Independence Day in India: Just A Holiday? Skip to main content

Independence Day in India: Just A Holiday?


This 15th August, India celebrates its 74th Independence day as we complete 73 years of independence. A national holiday and the birth of a free and independent nation. Or is it? In this busy and self-centric world, as time has passed, people have started to shift their focus to things which are devastating culturally rather than positive changes that have taken place. "I know there are a lot of bad things happening all around the world, but there are more positive things happening which people overlook", said The Dalai Lama in one of his speeches in front of thirty thousand people. That is indeed true in today's times!
 



As time has passed with we all standing here decades after that iconic "Tryst with Destiny" speech by Pandit Nehru, we have started to take this freedom too lightly and seeking freedom in things that are of very little relevance to us. It's like a caged parrot when freed is asking for the same level of respect that a hawk gets in this world. Jawaharlal Nehru's most touching lines from his speech, "At the stroke of the midnight hour, when the world sleeps, India will awake to life and freedom." and the Indians rejoiced with tears in their eyes although more than half of them understood nothing. It was long due freedom which cost us millions of lives and huge exploitation of our resources. But the golden bird of the world was finally free from the cage. Not to mention the cost we paid by dividing the land into two pieces geographically. The Indian flag was unfurled which it still is on this occasion. It was the beginning of the golden days for a country too young and full of energy.


When I was six years old, my family would go to the stadium where the joyous celebration would take place. I would see a fair and celebrations all around devoting the sense of "independence" in the air, something that is being "celebrated", a reason to be happy about. It used to be a busy day with special dishes prepared in my home. Today, after so long, Independence day has become "just another holiday" in the mind of our people. People plan to schedule a date on independence day, visit restaurants with their families and sleep later till the afternoon, go to some famous amusement park with their children. The footfall to the stadium where the real sense of independence day could be seen has lost its charm today. People are ready to go anywhere but someplace to pay homage to the men and women fought for this country. 





I am surrounded by people who would often say, "A holiday is coming on Friday that means we can plan a three day trip to somewhere." I am sure half of them cannot write Independence Day in Hindi or their mother tongue but they do well know that it is a day to enjoy and play games on their laptops. 

In so many channels, I see so many people fighting for "Freedom" on the streets. "I don't have freedom in this country", sounds familiar? They have started to take the freedom of this country for granted. Have they lost the sense of freedom or have we lost ours? Maybe we were ruled, but back then we were united. I am sure when a forty-year-old man would go on to burn his clothes during boycott movement on the risk of being beaten, he must not have thought about his own life but the lives yet to come after him. I am sure Bismil Azimbadi would not have written "Sarfaroshi Ki Tamanna" just to please the people and ignite the fire. I am sure the sunrise of 15th August 1947 would have looked a lot different than the previous day. 


I believe that people have lost their pride in the country. Maybe because they have got too much freedom or maybe because they do not have the sense of being in captivity. A stronger emotion enrols here of our parents when they would say, "You would not understand those times when my father would beat me." We have so many issues to tackle and so many reforms to make in this young country but people are still fighting on the name of religion today. In the tryst with destiny, Nehru says, "Service of the nation means the ending of poverty and ignorance and disease and inequality of opportunity." Isn't this the same things (more or less) that Dr Singh that on 15 August 2012? This makes me wonder, have we achieved nothing that our forefathers wanted? Did our forefathers really want an unstable nation or they bled happily to see a dawn of a nation where there is no injustice and no one fights with another? Back then we were fighting with the British and had a common goal. Today, we are fighting with each other. But, we are still fighting. Back then we fought because we did not have a voice on the national forum. Today, some people are still fighting on that. Back then Muslims and the Hindus fought in Calcutta and Noakhali. But, we are still fighting today in Mumbai and Gujarat. Aren't we? The sense of "doing" something for the country is just okay till the point we are doing something for ourselves and the consequences lead to the betterment of society. 


This Independence Day is different and different for a good change. Maybe this time you won't be able to make plans with your loved ones. But you will wake up late on 14th because you know that the next day is a holiday. This independence day with restrictions in place, make some changes in your life. Yes, it is a holiday but introspect your thoughts of why we rest this day and what we should be joyous about. If you are lighting Diyas in your homes to welcome Lord Rama on Diwali, why won't you buy a tricolour on the independence day? This independence day should be different. Can we do something to dissolve a little bit of the sense of freedom in our blood? Can we read a Wikipedia page about any one freedom fighter who gave his life for this country? Can we introspect on what freedom we enjoy today that we have lost sense of? I am sure we can. 

This independence day should be different. This independence day, pay homages to the people who wanted their sons to live freely on this land. A great french scholar Romain Rolland once said, "If there is one place on the face of earth where all the dreams of living men have found a home from the very earliest days when man began the dream of existence, it is India!



Happy Independence Day.
Thank You! 




Comments

  1. Very true...hope this message goes to everyone out there.

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