15 August 2006

Happy Independence Day!


Today is India's Independence Day. We celebrate both the day we became independent of British Rule (59 years today) and the day India actually became a republic, which was only in 1950 (2 ½ years later).

For most of us today Independence Day is just a holiday, the story of which we learnt in our history lessons. But, for people like my mother who were there then, to whom it was time of great excitement, it still means a great deal. In fact she called me this morning after watching the Independence Day Parade at Trivandrum on TV to complain: “Imagine, they were marching to ‘My Bonnie lies over the Ocean’. Even now, after 59 years, why do we have to march to ‘their’ songs? There are so many patriotic songs in our many languages which could be used as marching songs. I want to register a protest! I plan to write to the newspaper.” And I thought, to my husband and me, the idea of watching the parade hadn’t crossed our minds.

My mother has told me several times of what it was like at that time. My parents lived in Bombay then. My two elder brothers were there. She says on August 14th 1947 the excitement was so high. She says my father and she got out with their two sons to join the throngs on the street as it neared midnight, when freedom would be officially declared. She says my father carried the younger of his two sons on his shoulder (who was 3 then) and the older one (6 at that time) walked along. She tells me of the joy and exhilaration in the air. She says they all walked and joined friends and stayed out till early morning. When she used to tell me about it her eyes used to light up, even so many years after.

For my mother and her generation the India they had hoped to build didn’t quite work out. But she does concede that a great many positive happenings have taken place and she is definitely proud to be an Indian citizen of Free India.

Jai Hind

7 comments:

Esbee said...

Happy Independence Day!

My sister-in-law (brother's wife) is from Delhi, so I called her to say Happy Independence Day to her, surprising her to no end.

(They live here in North Carolina, in Durham, about 90 minutes away by car.)

hillgrandmom said...

yes, I bet she must have been shocked.

Esbee said...

She was entirely shocked that I knew, but she giggled when I finally told her I read it on your blog.

icancarryallthebagsandthebabiestoo said...

Happy Independence Day to you.

Have I mentioned to you how much I truly want to travel to India? If I were ever to do this, where would you recommend going?

hillgrandmom said...

WEll, where you go in India depends very much on what you would want to see--history, culture, beaches, mountains, desert,-- they are all here(I sound like and advert!). Btw, India is usually quite child-friendly as in, very tolerant of kids.

Dotm said...

A little late in saying "Happy Independance Day",-- understanding it thru the eyes of someone who was there when it happened- that makes the excitement more real. I can understand your Mom wanting it to be celebrated using the music that would stand for their freedom. To bad some musician didn`t publish a new song to stand for their freedom.

Andrew said...

Happy Independence Day ... a little late for me too.

Thank you so much for visiting "To Love, Honor and Dismay" and for leaving such a nice comment. I'm glad you dropped by.

All the best!
Andrew