India is celebratingit's 64th Independence Day on August 15, 2010.
Commemorationof 63 Years ofIndependence
The Celebration Ceremony of
64th Independence Day of India
Flag Hoisting by Hon'ble Prime Minister of India
For most people, it was just another holiday, a chance to spend time with friends and family. I guess the only people really busy were those involved in education and politics (including the government agencies). They are the only ones (barring a few NGOs, Corporates and Housing Societies) who unfurl the National Flag.
Which brings up a few questions ...
1. Do we really understand the relevance that Independence Day has today ?
2. Why do we celebrate it the way we do ?
3. Why do we celebrate 2 national days (Republic Day is on January 26th) ?
4. Is it just another holiday ?
Honestly, I don't have any answers to this .. just more questions ... and a few thoughts.
I wasn't around when Independence happened, but yet, when in school, we attended the celebrations (though, reluctantly, I must admit) and sang the usual patriotic songs, heard a variety of patriotic speeches (in English, Hindi and Marathi) .. and generally waited for it to get over !
The sad thing was that while we were in school doing this, we usually missed the fun part - watching the Nation celebrate it on TV. Of course, this is nothing compared to the show we get to see on Republic Day ... and that was always the trade off ... miss school and get to see the Parade. Once college started, it was up to us whether to attend or not, and the choice was pretty clear !
Those of us who read the newspapers and watched TV must've noticed nothing new this year around ... the same "forced" carmaderie .. the forced patriotism .. the forced nationalism ...
Even the PM's address to the nation echoed of the same run-of-the-mill threats to anti-national forces, infrastructural development and the call for upliftment of the poor. Sounded much like Nehru's speech ... and if we haven't got it right for 59 years ... we better start doing this differently or hey, even maybe different things (with apologies to Mr. Shiv Khera).
Coming back .. it makes me wonder why do we even celebrate the two days separately ... in my opinion (and I could be terribly wrong here !) ... I believe that Independence Day has a whole lot more relevance than Republic Day .. and yet we do a much better job on Republic Day - what with the grand parade, show of military strength, etc.
The common man on the street may be able to point out the difference between the two days very easily (for those who are still guessing .. Independence Day is the day the British stopped ruling over India ... and Republic Day is the day India adopted its Constitution). Now do we really need to put the nation through TWO days of Nationalism ? Why don't we celebrate just one day .. and go the whole hog on that day ?
I don't believe that a grand show of (forced?) nationalism twice can get us to be a better nation .. and we can definitely do without the extra holiday. I don't really think we can afford to have even one more holiday !
Our country has, possibly, the highest number of Public Holidays in a calendar year ... The official Central Government list puts it at 13 (Ha !) .. but being the "secular" country that we are ... we are benevolent enough to allow the State Governments to add their own special days ... and then there are the Banks .. who have their own list, which may or may not synchronise with either of the Government lists !!
In addition to this, we celebrate birth anniversaries and death anniversaries of various Gods, Goddesses and National personalities .. and that's not all .. we also have a few "observed" days .. like National Integration Day .. Communal Harmony day ...
The actual number of non-working days increases a lot more .. taking into account the various other problems that we face ... Strikes ... Bandhs ... Floods ... Terrorist Attacks ...
Which brings me back to the real relevance of celebrating Independence Day. The common man is happy (and even grateful) to enjoy the Independence he has ... but I don't think that THIS is what our fore-fathers had in mind when they laid down their lives.
We definitely have the independence to rule ourselves ... no outsiders involved now .. right on ! But do we really enjoy the quality of life that we were supposed to get out of this foreign rule oppression ? The way in which the Government functions sometimes makes you feel that we need to have another war of Independence ! We seem to have merely replaced one set of oppressors, with another !
I remember seeing Rajdeep Sardesai say on TV that in a survey taken, a majority of the youth-respondents actually were aspiring to earn just about Rs. 5,000 a month ... while less than a third were aiming for Rs. 20,000 ! Our sights are set so low for the majority, and yet we are unable to fulfill these aspirations .. and we wonder why so many take to unscrupulous activities.
These (misguided ?) youths don't really care for the fight for Independence ... One dialogue in a recent movie, Dus, probably summed it up for these guys ... when asked by the main protagonist as to why a member of the protection squad had betrayed his team members (and country) he said ... something to this effect .... "My father retired at Rs. 18,000 .. I probably will at Rs. 22,000 ... they (meaning the "enemy") named a sum of money that I couldn't even dream of .. and my scruples and principles just crumbled before it."
I think we need to do a lot more ... not by merely increasing awareness of the relevance of the Independence Day, not by having more cultural programs, not by unfurling more flags, not by singing more songs, not by making/delivering more speeches .. but by actually instilling a sense of belonging and ownership in the common man. Yeah, right .. I know .. easier said than done !
Each one of us needs to believe that we have a responsibility towards giving ourselves and our neighbours a better life .. and that we CAN do it.
I believe its this sense of helplessness, this futility of effort, this "chalta hai" attitude, this fatalistic view of life, that really needs to be overcome first, before we can really begin to see some changes ...
Let start by giving honour to our great patriot ……………….
SALUTE TO ALL THE PATRIOTS FROM ALL THE MEMBERS OF CACLUBINDIA
PLEASE ADD YOUR NAME AND LEAVE YOUR MESSAGEWHO ARE PROUD TO BE AN INDIAN
"Where the mind is without fear
and the head is held high;
Where knowledge is free;
Where the world has not been
broken up into fragments by
narrow domestic walls;
Where words come out from
the depth of truth;
Where tireless striving stretches
its arms towards perfection;
Where the clear stream of reason
has not lost its way into the dreary
desert sand of dead habit;
Where the mind is lead forward by thee
into ever-widening thought and action-
Into that heaven of freedom, my Father,
let my country awake."
Historians, writers, politicians and other eminent personalities across the Globe have greatly appreciated India and its contribution to rest of the world. Though these remarks are only a partial reflection of the greatness of India, they certainly make us feel proud of our motherland.
"We owe a lot to the Indians, who taught us how to count, without which no worthwhile scientific discovery could have been made!"
- Albert Einstein (Theoretical Physicist, Germany)
"India is the cradle of the human race, the birthplace of human speech, the mother of history, the grandmother of legend, and the great grand mother of tradition. Our most valuable and most artistic materials in the history of man are treasured up in India only!"
- Mark Twain (Writer, America)
"If there is one place on the face of earth where all the dreams of living men have found a home from the very earliest days when man began the dream of existence, it is India!"
- Romaine Rolland (French scholar)
"She (India) has left indelible imprints on one fourth of the human race in the course of a long succession of centuries. She has the right to reclaim ... her place amongst the great nations summarizing and symbolizing the spirit of humanity. From Persia to the Chinese sea, from the icy regions of Siberia to Islands of Java and Borneo, India has propagated her beliefs, her tales, and her civilization!"
- Sylvia Levi (French Scholar)
"Civilizations have arisen in other parts of the world. In ancient and modern times, wonderful ideas have been carried forward from one race to another...But mark you, my friends, it has been always with the blast of war trumpets and the march of embattled cohorts. Each idea had to be soaked in a deluge of blood..... Each word of power had to be followed by the groans of millions, by the wails of orphans, by the tears of widows. This, many other nations have taught; but India for thousands of years peacefully existed. Here activity prevailed when even Greece did not exist... Even earlier, when history has no record, and tradition dares not peer into the gloom of that intense past, even from until now, ideas after ideas have marched out from her, but every word has been spoken with a blessing behind it and peace before it. We, of all nations of the world, have never been a conquering race, and that blessing is on our head, and therefore we live....!"
- Swami Vivekanand (Indian Philosopher)
"If I were asked under what sky the human mind has most fully developed some of its choicest gifts, has most deeply pondered on the greatest problems of life, and has found solutions, I should point to India."
- Max Mueller (German Scholar)
"India conquered and dominated China culturally for 20 centuries without ever having to send a single soldier across her border."
- Hu Shih (Former Ambassador of China to USA)
"There are some parts of the world that, once visited, get into your heart and won't go. For me, India is such a place. When I first visited, I was stunned by the richness of the land, by its lush beauty and exotic architecture, by its ability to overload the senses with the pure, concentrated intensity of its colors, smells, tastes, and sounds. It was as if all my life I had been seeing the world in black and white and, when brought face-to-face with India, experienced everything re-rendered in brilliant technicolor."
- Keith Bellows (Editor-in-chief, National Geographic Society)
"A flag is a necessity for all nations. Millions have died for it. It is no doubt a kind of idolatry which would be a sin to destroy. For, a flag represents an Ideal The unfurling of the Union Jack evokes in the English breast sentiments whose strength it is difficult to measure. The Stars and Stripes mean a world to the Americans. The Star and the Crescent will call forth the best bravery in Islam."
"It will be necessary for us Indians Muslims, Christians Jews, Parsis, and all others to whom India is their home-to recognize a common flag to live and to die for."
- Mahatma Gandhi
Every free nation of the world has its own flag. It is a symbol of a free country. The National Flag of India was designed by Pingali Venkayyaand and adopted in its present form during the meeting of Constituent Assembly held on the 22 July 1947, a few days before India's independence from the British on 15 August, 1947. It served as the national flag of the Dominion of India between 15 August 1947 and 26 January 1950 and that of the Republic of India thereafter. In India, the term "tricolour" refers to the Indian national flag.
The National flag of India is a horizontal tricolor of deep saffron (kesari) at the top, white in the middle and dark green at the bottom in equal proportion. The ratio of widtth of the flag to its length is two to three. In the centre of the white band is a navy blue wheel which represents the chakra. Its design is that of the wheel which appears on the abacus of the Sarnath Lion Capital of Ashoka. Its diameter approximates to the widtth of the white band and it has 24 spokes.
Evolution of the Tricolour
It is really amazing to see the various changes that our National Flag went through since its first inception. It was discovered or recognised during our national struggle for freedom. The evolution of the Indian National Flag sailed through many vicissitudes to arrive at what it is today. In one way it reflects the political developments in the nation. Some of the historical milestones in the evolution of our National Flag involve the following:
Unofficial flag of India
The Berlin committee
flag, first raised by
Bhikaiji Cama in 1907
The flag used during the
Home Rule movement
The flag unofficially
adopted in 1921
The flag adopted in 1931.
This flag was also the
battle ensign of the
Indian National Army
The present Tricolour
flag of India
The first national flag in India is said to have been hoisted on August 7, 1906, in the Parsee Bagan Square (Green Park) in Calcutta now Kolkata. The flag was composed of three horizontal strips of red, yellow and green.
The second flag was hoisted in Paris by Madame Cama and her band of exiled revolutionaries in 1907 (according to some inl9OS). This was very similar to the first flag except that the top strip had only one lotus but seven stars denoting the Saptarishi. This flag was also exhibited at a socialist conference in Berlin.
The third flag went up in 1917 when our political struggle had taken a definite turn. Dr. Annie Besant and Lokmanya Tilak hoisted it during the Home rule movement. This flag had five red and four green horizontal strips arranged alternately, with seven stars in the saptarishi configuration super-imposed on them. In the left-hand top corner (the pole end) was the Union Jack. There was also a white crescent and star in one corner.
During the session of the All India Congress Committee which met at Bezwada in 1921 (now Vijayawada) an Andhra youth prepared a flag and took it to Gandhiji. It was made up of two colours-red and green-representing the two major communities i.e. Hindus and Muslims. Gandhiji suggested the addition of a white strip to represent the remaining communities of India and the spinning wheel to symbolise progress of the Nation.
The year 1931 was a landmark in the history of the flag. A resolution was passed adopting a tricolor flag as our national flag. This flag, the forbear of the present one, was saffron, white and green with Mahatma Gandhi's spinning wheel at the center. It was, however, clearly stated that it bore no communal significance and was to be interpreted thus.
On July 22, 1947, the Constituent Assembly adopted it as Free India National Flag. After the advent of Independence, the colours and their significance remained the same. Only the Dharma Charkha of Emperor Asoka was adopted in place of the spinning wheel as the emblem on the flag. Thus, the tricolour flag of the Congress Party eventually became the tricolour flag of Independent India.
Colours of the Flag:
In the national flag of India the top band is of Saffron colour, indicating the strength and courage of the country. The white middle band indicates peace and truth with Dharma Chakra. The last band is green in colour shows the fertility, growth and auspiciousness of the land.
This Dharma Chakra depicted the "wheel of the law" in the Sarnath Lion Capital made by the 3rd-century BC Mauryan Emperor Ashoka. The chakra intends to show that there is life in movement and death in stagnation.
On 26th January 2002, the Indian flag code was modified and after several years of independence, the citizens of India were finally allowed to hoist the Indian flag over their homes, offices and factories on any day and not just National days as was the case earlier. Now Indians can proudly display the national flag any where and any time, as long as the provisions of the Flag Code are strictly followed to avoid any disrespect to the tricolour. For the sake of convenience, Flag Code of India, 2002, has been divided into three parts. Part I of the Code contains general descripttion of the National Flag. Part II of the Code is devoted to the display of the National Flag by members of public, private organizations, educational institutions, etc. Part III of the Code relates to display of the National Flag by Central and State governments and their organisations and agencies.
There are some rules and regulations upon how to fly the flag, based on the 26 January 2002 legislation. These include the following:
The National Flag may be hoisted in educational institutions (schools, colleges, sports camps, scout camps, etc.) to inspire respect for the Flag. An oath of allegiance has been included in the flag hoisting in schools.
A member of public, a private organization or an educational institution may hoist/display the National Flag on all days and occasions, ceremonial or otherwise consistent with the dignity and honour of the National Flag.
Section 2 of the new code accepts the right of all private citizens to fly the flag on their premises.
The flag cannot be used for communal gains, drapery, or clothes. As far as possible, it should be flown from sunrise to sunset, irrespective of the weather.
The flag cannot be intentionally allowed to touch the ground or the floor or trail in water. It cannot be draped over the hood, top, and sides or back of vehicles, trains, boats or aircraft.
No other flag or bunting can be placed higher than the flag. Also, no object, including flowers or garlands or emblems can be placed on or above the flag. The tricolour cannot be used as a festoon, rosette or bunting.