How to make August 15 meaningful?

How do we build a society? The routine passage of time, and politics, makes us think that the primary post-independence goal should be to build the country. Yes and no. The nation provides a rallying point for ‘us’ to think about where ‘we’ want to be. But underlying that intent, there has to be an idea of what kind of society we want to build. Ultimately, the country’s prospects will depend almost entirely on that.

This is a daily, continuous question. Hoisting flags on Independence Day should ideally be a kind of milestone in that passage, not a continuous promise that we will one day (in the future) embark on that journey.

The plain truth is that we are not making much progress on several important fronts. A very large number of children don’t get to learn properly. Many young adults are unable to find productive employment. It is still too easy to stir up tensions between ourselves in various ways. And basic integrity, especially in public life, is still not a minimum standard that we expect from representatives.

Who can change all this? The answer to this should be evident – to build a country of our imagination, we have to do the work. Otherwise we can only expect to get the country that some others imagine. 15th of August is dramatically more inspiring when we can see the fruits of our efforts for development on 14th and 16th too, and every other day of the year as well – and be proud that we had a part to play in making that happen.

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About Ashwin Mahesh 96 Articles
Ashwin Mahesh has been involved in public policy for Bengaluru through his work with the Karnataka government. The views expressed here are his own. He is a member of the Lok Satta party. He is also CEO of Mapunity Information Services, and a director at Oorvani Media, publisher of Citizen Matters and India Together. He is also a visiting faculty with the Centre for Public Policy at IIM Bangalore.