It has been 70 years since India secured its independence. And India is celebrating today along with many Indians who are a part of the global community. And I am one of those people who have felt amazed at the progress India has made – in all spheres – socially, economically, technologically, digitally and even intellectually.
And my hopes are pinned high for India. Call me a delusional optimist but I feel delighted that India is at par with other countries. Yes we lack at many things, but the best of all is that we are a ‘work in progress’. And we will certainly progress. And I only feel proud to be a product of a nation like India.
But I wonder! The last time my ears awoke my mind to the tune of Jana Gana Mana - the Indian national anthem, I was at a movie theater catching the screening of a blockbuster movie Sultan. I will be honest in saying that I was a little perplexed when the message on the screen flashed asking the audience to stand up in respect. But then it just started, and for a moment it did not matter where I was. I had to get up. And I did. Although the anthem was dedicated to INS Vikrant, commissioned as the first aircraft carrier of the Indian Navy that played a significant role during the India-Pak war of 1971, I just couldn’t help but reminisce that the anthem that was a daily affair back in school, but now it just seemed to be a distant memory in my adulthood – only coming to surface twice a year, on occasions like the Republic Day or the Independence Day. I wonder if people do really stand up ‘from within’ in respect when the anthem is playing. In my case, a lot of people did stand, but more so after looking at others.
Patriotism is a sentiment that one needs to acknowledge within one’s inner self first – actions come later. But honestly I too at times have belied this sentiment.
Every time I leave India for the US, I feel the same way when I say goodbye to my mom. I feel nostalgic. I try to touch the ground before I leave to board the plane – but I mostly try to conceal my intentions and the act of doing so, because I feel a little…well… embarrassed (and I know I shouldn’t be under any circumstances.) Sometimes I try act like I am doing something to my shoe, or pretend that I dropped something. But I do touch the ground beneath me. It just seems like I owe a lot to this nation – a nation that has borne my weight for all these years, which has given me the nourishment and subsistence to be what I am today.
We celebrate our Independence Day with so much fanfare, I see Indian flags all over the city this time, big flags on cars, bikes, trucks and what not. But its time to respect the nation for what it is and the progress it has made since 1947.