Wednesday, August 13, 2008

What Does India's Independence Day Mean To Me

I can remember as far as when I was two and a half years old. There used to be a small kindergarten school in our locality and my parents admitted me to that school in play group. At that time, 15th August and 26th January for me, as for any other play group kid, meant a box of four laddoos and a steel plate (iff you have performed well in any exam or sport). After the flag hoisting, early leave from school and playing whole day after that. One more thing, as my grandfather was the most respected personality in that locality and a great friend of the principal, he used to hoist the tricolor every time and I used to accompany him and felt special.

Gradually, with teachers teaching about all the history stuff and the importance of the National Anthem which was sung every morning in the assembly, I realized that it is much more than just two days of break from school and lots of kites flying high in the sky.

Then came the time when many curiousities arose in my mind and heart, about the Indian freedom movement, the national leaders, Mahatma Gandhi and fellow freedom fighters, Indian revolutionaries (especially Sardar Bhagat Singh), and of course the Indian tricolor. Then again my grandfather was the best source to fulfill my curiousity. He told me almost everything I asked him about the past and the present. The sense of patriotism began to develop inside me at a very young age because of this very reason. And needless to mention the weekly episodes of "Param Veer Chakra" and "Fauji" which used to come on National Televison and they were my favorites.

After that, the worst part began after I passed fourth standerd. The Autorickshaw Wallah will demand leave on 15th August and 26th January, but the attendance was made compulsory by the school management. My father grumbled (really !) to take me to the school on the scooter and it turned out to be really hell of a day, everytime. At that time, really I wished the attendance should not be compulsory. The interest developed in young age seemed to be diminished.

But thanks to the History teacher of mine, Ms. Neelam Bajaj, who reinstigated the feeling of patriotism once again (Actually, I had a crush on her :P). For three years , sixth standerd till eight standerd, she taught the Ancient, Medivial and Modern History and I was one of very few students in the class who really enjoyed her class and didnot yawn, neither stared at the wrist watches for the period to get over. I liked Modern History the most. I began to take things in a broader way and started reading from other sources as well apart from the text book (reading newspaper and books are my childhood hobbies). I still believe, if Ms. Bajaj would not have been there, things would have been a lot different for me.

Now, skip the next 5 years as nothing much different happened. Just that I loved to go to school on 15th August and 26th January, unlike other friends and classmates of mine.

Finally, talking about the college days, after two years of observation, whenever flag hoisting takes place in college, forget the day scholars (some of them have to travel long distance across Delhi, which otherwise they can afford if they have to roam about in the campus with the people of opposite sex ), very few hostellers are seen on the field. Many of them are first year students and they are also there because of the fear of management, as the notice is displayed on the hostel gates that they all have to be there in time in proper uniforms. Very few seniors (sorry for any offences) are seen there. Some of them come after J.P. Gupta sir had hoisted the tricolor. Sorry to mention, but this attitude towards the National Festival is pathetic, knowing that we constitute the present and the future of our country. I feel really offened and sad, after observing the scenario.

Some of them, to whom I asked to accompany me to the ceremony are of opinion that Patriotism is not displayed just by standing there and singing the National Anthem. Tell me, what else did you do to show respect and Patriotism towards your country the whole year? The question remains, sadly, "Unanswered". There is a saying, "Your character is displayed not by what you think, but by what you do".

Whatever it is, I will go to the flag hoisting ceremony on 15th August, 2008 as always and wish that all of you, after reading this post will join me there.

Happy Independence Day. Jai Hind !


abby said...

Nice post pratyush !
Keep it going :)

dipanshu said...

a very good article.Keep it going