Celebrating Nation’s Independence Day

Manohar Luthra

Today we are celebrating our nation’s independence day. The day we began like the other independence days in the past. Some patriotic songs on FM and television besides chanting of ‘vande maaterm’ by school children gathered at their school playgrounds early in the morning. After students’ parade, a local neta unfurls national flag and raise some patriotic slogans like ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’, ‘Hamara Desh amar rahe’, ‘Mahatma Gandhi zindabad’, ‘Shheed Bhagat Singh amar rahe’………against the background songs like ‘apani azadi ko hum hargij mita sakte nahi’ sar kata sakte hai lakin sar Jhuka sakte nahi. The neta also exhorts the young students to take oath for selfless service to the nation.

The scene at ‘Lal Qila’ is also reminiscent of the past. The Prime Minister addresses the Nation from the ramparts of the ‘Lal Qila’. His speech is couched in words of praise and achievements of his Government. He uses the occasion for announcing some ‘garibi hatao yogna’ and never forgets to discredit the ‘non secular’ forces acting against interest of our Nation. He conveniently forgets to talk about larger issues of soaring prices, corruption at high places, burgeoning population, et al; nothing unusual in the Independence Day speeches. Not much has changed over decades. Independence Day is spent by the common man as a National Holiday in the true spirit of a holiday, but rued vehemently if it happens to be on a Sunday. All markets remain closed for the day; roads are deserted, otherwise bustling Capital of the nation wears a sullen look as if the mega city is under threat of terrorists attack. At home some people watch televised version of PM’s Independence Day speech. TV channels show old patriotic movies like ‘Shheed Bhagat Singh’, ‘Purab Aur Paschim’. Some people use the day for family get-together. The adventurous lot prefer outdoor activities with friends and relatives. Irrespective of changes in public preferences and despite warnings about possible terrorist attacks, the day passes out peacefully. Everything of the previous day is forgotten the next morning. 16th August is another normal day. The euphoria of Independence day is over.The flicker of patriotic sentiments aroused on the previous day is doused by the ‘Monday blues’. No National Anthem, no Vande Maatrem , the day begins as if Independence Day was a dream . Same arduous routine, drudgery of routine life, same topics of discussion – corruption, Soaring prices, inefficient Prime minister, Narendra Modi, upsurge in Kashmir, ISI sponsored terrorism, Durga Shakti Shakti’s suspension Robert vadra’s shady land deals, traffic jams, Maoists’ insurgency , miserable life of common man and so on and on. What is the significance of Independence Day for ‘aam aadmi’? What is there for him to be proud of?

40 years before my ties with the nation were very strong; my nationalistic feelings were more effervescent than now. My national pride seems to have started waning. In the past we had leaders of strong character who were willing to sacrifice everything in the name of nation, they were the source of inspiration to the common man, they were real Indian Idols, corruption was a detestable word, moral values were recognized in the society, means were less but life was more comfortable and satisfying. Though changes are inevitable and these must be accepted, well yes if the direction is right and beneficial for the common man. I wish the nationalistic feelings return to me and I hoist the national flag with same pride and zeal which I had 40 years ago. Jai Hind!!