Friday, August 15, 2008

'Freedom'-then and now

15th August 2008..Its been 61 years since our nation became independent, became free from the colonial shackles. Much has changed and much has not. As a 21 year old free Indian, the meaning of being free, I'm sure would be considerably different from the 21 year olds of the year 1947.

As I sit to think..I imagine how it would be to be a 21 year old in the historic year of 1947. On the verge of being independent, how would it be? As a woman of that era I guess I would have already been engaged to be married to a 'government servant' or a 'barrister'(8-10 years my senior)..or I can't think of the other categories of 'eligible bachelors' of the 1940s. Maybe I would have decided not to walk the aisle that early and decided to pursue studies,teach in a school or do some social work. For pastimes me and my girl friends would go to a nearby fair near the house or just 'hang out' on the terrace of a 3 storeyed ancestral house! And there would be this favorite time of the day when there would be kites in the sky,dotting the firmament with innumerable colours late in the evenings.My favorite beverage would have been elaichi chai (cardamom tea) and I would sip it reading the Statesman, in my starched cotton saree, while the baritone of Pankaj Mallik on the gramophone would fill up my soul.'Piya milan ko jana'..the song that magnificently brings about the magic of love, of hidden subtle love. Where the lovers are away from each other and a meeting of the two is meticulously, stealthily planned by them..But the romantic melody would fade away in a few moments with the groups of khadi clad men and women protesting against the British. And I would lunge over the terrace to see, admire and soon join the protest. How great that feeling must be, the moments with the people of India, who were struggling for the future generations; what a rush one could feel by just shouting out the slogans of "Vande Mataram"..

And now, year a 21 year old, I'm waiting for my graduation degree and further a degree in law by 2010, no husband fixed up formally, and favorite hang out place is 'Cafe Coffee Day'. I would prefer mocha chino and Cafe Late` instead of elaichi chai, but ya I don't have an aversion to the latter.The girl friends outing is more of a shopping spree to catch up with our favorite brands offering sale. And the music is Mp3, I'm thumping my feet to the music of 'Rock On'..The late evenings don't have kites in the sky dotting it colourfully because, maybe the kids are on their video games, social networking sites or at tuition classes. I'm not on the terrace of an ancestral house, but in my little balcony of my hostel room. I read the Hindustan Times and sometimes when I'm running short of time, I check out the headlines in an e-newspaper! Well, there are protests even now, but it does not give me that feeling of greatness, it does not give a rush. It also does not bring about the feeling of unity..because it is for land that belongs to the nation. But, its not land being demanded by any alien, it is our own motherland getting fragmented by her own sons.. Whether Amarnath or Hajj why can't people accept each other's choices, each other's faiths.. The ramification of the clashes is just bloodshed. And the worst form of it is..that there is bloodshed without reaching martyrdom..The free citizens are not realising what they are doing to freedom. The politicians are far from resolving their own ideological differences..

What will become of our nation, with greater divisions being demanded by the naxalites and separatists? Is this what the youth and the wise men of the year 1947 thought India would face? I wish I could go back in time and change a few things,a few dates, a few decisions, and ultimately fate..

Happy Independence Day!!
Jai Hind!


arnav said...

A beautiful comparison between the past and the present. Ideologically, I would like to add a further point. Most of the youth today ( not everyone ) are very individualistic, and know what to do with their lives. The sense of unity amongst each other is decreasing, where everyone is hell-bent on pursuing their own goals, without caring about what happens to the rest. But changes are changes and will take place, and whether they happen for the better or for the worse depends on which side of the coin you look at...

Niharika said...

Beautifully written ma'am. Love the comparison, but I do believe that in spite of our CCDs and our mocha chinos, our rock music and crazy clothes, there is a revolutionary, a fighter, a dreamer in almost each and every one of us. We all want to see change..and we all need to buck up and stop talking and whining about it, but do something. I agree that it is rare that one person could change a thing, but we can do our bit. Happy Independence Day!

P.S. Call it coincidence, but my word verification for this comment is "bhaipyr"

snigdha said...

@Arnav- Ya point taken..the youth, has become individualistic..but I feel that has also been a slow process where in we have distanced away from our nation. May be we all will do good to the nation in our own ways.. Talking of change again..some changes are inevitable..
thanks for reading this post!:)

@Niharika- well..lemme confirm, i guess its niharika puri?? thanks fr droppin in here gal. I completely agree with you, and ur comment reminded me a lot about rang de basanti-the movie!! I hope we all do our bit for the country..but thi s amarnath crisis really saddens me..

Sach! said...

Awesome post gurl! but I wanna say one thing..I am an Indian...An equally proud one :) I live that independent american lifestyle but I by no means have that spirit less as compared to anyone else..

Jyoti said...

Here's a blog which is imaginative, thought provoking, lucid and written from the heart.

Comparison of the two eras, though separated by just 61 years may not be to its fullest extent in a blog. But, the comparison is not the sole AIM here.It is a TOOL and with a PURPOSE. It talks, illustratively though, about a few basic needs lurking in young minds ( girls to be precise) THEN and NOW.... Love,pleasure,leisure,music,friend,contemporary politics, religion et al.

Life then was probably not as cushy or simplistic as you may imagine today, specially for the girl or a WOMAN of 21 at that time. You are fortunate, and so was your grandma ( who was 15 yrs old then) to be educated and literate. Yet LOVE and MUSIC are part of human life and your imagination is quite interesting.

Patriotism, I feel, is a byproduct of oppression, deprivation, inequality and is powered by brave and selfless sacrifice and LEADERSHIP.So is the stage set for Future Leaders? Is self preservation the bane of today's social strucure? A Revolution may not be round the corner but a change is what every one yearns..albeit silently!!!

To Quote from The Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens " It was the Best of Times, It was the Worst of Times..." and mind you that may be true for every era.

So, although some magazines have described the present period as " The best 'Time' to be born, one often wonders how, despite all the hatred, corruption and malice it could be true!

The year 1947 and the bygone era could have been happier Times!!. Why, your Grandma should be able to tell you that.It would be a good idea to ask for her views and post it too. I began my comments with VANDEMATARAM, an intended pun!!Now you know why?

I am sure those reading your blog and the comments will be forced to think.." can we make it THE BEST OF TIMES???

That's 1947--------->2008 unfolded for YOU.


snigdha said...

@sachi. thanks..we indians r no less than anyone else!!

@Baba- gr8 thoughts..I was waitin for you to read this post and tell me all this. The comment makes me wiser and decorates my post with embellishments:)Yeah u guessed it right, the ghuri, the pankaj mallik song, teh 3 storeyed ancestral house, n cotton saree!!! heheheh all from 'hearsay imagination'

blaze111 said...

Well no formally fixed husband!! LOL...Jokes apart, a great piece of writing.. I believe, when there shall be a cause strong enough, each one of us will unite and stand up for our beloved nation.. The causes I talk about are already here, but not real as we lead individual lives with personal goals.

snigdha said...

@blaze111..yeah ansuman.. but I wonder when that cause would come up, and I still ahve doubts about uniting and standing up for it somehow.. 'individual lives with personal goals' -food for thought!!