A huge dilemma has to be resolved before one embarks on writing an article on 'Independence Day'. Whether to highlight the achievements the nation has made in the last 64 years or to adresss the question as to are we really independent, free though we may be from any imperial/colonial power. After a few minutes of futile pondering, i decide that i will not touch upon either of them since any article written today will talk on these lines only. Instead here i put some of my suggestions that will go a long way in making this Independence Day a meaningful one to you and your family.
*No holidaying on this holiday.
In case you had thought that you will wake up late since there is no office, have a lazy brunch and watch dvds of the latest releases lying on the couch the whole day and maybe go on shopping at night, DROP THOSE PLANS. i know shopping malls have special discounts today, restaurants have special dishes up on their platter but i also know that such offers will keep coming and going throught the year. Independence day comes only once. I am not telling you not to indulge yourself, but just take care that even for a moment you don't forget why you got this day off in the first place-it is the day when India had its greatest tryst with destiny till date. If you are a school or college student and had planned to bunk for there will anyways be no study, DROP THAT PLAN. You should feel ashamed that when there exist people who, for meagre salaries, away from their families, stand guard in the -50 degree celsius of siachen in order to preserve this hard earned independence, you don't care enough to even symbollically pay your respect to it. If today you don't feel patriotic, i doubt you ever will. And yes, most newspapers and magazines carry brilliant articles on this day-tracing the developement graph of the country, its ups and downs, joys and sorrows, telling stories of its sons and daughters who shone with their brilliance and made the country proud, the best films, books, movies made on the freedom struggle, famous speeches made on this day by leaders and what not! Even if you are not a great newspaper enthusiast, make sure you go through at least the editorial section of the newspaper you have at your place, just today. Believe me, you will find yourself much more enriched than you could by going through a history book instead.
*At least on this day, feel proud to wear your Indianness (if there is no such word, then well just swallow it that i coined it lol) on your sleeves.
Feel the tingle of goosebumps while listening to 'aye mere watan ke logon' and don't fight your eyes getting moist while watching the climax of a Kranti or a Shaheed or a Lagaan, if you please. I might sound a hopeless romantic here but just try it, little things such as these only sprout into something big. The surge of patriotism in you may make you gather your neighbourhood kids and tell them the story of our freedom struggle, screen a, say, 'The Legend of Bhagat Singh', tell them of the glory of our past, make them realise the value of our present independence and most importantly, explain to them why they must be proud to be Indians, no matter how grim the present situation in our country might be. Or you might go to a slum, distribute laddos and flags and let the children who don't go to schools have the pride of standing upright and singing the national anthem. the point is make an effort to meaningfully celebrate the day.
You need not necessarily follow me word by word, do your own things but just remember that
*you owe it to the greatness of this day to do something worthy, worthwhile.
The term 'present situation' tells me that many might say there is nothing left for us to feel proud-rampant corruption leading to umpteen scams, each bigger than the previous, the Transparency International ranking us a lowly 83 out of 187 countries, mudslinging between the govt. and the civil society activists on a daily basis now, repeated intelligence failures leading to terrorists attacking us repeatedly where it would hurt us the most, soaring inflation, in short total governance deficit (for how else would you explain the rotting of tonnes of foodgrains while millions starve?) and now to add to it the surrender of the no.1 rank in test cricket to England, in such a hopeless manner that we would like to believe it was England's conspiracy theory to send Duncan Fletcher to coach India and do jadoo-tona on our players (kidding man!). Yet there is a silver lining for those who have the eyes to see. The atmosphere is charged, people have realised that they have been taken for rides enough number of times and now the level of awareness on the part of the common man regarding the happenings in the country is such that there is no way we can be fooled yet again. The swell of support for Anna Hazare's call is a classic case in sight. Even the dabbawaalas of Mumbai have promised to stop their services for a day in solidarity with Anna's cause. Now whichever party comes to power in 2014 will be bound to put up with expectations greater than ever and will, if sanity happens to be one of their features, stay away from the forbidden fruit called 'corruption', at least in comparision to the UPA lootfest. The media has had a big role to play in this awareness drive and kudos to them, in spite of all the sensationalism they create now and then. That the people who are openly abusing the politicians who happen to be the 'all that be' in our country, those who are burning drafts of a bill tabled in the parliament in front of tv cameras are still able to do as they wish, say what they wish, in public is a shining testimony of the fact that we are a living, breathing democracy. I see i have deviated from the issue at hand and have embarked on a path i had said i would not in the begining. To continue with my suggestions, next one is
*take an oath to play by the rules, always, however difficult that may appear to be. Corruption has its origin in our 'it is gutsy to break rules' or 'everybody does so these days' kinda attitude. Breaking a rule amounts to corruption, yes, be it jumping red lights or getting proxy attendance for lectures in college. Lofty though these ideas may seem, if every person in tthe country becomes so, our biggest problem will be automatically weeded out. A Lokpal might serve to be a watchdog over our politicians, but who will watch over us? we ourselves. We can't be such hypocrites as to expect our politicians to be totally clean in midst of all the charm that sorrounds them and have our own hands dirty! If we desire that the Lokpal must be a doodh-ka-dhula person, we should all try to become so so that the next crisis confronting the country is not that there's not a single morally impeccable man to don that hat of India's Ombudsman.
I read it in the newspaper once that the Japanese follow traffic rules even in the mid-night, when one could say, there is no need to do so! How about emulating that?
By the way, I wish all my readers a very happy, peaceful and meaningful Independence Day. On this day let's not ask what our country has done for us. Rather, for a change, let's reflect upon what we have done for our country and what we 'can' do. Jai Hind. Vande Mataram.