65 years ago, India got her Independence from the British sovereign. Once a possession of the magnificent British Empire, India is now liberated from colonialism and has found her place in the free world. The largest democracy in the world, India is one of the leading economic giants of the 21st century.
It was only 65 years ago that India got her independence, even though after living here for almost a year, it feels that her independence has come with a price. The increasing levels of corruption, the lack of order and sanity, poor infrastructure, poverty, and low governmental provisions for education and health, are the quintessential hallmarks of a country that was once colonized and ruled over. Is it me or is it fair to say that all countries that have been colonized and whose people have been systematically disenfranchised, bare the above hallmarks which are common to all? And if so, why? That’s a topic not meant for this blog.
On a more personal note, Mumbai’s celebrations of Independence Day was mellow and peaceful. I am sure the celebrations in the country’s capital was done with pomp and fanfare. It is traditional in the big housing societies in Mumbai (and I suppose in the rest of the country) to conduct the hoisting of the flag in a particular way: residents of the society gather around, the national anthem is sung, and the flag is hoisted, after which, every one proceeds to partake in a little celebration.
It is an amazing sight to see the hoisting of the flag, because in the Indian culture, the flag is noted up and in it are bunch of flowers such as marigolds and carnations and perhaps, rose petals as well. Once the flag is released, a riot of colors emerge from the flag, a sight to behold. Here is an image of the flag containing the flowers:
Here’s Google’s tribute to the Indian Independence day which includes the peacock, the national bird of India:
I have to say, I have mixed feelings about Independence Day. What are we really independent from? What have we gained that we did not have under the British rule? Back then, I am sure we were treated like slaves….and, we also had good infrastructure, stability, education and basic health. Has our independence come with a big price? Some days, I feel so!
In the meantime, I leave you with the profound and moving words of Rabindranath Tagore, one of India’s finest poet and writer. This is a poem from his renowned book Geetanjali:
“Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high;
Where knowledge is free;
Where the world has not been
broken up into fragments by
narrow domestic walls;
Where words come out from
the depth of truth;
Where tireless striving stretches
its arms towards perfection;
Where the clear stream of reason
has not lost its way into the dreary
desert sand of dead habit;
Where the mind is lead forward by thee
into ever-widening thought and action-
Into that heaven of freedom, my Father,
let my country awake.”