The celebration of Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav on 15 August 2022 is truly a proud moment for us. Prime Minister Narendra Modi said: “Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav means elixir of energy of independence, elixir of inspirations of the warriors of freedom struggle, elixir of new ideas and pledges, and elixir of Aatmanirbharta. Therefore, this Mahotsav is a festival of awakening of the nation; a festival of fulfilling the dream of good governance; and the festival of global peace and development.”
We took a written interview with students across the country who expressed their views about the nation.
Ruju Aporva Shah, a student of Carmel School, Malad, Mumbai, says: “India today can’t disappoint me. It has given me an education, a beautiful environment, a wonderful society, the chance to live in the city of dreams and most of all, a supportive family. However, I do get worried about deforestation, anti-social activities, corruption, poverty, expensive education, excessive number of factories, etc. We need to take collective steps to wipe out such unwanted activities from our nation.”
Diya Jannath, a student of Jyothi Nivas Public School, Aluva, Kerala, states that if she is given the power to govern this country her priorities would be: “To promote unity, facilitate peace and spread love among all Indians. I will respect the beliefs, values and practices of all communities and make sure that everyone gets equal opportunities.”
Swarup Suresh Chavan, a student of Kamalnayan Bajaj School, Chinchwad, Pune, has listed the following five priorities to make India a better nation: 1) Form policies to remove caste system and the discrimination of people on the basis of class, caste, race, gender, religion, etc. 2) To ensure no dearth of experienced teachers and infrastructural facilities in schools. 3) Ensure the safety and proper health care of women. In this way, the female mortality rate can be reduced, and the sex ratio can be improved. 4) Address sanitation and hygiene issues. By keeping our country clean we can avoid many health problems. 5) Eradicate poverty by generating employment opportunities for poor people, ensuring at least two square meals a day.
Shreya Chakraborty, a student of St Pauls College, Bengaluru, has some innovative suggestions to make India a better place: “In India, as a fast-growing and large democracy, human capital is the driving force behind our future growth. India must significantly invest in healthcare and education to leverage its demographic dividend. Ayushman Bharat is a big step towards easing the healthcare burden on poor households. But to improve health outcomes, equal emphasis must be placed on the schemes of other objectives — of improving primary health infrastructure at local levels. Scaling up this initiative would require expanding and strengthening primary health infrastructure, enforcing quality standards and conducting periodic audits.”
Shainillah Jabbar Mansuri, a student of Duruelo Convent School, Bandra, Mumbai, has her role cut out if she is given the power to make changes: “At first, I would form policies to remove the caste system. Thus, discrimination of people on the basis of caste, class, gender and religion can be eliminated from our society. Then I would give priority to sanitisation issues. We can reduce health problems only by keeping our environment clean.”
Riya S. Timothy, a student of St Francis de Sales School, Nallasopara, Maharashtra, has kept education as her priority: “I would definitely make considerable changes in our education system and make education not only quantitative but also qualitative, thereby focusing on the integral development of a child. I would try to introduce new employment schemes even for illiterate people so that they can earn their livelihood.”
The youth of India have spoken. They represent a force that is restless but hopeful, disturbed yet innovative, unhappy but determined. Let these young minds join forces to create an India which is more harmonious, democratic and just, where development is the key word and where everyone will be able to live in peace, harmony and fraternity. Happy Birthday to India@75!
Joe Eruppakkatt, a former editor for ST PAULS Publications and The Teenager Today, has been actively involved in the field of print media in India, the U.S., Great Britain and Nigeria. He is currently working for ST PAULS, New Delhi.