“At the stroke of the midnight hour, when the world sleeps, India will awake to life and freedom…”
These words by India’s first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, will forever remain etched in our history. After a century of struggle and being ruled by the British – India claimed the freedom we always deserved. Men, women and children rejoiced to call this land their own for the first time. And today, on the 74th Independence Day, we must ask: Are we respecting the struggle of our forefathers and mothers? Are we valuing this freedom, and understanding that we, as citizens, have a responsibility towards the nation too? I don’t want to speak about the past today, I want to speak about the future. I want to speak about 4 responsibilities that will help us value this Independence.
What does ‘doing’ mean in this sense? Simply put, it’s our responsibility towards taking action for things that matter – of doing something for change. Voting in every election – whether it be a General election or a local election. Taking charge of the cleanliness of our surroundings – let’s remember – Swachh Bharat isn’t just the government’s dream. Doing good for society – helping people out, and respecting the struggle of generations past.
With freedom, comes a big responsibility to hold those in power accountable. If we see something wrong happening around us, it is our responsibility to speak up and urge for action. A citizen’s voice is the most powerful voice – it can build and break policies, it can build and break governments. Let’s use it to shape our future.
Let us remember that there are many communities in India who still don’t enjoy freedom, even after Independence. If you are someone who enjoys rights irrespective of your gender identity, caste, education or economic status, it’s time to recognise your privilege and be an ally in the larger fight for equal rights.
We can’t be responsible citizens without knowing about what’s happening around us. It’s a must to be involved in shaping our country’s democracy and keeping ourselves informed of our rights, responsibilities and the news that affects us and thousands around us.
These 4 are just the tip of our duties as a citizen. Let’s ensure that not just Independence Day, but every day as an Indian citizen reminds us of what it’ll take to build a strong, peaceful and active community of citizens who respect their freedom and understand their responsibilities.
And with that – Azaadi Divas Mubarak Ho!