Independence Day is a good occasion to acknowledge the ideas, the passion, the struggle that went into India’s freedom movement. It’s a day to celebrate the Indians – representing the subcontinent’s many diversities – who were adamant on their right to decide for themselves. Tales of that indomitable spirit, that unity, that resolve can inspire anyone in adversity, not to mention, make us appreciate the gifts of a modern democracy that we may take for granted.
It’s difficult not to tear up thinking of all those selfless sacrifices, the offensive courage it took for hundreds of thousands of nobodies with nothing to take on a mighty empire. Thousands of patriots – from school students to senior citizens – dreamt and fought for a life of dignity, and August 15 will continue to be their blessing for India’s tomorrow. It’s also a good day to remind ourselves of the dynamic and inclusive principles on which this young/old nation was rebuilt.
Independence Day is more than just a day to watch a war movie or two or unceremoniously sport the Tricolor to stir fleeting nationalistic fervor (often practiced to a divisive end or with a political agenda). The day is about taking stock of how and where we are as a nation and what we achieved and lost in the year gone by, a performance evaluation, if you will. It’s a day to ask some honest, uncomfortable questions to keep ourselves and our leaders accountable.
Freedom to be, freedom to express, freedom to choose – these are the ideas that India’s freedom movement sought to inject into this nation’s veins. Freedom in knowledge, freedom in comfort, freedom in integrity, all good freedoms will be preserved and passed on to the next generation only if we stay true to the tenets behind India’s freedom struggle. And the way to do that would be by putting collective good ahead of our narrow interests and prejudices.
Asking necessary questions, keeping our elected leaders committed to the idea of India is the least that we can do to honor those who didn’t think twice before sacrificing their promises for this nation. This need has become imperative amid the disruptions our society is experiencing. A study of India’s freedom movement, an inquiry of the health of our state are practices we must consider for August 15 to help us stay on the path to a future worth having.