The 15th of August, 1947 is undeniably the most significant day that our country has ever seen. Sixty five years ago, on this day, our country achieved independence after a long struggle against the imperial regime of the British. Under the guidance and leadership of visionary heroes such as Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru, among many others, we declared our sovereignty and conferred freedom upon ourselves. More than six decades have passed since then but the sense of excitement and elation we feel on the anniversary of each Independence Day has seldom abated.
Apart from the nationally significant celebration that takes place in the country’s capital, Delhi, the day is marked by celebrations in every far reaching corner. Every individual feels a sense of pride in watching the tri-color flag being hoisted and the varied festivities that follow. As children all of us remember the way that our own schools celebrated this occasion. A lot of children loved the holiday not only because it ushered in an air of giddy excitement but also because most schools arranged for a wide array of activities that lasted until the first half of the day after which the children were free to go.
The activities were different in each school but the one common denominator was the flag-hoisting and the distribution of the sweets that followed. Every one of us can remember standing to attention as the flag was hoisted and the National Anthem played in the background and then running to the area where the sweets were being given out. The days were usually a blur back then with the number of events that took place. There were parades, cultural programmes, dance recitals, musical performances, dramas depicting events significant to the struggle of Independence, and also essay writing competitions for the more academically inclined. All in all, Independence Day celebrations were something that we looked forward to back in those days. One has to wonder what happens to this excitement as we cross the threshold of our childhood and enter into adolescence and then adulthood.
As adults, the only reason we often look forward to Independence Day is because it is a National Holiday and it offers us some well needed respite from our daily routines. We’re all proud to be Indians but we aren’t really interested in celebrating the occasion like we used to. We believe that festivities and games are only for children and that as adults, there really isn’t any reason to celebrate on a significant scale. We’re going about it all wrong.
Independence and the freedom that it imparted is something that we unequivocally enjoy. It’s easy to take this fact for granted but a fleeting glance across our borders will reveal to us how fortunate we are to have been born into this country. It’s easy to forget this fact while we’re running on the wheels in our cages but it is our responsibility as citizens of this glorious democracy to commemorate this fortuitous occasion the best way we can. We don’t need to dance or sing or march up and down the streets to do this. As adults there are ways we can participate without eroding the somber propriety of our age.
Our leaders freed our country with the hope that we’d progress towards development and one day live in peace and harmony, and enjoy abundance. Each one of us is aware of the social and tangible evils that plague our society. And each one of us is also aware that we can make a small but significant contribution from our side to try and improve the condition of others around us, and for ourselves in the process. So, this Independence Day, let’s bring back our childlike enthusiasm and go do some good, any way that we can. Let’s celebrate by being good citizens and good human beings, and make our country a better place to live, for each one of us.
Wish You A Happy Independence Day