I was lucky to have been born in an era where we were already liberated, had freedom served in a silver plate and the privilege to vote for a government who will safeguard the sacrifices so many people have made to make our country independent.
We all have heard of the freedom fighters, their heroic stories and their martyrdom. We have seen movies depict reality and bring alive the suffering and ordeal they had been through. And if any of you have not seen that yet, please switch on your televisions to DD or to a more patriotic channel that will faithfully pay homage to some of the freedom fighters through a well depicted movie or series of movies. I must admit each year around this time I get caught up in the emotion of patriotism and filled with zeal and pride for my country. This year is no different. Just this time I decided to write it all down.
Freedom, Liberty, Autonomy, Autarky are some words we associate and use to describe Independence. Well 67 years is a long time for us to recall what price we had to pay to achieve it and rather easily take for granted what we have today. But has the struggle ended? Have we really stopped fighting for what is ours? Has all been done to be truly independent? Have we paid the price in full?
One must wonder why am I asking questions that have an obvious answer? Why am I on a day when we should be singing patriotic songs and rejoicing, being so cynical? My answer lies in the horror each Indian has been through since Independence to realize that each day some of us have paid a huge price to be free – Free from the fear of death, free from the fear of being raped, free from the fear of being mutilated and violated, free from the fear of terrorism itself.
Be it reliving the 1993 Bombay Blasts or the 2008 Mumbai Attacks. Be it paying condolences to the 1991 Punjab train killings or the 2010 Pune bomb blast. Be it trying to grasp the intensity of the 100,000 women who were claimed to have been kidnapped and raped during the partition of India or the gang rape of a 23 year old girl on a public bus on 16 December 2012. The various political scams and death of all the ones who tried to question the system. The fights each one of us fight daily against bureaucracy, sexism and casteism. How are we free when we are chained to the adversities of this nation? How are we free when we are bombed with terror each day? How are we free when we have no choice but to lead a life cribbing and fighting against the system that is supposed to be built for our convenience in the first place? My heart breaks when I hear people say, I can’t wait to go to America/Australia or anywhere other than where they are. I hate to see so many young graduates packing their bags to pursue an education elsewhere, where they will be valued. Why do we continue to live in bondage even after Independence?
Most or all countries grapple with this question each year they celebrate their Independence Day! Most or all individuals hold in their hearts to make a change someday. My country and it’s people are no different. We love our nation no matter where we are. We are proud to be Indians no matter what happens. This is evident when even after the worse terror attacks an Indian wakes up, puts on a clean shirt, boards the train or bus and gets going with his/her life. This is evident when you see an Indian aspire to go into the army. This is evident when a martyr comes home wrapped in the Indian flag. This is evident when you see our journalist posing our leaders with thought provoking questions, demanding an answer. This is evident when Indians are running successful IT companies. This is evident when an Indian makes his way in the worlds top 10 richest people list. This is evident when an Indian wins the title of Miss Universe. This is evident when each Indian whelms up every time the National Anthem is played.
So to conclude: India is my country. I am proud to be an Indian. Through poverty and richness, through terrors and success, through pain and through hope, through good and through bad – I will stand tall, I will stand firm – safeguarding the pride of my country as I sing aloud tomorrow – Jana Gana Mana…. (Thou art the ruler of the minds of all people)
While the whole country gets ready to celebrate the 67th Independence Day