Thursday, August 5, 2010

Mera Bharat Mahan !!!

'Ye desh hai vir jawaanon kaa, albelon kaa mastaanon kaa Is desh kaa yaaron Hoye!! Is desh kaa yaaron kyaa kahanaa, Ye desh hai duniyaa kaa gahanaa'.

BlogAdda, in its latest contest for Bloggers, “Proud to be an Indian” (http://blog.blogadda.com/2010/08/04/mera-bharat-mahan-india-shining-proud), asks us if we can still rightly sing this passion-inspiring composition of 1957. Standing at the threshold of our 64th year of Independence, does this song still evoke the same patriotic feeling? Do we still feel - 'Mera Bharat Mahan'?

In order to answer their questions, we need to first ponder over another thought: Are we really independent yet? How much freedom do we have…


As Citizens of India?
  • We are still fighting among ourselves (North Indians Vs. South Indians, Manoos Vs. Biharis)
  • Passports, IT Refunds, or any other work from a government department, still requires payment of adequate bribes first.
  • Judiciary system is practically non-existent in the country!
  • Inter-caste/inter-religion marriages are still a taboo in most sections of our country.

As females of India?
  • Female infanticide is still being practiced, even by well-educated families.
  • We are still forbidden to enter any places of worship during our menstrual periods. In fact, a lot of families still forbid us to enter our own kitchen during those days… treating us like some sort of untouchables!

  • Domestic responsibilities are still imposed on us from a very young age. For example, if guests come over, parents will still ask their daughters to bring water /make tea for them, even if they have a son who is elder than her, or even if she is studying for her Math test the next day and he is just playing NFS on his PC!

  • Weaker sections of the society (such as our domestic help) still send only the male children to school, while the girls either take care of the house or start working at a very early age with their mothers.
    Picture Credit: National Geographic


As children in India?
  • Don’t really need to say much on this topic, as Aamir Khan has already covered a lot in his recent movies – Taare Zameen Par and 3 Idiots. But, the current education system in India is actually stifling the creativity of children, by laying so much stress on high marks. As a friend rightly said long ago – "Indians are busy churning out a bunch of left-brainers"!


As just a human being in India?
  • The peer pressure, the rat race, the need-to-buy-a-plasma-TV-because-XYZ-also-has-one!
  • The inhumanly long working hours in MNCs, the 6-day work culture!
  • The negativity-spreading advertising (you can’t get a job if you aren’t fair!)


Apparently, we still don't have much freedom! We are still very much bound by the chains of our own social systems and our regressive mindsets!


Picture Credit: miss_teerious


But, Change Is Happening!

Thankfully though, the Wheels of Change are in motion. Slowly, but, surely, we Indians are heading towards growth and development.

  • Online filing of Income Tax returns
  • Online registration of real estate properties and various other online services
  • CCTV coverage of Bengaluru for Traffic Control
  • Various women & child welfare programs of the government, such as “Anganwadi
  • TV shows like SaReGaMaPa, Dance India Dance, and India’s Got Talent, which promote creative professions.

  • Healthier advertising, like Surf Excel’s “Daag achche hain” campaign, promoting more humanitarian aspects of sharing and bonding!

  • And at an individual level, we see more and more Indians speaking up for their rights now, through various mediums on the internet, including blogging.

  • Females constitute a much larger percentage of the Indian Workforce now than say just ten years ago.

  • Entrepreneurs are coming up, even young ones in the age group of 16-25.

All these are just a few of the countless small steps taken towards the right direction.


Picture Credit: penguincakes


How to Be a Change Maker?

Coming back to the song now...

Yes, this nation is still the home of powerful youth, slightly eccentric and definitely weird! But, we need to channel our combined strength towards causes more worthwhile than getting our National Flag in a virtual farm!

In our own small ways, we all can be a change maker and lead India towards a future as glorious as its past!

By speaking up for ourselves, speaking up against wrong, by exploring and expressing our creativity, and encouraging others to do the same, and by letting everyone, especially kids, be who they really are, we can all pave the way towards a truly independent India!

So that one day in the future, we can say it aloud, with full conviction…

Mera Bharat Mahan”!


Each one of us is special…
Each one of us is meant to shine…
And the day we make that happen,
We’ll see India shining proud!


ChangeMakers

Be a Change Maker @ Kadzilla's Lounge

I have taken one step forward towards creating this reality. Now it’s your turn.


(Continued below sponsored content)


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25 comments:

Rajlakshmi said...

thats well said... Loved how u have covered each topic... from positive to negatives... well written. good luck :)

Kaddu said...

Thanks Rajlaksmi! :D

I'd been procrastinating on this post for quite some time now. And then BlogAdda's contest gave me a common thread to link up all these issues.

Did u check the eZine "Kadzilla's Lounge"? Would love to have u share something there. :)

agent green glass said...

http://www.facebook.com/notes/sapna-bhavnani/project-unite/408464264670

a friend started this. check it out. we're usually to self conscious about being patriotic, i like the fact that she tarted this. and u write this post : ) you go girl.

Kaddu said...

Thanks AGG. I just chked out her post... awesome project! Will be waiting for her video now! :D

Chk out the ezine also. I'm sure u'll find a lot of sections where you can share some of your work. Would love to have you on board! :D

Unruly Rebel said...

Great post ! all of it holds SO true & is completely relatable...nice way of expressing all sides of coin(dey were more den 2)... :D

Shobhit said...

Now... There you gave me something to finish up a few of my pending posts !

By the way, I still continue to bring water/refreshments/tea (not making tea, though, something which I'll never learn to do !!! :D) to guests whenever I'm at home even at my age !

Does that add to the changes happenning for the good in India ?? ;) :P

Kaddu said...

@ Namit: Thanks pal :D
Do chk out the ezine also!

Kaddu said...

Shobhit: You bring the refreshments etc only 'coz u r both brothers, no sister! :D

Btw, I finally managed to make decent tea using Taj Mahal tea bags! :p

ZB said...

Loved this....I am a "mera bharat mahan" person but i do look at all the calls for patriotism and 'proud to be Indian' thing with a mixed feeling....

We are not yet there where we could feel proud to be an Indian. Proud? for what? for all the poverty, corruption, tooth& Nail for caste & religion?

But we are there. But it hurts to see ourselves competing with snails.

We still dont have the balls to come out and start a business. We havent created a brand which could compete with the ones we see advertised in London or Paris. We have No Sansung or LG, Just a Tata or a Wipro? We still like the comfort of an AC office. I wish i succeed as an Entrepreneur soon one day.

Nice post, summed up pretty much what most Indians feel.

Kaddu said...

Thanks ZB. I think maybe if we stop feeling bad about NOT being a part of the developed world yet, and instead, accept it with grace that we still hv a long way to go, then maybe we'll look forward to it as a welcome destination, rather than with resentment (???) As they say, acceptance of shortcomings is the first prerequisite for any change.

Sharad K said...

hmmm... SWEET blog..nicely written..but the "CHANGE" that you suggested..are they worthy enough to proudly say.."MERA BHAARAT MAHAAN"..in a place where corruption is soaring like anything..poor are suffering..farmers are ranting..and hey..trust me..there is noone who listens to what they say..their voices go unheard..

CONDITION OF WOMEN..well I would rather not say anything regarding that..I just finished an article regarding honor killing..(I am not discussing other things..coz otherwise my comment will exceed your blog size)!!..

and about more and more INDIANS speaking up..well, how many of those INDIANS are the sufferers..and most importantly..what the hell we can do by speaking up..when administration has deaf ears..!!..well I want to proudly say it..but..

Kaddu said...

Hi Sharad! Thanks for dropping in! :D

And yes, CHANGE comes from within. Every drop makes a difference. And if we don't BELIEVE in our glorious nation, then we'll never really strive to create the reality we believe in.

For example, if we don't believe in our ability to be rich, we can never possibly be rich. Vision is important, then comes the action.

And we are all suffering currently, aren't we? You, me, so many other bloggers who voiced their views in this contest. The 1857 revolt was started by just voice. ONE voice is powerful. And we bloggers have like thousands of voices. :D

A Restless Mind With A Sensitive Heart! said...

Hey Kaddu! great thought, very well put across consolidating major issues.

I would add that Govt's mid day meal scheme, right for education ie free education till i think primary level and certain property rights for women are favourable step.

Also, India has now the Right to Information, that has changed the way govt works. now they are more accountable. so we are on the right path!

All the very best for the contest!

RESTLESS

Kaddu said...

@ Restless: Oh yes, I totally forgot to mention those schemes. And they are also giving free bicycles to female students here, don't know if it's national level or just state level. But it has started working in some areas. In fact, we recently got to hear from the staff of my uncle's shop - even the children are refusing to go to work now! They prefer going to school instead!

Shrikrishna... said...

If 'I' of an Individual becomes 'I' of India we can bring change

This is what every Indian should realize & work on the Goal to make every Indian Happy...

Let us bring a change..

Jai Hind!!!

Kaddu said...

Very nicely put Shrikrishna. :)

Jai Hind!!!

Sadiya Merchant said...

hey! nicely written post but i disagree wid d 'bribe for IT refund' part. i've bn in the Income tax field fr 4 yrs now and feel wat u sed is factually incorrect :(

Kaddu said...

Hi Sadiya! Thanks for dropping by!
And about the bribe part, well I have factual data to support my claim. But obviously, this isn't the right place to disclose it.
As per my knowledge (and this has been confirmed by a couple of Chartered Accountants, and a few other people who work in the said IT dept here) the official rates are 10% of the amount of refund claimed. But if due to your bad luck or some other unforeseen incident (e.g. the relocation of the IT office in your city, in which case all the files will be misplaced and of course, you'll be asked to bear the penalty!) you can end up paying as much as 25%, even 50% of the amount of refund claimed!
A few years ago, this rate was a flat Rs. 5,000 per file for personal returns. Even if you had a refund of just like to claim. Thankfully, with online systems now, this rate has at least gone down to 10%!

Kaddu said...

@Sadiya: A typo - "Even if you had a refund of just like 6,000 to claim."

Sadiya Merchant said...

okies...i still disagree and here's why (Warning- this is going to tk a while)
-
1- As according to the law (u/s. 244A of IT Act if you wish to refer), you do not even NEED to 'claim' refund on ur return (filing ur return on or before due date itself suffices).

2- The refund due is directed to u by d dept. thru speed post in a span of abt 4 months, failing which u need to send a follow up letter (just a letter, no money mind u)

3- All refund cases are attended to latest 12 months from the date of refund falling due (u cn refer to written statement by FM of State- Tamil Nadu to Parliament on 9 Mar'10)...dats the Statutory Time Limit. Not a single case to my knowledge of over 200* 4yrs is yet to recieve refund.

4- (and the last...Thnk God)- The instance ur pointing to (as in a bribe) is only in case where the return itself wasn't filed on time (taxpayer's fault) or in case the taxpayer wishes to speed up the refund process. The govt even pays 0.5% interest p.m fr delay beyond 6 months. Its us who cant wait fr a yr or less.... so pls dont make it look like its the system's/govt's fault. I know the govt is wrong on many counts but u need to giv credit whr its due.

If there is any odr reason fr bribe as pertains to refund and u r in d rite (no reassessment applies), i reckon u file an appeal (more so since the post itself is abt being a responsible indian).
Yes i'm done nw :)

Kaddu said...

Hello again Sadiya. Thanks for taking the time out to write such a detailed reply. I honestly do appreciate it. But before I reply to your points, I would like to refer you to a previous post here, in which I have mentioned about this very department: http://mysterious-kaddu.blogspot.com/2007/07/corruption-in-india.html

As you'll know from that post, we are aware of the last date of filing our returns. Regarding the refunds pending for 3 years, as mentioned in that post... we in fact had to pay twice for 2 of those files. Once originally at the old rate of 5,000 per file (and both returns had been submitted on time), and then again after 3 years, when nothing seemed to be happening of it, even after re-submitting copies of already filed & stamped returns, with required applications! The second time was at the rate of 2,500 per file though. We eventually got the refunds, but without any interest.

Oh and btw, the new returns that I've mentioned in that post ("We are about to file the Returns for one more year now... July 31st being the last day to do so")... we still haven't got that refund. You can check the year from the date of that post, and you can calculate how long it has been overdue.

So regarding your points 1, 2 & 3 - I'm sure the systems are there, but not many in this department follow them obviously. Oh btw, the refund that we are still waiting for, we only had to pay 10% of the amount due... so far, I mean... considering the fact that we still haven't got the money! :D

Regarding your point no. 4, well it should be clear by now that they were timely filings and 3 years is beyond the 12 months stipulated time. Oh and just to add something more... 'coz I know it's going to cross your mind, we (my family members) just have interest income and salary income, both elements where TDS is applicable. Putting it very bluntly, purely "white money"! :D

And yes, I will definitely give credit where it is due, WHEN it gets due.

Sadiya Merchant said...

rite! read that post and read this comment (lady, this is taking up most of my day!...its fun though)....yeah so after all dat wat do i say?
Lol! to think i was such a fool n show so much confidence in my govt!!! Aaah! I'm honestly surprised this happens! happened to u! Blah! m a picture of self pity nw.
neway to set things rite, (cut the laws...they dint wrk fr u)....so i think frst of all, wat u ought to know is.....THAT'S NOT HOW YOU BRIBE! bribing is an art (perfected by us mortal tax ppl fr reassessments.... u cn put d whole 'b a responsible indian' stuff to trash now...buhoo!) ...will fill u in on d technique by d end of today :) *boss glaring*

Kaddu said...

Hey Sadiya, sorry couldn't reply to this yesterday, got caught up in stuff.

Actually, the thing is that change is happening in our country, but at a slow speed. And Income Tax & Judiciary System, these are 2 very powerful departments, that can really make life hell for you if you get on their wrong side!

Judiciary System... well don't know when any suitable reforms will happen to that, but yes - changes in the slab rates and online filing etc is making life much easier now for small tax payers. Plus, there was the form 15G, which we did not know about earlier, so were having unnecessary TDS which later accrued up as refund! Now life is cool - we just don't have any tax refunds to bother about. :D :p

Hey do check out the eZine for Indians: http://lounge.kadzilla.com.
Perhaps you could do some short series on our IT Laws, as applicable to personal returns (especially the heads salary & other sources) that might create more awareness about it in the general public. Also, the various sections in which we can claim exemptions/rebates etc. Or any tips regarding tax saving schemes. Would really be useful, 'coz majority of the general public has no clue about all these things.

Sadiya said...

rito. will look it up n get baq to u :)

Kaddu said...

Cool! :D

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