Sunday, September 5, 2010

Examining Independence Day

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On our 64th independence day, we need to examine what this day means to us. I was told by a person yesterday that they never failed to go to school on this day as they were treated with chocolates and snacks. My memory goes back to the parades and the speeches extolling the past and invoking the future. Everyone has childhood remembrances associated with 15th august but none who understands even an iota of its significance in 1947.

   What does this day mean to us? A holiday to laze and relax, to go out with friends or family? A flame of patriotism does get evoked but to what consequence? It's a day to remind us to play Lata Mangeshkar's vande mataram and A.R. Rehman's Maa tujhe salaam. We wear Indian flag pin-ups, wave flags, add photos proclaiming independence to our profiles on facebook. What are we trying to achieve through this in your face proclamation? Dry day and the national holidays have become synonymous. Long speeches extolling the freedom struggle adorn the day but do we understand exploitation faced then when we talk of independence? Do the leaders who claim a great tomorrow realize the tomorrow that is not coming due to their actions? Can the omnipresent disdain shown by the people towards present conditions be channelled into a wave of social upliftment?

   Nehru enunciated 'the achievement we celebrate today is but a step, an opening of opportunity, to greater triumphs animaged achievements that await us.' The opportunity is ever present, triumphs are ever waiting. Instead of broadcasting our patriotism a small act of helping the nation and its citizens would go a long way in building a better India. In the wake of the present J and K crisis and the CWG scandal much responsibility of improvement is on our shoulders. Are we in need of a second independence to rout out the evil that plagues the nation? Are we really patriotic in our actions towards the nation and its people?

   Although cynicism beckons me to voice all this but I too question what I have done to strengthen the nation. I reiterate Nehru's question. 'Are we brave and wise enough to grasp the opportunity and accept the challenge of the future?'

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