A salute to all those who participated in the movement to make India Independent. And to all those unsung heroes across the country who have since then contributed in myriad forms to making this a more equitable , fair , liveable , joyous , progressive nation than it would have otherwise been.
What is the significance of Independence Day in present day urban India ? For the generations that have been born and raised in an independent India ? Newspapers filled with pictures of celebrities wearing clothes that have shades of the tri-color , saying what it means to be Indian . Buying little flags at the traffic signals and putting them in one’s car or desk for a few days. Participating in flag hoisting ceremony in one’s residential building or company. A few moments of solemn silence as the anthem is played. What is the connection that the rituals build with the idea of a nation ? of the idea of being Indian ? The risk is when the sentiment is limited to a few external gestures.
We can create new , meaningful rituals for Independence Day – as individuals and as groups :
- Recognize that our actions – personal and professional – shape India . If there is allegiance to the idea of a nation to which we pledge our devotion – let it reflect in consistent action.
- Make life choices – small and big – that are authentic and deeply meaningful rather than driven by external appearances / compulsions aka Inner Independence
- Give time , attention , money to those less fortunate
- Help educate a child
- Consciously choose not to litter any public space – e v e r.
- Plant trees
- Become an a c t i v e citizen
- the list can be meaningfully expanded
Eventually we need to rise above the idea of nations and see the human species as one . Until that can happen we can attempt an expansive and inclusive definition of what it means to be Indian . And be cognizant of our responsibilities and rights the other 364 days of the year.
Happy Independence Day to all citizens of this magnificent piece of the Pale Blue Dot.