So much for Independence
Woke up on a Sunday morning to the national anthem being played and it suddenly struck me that it was August 15th. Looked outside the window, only to see a bunch of kids in white kurta pyjamas looking proudly at the national flag and clapping their hands, completely oblivious to what they are even doing there.
Walked out on the street to get some groceries (maggi to be precise) and met an elderly couple who smirked at me for not attending the “early morning community flag hoisting” and asked me, “beta, we didn’t see you in the garden, too much work must’ve taken a toll on you, isn’t it? ” ..This of course was a resentment cumulative over months on end that included pretty much most days when the entire colony turned into a collection of people with various levels of vanities ..
Anyway, coming back to the point, I looked back at them, wiped my smoked glasses and acknowledged their accusation saying, “Yes Mr. Mindfucker and Whatshername Aunty. I assume you are just returning from the event, isn’t it”..Whatshername swells at her abhitohmainjavaanhoon attitude and says, “Yes beta”..And then, I asked them something that they would remember me for..
I began by asking, “Which song do you like more, Vande Mataram or Jana Gana Mana ? “.. The answer to which was Vande Mataram.. An obvious question to that was why is it that they liked Vande Mataram more.. To which mindfucker lived upto his name by saying “cause it makes me feel more patriotic”..With a wide grin, I then asked, “So the national anthem doesn’t? ” ..He mentioned that during the independence struggle, Vande Mataram was widely acknowledged as the national anthem since it directly addressed Mother India and that created a wave of passion that exists even today in the heart of every patriot. Being a party to his feeling, I innocently managed to asked him, “Then why was the so-called highly patriotic song outrightly rejected when it came to choosing a National Anthem”.. He stood very silent for a few seconds and both husband and wife replied in unison , “Politics.” And then there was a “walk” in the garden about why Vande Mataram was actually not selected as the national anthem.
Simple answer is, that Vande Mataram was a hymn for Goddess Durga mentioned in Anandamath by Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay. It was a hymn that was limited to Bengal,for Bengalis believe in the ten – handed deity and her powers. But a Muslim would never acknowledge her to be Mother India. And so did the minorities. Jana Gana Mana, on the other hand catered to the love of the country in common and did not involve any religion, caste or creed.
The much elderly couple were silent at their ignorance and slowly walked away, probably cursing me for showing them in the wrong.
My independence need not be unraveled on public holidays by giving a standing ovation to a hoisted flag. It reflects in my awareness of how my country is faring in its day to day activities. It reflects in my compassion for the poor and fathoming their needs. My freedom is in participating in a new India being churned out in every sphere of life. Waking up late on an Independence day is not as bad as not allowing your daughters to go out and vote, since, there are goons at the poll site.
There are way too many things I could write about independence and my meaning of it, but I guess, philosophizing it makes no sense.
My freedom lies in growing up. And in being non-judgemental about people who are unlike me.
So much for independence. Huh.