By Zahra Motorwala
26th January is remembered as the day our constitution came into force. We became an independent nation free from the clutches of the British. We remember our fore fathers and their struggle for freedom. Our republic day celebrations are standard. Every year a parade is held in Delhi on this day from the Rajghat along the Vijaypath. This parade is a part of the Indian tradition and has become a yearly affair.
It is also the most popular national holidays in the country where all trade, commerce and businesses are shut and people enjoy a day of rest.
When I was in school, republic day meant going to school for flag hoisting and then watching the republic day parade on television. The rest of the day would pass either watching patriotic movies on television, or socializing with family and friends.
I remember distinctly how my sister, my mother and I would sit together on the couch watching for the tenth time movies like Shaheed or Gandhi. And every time we did it with immense interest. Soon these movies were replaced to more recent but still patriotic movies like Border, Line of control, Mission Kashmir, The Legend of Bhagat Singh and Lagaan. These films were more recent and had a different but patriotic feel.
And now gone are the days of the Shaheeds and we are moving towards a new India. An India of progress, economy and family planning. Our perspectives have changed and now movies like Lage raho Munnabhai, Chak De India and Rang De Basanti represent our patriotism. This is the fact of the changing trends in our society and the mindset of the people. The change in the kind of movie shown is evidence to the fact that our perspective of looking at independence has changed.
This year on the occasion of republic day Peepli live was being telecast. That’s when I realized how independence and independent India have changed. 61 years of freedom, festivity and happiness. But 61 years also of democracy, rights, voting, politics, riots, 5 year plans, economy, agriculture, farmer suicides, naxals, maoists, terrorism. We have a history to reckon. From independence to emergency, Gandhi to Nehru and now Manmohan singh, communism to terrorism, booming economy to dying farmers. We have come a long way.
Every two-year comes a patriotic movie which touches the hearts of millions. These movies instill in us a new enthusiasm and sometimes help change our perspective towards our country. But soon the movie is forgotten and we are back to our television sets and the monotony of our lives. We all have this ‘don’t care’ attitude because of which we will never do anything until we ourselves are not involved. We do not want to create unnecessary problems, we do not want to fight and especially not for someone else. We as Indians are habituated to complaining but never want to works towards solving these problems.
Our patriotism is limited to the movie theatres where we are forced to sing the national anthem, or a week before republic day and Independence Day when children at signals will sell the Indian flag. Otherwise we are back to our old habits of cribbing about things. We blame the government, the system, the politicians and everyone else possible. We are all hypocrites. We will want to be the ones to bring change and be different but we will not want to take a stand and get into the system. All of us are against the corruption in our country but when needed we will be the first ones to bribe. Whether it is in big ways or small we are part of this vicious cycle.
Patriotism is not only when you fight in war for your country but also when you defend your country in front of others. It is when you follow rules and stand against all odds to be an honest person. Whatever the reality and however gross the truth India is our country and nobody but we alone are responsible for its present state.
We should thus begin to have faith in our system and believe that there will be a day when India will be among the most prosperous nations in the world. The path to this goal is not easy but is also not unachievable.