Thursday, 15 August 2013

Independence Day - what does it mean today?

Independence is a term that has a different connotation today in the political perspective than what it was in 1947 when India got her freedom from the colonial rulers. The old school thought process may criticize the behavior of the present generation of Indians, however, people who understand the inevitability of change would speak otherwise.

To understand this better we can simply observe what happens today, the 15th of August. What does this day mean to the present youth?

History tells us a lot of stories. The freedom fighters who sacrificed their lives for a better tomorrow lived in circumstances that the youngsters today would not be able to fathom. The times have changed. Those people then did what they felt was right, they did what made them happy. They lived on ideals that seems to have vanished with time.

I woke up today morning and picked up the newspaper. The front page had the digits that made me feel a tad happy - "15." As I read on, the happiness changed to awfulness. It wasn't only "15" but it was "15%." A company is offering a 15% cashback if you buy products from their store. Read the "terms and conditions" in the fine print and you would feel worse. I flipped through pages and found more advertisements than news. Most of the adverts were using "15th August" as a platform to offer discounts and sell their products. There were many adverts of restaurants as well.

The restaurants reminded me of another pastime of urban Indians on Independence Day - eating out. Go to any restaurant on this day and you would find it difficult to get a seat. People love to hog on this day. They wear some good clothes, call their friends, eat, and do some shopping. Later in the day everybody is back to their daily grind of "facebook".

This is freedom - the independence that makes everyone happy. There is no restaurant which says "Dogs and Indians not allowed" like it was supposedly so during the colonial rule. 

The selflessness, the sacrifices, the patriotism - they are all the ideals that existed in the past. Today even these words are used by people of all classes and categories for their self-interests. It has become so difficult to differentiate between the genuine and the fake use of these ideals.

By the way, tomorrow is 16th of August. Be rest assured that all the show of patriotism that you would see today would completely disappear tomorrow.

I would like to pray for my country. May we get the strength of doing something for our country beyond all the feelings of hatred, discrimination and stereotyping. May we understand that India is a country, and its image and respect is created by its citizens. May we celebrate Independence on all days in the year throughout our lives.

I wish you a Happy Independence Day!

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