Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Let's Quote India

"A moment comes... when we step out from the old to the new... , and when the soul of a nation finds utterance..."
- Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru
on Independence
( I noted this down on his 47th death anniversary)

Happy Independence Day

Yesterday, while travelling back in the metro with a bunch of friends, I met a French tourist, by the name of Etienne. He has been vacationing in India, alone, and is headed back tomorrow. Etienne has seen, in these two months, every place of significance in India, from Kolkata to Varanasi to Leh-Ladakh. Ladakh, according to him , is the best of all the place he has visited, and he made a strong case as to why we should also visit it. It was ironical and pleasant to see a foreigner advise us on the places in our homeland we must see. An anecdotal meeting.

I, on my part, duped him. The inquiring tourist wanted to know how we celebrated our Independence Day. I related the entire Republic Day proceedings to him, mixed with a little bit of August 15th celebrations, and felt horribly stupid later. My friends mocked at once we exited the metro; I mocked at myself till hours later.

Every such event is promptly recorded in my diary, and as I sat down to write, still feeling goofy over the metro meeting, my eyes fell down over a few quotes about our great land, and its various facets, which I have noted down over past some months. Spoken by eminent persons, these are simple lines, carrying meaning which sure is greater than the words. I think today is the perfect day I share these with you all. Quoted directly from source, no duping now!

On Economy

"Twenty years ago when I had a thick mop of hair, I used to pay ₹ 25 for a haircut. Ten years ago, after my hair started thinning, I was paying ₹ 50 for a haircut. And now, when I have virtually no hair left, I am paying ₹ 150 for a haircut. I struggle to determine how much of that is inflation and how much is the premium I pay the barber for the privilege of cutting the governor's non existent hair."
- Duvvuri Subbarao
(RBI Governor)
Decades after reforms, the common man still leads a troubled life. Growth and inclusion are two vastly different terms; so have our policy makers proved.

On Politics

"If you really care for freedom, liberty, there cannot be any democracy or liberal institution without politics. The only true antidote to the perversions of politics is more politics and better politics. Not negation of politics."
-Jayaprakash Narayan
(From a lecture at Mumbai University)
He is what many modern day crusaders attempt to be. Leading one of the most powerful agitations against the system, JP, in these lines tells us how faith is important for bringing about reforms.

On Politicization

"The man whose stint as a Finance Minister saw the economy shrink from 9.5% to 5% is rewarded with Presidency; the man whose son is being investigated by the ED is rewarded with finance ministry; and the man who oversaw India's worst power breakdown is rewarded with home..."
- An SMS on Cabinet Reshuffle of August '12
We saw it all together, didn't we?

On Identity

"Don't try to look special with fancy clothes. There will be richer people with better wardrobes. In stead, wear Khadi and you will stand out."
- Dr. Zakir Hussain
(As an advice to his daughter)
I read this in HT Brunch, and its symbolic relevance to the contemporary world is striking. Why do we continuously undergo pressures to ape that which the west has induced in our culture, or that which a large part of our circle finds 'cool'? These are pressures me and you deal with everyday. Don't fit in. Stand out.

On Legislature

"It is almost as if we believe passing a law is tantamount to solving the problem it is meant to tackle."
- Our Take, Hindustan Times
Guess what this comment alludes towards.

On Change

"The only change the public wants to see is iman restored and active in our politicians, just as it wants to see ilm in a teacher, hunar in a doctor and kashish in a poet."
- Gopalkrishna Gandhi
One of my favorite columnists, he always says something very meaningful and provoking, always in a very smooth and subtle tone.

On Gender

"Better 500 now than 50000 later"
An advertisement for sex determination test. A whole psyche is captured in this one line. A major chunk of Indian still find it better to spend a little on determining the sex of the foetus now, than spend many times over as dowry later.
Interestingly, according to some survey conducted in June 2011, the most dangerous countries for women are -
1. Afghanistan
2. Democratic Republic of Congo
3. Pakistan
4. India
5. Somalia

On Herself

"I cannot afford to take a break from work for full recovery. I need the money and others would displace me. If I had someone to love me and take care of me, I would not be in this trade."
- Salma
She is a sex worker, who, according to a story published in The Hindu Sunday Magazine, earns her livelihood on the porous India-Bangladesh border. Here, she related her helplessness after having suffered injuries in her mouth and internal organs, courtesy a ruthless client.

On Fanaticism

"Zahid sharaab peene de masjid mein baith kar, ya aisi jagah bata de jahaan khuda na ho"
- Mirza Ghalib (Daag)
Fighting in the name of God is a sacrilege routinely committed in our pious land. If a man desecrates another's faith, can he ever call himself a believer?

On Nation Building

"If a country is to be corruption free and become a nation of beautiful minds, I strongly feel there are three key societal members who can make a difference. They are the father, the mother and the teacher."
- APJ Abdul Kalam
He has always worked on showing us the positive, but practical picture. At least two of the three roles quoted above I plan to adopt. My salute to these guardians of our young minds.

For all of us

"If I do not stand by my conscience, then who will?"
I do not know who said this, but he said it well, didn't he?

I have gotten my facts about the Independence Day right, thanks to a rebuke by my friend Neha. But it doesn't end here, it never can. Dream for yourself, dream for your country. As a basic request, if you cannot participate in her prosperity, please do not participate in activities which add blemish to her name.

Jai Hind

Fly high!


  1. Excellent Saumya. Take a bow. A must read for everybody this independence day.

    1. Do share it with your followers. Thanks for leaving feedback :)

  2. With all due respect, I personally believe patriotism is over-rated. However, a sense of responsibility towards fellow human beings is indispensable. Some of these quotes go beyond a mere nationalistic spirit, and i believe if the ideas embodied in them could be bored deep into the skulls of every citizen of this country, then we can hope to be salvaged from wallowing in self pity and the incessant bickering of what are not, and start focusing on what we are and what we can be!

    Jai Hind :)

    Best Regards
    Wrong Number

    P.S - allow me to be critical - this is a 'lazy' post (Shall elucidate in-person) :P I'm sure you'll have your reasons or choose to disagree. Would love to hear either responses :)

    1. Your criticism is dear to me. Very eager to hear the reasons. Whatsapp me!

      And, allow me to be appreciative, but the language of your comment is so refined, that it is intimidating. I hope I learn a few things from you in the time we spend together.

      Jai Hind!

      PS - Shun your laziness, sign in from your gmail account, and click on the follow button on my blog. Asap!

  3. Hi Saumyaji ,You personally didn't say, but you made lot of us think,think hard. Someone above said, it's lazy.I thought it's very crafty. I agree his/her view on patriotism but Independence day is less about patriotism and more about celebrating our political independence from external forces. Anyways enjoyed reading the blog. Happy Independence day

    1. Happy Independence Day to you too!
      Hope you had a good one :)

  4. Excellent blog again again... ATIHI DEVO BHAVA... Thats the thing we have been tought since childhood... So have revernce for all the guest to all who visit the India... However, you have shared all the superb quotes & your experience again i have learn something from this.:)
    thank you!!!


    1. If you learnt something, my purpose of writing this post has been solved. Keep learning, keep growing.

  5. One plagiarised creative line by me "ye blog hey saumya ka khilte hey gyaan ke phool yahan.. Mere desh ki dharti ugle saumya jese hire moti..."

    jay hind...:)

  6. Replies
    1. Thanks Jyoti! Lovely to hear from you after so long!

  7. Very well written Saumya!

    I thoroughly enjoyed it. Perhaps one of the finest posts that I read in indiblogger.

    1. Really? That is nice to hear, considering some amazing posts make their way to the indiblogger forum. Keep dropping by!

  8. I love some of those quotes myself. Some were quite new for me. Interesting and thought provoking all the same. I googled the last quote, the one on find out who said it. Among a search result of Bible, Merchant of Venice and Good reads, there was one result of your page too. Duniya goal hai. Hence proved. Again! haha..

    Keep the good work goin and hope you had a wonderful independence day!

    1. Arre wah! Why am I so late in reading this comment?! My blog just went a notch up in my own eyes :P

      Anyway, how are you? How is blogging coming around?

  9. I visited your blog after a long time and it was a treat to read this post. The quote by D. Subburao encapsulated inflation plaguing our country in the best way possible.
    Thank you for this post.

    1. I had a feeling that if you read it you will really like D.V. Subbarao's quote. Quite witty and apt. And such a treat Vrinda! You should read my blog more often :)

  10. Wonderful quotes Saumya.I will give number one to Gopalkrishna Gandhi's.

    1. Me too! In fact, it was Mr. Gandhi's quote that I posted on fb as an introduction to this post. Glad to find resonance.

      Do keep reading!

  11. One of your best yet, Saumya!!Kudos! Jai Hind!

  12. agree with Nirvana... awesome awesome post.

    1. You're sweet Roshan! Thanks for all the encouraging words :)

  13. Sometimes things happen that change your view in life. And then again sometimes things happen that reinforce your beliefs when you were doubting yourself in the world of cynicism. This is one of the Latter situations.

    You made me believe in what I was starting to doubt. Criticism only works if accompanied with an effort to make things better.


    1. I tweeted the exact same thing sometime back. The purpose of pointing out mistakes should solely be to make someone better, and not to embarrass someone. I wish more people understood that.

      I am glad I could expel some doubts from your mind. As a writer, that sounds like an achievement.

      Keep the faith girl!