For the young, Independence Day is just an extended weekend

August 13th, 2008 - 10:18 am ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Abhinav Bindra
By Azera Rahman
New Delhi, Aug 13 (IANS) Anjana Gupta had tears in her eyes when the national anthem played and the tricolour went up for Abhinav Bindra, the shooter who got India its first individual Olympic gold medal in Beijing this week. Gupta was proud of her countryman’s feat. But ask the 24-year-old BPO employee about Independence Day - and she shrugs it off as just another holiday.

“I am a proud Indian, no doubt about that. But Independence Day doesn’t mean much to me,” a candid Gupta told IANS.

Her thoughts are echoed by many in the country who say they love their country and are proud of it too - but think of Independence Day as a national holiday.

With their hectic lifestyles and not-a-minute-to-spare attitude, most people, especially youth, are simply glad that this year the Independence Day Aug 15 falls on a Friday - translating into an extended weekend.

“I am really looking forward to Independence Day because it’s on a Friday this time. A few of my friends and I are planning to go to a nearby hill station and enjoy the extended weekend,” said Anubhav Goyal, a public relations consultant based in Bangalore.

Aug 15, 1947, is the day India won freedom from British rule after a protracted struggle that saw thousands lay down their lives. Several decades down the line, it leaves many a young soul cold though it is talked about at homes and schools from a young age.

Sourovi, a student in Delhi University and the associate editor of the varsity’s official newspaper, said her team was busy with the special issue of the magazine on the occasion of India’s 61st Independence Day.

However, when asked what she thought about the day, she said honestly that it didn’t hold much meaning.

“Today we are all very occupied with our personal growth. Patriotism has little place in our lives. Therefore, for me Independence Day has very little emotion attached to it,” Sourovi told IANS.

While it does not bring out patriotism in some of the young, the day does have its delights.

For Salil Sharma, a student who lives in central Delhi’s Chandni Chowk area, Independence Day is all about the thrill of flying kites - tri-coloured or Batman and Spiderman shaped or the usual diamond shaped ones.

Flying kites on that day, after all, is a tradition.

“Most of my friends either sleep through Independence Day or sit at home watching movies, but not me. I look forward to the Independence Day celebrations,” an enthusiastic Sharma said.

“My father religiously watches the flag hoisting ceremony at Red Fort on TV and after that all of us go to the neighbourhood park or our building’s balcony and fly kites.”

Perhaps 12-year-old Annie Saikia’s words convey more than what she can say. A resident of Assam’s Tinsukia district, she wishes she could actually see the national flag being hoisted instead of having to watch it on TV every time. Most of the time separatists call a bandh on that day.

“Every Independence Day there is an Assam bandh, called by separatist groups. Most of the time, there is a bomb blast somewhere and innocent people are killed.

“I wish even I could participate in an Independence Day ceremony like others in the country,” she said wistfully.

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