Independence Day is round the corner and it is time to take stock of the changes we need to better our country, writes Neeti Sarkar

If there is one constant in our lives, it is change. But change always takes a fairly long to set in and the direction it takes is crucial. In anticipation of yet another Independence Day, MetroPlus asks a cross-section of professionalswhat changes they would like to see in their respective fields.

According to “Tere Bin Laden” director, Abhishek Sharma, “For a country that is blessed with amazing talent, we haven't made as big a mark as we could have. Cinema is the biggest representation of culture and what good is it if we don't dare to move beyond adaptations and remakes? Filmmakers should take that risk of churning out movies that do not necessarily have stars. Independent films should be given their due and we need to come up with an original name for the Hindi film industry. Bollywood is passé.”

Pop diva Sophie Choudry feels “It is really important that music directors, musicians and singers get their due and that a system of royalties is put in place. Having produced my own album, I know how difficult things are for those who want to make non-film albums. It is crippling the music industry.We need talent to thrive and all genres of music to be given a fair platform. Musician and writers abroad can survive for years off a hit song, thanks to royalties. We need the same to happen here. Most importantly, the Copyright Act should be seriously enforced to protect people's talent and creativity.”

On the other hand, city-based singer and owner of Bflat, Aarti Rao Shetty is more optimistic.

She says: “I'm actually witnessing the change I've always wanted to see in the music industry. India is full of talent and it's amazing to see what today's youngsters are doing with their lives. They're smarter, more focused and they seem to know exactly what they want. India's musical future is promising as we have talent that cares to express itself. And yes, these might be baby steps but greater success is just around the corner.”

Applauding the progress already achieved in the Indian fashion scenario, designer Michelle Salins states: “Some changes I would like to see include a ‘real' Couture Fashion Week. I believe the word ‘couture' must truly be given a lot more respect and relevance. Every designer cannot be a couture designer in India! Fashion Magazines must give more importance to designers from the South also.”

In a country best known for its cricket frenzy sportspersons wish other sports were given as much importance as cricket. India's top tennis star Rohan Bopanna says: “As a sportsperson, I'd like to see better infrastructure, support such as backing programs for eight to 10 years and observing results instead of just withdrawing support after seeing no tangible results in two years. Also, there is a dire need to have a support staff that is of high quality and that comprises highly trained and experienced individuals.”

Speaking of training and education, Santosh Kanavalli, Principal, The High Range School, Munnar, says : “Once the Foreign Educational Institutions Bill 2010 is passed, India will attract reputed foreign institutes and pave the way for cutting edge learning experiences.

“Certain changes that the Indian education system must witness include a shift from rote to skill based learning. The mindset of examinations and marks must go. Children must enjoy their schooling experiences without fear. Industry based and market oriented skills must be imparted alongside the main curriculum at the primary level.”

“In the field of science and technology encouragement must be given to budding scientists who seek to invent and innovate. Our sense of responsibility towards the environment is largely lacking and if we don't do something about it now, we might be a tad late. On the medical front, India has come a long way,” says Preetha Rajan, a zoology professor.

Need for stability

Founder-General Director of Yuvalok, an NGO, Sam Rajshekar expresses his concern that “despite celebrating 63 years of independence as a nation we still don't enjoy freedom from oppression and poverty. Socio-economic stability must be the prime goal that we should work towards. The government needs to analyze the situation at the grass-root level and must encourage and probably even work hand in hand with NGOs that are actually willing to reach out to those in need of help.”

MLA Krishna Byre Gowda believes “any change in the Indian political system will take place only when two conditions are fulfilled. First, more people need to be actively involved in politics, take up the challenge and be agents of change. Second, we need to take responsibility for everything that happens around us.

“The blame game needs to stop. Unfortunately, even our Constitution gives more importance to fundamental rights than to the fundamental duties of an Indian citizen. It's about time we learned to take a stand and be the change we expect to see.”

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