Zee TV stars relive their Independence Day memories …

“A sense of responsibility towards your country cannot be contained to just one day, it’s about consistently attempting to do your bit for society” say your favorite Zee TV actors

Prembabu sharma

Shabbir Ahluwalia who plays Rockstar Abhi in Kumkum Bhagya says, “In school, Independence Day used to be like a celebration. The entire school was given goodies to eat on Independence Day. It was very colourful, and even though children may not completely understand the importance of the day when they’re in school, it was definitely a happy affair. It was like a mini holiday, a festival with celebrations. So I guess everyone has fond memories of celebrating Independence Day during their childhood. Obviously, as you grow older you understand the meaning and significance of Independence Day but at the same time, you still cherish those childhood memories. In my society we have a flag-hoisting ceremony in the morning after which sweets are distributed. After that, I just usually head out to shoot. I believe India is still not independent in the truest sense. It is still not completely independent in terms of the mindsets of the people. As an independent nation, you need your sense of security, and I especially mean this on behalf of the women of the nation. I think independent India will really come into being when it is free of corruption, the day India can make its people feel safe and secure and the day poverty is eradicated, India will truly be independent.”

Sriti Jha who plays Pragya in Kumkum Bhagya says, “I remember Independence Day during school days were always fun. We used to come to school in the morning for the flag hoisting ceremony and that day we used to be off studies. So after the ceremony I would go home and watch the Independence Day Rally on TV. The time I was in Delhi, I always had this wish to attend the rally live but somehow I never got a chance to do so. Nevertheless, even today I never miss watching the rally on TV every year on Independence Day. If we talk about India as an independent nation, I don’t think that India is as independent or as free willed as our ancestors left it to be. Dr. Jawaharlal Nehru on the occasion of independence, in his speech, spoke about a free nation that he envisioned. I really think we are still quite far from that India, since there is still a huge chunk of the population that struggles for a basic living and a lot of people do not understand their responsibility towards a free nation. Just by saying things like ‘I Love my Country’ is not going to help anyone, what we need to do as citizens of this country is to ensure that we develop an independent thought, to be free willed and that we start to think and act as responsible and educated citizens. Every year, on the occasion of Independence Day, every person should take an oath towards what they’re doing for the country. In my society, we celebrate Independence Day by felicitating the children that have achieved academic excellence during the year. So similarly, I believe that every year we should strive to do something for the country, bring about some change. Nowadays, with social media reaching out to millions, we should make use of it fruitfully to connect with the public and collectively take up an initiative towards the betterment of the country.”

Karanvir Bohra who plays Aahil in Qubool Hai says, “For Independence Day, we used to go to school to hoist the flag and then the rest of the day would be an off. After coming back home, we would then run to the terrace of our building in Cuffe Parade and the flag-hoisting ceremony would happen again and then we used to all get together and have a lot of fun, with special goodies to eat and playing different games. These days since I usually get an off from my shooting schedule on Independence Day, I take this opportunity to go visit an NGO and attend the flag hoisting ceremony with them to lend my support. It’s a day when I take the time out to do my bit for the society and that’s how I like spending the day. If there’s one thing I could change about us a country, I’ll root for freedom of expression, free will and being less judgmental about each other. The world is moving fast, we need to catch up and for that we require a revolution in the kind of thinking and mindsets to begin with.”

Ravi Dubey who plays Sid Khurana in Jamai Raja says, “During my school days, Independence Day used to be a huge celebration. It gave students an opportunity to work closely with each – not just as friends but team mates working on a project collectively. I clearly remember the flag hoisting ceremony, it used to unify the whole school and it was at moments like these that one closely felt the spirit of patriotism which over the years, got permanently etched in our lives. It inculcates a sense of belonging that stays with you for life. Every year around Independence Day, I try and do my bit for a cause I believe in. So whether it is connecting myself to a cleanliness drive or feeding the hungry at Juhu beach, it makes me feel good to contribute towards the nation in my own small way. Just to somehow add value to the nation, no matter how miniscule it may be. I haven’t really thought about what I’ll do this year, but I’ll definitely be a part of some initiative. For any nation, even India, true Independence is when citizens can free their mind, can do away with fundamentalism and drive everything from the point of human rights. Over the years, we have slowly put fundamentalist views on the back-burner and have evolved as thinkers, as people. But then when you read the papers of the happenings around us, you realize that there is still a long way to go. I mean it has been a great leap in the past five-six decades with dramatic changes and India is truly becoming a Global nation. So yes, we are Independent in the true sense but we still have the scope to evolve into a better nation.”

Achint Kaur who plays Durga Devi in Jamai Raja says “As far as India being actually independent goes, if we look at it from a holistic point of view, the graph of comparison between India and other countries that have emerged out of slavery in the past, we have been progressing rapidly and consistently. With the way India has moved forward in 60 years, yes! we have gained independence. But if one were to take a look at some of the disturbing things happening in the country, it is equally evident that we have miles to go before we can truly feel proud. I think it’s about collectively working towards a better tomorrow!”

Roopal Tyagi who plays Gunjan in Sapne Suhaane Ladakpan Ke says “Like every other creative child, even I used to love performing on stage for Independence day to all the ‘desh bhakti’ songs, so knowingly or unknowingly the spirit of being Indian would sink in. As a kid, it was fun but as we grew up we realized the importance of this day and why it should truly be celebrated. This year, my friends and I have planned to support a group of street kids who want to study but do not have proper facilities. We have chosen this day to help them study… In terms of India being truly independent, we have come a long way but we still have a long way to go. The mass mentality has evolved gradually but needs to further be liberated, especially the double standards displayed by men at times. I know modern educated young men who still have a narrow-minded view when it comes to modern girls, its exasperating! I think above all else, mindsets need to change as soon as possible, the rest will follow.”

Hiten Tejwani who plays Manav in Pavitra Rishta says, “My last memory of celebrating Independence Day was back in school when we would all go to school for the flag hoisting in neatly pressed uniforms. My school would have a small parade followed by the march-past. I remember being very excited about it as a kid because it would mean that we had to be in school for only two hours! Those were seriously the good old days! Today, as actors, who shoot round the clock, we look forward to some family time on 15th August as we usually have the day off. As far as India emerging to be a truly independent country, I would say we have come a long way from being ruled by the British, we have asserted our rights, we have seen enormous development but we have our issues that need resolution before we emerge as a super power. Corruption, security for women and moving away from fundamentalist views are the core issues that need to be addressed!”