Wednesday, August 15, 2007

The RDB Generation Celebrates 60 Years of Independent India

Today is 15th August 2007. Since morning my phone has been beeping. Each time someone sends me an sms I am given a gentle electronic nudge. The first sms tells me "31 states (well, actually we have 28 states and 7 Union Territories), 1618 languages (there are 22 officially recognized languages when we last counted), 6400 castes (that could well be unless someone points me to a reliable source. Not to mention Varna वर्ण and Jati जाती distinctions), 6 major religions (Hindu, Muslim, Christian, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain - hey what about Parsis, Jews, B'ahais and may others I don't know of), 6 ethnic groups (Dravidian... Aryan? Is that what you are referring to?), 29 major festivals (well there is a site that lists 90 of them in alphabetical order) and 1 country. Proud to be an Indian. Happy Independence Day."

The newspapers are flashing statistics that tell us that per capita income has risen from Rs 255 in 1947 to being Rs29,382 (in 2007), Population has risen from being 300 million in 1947 to being 1.16 billion in 2007, Per capita power consumption has increased from 15.5 kwh in '47 to being 606kwh in '07 according to the Times of India. I can believe the last bit. Someone in my apartment complex has 38 light bulbs in the living room that turn up the temperature a notch above the 42 degrees celsius - approximately 107 Farenheit, in case you went into a tizzy trying to do that conversion. Not counting the electricity the ugly lava lamp is consuming that proves to be a humongous distraction while my host excuses himself to switch on the airconditioner for his two dogs that are panting to cope with the heat and humidity of Gurgaon.

That's pretty impressive. I am told that it is no longer a "Developing" country but a "transforming" one. That's like peeking while I am trying to change into a new pair of pants in the shop. You have to wait. So while you keep yourself busy and distracted with all the news clips of fat people worrying about obesity and debating fiercely whether the South Beach Diet helps you lose weight faster than the Atkins plan, there are scores of kids who remain malnourished.

Okay, we are a land of contradictions (see cell phone toting sadhu pic) and we are now a major power to reckon with. We have the power of Bollywood with us - the single largest source that can unite the country to speak one language better than what any political party has ever achieved. It has made Amitabh Bachchan and Shah Rukh Khan popular in the non Hindi speaking belt and takes the credit for getting Kamal Hassan and Rajnikanth to the Hindi speaking audience. Rahman along with Bharat Bala made it cool to be patriotic when they sang माँ तुझे सलाम Ma Tujhe Salaam. Bollywood appeals to us all. With a range of directors and actors who can talk to the youth and the Yahoo (Young At Heart, Old Otherwise) in the same breath, we need to leverage this medium to get the people involved and to take ownership of the changes that they wish to see in the country. Bollywood needs to make it cool for everyone to make a difference to the country.

It is the ability of the powers that be to ignite the youth power that will help us build momentum. Tech savvy, impatient and ready to support the cause that appeals to them, the Rang De Basanti or RDB generation is ready to play their part in escorting the country to the centre stage of the world. They took to the streets and brought the Jessica Lall murder case to be reopened after the courts had declared it to be closed and settled - leaving the guilty to go scot free. The RDB Gen has the power and their time is now. They now need to take the other RDB Generation (for whom RDB stands for RD Burman) and take India through the next decades so that we all live to see the Incredible India of our dreams.


Anonymous said...

hi i just want to say that m.b.a left a profound effect on me,i am forever grateful to abhijit sir(i am a devoted doors fan he he).the book is not ur average joe book its so much more,here's wishing you the best fot the sequel,capre diem!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

ok, this is probably not the place for this, but if someone had to contact your HR dept, how would one go about it?

(lovely pic of the flag btw....also hoping that flattery will get me an answer!)

Abhijit Bhaduri said...

Flattery (of the flag)always works. Mail me at