Navi Mumbai: Our 74th Independence Day is certainly to be celebrated amidst the challenges of a relentless pandemic, global recession and a very hostile neighbour.

We as a nation confronted the harshest colonialism tyranny and also inherited the benefits of a proven democratic administration from our then British masters. India is today riding the wave of glory with some people of Indian origin at the helm of administrative, corporate and technological affairs in the developed world. The latest being Kamala Harris, the democratic candidate for the vice presidency in the forthcoming November 3 elections in the United States of America, later this year. Britain, today boasts of having 15 PIOs elected to parliament with Priti Sushil Patel being the Secretary of State for the Home department and Rishi Sunak as Chancellor of the Exchequer.

Several PIOs are leaders in Australia, Canada, Fiji, Guyana, Ireland, Jamaica, Kenya, Malaysia, Mauritius, Netherlands, New Zealand, Portugal, Singapore, South Africa, Suriname, Switzerland, Tanzania, Trinidad and Tobago, United Kingdom and the United States of America.

The leading PIOs as Chief Executive Officers around the globe include, Sunder Pichai of Alphabet and Google, Satya Nadella of Microsoft, Sanjay Mehrotra of Micron Technology, Rajeev Suri of Nokia, Ajaypal Singh Banga of Mastercard, Nikesh Arora of Palo Alto Networks, Sandeep Nathrani of WeWork all make us proud and inspire us.

This day we must remember the great freedom fighters who laid down their lives or made huge sacrifices for the motherland and for us to grow and progress in this freedom.

We owe a huge sense of responsibility to those great sons and daughters to preserve this freedom for the nation to progress and prosper.

A parallel virus is haunting our citizens, in the pandemic situation, where doctors are allowed to keep the line of treatment a secret and charge fees without mentioning how much was spent and for what. Should citizens be subjected to such organized violation of basic freedom? Inflated electric bills are sent to consumers on the excuse of a lockdown, by illegally jacking up costs on various counts, when people are incapacitated to question. The conspiring authorities are not the least ashamed or afraid of the consequence of conspiring against the consumers.

Freedom is sacred. But not the freedom to cheat and indulge in corruption and criminal conspiracy and opportunism. We must defend this freedom as a sacred duty, and it is not only about the right to pursue our way of life and vocation in a safe and secure environment with equal opportunities, but also the right to freedom from the vagaries of climate change caused by untold destruction of greens, encroachment of water bodies, illegal and uncontrolled mining, unscientific dumping of solid waste and threatening the sustenance of flora and fauna.

The freedom to education should be equal for all to prevent discrimination and divide among citizens. Technology should be accessible to all if our farmers and farms are to be made more productive and every citizen has the resource to become ‘Atma-nirbhar’ – self-reliant.

Directing scientific temper and research for innovative initiatives like Digital India and Skills development should be the mantra for a rapidly surging nation to global leadership in several spheres as we march to the 75th year of our Independence in 2021.

Independence Day Greetings to every citizen and an earnest invitation to join this glorious march as One Nation.

Jai Hind.