Pooja Poddar Marwah

Is India really shining?

Gadgets and gizmos, missions to learn about the world beyond our own geographical lines, treaties, pacts and more. India is shining.. but is it really?

The AQI in Delhi this past weekend has deemed it unfit for humans, the farmers in Punjab have lit over 74000 stubble fires in protest of the farm bills, Arnab Goswami is seeking civil liberty from the Courts of law, a man has been jailed for daring to tweet against our leader.. the children of a small village on the Indo Pak border have to climb a treacherous mountain just so they can have internet access to study!

Yes, India is shining… but for whom?

Covid hasn’t just miraculously disappeared anywhere, people are still getting infected and the virus is on its prowl. There is a lot that needs to be done and as we near the 72nd Republic day of India, how much have we achieved as a nation?

Most of the country is battling illiteracy and basic hygiene facilities. Much of it is facing acute electricity and internet connectivity woes. The most important issue that is staring us right in the face is that of our Country’s future – our children.

The girls of the village of Latoo, Kargil have no means to trek up a mountain to be able to study, nor do the elders allow them to make the difficult journey. The boys of the class trudge along each day and try and assimilate as much as they can comprehend through broken internet transmissions and then come down the mountain at dusk and hand over the day’s study material to the girls in their class. Then with the help of a battery operated light or a local made torch, they sit in their dimly lit home and try to understand the lessons taught in class.

Lacking basic infrastructure, this village was never in the limelight for anything, despite being only 19 kms away from the District HQ. With nation wide lockdown being the norm, the distressed children literally went from street to street in search of some sign of the internet.. and finally found it 2 kms away atop the Uthalo mountain. “Internet on Uthalo is like a “water on Mars” discovery for students of Latoo.  Every morning, students are seen climbing Uthalo with their bags, lunch boxes, mobile phones and hope.”

With winter making its appearance, the snow covered mountain is going to make it virtually impossible for the children to climb up and study..

So, in the end, we may be a nation that prides itself on its secular, sovereign, democratic republican nature.. but we cannot say that India is shining for where is the glow, if not in our children’s eyes!

Education is a birth right for every child. If as a country, we cannot arm our future with knowledge, then what good is the technology driven world going to do for them? How will they experience the joys of ISRO’s manned mission to Mars if they don’t even know what the abbreviation stands for?

In our Preamble, we the people of India made a resolve.. It is time now to stand up and respect that resolve.. Are we going to give our children a world of hope, dreams and possibilities… or will it just be an endless struggle for them to survive?

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