Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Faces of India

Mr. AP Sharma didn’t let his voice go low ever, even when his hands were busy in labeling the plant cell organelle. He was discussing the functioning of each component of cell in his biology class.

“Students! Studies about cells enriched gradually, with every upcoming small development. And those developments resulted due to talented foreign scientists”, the teacher went on.

“1665, Robert Hooke, first discovered the cell. 1676, Anton van Leeuwenhoek, provided further evidence of cells. 1838, the German biologists Schleiden and Schwann advanced the idea that all organisms are made of cells. 1859, German physician and biologist Rudolph Vichow stated that all cells divide and that is how new cells are made.”

“How boring the class is. And how arrogant Sharma sir have become; he never remarked the ‘most’ important contribution ever made, which an ‘Indian’ had given”; a student in the class conversed in his mind, stressing on several words. Ankush, his name was. He posited in his mind, “Jagadish Chandra Bose, an Indian scientist said that plants have life; and this was the most important contribution. And what about Aryabhatta? He gave us the zero; and using that only you calculated the cell division rate”.

“I feel pity for you Sharma sir; you have lost love for your nation”.

Ankush was a bright, and surely a sentimental student of eighth standard. He was deeply influenced by the lecture that Ravikant sir gave in his class yesterday. Mr Ravikant, a very impressive personality, used to take Physical Health Education classes. He often discussed various topics in his class apart from the main course. Mr Ravikant had discussed about the faces India has; about the changes India underwent. He is a nice speaker. He can impress his audience quite easily. And so was the effect on Ankush. Mr Ravikant had asked students to come prepared for a discussion in his next class. “The topic shall be India, and the year 2012”, Mr Ravikant had clarified.

“Mitochondria provides the energy a cell needs to move, divide, produce secretory products, contract……”, Mr Sharma continued in his class. But Ankush was somewhere else, by his mind. He was thinking what should be the issue which he would be exploring, in Ravikant sir’s class. He had turned patriot recently. And his teacher’s latest speech had glorified his patriotism. And so reached his curiosity high.

Bio class ended with no gain for Ankush. Other periods came and ended the same way. In the last period came Mr Ravikant. The tired students were before his eyes; martyrs of seven period long school day. The last period, and it will be over soon, students thought in their minds. But the teacher set their dying interest ablaze. No doubt, he is a distinguished speaker, but can also energize people out from their despair. He is a sort of motivator, path finder and an understanding guardian to children. With a dose of his regular santa banta jokes, he started his class.

“Let’s start our unfinished conversation. Did you remember what we talked about yesterday?”
“Yes Sir! You told us about India, Vibrant India and various faces our India has”, replied Suresh.
“And what does faces of India imply?” Mr Ravikant questioned him back.
Humming Suresh tried to recollect broken pieces from the faint memory of his about the last class.
“The people”?
“Yes Sir! The people. The people of India”, smiling Suresh tried to cease his false smile.
Asking him to sit and concentrate, Mr Ravikant started, and the best speech followed. Ankush kept his ears and mind at alert.

“Yes, the people. Any country is known from the people who live there. A country’s status is portrayed from the outlook of its people. I haven’t counted, but India has a huge number of faces who enhance the beauty of India, and add to adoration for their mother land. Beautiful India; and it’s beautiful because of us; because of the purity in culture and demeanor we have; because of the perpetual beauty we have. Be him a scientist or a rickshaw wallah; if they work honestly, they make our nation beautiful”.

Meanwhile Shreya became happy. It got confirmed that she is really beautiful; she is an Indian and India is beautiful.

“Look children, you all know about the vast and diverse spread out of land in India; and so are its people. A mosaic of faiths, cultures, customs and languages exist here and they blend to form a harmonious whole. And we, we the people, have the responsibility to lead this further; to keep the mosaic integrated and clean; to make upcoming generations aware of what we had, is what we have; to show them that the tide of time hasn’t snatched away our culture, our demeanor from us”.

Students were keenly listening. Pin drop silence was maintained, without the use of duster as hammer on the desk. Ankush was mesmerized the whole time, and Shreya had stopped being curious about her nail polish; was soaked with attention for the class, for the first time.

“We are in the age of Google and Wikipedia. With a single search you can know about India as a treasury of art, architecture; philosophy, classical dances and music. About the monuments, the mesmerizing Taj, the eternal Ganges, the Thar desert, the mighty Himalayas, tropical rainforests, the Cape where the waters of three seas mingle…the rich fauna-snakes, peacocks, Royal Bengal Tiger, lions...and many more. But I wanted to convey a message to you all; a message whose acceptance by you is very much important”.

“And what is that sir?”, asked Ankush.

“You must have seen Anna Hazare and his team on television. Anna Hazare, a follower of Baapu, on the paths of ahimsa, has started a campaign to exert pressure on the Indian government to enact a stringent anti-corruption law, to deal with corruption in public places.

Corruption! It has come into existence like a volcanic eruption. And do you know how evil is its suction”?

“Yes sir. You need to give bribe to officials to get your work done”, suggested Ankush.

“You are right”, replied Mr Ravikant. “And not just that, the effect of corruption has many dimensions related to political, economic, social and environmental effects. But how has this corruption come into existence? It starts with greed at a small level. And with increasing demands, greed increases and so does the scale of corruption. And now it’s everywhere. 

Is it what the faces of India imply now? The demeanor we talked about earlier, the purity in culture; were they false? A corrupt soul we are carrying within us now and singing the praises of works Baapu did; Sukhdev, Rajguru and Bhagat Singh did. Try to understand what I mean and you will feel pity to recall those virtuous names. Faces of India are changing; our soul is getting corrupt and in form of a disease it has resulted into an epidemic".

The bell rang, and the school was over. But no one in the class moved. They were still stuck to what was being said.

“But the tale not ends here children. No country is perfect. No person is perfect. Again it’s us who can bring the change. People like Anna Hazare and his team are the best examples. But they can’t work alone. They need our support. And we must contribute our best. And every contribution starts in small packets. If you want to end corruption, try to be honest with yourself first. Work for the people at next”.

“School will be off during these two days. So you will be coming to school the next week now (smiling). But children! Do remember one thing; try to work for the people. You are the next upcoming faces of India, who will bring about a change in our society, change to our country; and you must change India into excellence. Stay away from greed.

And never change your soul into an undigested bit of beef, a blot of mustard, a crumb of cheese, a fragment of an underdone potato….Bah….Humbug!”

[Everybody Laughing]

Happy Independence Day

This post was written for We Have A Story. Sharing it here, on my own site after a long time...


  1. India has morphed onto a country which is very far with what our ancestors imagined & wished. This corruption is ending to the wedge which needs to go through some more stringent & practical measures to gain the glory again.

  2. We are good in forgetting what is done by our own countrymen. Hope you all acknowledge it and become a better nation with high morals.

    Great narration Anshul!

  3. The last lines reminds me of he famous character of Ebenezer Scrooge, a miser and a severely selfish fellow. A nice way of comparing the present countrymen with the character of Scrooge. It carries a sarcasm as well as a deep logic behind the comparison. I think of the ways in which I can help my nation to break through the strands of corruption. I feel that everyone should bring changes at their personal levels which would help every soul to uplift itself up to a standard of truthfulness and the youth to design a new corruption free India full of possibilities.

  4. our "chalta hai" attitude is always responsible for what we are today and unless this changes nothing is going to change.....:(

    very well written article Anshul.

  5. On the positive frame of things…
    You got different type of posts for the readers…

  6. nice one indeed... so smoothly you have depicted the current scenario which is quite impressive...
    very nice... keep writing on such topics as it has its own taste...

  7. Remarkable issues here. I’m very satisfied to peer your article. Thank you so much and I am having a look forward to touch you. Will you please drop me a mail?