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  • Writer's pictureGunjan Syal

Happy Independence Day, India

Soon it will be Independence Day 2023 in India….

This year it means a lot more than most, mainly because at a human level it feels that technology is driving us in all kinds of directions.

It may be the recent news, however not everything is a political issue and not everything is a business related race to the top or who got there first. Some issues are just human issues, and Divided We Fall.

Here is a piece remembering my grandmother, Mata ji, who first taught me the meaning of the Independence Day in India as a child:

I never forgot her lessons and never took our privilege for everything provided for us, for granted. This last year felt extremely different (you can catch up to it in my previous posts).

Strategy, ethics and morals are what I learned from my Mata ji without knowing it at the time.

Two things my mother taught me. One I agree with, the other I always contested with her:

  1. Always polish your own shoes: no one needs to bow down in front of you for you to feel like you are something. This is something I will practice, always.

  2. Be agreeable, especially with non-family: there may be some truth to this. I think she meant always be ‘seen’ as agreeable. I think this principle turned me into a shy kid in early life. Later in life I learned to speak my mind more openly; especially after creating GoEmerald and finding my voice during the pandemic with 'transform this'.

In a world that would rather reward being agreeable all the time, we will not have innovation if someone did not propose a different path every now and then - no matter how unpopular at the start. This is what I have replaced the second one with:

Always be respectful, use your words and not weapons, but never be afraid to disagree with an issue of IRL impact.

Note that some people confuse calmness for respect. I define it differently. When I respect someone, I tell them exactly what I think about the topic at hand. I suppose, openness and transparency is same as respect for me.

Over the last year there were times when I felt I had lost this. I did not feel like myself, did not feel human and felt uncomfortable in my own skin. It was a violating feeling so no more of that!

We were not put on this earth to go through our life appeasing each other. It is our moral duty to discuss impactful ideas openly and productively that solve the real issues like climate change, and it is our right to own our ideas + work. As humans, we need this now more than ever.

Happy Independence Day to everyone that identifies as having a connection with India!


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