Saturday, August 19, 2006

The day will come!

I have confidence that the day will come when Indians will talk about and celebrate 15th of August as much as the Americans take pride in the 4th of July. You may say is it enough to celebrate with pomp and show, its not!, of course, but lets not dwell on that as yet.

I was vacationing in Danbury, CT during the July 4th weekend and the holiday spirit is truly amazing… We had a barbecue party on the day, complete with a 4th of July cake, the fireworks on the previous day were truly marvelous, crowds of people with picnic baskets, all awaiting the fireworks…

It’s not that we Indians are not patriotic, I think its just not been in our culture to celebrate Independence day, all I can remember of the day in India is the mass service tho in a different context, the parades and the political speeches and the flag hoisting which didn’t really mean anything and the most important of all, the holiday! We could argue that we haven’t had this phenomenon for long, India is only 59 years young and I think it is a valid reason. It will take time and with the growing expatriate population I believe the change should hasten.

I’ve heard of celebrations in Australia on the occasion on Indian Independence, there were a couple of parties here too… all steps in the right direction.

This post is not about how celebrating Independence could make India a better place (It is good already!!, just make it better than good)….but on the celebration of the Day!, let’s dwell with ‘it’ here… it’s not about the parties or the fireworks, but it does count, in the long run to imbibe a sense of patriotism… Its how the present generation identifies!, its going to make a difference!. I don’t want to talk about the problems in India due to which we can’t ‘celebrate’, you may say poverty, corruption…show me a country without all of these…
We are talking about the Indian population who has access to the world at the press of a key….

The day will surely come

3 comments:

Rajesh said...

I really didn't want the response to be longer than the post, but well....

"I was vacationing in Danbury, CT during the July 4th weekend and the holiday spirit is truly amazing… We had a barbecue party on the day, complete with a 4th of July cake, the fireworks on the previous day were truly marvelous, crowds of people with picnic baskets, all awaiting the fireworks…"

Let me draw a parallel:
We were at our university and it was the beginning of football season at Clemson (a small town with 10,000 population.. the same town also fills up a 85,000 capacity stadium on a single football evening!!) There was a huge procession with the perishing rifles team, cheerleaders, sororities and tableau, bands, sponsors, neighboring farms etc etc... People had taken the choicest of places hours before and were picnicking all the time! I also got to hear that this "celebration" happens before EVERY football game and is known as Tailgating (no parades though!)
We were 4 desis huddled together watching the procession solely because we were moving towards the university and were caught in the melee when the roads were suddenly closed! One person whispers (loudly!) to another.... "These guys need a reason, howsoever small, to celebrate! In India, we have so many festivals that we are tired of celebrations!". The others nod in agreement!
Does anyone else think otherwise??

"I’ve heard of celebrations in Australia on the occasion on Indian Independence, there were a couple of parties here too… "

In the bay-area, one particular open ground was thrown open to celebrations and estimates say that 65,000 people attended the event! (No, I didn't attend since I didn't know about it! Neither did the person who told me this news, even though he stayed right next to the ground!)
Last year, some tower in NY was lit in tri-color to mark the event..

"it’s not about the parties or the fireworks, but it does count, in the long run to imbibe a sense of patriotism… Its how the present generation identifies!"

The "July 4th" sense of patriotism lasts as long as the beer in the casks are cold and as long as the night sky is lit up! But we still find our fellow Americans very patriotic.. why?? Because their patriotism does not end with July 4th! It is in their attitude to defend and portray their country as the best, anyplace, anytime! Now THAT is where our fellow Indians fall out! In most conversations that I've seen that run into ego clashes, it unfortunately happens to be our fellow Indians who back out early! As much as I hate to say, a neutral observer is left to conclude that the party that backed out is the one that had nothing to say!

"We could argue that we haven’t had this phenomenon for long, India is only 59 years young and I think it is a valid reason. It will take time and with the growing expatriate population I believe the change should hasten."

India probably celebrated its first few years of independence far more religiously that it is celebrating today... and better times may not be around the corner if people do not change their attitude! There is a sudden surge in emotion when directors try to cash in on the "patriotic holidays" and then life is as is!

"I don’t want to talk about the problems in India due to which we can’t ‘celebrate’, you may say poverty, corruption…show me a country without all of these…"

2 Anecdotes:
1) When India was celebrating its 50th anniversary of independence, NDTV also showed the state of dwellers in the Delhi's slum. There were residents who had lived 50 years inside construction tubes!
2) We get a chance to talk about politics in different countries when me meet Interns and people from different regions. When we talked about problems being faced by Sweden, the Intern with us stated that Sweden was making stupid decisions by laying off people to save state money, but it is counterproductive since people earn as much in unemployment benefits! When pressed for details on other issues like poverty, he said that it is illegal in Sweden to be homeless. If the police find someone who is homeless, they arrest the person and then give them a home to live in!

"The day will surely come"
Let us say that we do achieve what you expect us to achieve out of this blog entry! People celebrating Independence day with the zeal and fervor of Diwali, Bakrid or Christmas. Could you then turn back and describe to me as to what exactly you would have achieved other than boosting the economy, thanks to all the sales and shopping?? Would you find your fellow average Indian stand up and fight for what he believes in?
As my Yoga Instructor once said, it is not the duration of stay at the place of worship that determines how much inner peace you acquired. Inner peace is determined by the duration of time that YOU close your eyes and pray to god! Likewise, Independence Day is just another medium. What really matters is the feeling of patriotism in the heart of an Indian!

RZD said...

your response is longer than my post...is that a reason for me to delete this blog or ban you from commenting!.....you want me to create a blog id for you?, infact you dont even need a blog username, you can use your gmail id...which you anyway use so..so often. As to your comments on my post, i had to stop reading it midway and write this comment....for fear that my comment would have been longer than your comment and longer than my post! ANyway since it is long...let me give you a suggestion, stop drawing parallels...they are way too straight, you need to draw a perpendicular, you can even bring in pythogoras for help....and make it interesting....if it doesn't make sense then think about archimedes!

Rajesh said...

"your response is longer than my post...is that a reason for me to delete this blog or ban you from commenting!"
My response is bigger than your blog for precisely this reason: I quote you for my responses! But if you feel that it is an appropriate reason for banishing me from your blogland, so be it! But let it be known that fear of reprisal and consequences never pushed me into submission!

"you want me to create a blog id for you?, infact you dont even need a blog username, you can use your gmail id...which you anyway use so..so often."
Creating a blog that evokes reaction is of no use if you do not let people support or oppose your points of view! A response to a blog does not make sense in another blog just like the answer to a query does not make sense in a different email thread!

"As to your comments on my post, i had to stop reading it midway and write this comment....for fear that my comment would have been longer than your comment and longer than my post!"

If you are concerned that your personal blog is becoming a public forum, then I can understand your apprehension and shall henceforth restrict my responses. But in that case, you should also delete all of my previous posts including the "unnamed" ones! Maybe that will give your blog that "untouched" feel!

"ANyway since it is long...let me give you a suggestion, stop drawing parallels...they are way too straight, you need to draw a perpendicular, you can even bring in pythogoras for help....and make it interesting....if it doesn't make sense then think about archimedes!"

Your suggestion explains the fact that you didn't read through the response completely! I was drawing parallels, but only to illustrate my point of view which is perpendicular to yours! In such discussions, it is not Pythagoras or Archimedes, but Plato and Aristotle who come to your rescue!

In any case, what we both need in order to soothe our frayed nerves is a good night's sleep! So if this is indeed my last post, let me sign off in style!
Goodnight and good luck!