National Pride

Here is a personal experience, as well as a moment of national
pride, which I want to share with you. Hope you find it worth the
time you put in reading it :

“In the middle of 1965 India-Pakistan war, US govt – then a close
friend of Pakistan – threatened India with stopping food-aid
(remember “PL-480”?). For a food deficient India this threat was
serious and humiliating. So much so that in the middle of war, Prime
Minister (Late) Lal Bahadur Shastri went to Ram Leela Grounds in
Delhi and appealed to each Indian to observe one-meal-fast every
week to answer the American threat. As a school boy, I joined those
millions who responded to Shastri ji’s call. I continued the fast
even when the war was over and India became self sufficient in food.
Hurt deep by the national humiliation suffered at the hands of the
US govt, I had vowed
to stop my weekly fast only when India starts giving aid to USA.

It took just 40 years. Last week THE day arrived. When Indian
ambassador in Washington DC handed over a cheque of US$ 50 million
to the US govt, two plane loads of food, medical aid and other
relief materials were waiting to fly to the USA. Time to break the
fast? With no bad feeling about the USA, and good wishes for the
Katrina victims, this humble Indian feels proud of the distance
India has covered in 40 years. Let’s celebrate a New India!”

– Vijay Kranti.
Dean – IIT Madras