To many, independence day is very sacred. Even if they believe in the philosophy of one political party or the other, that is one day they are all just Indians. They put their differences aside, and just remember those who sacrificed their lives for the freedom, or those who lived very inconvenient or troublesome lives while fighting for the freedom.
I think the President of India gave very dignifying speech of the day. It was nonpartisan, and kept dignity and sanctity of the day. It was also very presidential. It gave measured warning to the troublemakers on the border.
But it was down the hill after that. On one day (or two days including the Republic Day) , when the prime minister speaks to the nation from the Red Fort, he does not belong to any political party. He is the prime minister of ALL the people. The speech should include the sacrifices made by Indians beginning from 1857, like Jhansi ki Rani, Nana Fadanvis, Gandhi and all the others who fought to make India free, regardless of party line. The speech should also mention the hard work of all the people (including those of the opposition parties) when talking about the achievements. It should also mention the challenges the the nation faces, without making excuses.
And the opposition party should have spared one day from 2014 election campaign. People would have respected that.
The news channels were also not very responsible by covering spicy political battles. Instead, they should have taken their camera to small towns schools, where children take their first lesson of freedom. Ask them questions about independence movement. Ask them what they are planning to do for the country. Go to college campuses. Ask them how should they have a nonpolitical approach to preserve the freedom, and unite like they did during Nirbhaya situation. TV channels barely broadcasted the good speech of the president, and kept on broadcasting the political fight between two major parties. That should have been covered briefly, during headlines.
Besides remembering the freedom fighters, the independence day is the day for picnic, state initiated big fireworks, taking children to parks, and other innocent fun. The only day USA has fireworks is on July 4th, America’s Independence Day. I remember when children were young, we used to pack some picnic food, and go to lakes or parks where there was fireworks on 4th of July. Children enjoyed the spectacular fireworks while plying in the park. Indians are big on fireworks. Besides traditional Diwali fireworks around houses, they have fireworks when India wins cricket matches, or during weddings. Sometime I joke that Indian would have fireworks when their cows would give birth to a calf. But there was no fireworks sponsored by either government, or private corporations.Not even neighborhood fireworks like it is done during during Diwali. [I personally believe in safe and monitored fireworks in open areas, done by professional only]
When I began going to school in my little village, Dethali in Kheda district, India’s independence was only five years old (and I was 6 years old). Gandhi had died only four years before. Nehru was the first prime minister and Rajendra Prasad was the first president. Many freedom fighters often visited our village. We kids dreamed about the the independence day celebration. Many of us dressed up in Khadi (hand-spun hand-woven cloth.) clothes. There was a procession of kids all over the village. We sang freedom songs and chanted freedom slogans. All proud parents came out to see their kids. The love for the land was real. Same thing happened on the Republic Day and on Gandhi’s birthday.
We need to bring back that freedom spirit, because freedom is as precious now, as it was then.