I wrote this on August 14, 2014. I never thought it to mean something at a latter day. But somehow, I think this is relevant even now, rather, especially now.
Tomorrow, we will celebrate yet another independence day, with pomp and show, with culture, unity and strength, being shown everywhere. We will continuously hear the word democracy from all corners, when the tyranny of colonial rule ended and an era of self-determination began. Our diversity will be celebrated, our unity will be praised, our deep-rooted strength and love for democratic values will be loved and our freedom fighters will be glorified, eulogized & deified. We will hear selected stories of bravery and oppression from pre-independent India, we will debate how long the national anthem must be sung and most of us will enjoy a long weekend. We will hear oration at its best from most corners, we will watch some children dressed as freedom fighters and we will watch all things that are good. We will watch soldiers braving inhospitable conditions to protect our borders, families of present day martyrs who lost life to protect ours and express our empathy. We will see everything in saffron, white and green and we will hear nationalistic tunes, everywhere.
Behind all these superficiality, we must remember that freedom that we so much cherish, that we so much take for granted, must not be taken for granted; for it was hard won, suffering lost self esteem, suffering humiliation, with blood, with sacrifice, with determination, with courage and with loss of a third of our land. We must also remember, that this independence, this freedom to do what we want to do, freedom to speak with least restriction, freedom to criticize and protest against what we do not like, freedom to disagree, freedom to live in prosperity, freedom to pursue our ambitions, was, is and will forever be under threat – both internal and external. We must also not forget that we were ruled and oppressed by a handful of people who were not from this land.
We must also remember that this freedom and this liberty can be easily usurped, as evident in many countries throughout the world and even during emergency days here.
If liberty, equality and fraternity are to be maintained, we must demand absolute safety for all everywhere; we must demand equal opportunity to all; we must demand work for all; we must demand care for the marginalized and the old; we must demand discrimination to end; we must demand exploitation to end; we must demand speedy justice; we must demand reduction in extreme economic inequality; we must demand greater tolerance.
For all demands and desires of us, we must first deserve it. Let us celebrate the day by demanding all the above, not from the nation but from ourselves. Let us celebrate by ensuring what is humanely possible to do it individually before demanding it from the state. Let us make ourselves worthy of our demands; for a nation is nothing but a collective conscience of its people – the state is man writ large. Let us continuously participate in this egalitarian endeavour rather than pressing a button once in a while.
Happy independence day guys!!!!