Our nation gained independence almost 70 years ago: A youthful breed of Indians shouldered the responsibility to rid the country of colonizers – and did it brilliantly! In an age where communication depended primarily on word of mouth, cohesive groups met, planned and executed precise strategies without the aid of the manifold modern communication technologies and gadgets that exist today.
There were several important events and movements in the battle leading to Independence such as the Rebellion of 1857, Quit India, Non-cooperation Movement, the Salt March, the Chauri Chaura incident and many more. In the end, indigenous philosophies and ideologies – be it Gandhism, Indian Nationalism, Satyagrah, Swadeshi or Swaraj – thwarted British, Dutch, Portuguese and French alike.
M.K. Gandhi, Vivekanand, Abdul Kalam Azad, Subhash Chandra Bose, Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Sarojini Naidu, Jawahar Lal Nehru, Ram Mohan Roy, B.R. Ambedkar, are just very, very few names on the list of social reformers and activists that brought the people together as one. Their avant-garde ideas fueled a much-needed revolution to consolidate a nation, and inspired its people to oust the rulers to whom the land did not belong. The upheaval affected and changed the lives of billions of people for whom self-governance, social reforms and preservation of culture was of extreme significance. August 15 brings to mind the people and philosophies that made the modern history of India.
Cut to the present, and a generation of young people, which includes many of us, who have forgotten what Independence Day is really all about. Not many know it's a day to venerate the liberty and sovereignty we so carelessly take for granted in our everyday lives. Many even confuse Republic Day, which marks the forming of the Constitution of India, with Independence Day.
The country, it seems, still has a long way to go – the revolution, like all good ideas, needs to be sustained. A large cross-section of our society, mobile-toting, internet-savvy and Bolly-/Holly-wood-struck, knows/cares not much about world events that happened before its time, or what lies in the future. As the nation swirls in a cauldron of hate, poverty, social and economic inequality and, most importantly, a lack of quality education, we need leaders, philosophers, educators and social reformers who could further the cause that is the Idea of India to the next level.
There's a huge paucity of leaders and thinkers who can change the course of the country towards a future that is proud of its history and sure about its prospects – and in control of the present. Just as any text on Independence Day cannot be complete without the mention of the social reformers, philosophers, intellectuals and the initiators; India's future cannot be safe without them either. The best we can make of our Freedom is to stand up and steer the country towards the ideals its founding members envisioned – to fight the wars and battles within for the prosperity of all.
So let there be freedom today. But let good sense prevail too!