Many times I have been asked by several bloggers to be a guest blogger on their blogs. Till now I have been politely declining the requests. But when RK asked me to write something about my earliest memories of Independence Day, I couldn’t refuse.
Independence Day will always hold a very special place in my life for plenty of reasons. Being born and brought up in the capital city of India, I have been witness to Republic Day parades and Independence Day speeches since my childhood. Sometimes live and sometimes on TV.
The Rajpath, India Gate, Vijay Chowk, Red Fort, the parades, unfurling of national flag and singing of national anthem.. they all look like part of my life, a part of my very own place. Today as I write this post for our 60th Independence Day, I can feel the same emotions running through my veins. Thanks RK for giving me this opportunity of reliving the past.
Prime Minister standing behind the bulletproof glass protection unfurls the national flag and makes the customary address from the ramparts of the Red Fort. His/her long speeches once again make the customary references and tributes to the nation’s farmers, workers, teachers and the defense personnel and announce the various development schemes. Oh, my post is not about these annual rituals happening at a national level.
This post is about a young girl, who remembers the Independence Day as a festive occasion for one and all. Coming from defence background she was always fascinated with the people in crisp uniform around her. Sight of fighter planes, tanks, guns and the sound of heavy marching boots always left her awestruck.
Living in cantonment area has its own charm. As the flag etiquette demanded from all the people to stand still at the time of daily custom of flag hoisting in the mornings and lowering at sunset, she as a four year old, very dutifully did that. Even if she was running around, playing with her dolls or was in the swing, she immediately used to leave everything at the sound of bugle and stand still. Everyday early morning she gave company, in her childish shrill voice and a smiling face; waving to the march by jawans in the neighbourhood chanting patriotic slogans like “Jab tak sooraj chand rahega, bharat tera naam rahega”. Her father would laugh at her madness.
Two years later, she reminisces of going to Red Fort to see the flag hoisting which till now she had watched on TV. She was a quiet and observant child. Turned backwards on the rear seat of the car, cruising through wide roads throughout the 20 KM journey, holding a small paper tricolor in hand she watched herself leaving the world behind. The fast running vehicles, the buildings, the roads… she felt like beating them all to reach Red Fort.
She could see the blue sky full of kites of all colors, sizes and shapes symbolizing the freedom.
Once they reached, she held her father’s finger firmly till they reached their seats. The whole atmosphere was so very different from the living room telecast on TV. There was something special in the air that particular day that evoked a sense of pride at the sight of the tricolor. The early morning aura, the fresh flowers, and cleanly dressed people, school children holding small tricolours similar to hers; everything would add up to the excitement of the day. It was anything but ordinary.
She was thrilled. The red coloured Red Fort was gigantic in size and the place from where the flag was going to be unfurled looked so far away. She wanted to go up there for a closer look but was told she could not.
Sadly, she looked around. There were many policemen on duty guiding and guarding everyone.
Why so many ? She asked her father.
“The police are more careful these days since the assassination of Indira Gandhi”.
The quest of her why’s and how’s started but the young girl could not understand most of what her father said. There was a hush-hush sound all around; she was not allowed to speak loudly. Then it looked like the wait was over. The Prime Minister had arrived along with many others in cars. She was delighted.
It had started drizzling. The school children were standing, waiting to perform. She wanted to be a part of them.
It was different from the school celebrations that she had attended the day before. The function at school had plays, songs and marching drills. The tricolor paper banner strings, the colourful Rangoli, large life sized paintings done by the students and teachers together had decorated the school premises.
The Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi reached the podium, unfurled the flag and there went the national anthem. The unfurling of national flag and singing of national anthem always evoked a powerful sense of belonging.
Along with all others she, still holding the tricolour in her hand, stood in pride and sang the National Anthem at the top of her voice.
Jana Gana Mana Adhinayaka Jaya Hey
Bharat Bhagya Vidhata
Punjab Sindh Gujarat Maratha
Dravida Utkala Banga
Vindhya Himachal Yamuna Ganga
Ucchala Jaladhi Taranga
Tabh Shubha Naame Jaage
Tabh Shubha Aashish Maange
Gaahe Tabh Jaya Gatha
Jan Gan Mangaldayak Jay Hey
Bharat Bhagya Vidhata
Jaya Hey ! Jaya Hey ! Jaya Hey !
Jaya, Jaya, Jaya, Jaya Hey
RwB celebrates India at 60:
- India at Sixty by TS Srinivasa Murthy
- Tricolour Marble Cake and Eggless Tea Cake: Recipe by Bridget White Kumar
- Sare Jahan se Accha, Hindustan Hamara by BR Usha
- Rangoli-16 by Srilakshmi Suresh
- ‘India at 60′ collage