Independence - What art thou?

That day of the year, when every one of us remembers to stand in attention to the National Anthem, when we feel all "mushy" and "patriotic", when we hear Lata Mangeshkar, Asha Bhonsle and Rahman sing melodies in tribute to our great Nation. A day when we remember the Jawans out there at the border, fighting for their lives so that we can sit in the comforts of our home and enjoy a cup of tea while watching the Independence Day parade "LIVE from Delhi".

One day? Just ONE DAY?

Why, I ask, why just one day to remember everything that you stand for, everything that this Nation that shelters you is made of? One single day to honour the lives given, of the lives taken and the lives lived to provide for the safe journey from the bus to our home. One single day to remember those of yesterday that made our today what it is. One single day when reporters, radio jockeys, and every media person in the cities look towards the green and khaki stripes to say "Thank you for keeping us safe."

These men in uniforms regularly guard the borders of our nation. The conditions that they have to live in is shocking, but awe-inspiring, and yet, their spirit remains indomitable. When they're not risking their lives(read: times of peace) they're the most open hearted yet humble men and women on the planet. But in times of war, they're the ones who are up at the battlefront, shouting the Nation's war cry and surging ahead into the fray. They're there right from the flatlands to the most difficult battleground in the world.

Have you ever wondered what it is to be out there, at times in zero visibility, at times in sub-zero temperatures, armed with only a gun and your comrades by your side, running into the fray, knowing fully well that there are thousands of little metal spikes hurtling towards you faster than a speeding jet which can pierce your body and come out the other end before you've had time even to realize that it just did. And yet you do not stop. You keep going, praying to God not to live, but to die, and when you do, take a few enemies along for the ride.

As they say, Jai Jawan.

This video sent goosebumps down me when I saw it.

And the nation, each year, gives them One Day.

This year, on Raksha bandhan, college students in traditional attire tied rakhis on the wrists of the Indian Army soldiers on the outskirts of Amritsar. If that's not a gesture we should take notice of, I don't know what is.

When I started writing this post, I thought I'd write something about how Independence is overrated, how we take it for granted and so on and so forth. Then, I realised, it isn't about what Independence is taken to be, but what it really is. The no-longer-recent Mumbai terrorist attacks made that very clear, they kind of evoked the patriot in me. Participating in the Peace Rally(link) held out here in Mumbai was an eye opener as well(also, a little correction to an error I made in the previously linked post - link), but it also showed me, and the common man what power the masses have, what we, the people can do if we consent to one decision. The power to take that decision and execute it, now THAT'S INDEPENDENCE.

They said they would come back,
Promised that they'd return.
They walked away with their heads held high,
Not once did they turn.

Battles raged, many fell,
but they never gave in to despair,
For they knew someone back home awaited
with their name in prayer.

I'm proud to say this every day, whenever I have an opportunity,




Mads said...

Happy Independance Day...
And ek secret che. I want my son to go into the army some day :) :D obviously cant force him. but maybe i can :D

I love India. Don't have any more words for this post except I got senti when i played the video
about that rakhi tying thingy, i saw it some years back amritsar...saw pics of it in paper :) felt really nice about it.

first to comment \m/

Rane (The Orchid with All Shades Pink) said...

omg Shaunak.. your post actually gave me goosebumps..very well put..

Independence day is not only due to the freedom fighters back then..but its also due to the fighters who are always ready to guard the country and never think twice before sacrificing their lives for us while we sit in our homes with a cup of coffee.. watching Independence day parade 'live from Delhi'.

well done!

Shaunak said...

I've always been fascinated with the army, and more in awe, coz I really cannot imagine myself putting my life on the line for anything. I'm a safekeeper. I'd be more willing to help my nation progress in other fields. That's all the more reason why I respect any person in a uniform, be it an army man or a special ops police.

I go senti at the anthem and at Aye mere watan ke logon.

Shaunak said...

That was @Mads and @Kajal


Umesh Agarwal said...

i agree with rane buddy, that post actually gave me goosebumps!..reli great post...Jai Hind!

Shaunak said...

@ Umesh

Thanks so much buddy.
Jai Hind!

kish said...

True man, nicely written. I felt the same way. I mean all the things you feel bad about will eventually mask your patriotism.
Jai Hind.
You may like reading this
In fact, i regret writhing it now.

Shaunak said...

@ Kish

Welcome to my blog buddy. And you've got a great one too. Especially the way you weave different things together.


sawan said...

Quite a passionate post!! cudn see the video since tube is blocked at work :(

Insignia said...

Very thoughtful.

I am especially mad with the media. they are out to do anything to grab the ratings. Why hype? Why go overboard and show they are patriotic just for a day? Then later to say "We were the first to bring you this clip...we were the first to interview so and so and all that disgusting stuff.

We cant crib, as citizens, we need to think of what all our country has done to us and try to do something in return in our life time.

Dewdrop said...

'When you go home...
Tell them of us, and say -
For your tomorrow
We gave our today...'

Thanks for putting the thoughts to words

Anonymous said...

I'm fascinated by the army a lot too... Very well & passionately written!!!

Jai Hind!

Shaunak said...

@ sawan

Do check out the video, it's one of the best I've come across.

Shaunak said...

@ Insignia

Very well put. What we actually do for our country has an impact, however little credit we may give it, saying that what we do has no effect on the country.

Shaunak said...

@ Dewdrop

Thank you! :)

Shaunak said...

@ Miss Kido

So am I, and also an immense amount of respect for them.

Jai Hind!

divsi said...

m online afta a loong tym n i get sucha super post shaun!:) thankoo:)
the video made me so proud!!!! i m in awe of indian jawaans n always will be in awe...they are my superstars!:) proud to be an indian..always!!!!! each n evryday its cheers to my country n cheers to those bravehearts..our REAL celebrities!!