Monday, 18 August 2008

Independence Day


One more Independence Day anniversary has come and gone.

There were the usual annual parades and the speeches to the nation, flag hoisting ceremonies in various organisations and institutions, oaths and pledges taken in chorus, fluttering paper flags being sold with gusto at the street corners and the electronic media showing innumerable videos related to ‘Deshbhakti’.

There were also the usual threats from militant groups, bomb blasts in expected places like the North East, routine attempts to cross the LOC by the neighbouring nation and the Valley of Gods erupted in ethnic quasi religious violence which nurtured back a secessionist movement.

In sports, the cricketing glamour boys got whipped again in Sri Lanka, the glamorous tennis stars got whipped in Olympics and India with a population of 100 million once again personified the Olympic motto of Participation being more important than winning. (Kudos to Abhinav Bindra, but he is an aberration and we all know that in our heart of hearts.)

In politics, the usual crooks and corrupt rule the roost. Bundles of currency are shown up in the Parliament and that too on National Television. Strange partnerships have been created and we may have a choice between two most uncouth people as the next leader of the nation.

So, if one sits back to look at the 61 years gone by , what does he/she see? Hopelessness? Or is there something round the corner? What would make this land of 100 million carry on?

The answer is a cliché. The answer lies in the hands of the common man. The battered and taken for granted man on the street. The ability of the mass to survive this outrageous onslaught and continue regardless will be the determining factor of the future.

I know that the above point is open to challenge. But at he end I will leave you with is image:-

It was around 11:30 at night on the 14th of August and I was standing on the footpath outside a marriage house waiting for my car to pick me up. The roads were deserted with only a few vehicles plying. Suddenly, from a side lane emerged a young man (must have been in late teens or early twenties) furiously pedalling on a bicycle with the tricolour hoisted high above his head and mounted on the handle bar. I watched the young man moving away with the national flag fluttering above his head – a head held high with obvious pride of carrying the flag.

My day was made. I felt the same pride swell in me. Jai Hind.

4 comments:

Oreen said...

ahha, always you have to steal the show, don't you. but nice to know we both have been thinking on the same lines . . .

i can clearly see that guy on the bicycle...

Sucharita Sarkar said...

Wow! scathing criticism ending on a touching note! Well, that pessimisn/optimism duality sums up our response to our country, doesn't it?

Sreya said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sreya said...

loved this one...especially the image of the bicyclist...I think every single day I grow a tad bit prouder to be an Indian...yet with pride comes a feeling of awful helplessness about the myriad challenges that face our country...but I am constantly reminded by a visionary (my father) to see every challenge as an opportunity...