“Since you have come into this world, leave some mark behind…otherwise what is the difference between you and the trees and the stones?” - Swami Vivekananda
I‘d been to my daughter’s school today for an Open House (The Parent Teacher meeting during our School days) and preparations for Independence Day were on. My daughter proudly showed the tricolor flag colored by her and said, “Mamma Independence Day ki chutti hone wali hai, isiliye hum class ko decorate kar rahe hain”. I smiled and asked her, “Why chutti for Independence Day?” She said, “Us din sab chutti hain…freedom day hain…kuch bhi kar sakte hain…Ma’am aisa boli hain.”
I was happy to see her enthusiasm and listen to her long sentences, as she all of four now. Yet, I felt the need to teach her how important the day is, that we are gifted a national holiday! I told her a small story of a group of colorful butterflies who were caught by a monster and were treated as slaves for years until one day, a brave prince came to their rescue. The day the butterflies were rescued, was known as the Independence Day. “We are celebrating this since 67 years now”, I added.
My daughter’s next question was, “Do you celebrate Independence like you celebrate my birthday?” I told her how the tricolor flag is hoisted which is similar to cutting the Birthday Cake. And how the National Anthem ‘Jana Gana Mana’ replaces the ‘Happy Birthday’ song. Only parents and friends are present at a birthday party, but here the whole nation is invited for the Celebration. Somehow, I managed to relate the two celebrations in order to capture her interest and make her concepts more clear.
When I started speaking about Independence Day, I felt I had very less to mention. I guess I had not done enough to speak about! Next day, I went to school and requested her Principal to allow me narrate a story to the students on the occasion of Independence Day. The Principal was very happy about my initiative and asked me, which story I had in mind. I told her I would speak about the brave heroes like Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, Mangal Pandey, Rani of Jhansi and Bhagat Singh etc. who sacrificed their lives to attain freedom for our country! It would be a great opportunity to remind the children how blessed they are to have had legends like them create rich history. Then, of course, I started my preparation for the storytelling. I feel that this year I have done my bit.
Living in an independent nation is a dream of every individual. I’ll quote a small example which makes the meaning of freedom and its importance very clear. If there is no space and freedom, it’s difficult to search for happiness and mutual respect in a family. Therefore, every individual seeks a personal space and freedom to make their own decisions and live peacefully. Had India not been an Independent country, today we could not even dream of adjectives like self-governing, self-determining, democracy and secularity etc.
These stories should be narrated more often as they make an individual feel to be a proud Indian and a responsible citizen. Our youngsters seem to have forgotten them as our schools rarely talk about them now. Let’s ensure that these stories are never forgotten and are re-told to remind that we are a secular & independent country now!
Therefore, let’s do something different this time…for Independence Day…what say?
Do share how you are celebrating Independence Day this time around!