Today is Independence Day – the day India became free from the clutches of foreign rule, 60 years ago. 60 years – a long time indeed. Probably there are very few people who actually witnessed the historic event and were a part of it all. They and the families of those who were in the thick of action at the time, be it the trauma of partition or the freedom struggle itself, will be truly able to feel the real significance of this day. Not meaning to undermine anybody’s patriotic fervor, I don’t think the rest of us can feel about it the very same way as they do.
Every year when this day comes around, people accuse the younger generation of not valuing the true meaning of this important day. People just consider it as another holiday and go about their tasks – planning an outing or catching up on a movie. I agree this is true in many instances, but then I wonder what would be the right thing to do to celebrate this day.
Is it enough if we attend a flag hoisting function, sing a few patriotic songs and distribute sweets, like it is done in most Government offices? Will we be true to the Independence Day spirit then? Or should we diligently watch the I-day parade and the President’s speech, held at the Red Fort, early in the morning on our television sets? Would that mean we are contributing to the celebration?
I, for one, don’t think so. I think this is a marked day, for all of us to remember and realize the struggle that our country men and women had to endure to get us the rights and privileges we enjoy today. It is a moment for us to stop and think back on the sacrifices they had made then, so that the future generations can see and be a part of a free nation. It is a time for reminiscence and to pay a thoughtful tribute to all such people who laid down their lives for the country.
It is also important for us to realize what freedom means and what it would have meant if we were still ruled by someone else. We have to question ourselves if we are making the right use of this freedom and think on how we can contribute our bit.
Instead of always complaining about anything and everything being bad, we can think on what we can do to improve it. We have to ponder on how each one of us can make the country better, by doing the small things right – keep our surroundings clean, uphold right behaviour in our dealings with people, be honest and true to ourselves and our work – this could just be the beginning.
Some of us might go a step further – contribute to the society, help the needy, participate in voluntary activities to make life better for others who are in need of help… definitely noble and deserves kudos. Any which way, I believe we can make a difference, though the magnitude of our contribution might be small.
So people, no matter how you choose to spend this day, do spare a thought and pay a tribute to the people who are in some ways responsible for the kind of life you’re leading! Happy Independence Day to all of you! Jai Hind!