He has witnessed all shades of Independent India and has been updating himself in life as well as profession to match the times. Vasudev Kalra runs a photo studio for a living and is also a veteran journalist. He has seen it all—the technological advancement and the erosion of tradition and values. His family migrated from Pakistan’s Bahawalpur in 1946. “India has always been a great nation. It has grown from an impoverished country to a formidable force. I correlate India’s development with the changes I have to make in my photo-studio business. Now, there are no dark room and negatives in my studio and India’s dark patches, too, have vanished with time,” says Kalra.
He, however, believes countrymen need to give preference to character-building ahead of anything else.
Picture of progress
W hen I was young, people were more honest. Word of mouth was all powerful. We have progressed leaps and bounds in terms of technology and infrastructure, but, at the same time, have forgotten the traditions and values we should have been identified with. There is distrust all around. People have become selfish and more materialistic, which is not good.
ROHTAK: He is as old as independent India is and thus has the name Azad Singh. He was one of the three boys born at Rohtak’s Sundana village on August 15, 1947, and they too have the same name. Since childhood, Azad was infused with patriotism by his father, a farmer, who wanted him to serve the nation by doning the Olive Greens. Fulfilling his father’s dream, he joined the Indian Army in 1968 as a sepoy and fought the 1971 war. He had to retire in 1972 when he got his leg injured in a security operation, and became unfit to continue in the services. He later joined the Food Corporation of India as their godown in-charge in Rohtak, and served there for over 30 years before retiring in 2004. He now lives with his wife in Sundana village, and gets monthly pension from the FCI. Azad has two daughters, who are now married, and a son, who is a pilot with the Jet Airways.
Embodiment of freedom
Our nation has come a long way. If I say there has been no development, then I’d be wrong. The standard of living in villages, including that of farmers, has improved substantially in the last 70 years. Since I’m a retired army man, I would like to thank our country for making the army one of the best in the world.
JALANDHAR: The things that industrialist Bal Krishna Shoor regrets about India is lack of will to follow rules and the hollowness of government policies. Shoor, who is into hand-tool business, was born in Sialkot, now in Pakistan, and after the Partition, his family moved to Jalandhar. Shoor says he joined his father’s business in 1970. On where the country stands today, he says, “Sab kuchh kagazon mein hota hai, practical mein kuchh bhi nahain (everything happens on papers, not in real).”
“There are a lot of things which we as a nation need to change,” he says, without going into details.
He says days of terrorism in Punjab were the most difficult. “I really wish our country to be free of insecurity and violence. Something needs to be done on priority, else freedom is meaningless.”
Bal Krishna Shoor
People get amazed when I tell them that I was born on August 15, 1947. I am hurt seeing people confining themselves to their houses as there is apprehension that something may go wrong at crowded places. And they are not wrong as they see so much violence around. I am optimistic that we will evolve and make a better nation