On politics and independence

Friday I sent out a mailer to the client, mentioning today would be a holiday for Indian folks due to Independence Day celebrations. My teammate and I sat together, discussing what quote to put in the infographic. In the end, we just wrote a simple “Happy Independence Day”.

Today we celebrate ndia’s 70th Independence. However, the spirit of Independence Day is locked away in the bottled childhood memories of my mind. In school, we hoisted the national flag. Toffees and chocolates were given, and we paraded in our P.T. uniforms. The national anthem was sung.

In school, every prayer assembly ended with the national anthem. Our teachers saw to that. Of course, in school I never questioned the need of singing it. When I went to college, I found it surprising that there were no prayer assemblies, no national anthem sung. Then work life began and of course, the trace of patriotism that our teachers tried to imbibe in us in school was long lost.

I never enjoyed Independence Day celebrations held in Delhi that we used to watch on TV. But today, I miss wrapping the flowers in the material of the national flag and the way the flowers fell when the flag was full hoisted. I miss the greenery of my school ground, and the banyan trees beyond our school boundary. I miss the blue-white skies above us. I miss the brightness of the tricolor against the colorless wind and the blue skies.

It is strange how life changes. In schools, we are taught to be proud of our past, our national heritage, the struggle put in by our freedom fighters. By the time you are an adult and start working, all that consumes your mind is how to earn more. For the past few weeks, I have been thinking which would be the best time for me to go home in terms of flight prices. The concept of economies was of course created to make life easy for us. But today, we have become slaves to that concept of economy. We have become slaves of consumerism. That is why so many youths are disillusioned these days. Of course, it feels great to buy new clothes from shiny outlets in expensive malls, but the price that comes with it – the hours you put in at work – sometimes, the balance tips too low. Sometimes, our generation feels that what is it that we are really achieving in life? What do we get after working 12-13 hours or more in office? Is there something greater in our lives than this?

I keep wondering if it is possible for me to contribute in any manner to the goodness in the world. On Friday, two boys came to our flat to ask for donation – they are trying to educate children. I wonder, why is it that all these people ask for money? Why can’t they ask for service instead? Why can’t they try to involve me in the work that they are doing?

I was watching PM Modi’s address a while back. I respect him for being an inspiring leader, but I hate how each of these prime ministerial speeches always take a jab at the previous governments, and try to prove how the current government is doing better. Sometimes, I find this petty politics very childish, as if two little kids are trying to prove to their parents who is better. Is it not possible to do away with the jibes?

I wonder when we will be independent enough not to compare, but just work to our fullest potentials. For me, perhaps that would be true independence.

Tell me, dear reader, how does 15th August impact you? This day do you take a vow to change anything in your life? Share your Independence Day experiences with me.

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About Arpita

Arpita Pramanick is a little, young woman with a bright face (who'd rather not look directly into a stranger's eye) you'll find walking on the corridors of Mu Sigma, Inc. She tells herself she wants to be a properly published writer (by which she means she wants to be published from the likes of Penguin), but isn't really so sincere about writing everyday. So if you see her, tell her to go write. She'll love you for doing that!
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3 Responses to On politics and independence

  1. Belinda O says:

    Arpita, I just wrote a comment and I’m not sure if it went through…anyway, I really enjoyed your thoughtful perspective on patriotism and heritage.

    Liked by 1 person

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