Every Independence Day, a million speeches are delivered; some inspirational, some reflective, some patriotic, some hopeful. Independence Day is about fluttering Tricolor, melting sweetmeats, traditional attires and patriotic songs. And in some families, the Partition is lamented on this day. In others, the government is blamed for not ensuring equality and justice. In newspaper editorials, the editors ask question of ‘are we really independent after all these years’ is asked.
Clearly, the day is marked in many different ways across the country. But when we speak of freedom on Independence Day, and when we take pride in being Indians and sing the national anthem with all due respect, are we merely marking the occasion or are we actually celebrating our freedom?
Do we take pride in being Indian every day; do we do things that merit such pride every day? Every 15th of August, we go back to Nehru’s Tryst with Destiny, but how often do we stop to reflect on whether we have come to redeem our pledge or not? And to redeem this pledge, dressing up in traditional attires on August 15th is not enough. We have most of our principles in place; it is in their practice that we fall behind.
For the nation to progress, we have to make a collective effort to value our freedom and that of those around us. To be worthy of this freedom, we have to celebrate the spirit of freedom through daily thoughts and deeds and not just through the hoisting of the flag on two specific days. And to uphold the ideals of independence, one does not need to wear traditional clothes and sing patriotic songs.
If it is the government’s job to ensure freedom, it is also the individual’s job to not take that freedom for granted. We hurt the sentiments of the nation’s founders not when we accidentally step on the national flag but when we give a bribe, one does not offend the philosophy of the Constitution when one wears a short skirt but when one cannot tolerate that.
This Independence Day, let us wave the Tricolor and in keeping with its true spirit, pledge to celebrate freedom and plurality all through the year.