEREIGN SOCIALIST SECULAR DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC and to secure to all its citizens:
JUSTICE, social, economic and political;
LIBERTY of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship;
EQUALITY of status and of opportunity;
and to promote among them all
FRATERNITY assuring the dignity of the individual and
the unity and integrity of the Nation;
IN OUR CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY this 26th day of November, 1949, does HEREBY ADOPT, ENACT AND GIVE TO OURSELVES THIS CONSTITUTION*
At any situation, I firmly believe that we, the people of SOVEREIGN SOCIALIST SECULAR DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC* India hold the legacy of UNITY IN DIVERSITY and principles of life expressed in the preamble of the constitution. Even at any adverse situations, this is how we stand together with mutual love and respect through these 75 years of our Indian Independence.
*Preamble to the Constitution of India.
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 <firstname.lastname@example.org> or via Whatsapp at +91 97908 10351. We look forward to hearing from you!