Where the head is held high...

As India celebrates its 69th Independence Day, MetroPlus asks some young achievers what makes them proud to be Indian and what is the change that they want to see in the country

Updated - March 29, 2016 03:15 pm IST

Published - August 14, 2015 05:09 pm IST - Thiruvananthapuram

Neeraj Madhav, actor

Neeraj Madhav, actor

They are young, they have dreams; they have peaks to conquer and miles to go. As the nation celebrates its 69th Independence Day, MetroPlus asks Gen Next what is it about the country that makes them hold their heads up without fear and what makes them hang their heads in shame.


Actor, 25

What I’m proud of: Quite a lot of things actually, beginning with our rich cultural legacy, most of which have largely remained intact despite modernisation and decline in patronage. I’m a trained chenda artiste and I know first hand how spectacular such art forms are and how much they need our support. Coming a close second is our food. I’m also proud of India’s vast and varied geography, wealth of natural resources and biodiversity. I don’t think one can see it all in one lifetime.

What I want to change: I’m disturbed by our lackadaisical approach to waste disposal. When are we going to learn that personal hygiene should extend to our environment too? Another thing that pains me is indiscriminate resource depletion thanks to indiscriminate construction. If we don’t stop, soon we’ll run out of water, sand, trees, land… Then what will we do?


Entrepreneurs, 26

What we are proud of: Our diversity in geography, people and languages and the colourful culture we have. There is a festive atmosphere that always seem to be there just below the surface of everyday life. The potential and capabilities of the land and the people, the strength, resilience and energy of its population even in poverty and the importance given to family relationships are also in the list.

What we’d like to change: Corruption. Also, the slow bureaucratic procedures have to be done away with. Uneducated and undeserving politicians should not be allowed to be in power. Also bring into force an upper age limit for politicians. The concept of dignity of labour has to be strengthened.


Singer – composer, 25

What I’m proud of: It’s cultural diversity. Due to the presence of multiple languages, religions, races and India’s openess to its non Indian residents, we get access to international culture. As an artist/musician it opens up horizons to a world of learning and discovery of scores of artistes.

What I would like to change: Education system. Kids should be given the tools to help them realise what they are good at and how they can make it work for them rather than just making them mug up useless data. I'm not saying everything you learn in school is unnecessary, 75 per cent is useful but the remaining 25 per cent should be devoted to teaching life skills and communication. Sports, music, art and theatre should be given importance.


Freelance photographer, 26

What I’m proud of: Unity in diversity. It is amazing to see how the language, culture, food, ethnicity and history change as you move a few hundred kilometres and reach the next state. Each state has the identity of a different country. Pristine forests, mountains, seas, backwaters, lakes and deserts, there’s nothing you cannot find here.

What I would like to change: The lack of importance given to the individual. The individual choices and freedom are limited by expectations and commitments. And there are issues such as poverty, women’s issues, political embarrassments… that need to be attended to.


Zumba instructor, 19

What I’m proud of: India’s unity in diversity. Our way of life, culture, languages…and the like make me so proud. I’m also blown away by people of India, especially those socially-aware, socially-motivated people who stand up for their beliefs and for the country.

What I would like to change: The education system. The present system is like a factory that produces robots. In every child there is a dream, a wish, which almost never comes to fruition because of familial, societal and peer pressure.


Student and dancer, 20

What I’m proud of: From the bindi I wear on my forehead to the magnificent Shiva Linga in the Thanjavur temple, our beautiful country should be praised for her cultural heritage.

What I would like to change: Poverty has to be reduced if not eliminated. Basic healthcare and education should be provided to all. Despite the large, flourishing middle class, the poor are getting poorer. Thousands of children are dying because of the lack of access to basic needs.

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