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Can we please change India’s National Pledge?

At a time when people are trying to reaffirm their committment towards creating a safer environment for everyone, especially women and children, via initiatives like the excellent #SafeCityPledge project on Twitter, I am reminded of India’s National Pledge. It’s a short five-sentence pledge that I remember reciting out aloud every single day of my school life. It goes like this…

India is my country and all Indians are my brothers and sisters.

I love my country and I am proud of its rich and varied heritage.

I shall always strive to be worthy of it.

I shall give my parents, teachers and all elders respect and treat everyone with courtesy.

To my country and my people, I pledge my devotion. In their well-being and prosperity alone, lies my happiness.

While most of the pledge devotes itself to the glory of the nation and it’s people, I am drawn to one particular sentence…

I shall give my parents, teachers and all elders respect and treat everyone with courtesy.

This line talks about giving respect to parents, teachers and all elders, something that every “good” boy or girl is expected to do. But in my opinion, much more important than respecting elders is respecting every single individual. Elders deserve respect, but so does everyone around us, be it your spouse, or your sibling, or your driver, or your domestic help, or the courier guy, or your nephew/niece, or the shopkeeper, or the street urchin… in short, everyone. Every single person.

Equality is just an extension of respect.

So, maybe it is time to tweak the line from the National pledge to say,

I shall give all Indians respect and treat everyone with courtesy.

Just a small change, a baby-step, but one that can hopefully make home in the minds of the kids who recite the pledge every day.

January 23, 2013   1 Comment

MS Dhoni, SuperHero

Players like Sachin Tendulkar are Gods. Anything they do, good or bad, is ascribed to their divinity and accepted as gospel by their followers. Most other players are mortals, eking out an existence based on hard work supplemented by some ability.

Then there are SuperHeros, who love putting themselves on the line every single time. They triumph when lesser mortals have fallen. They prefer the buzz of the fight than the glamour of the flashbulbs.

MS Dhoni, SuperHero

But the SuperHeroes are cursed unto eternity, to be doubted when they do good and to be pilloried when they fail. However, they do not mind the punches. When a barrage brings them down, the only thing that they want to do is to sit up, wipe the blood off their lips and the sweat off their brow and look up at the adversity with a smile.

The Indian cricket fans should be thankful that their team is led by one.

MS Dhoni, SuperHero.


Photo credit: Sevi_Lwa / Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND

January 15, 2013   1 Comment

The Defence Policy

Sir Humphrey Appleby: Bernard, what is the purpose of our defence policy?
Bernard Woolley: To defend Britain.
Sir Humphrey Appleby: No, Bernard. It is to make people believe Britain is defended.
Bernard Woolley: The Russians?
Sir Humphrey Appleby: Not the Russians, the British! The Russians know it’s not.
- Yes, Prime Minister (S01E02)

Pretty much sums up the Indian defence policy too.

The problem, today, is that even the Indians know it’s not defended. Of course, this state of affairs has very little to do with our defence forces and almost everything to do with the politicians and their politics.

Do read this old post of mine to see how Indian government has reacted to extreme Pakistani provocation in the past (and the real reason for reacting the way it did).

January 9, 2013   3 Comments

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