Another Independence Day went by. India grew 59 years old today and I a day older. Apart from the fact that we had to take a compulsory holiday from our office, was there anything ‘special’ for me about this Independence day? Was this anything more than just another holiday?
I am not sure. My apartment-mate had been itching for donating blood, but I laughed him off. Chill maadi – picked up from the local FM Station – is what I told him. I slept all day, read Amartya Sen (the closest I got to patriotism), went shopping to Bangalore Central due to the SALE there, ate heartily, "died by chocolate" and thus another day got over. I did’t even lay hands on a flag let alone hoisting it.
But then, why I am coming back to write this? If I spent it just as another holiday, why do I need to listen to my conscience now that the day is over? Does it show my patriotism or does it show the lack of it?
I think one of the reasons I just can not "show" patriotism is perhaps because the whole concept of pop patriotism puts me off. You watch TV, listen to radio stations, read the newspapers and everywhere you find that independence has been made into one big deal, with opinions from failed actors, and aspiring villains filling the broadsheet. In the taboid world, Independance day is spiced up, the only difference being that the P3 crowd wears saffron, white and green clothes. You shop till you drop as usual, but in most cases, the floor on which you drop will be painted in the tricolour. And not to forget showing our patriotism via status messages on our IM clients!
Is it really that bad or am I imagining? Is there a section of society which we do not hear about, who feel?
I think there is, and I would like to know about them. I would like to watch some kids singing Vande Mataram and Jana Gana Mana. I would like to sing the immortal words Saare Jahan se Accha. I would like to visit museams: see and read about what life was like pre-independance. What our countrymen were treated like, and what hell-hole we have been delivered out of. I would watch Gandhi, and then complete the day reading Amartya Sen (the only thing I already did, and really liked — my admiration and reverence for him have grown manifold).
I am yet to find out if the problem lies with me, or with the world at large. Perhaps both. We will find out when India turns 60. But I hope that is a more meaningful day.
I need a spellchecker. Even though Independence is a dance, at least in India, it is better not spelt as IndepenDANCE. (now corrected)