Saare Jahan se acchha Hindustan humara… We all have grown up with these lines. We learned the stories of freedom struggle, the partition of the nation, formation of the constitution, from our teachers and parents. In our childhood, stories of independence were like fairy-tales. We carried that enthusiasm with us. But in the last few years, August 15 has been reduced to just a holiday.
With the advent of digital platforms and social networking sites, it has become customary to just forward some messages to our near and dear ones to celebrate Independence Day. Posting some quotes and slogans on social media is just a formality. Our national ‘Tiranga’ has become an emoji. Most of us do not participate in the Independence Day celebration. We just enjoy the day by watching patriotic movies, going for outings or simply merrymaking, because we don’t have office on this day.
The enthusiasm which we had in our childhood, why does it not continue in our youth? What could be the reason? Why are we moving away from that enthusiastic spirit? These questions came to my mind when I saw the deserted streets of a nondescript town in Punjab. When I roamed the streets, I found nothing which could compel me to realize that, this was Independence Day.
Is it our fast moving lifestyle, work pressure and incessant competition, the invasion of global culture and an inclination towards a western lifestyle the major reason for this apathetic approach? Or the changing political system, corrupt practices, nepotism in different spheres of the society, making us take our nation for granted?
Freedom is our legacy. It was given to us by our forefathers. The struggle, the pain, the trauma they faced to accomplish their earnest dreams cannot be overlooked. Similarly ignoring the past and neglecting the present may cost us dearly. The Independence Day is the occasion which refreshes our mind, rejuvenates us and reminds us of our duties as citizens. It encourages our brave soldiers to protect the country; it guides our security forces to fight for the nation and its dwellers. So there should not be any space for apathy.
We should pass on our legacy to our next generation. If the present generation fails to instil it, then our future generation may lose their identity and pride for their nation. Let’s pledge not to do that. Let the Saare Jahan se achha… Hindustan humara song remain etched in our minds. Every Indian should feel proud to be one. Let our diversity be our strength and let our sense of unity become a shining example in the world. Jai Hind.
Dr. Fakira Mohan Nahak, Chandigarh University, Gharuan, Mohali, Punjab.