Independence and all that.

61 years and counting! The nation that was never meant to be has managed to pull off a minor miracle (If we consider that we are among the few newly independent nations that have not gone under military rule, a major one ;) A nation with already stark contrasts which are growing all the time, and we have not yet, god forbid, seen the equivalent of a French Revolution. Credits and kudos.

On some issues however, we have seen increased dependence. Globalization has ensured that your daily rice can come from Vietnam or Mandya, your wheat from Australia or Haryana, your toilets from Bangalore Industrial area or Italy. We are increasingly dependent on everyone else for our needs. Economists tell us that this is A Good Thing, so leave it at that.

We don’t know where the Electricity company is, since someone else pays our bills for us (at a small commission, of course). We no longer know how to bargain, since prices are decided for us, too.

What with bombs dropping from the skies, we are dependent on our co-passengers in the bus not to kill us. If you are by some unfortunate turn of events a pedestrian, then you are dependent on everyone in vehicles to stay alive, regardless of their possessing bombs.

We are dependent on Robin Sharma and APJ Abdul Kalam for inspiration. We look upto (increasingly white American) comedians for laughter (which is a poor substitute for happiness). We need discotheque-pubs to unwind, shopping malls to relax, Wonder-La to drive adrenaline into our blood stream and Karan Johar (or this blog) to make us cry.

We need employers to give us money, and employment to give our life purpose. We need deadlines to keep us sharp and soap operas to keep us dumb. We need coffee to keep us awake and whisky to put us to sleep.

We need Sri Sri RaviShankar and Osho to fill spiritual voids, girl/boy friends to fill psychological ones, Orkut/Gmail to fill social ones and Times of India to fill mental ones.

We need schools to parent our children and old age homes to parent our parents. We then need Agony Aunt columns to parent ourselves. In chronological order, we need a financial consultant to do our finances, marriage consultant to get married, interior designer to choose our beds, and a legal consultant to keep the person who shares our bed in check.

We need college to get a degree, a degree to get a job, and smooth talking to retain it (hard work can usually help, but is not as fun!). We need classrooms to exercise our voices (and humor) and exams to exercise our eyes. We need teachers to teach us discipline and decency and prime seats in Cafe Coffee Day to unteach it.

We need security guards to feel safe, packaged drinking water to drink safe, the nearest chips packet to eat safe, and generator sets to work safe.

What exactly are we independent of ?


7 thoughts on “Independence and all that.”

  1. Well, ok.. so what exactly is your idea of independence? I mean what will be your perfect independent dream world like?

  2. Each point of dependency that you have described comes only if you have money. So each one of us have become overtly dependent on money. If the things weren’t to be so, other way out was interdependency. But the subject of Dependency,interdependency and independence has always confused me. What are the main reasons that have lead to this? Don’t tell me the mind to churn out business has caused all this. That would be too simple answer.

  3. hmmm..
    so is ur view of independence a collection of individuals who are super-human, super-genius, hermaphrodites; who produce what they want to consume with no communication or relation to the outer world which in this case is anyone other than him/her self? And yeah they should be able to start doing all the required stuff from the day they are born.. wow!!!!

    Or is it that you were just in the mood to reflect on something like this :)

    – Sajith

  4. @scott: a perfect independent dream world ? frightening prospect! :D The question at the end was not a lamentation, but rhetorical.

    @anon: quite a few of what I mentioned had no relation with money. Why it has happened ? easy, increased technical sophistication or more precisely, division of labour complemented by a lack of mental sophistication. you can call it ‘Another Brick In The Wall’ Syndrome ;)

    @sajith: I don’t really have a view on independence per se. humans are not super-anything, so we always come to depend on others. The whole point was to show that those who think economic or social well-being implies independence are missing quite a bit! Like someone once put it, not ‘I think therefore Iam’, but ‘You are, therefore Iam’. Also, lack of boy/girl friends does not imply one is a hermaphrodite, it merely implies one is a huge nerd ;)

  5. Oh ya..Perhaps I was little bit pre-occupied before I wrote that comment. But for the other question which you have answered I some how consider it has to be so simple. Because to expect technical sophistication and mental sophistication to complement each other, if not always, most of the time is probably greater task and as we have discussed it is always difficult to draw boundaries( One boundary is itself so much of noise; that too within India itself).
    The answers we look for through constant thinking or even try to understand through many who have shared their knowledge, I believe are somewhat incomplete. Because just like you had mentioned sometime back Gandhi ( and you had mentioned Kumarappa also i guess )perhaps was able to see at a micro level; because they were there in those situation and yielded themselves to those circumstances. I don’t I am making sense or not. Comment doesn’t mean it has to be the same way as that of Gandhi, but…

  6. Mistake in previous comment “But for the other question which you have answered I some how not consider it has to be so simple.”

  7. To quote the cliched quote: ‘with freedom comes responsibility’. Technical sophistication has enabled us to get free of many things we consider drudgery. But it obviously cannot tell us how to use that freedom well. Most, if not all, issues arise out of this for me.

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