An Independence Day Reflection

"A man is but a product of his thoughts. What he thinks he becomes"- Mahatma Gandhi


We all celebrate the day of India's independence today. Whether at our homes, offices or another place, we stand tall to the tune of the national anthem penned by Rabindranath Tagore. But it is another work of the visionary Tagore that must resonate in our hearts today:


"Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high; Where knowledge is free; Where the world has not been broken up into fragments by narrow domestic walls; Where words come out from the depth of truth; Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection; Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way into the dreary desert sand of dead habit; Where the mind is led forward by thee into ever-widening thought and action; Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake"


I cannot find a better way to talk about the vision we must have and the way we must lead our lives. With freedom comes responsibility and we are responsible today for the India that we will leave for our generations tomorrow. The vision of the leaders alone will not achieve growth; we are all equally responsible and capable of contributing. We have to set aside our differences, work together, think intelligently, apply common sense, stop complaining, be grateful for what we have and really work hard to achieve whatever vision we have set out for ourselves. In our growth lies the growth and the future of our country. None is isolated from the other. Whatever role you are in today, remember that you make a difference and that you are sincerely valued for what you do and who you are.


I have always been inspired by the words of Paul Polman - "We have to bring this world back to sanity and put the greater good ahead of self-interest". Each one of us needs to have a higher purpose in life. When people have a purpose, it also becomes the guiding principle in day to day decision making. Greatness is found in everyday lives, not just in crisis situations. It is essential to understand that your earning is your current account, but your higher purpose will always be your capital account.


Today on this day of freedom, let's rededicate our lives to the country and contribute to the growth of our nation. We are fortunate to be where we are in our lives today. It is time to pay tribute to the founding fathers who have contributed to building the foundation of this great nation.


Let us ensure that our words come from the depths of our heart and are laced with truth. Let us cut the clutter, make our lives simple and lead with integrity. Duplicity and deception have short lives and disastrous results, eventually. Let's not take short cuts but walk on the path shown by the founders of the country as we salute our Motherland.


"Our duty is to encourage everyone in his struggle to live up to his own highest idea, and strive at the same time to make the ideal as near as possible to the Truth" - Swami Vivekananda


The road to success may be long and hard, but there's a rainbow at the end of the cloud. Let us all walk together and make our country the greatest nation on this earth.


You must always ask yourself - when you are not there tomorrow, how would you want to be remembered by others?


Richard is the former Chief Executive Officer of KPMG in India. Since joining KPMG in India in 2004, he has spearheaded the firm in various capacities. With more than 30 years of experience in professional services, he is admired for his clinical approach toward corporate governance, enterprise risk management, internal controls and business processes, across multiple domains. Richard is presently a Board Member of KPMG Dubai. He is a member of All India Management Association (AIMA) Board of Governors of the Management and Entrepreneurship and Professional Skills Council (MEPSC). Further, he is also a member of Advisory Committee Board of Smile Train India's (STI).


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