Since our childhood we are led to believe that certain struggles and sacrifices are intrinsic to a particular era or against some particular people – race, colour, governance. We’re witness to continuous ennobling of martyrs by media and different political parties tickling our emotions, glorifying some while condemning others.
It is as if we’ve come out of a dark phase and only looking back at time; like watching a movie or saas-bahu soap on TV with tears and pent up feelings of nationalism. After all these years, some people have only turned into a few dates in our calendar, some days have only added to our list of holidays. The TV channels and radio stations increase their popularity – by discovering restaurants, arousing our interests for places where our beloved leaders used to hang out, dine, hold their secret meetings. (???)
We watch the museums with reverence – the dresses, the caps, the spectacles they wore, the revolvers they used, the bullets with which they were killed. And like our trendy dresses, perfumes and gadgets they too, become commodities.
We love to flock to these places, take selfies. We take pride in being the descendants of people who’ve fought for a cause their entire lives – those who’ve become stars now, expectant of wetting ourselves a little in the spotlights thrown on them, except that try however hard as we might, we fail to relate to those causes.
Our feelings of nationalism get commercialised into earning crores of rupees and we remain content watching movies at multiplexes, diving our hands into multi-cuisine food at costly outlets or better still, sitting cozy in our homes sipping glasses of wine and sending patriotic messages to our friends from our trendy smartphones, enjoying it just like any other holiday.
Is this the freedom our leaders laid their lives for? Is this the complete independence our visionaries had struggled to bring into effect? When shall we realise that every age has causes of its own, what we need is to identify them?
The war for independence rages on and it will continue to do so. The need of the hour is to set up the spark of these people in our hearts again and again and never let it die. That is the only way they’ll continue to live out of our school textbooks glorifying a certain political philosophy, a mere mention in political rallies to earn votes or a cool glass of sharbat passing down our throats which the owner of an eatery desperately tries to prove to have been the favourite of a certain freedom fighter, to boost his sales.
Hoisting the tricolour, singing the national anthem or watching the Republic Day parade with elan on certain days of the year is not enough – our duties towards remembering and paying homage to our shaheeds (martyrs), reformists and visionaries lie in taking the baton from their hands and continuing the war.