Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Our independence needs better respect

Every 15th of August we celebrate the Independence Day. We were lucky enough to be born into a free and an independent India. We studied about the freedom struggle only in our history textbooks. However we used to listen to the difficult times that our grandparents went through during the pre independence period.

Just the other day, I read this very touching story of this young girl called Kaumudi. Gandhiji had come visiting her village as part of fund raising for the Harijan Sahaya Samithi . He appealed to the people assembled there to donate whatever they could. At that time a young girl of seventeen came towards Gandhiji and asked him for his autograph and as he was writing he saw that she was taking out the gold bangle from one hand and giving it. Then he saw her taking out the other gold bangle and finally her gold chain. Even Gandhiji could not, but help appreciate her sacrifice. She later became a disciple of Vinoba Bhave and helped in the Bhoodan movement. She passed away at the age of ninety two last week. Just imagine the spirit of freedom that had been ignited into such young hearts!

Today India has made great strides. India is supposed to be the youngest country with half the population being in their twenties. Just imagine how strong our country can be if the youth power is harnessed in a positive way. The only problem is that even after 62 years of independence, the development is lopsided. There is a very huge imbalance between the have and the have-nots.

Even today when we see the movie "Gandhi" or "Shahid Bhagat Singh" or even a "Rang de Basanti", we definitely feel a stir in our hearts. When we sing or listen to the national anthem we do feel proud. Even today when we listen to this very touching song of Lata Mangeshkar "Mere watan ke logon" my eyes water.

For our children though, it is a very different story. They were born during the times of economic boom. Hence Independence day means holiday for the school. Children crib that they have to practice marchpast as part of independence day celebration and that they have to go to school even on a holiday!! Why only children I have seen adults showing scant respect when our national anthem is played.

The question then is are we loosing the spirit of independence? Are we taking our independence for granted? Are we sensitising in our children the value of Independence? How can we as parents help in developing the patriotic spirit and that national pride in our children?

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