Thursday, 25 July 2019

India’s Independence Day is on the 15th of August and not the 14th of August!



India’s Independence Day is on the 15th of August and not the 14th of August!

Dear Educators and Parents,

We teach children about our independence history, (I hope all schools still teach this!) we teach them about the sacrifices made by Indians to help us achieve the freedom that we now enjoy, and to show our solidarity to each other as citizens of this country. I am sure we teach children about our Independence  so that they grow up valuing their past, savour and enjoy their present, and can make the right decisions about their future.

But then we send very mixed messages when we celebrate Independence Day on the 14th of August, just for our convenience! Did our freedom fighters see their convenience? Would we be enjoying the democratic life we now do, if they had thought about their convenience? Many schools celebrate India’s Independence Day on the 14th of August, forgetting that India got its freedom at midnight on the 14th, so it was 15th of August. Pakistan celebrates its independence day on the 14th, not India. So sorry to say but shame on those who look at their convenience and celebrate India’s Independence Day on the 14th, just so that they can enjoy a holiday!

What kind of a message are we sending to our children, when we see our convenience instead of our duty? What kind of a message are we sending to our children when we don’t give importance to the most important day of our country? And then we say that the young generation has no values, has no sense of belonging. But didn’t they learn this from us? Who was their role model?

This time Independence Day and Rakshabandhan fall on the same day. Rakshabandhan is the celebration of the bond between a brother and sister; blessings and promises are exchanged on that day between a brother and sister. Many schools are forgoing Independence Day celebrations this year so that they and their staff can celebrate Rakshabandhan. Why should it be an ‘or’, why can’t we celebrate both? It takes 10 minutes to hoist the flag, sing the national anthem and pay your tribute to country. Come on, educators, if education is why you have set up your school or are a teacher, then Independence Day and Republic day are your teaching moments. To teach children that we have a duty towards our nation, to teach children that if we want to enjoy the freedom that we have then it is our responsibility to acknowledge the country that has given us that freedom. Bond with your country and then every personal bond will be cherished.  

There are thousands of soldiers at our borders who don’t get to celebrate Rakshabandhan or other festivals with their family. They forgo all that to keep us safe while we get the freedom to cherish and relish our relationships and celebrations. What if all our soldiers saw their convenience?

As a proud Indian citizen and an educator I appeal to all of you, stand up for your country proudly every Independence day…15th of August…and look with pride at the tricolour and sing the national anthem with gusto. Then go home and tie a Rakhi or get a Rakhi tied! In years to come maybe Eid or Ganapati or Onam or Pateti etc. will be on the 15th of August, don’t choose, celebrate both…the sense of pride and freedom of your country and your personal, religious celebration. Jai Hind.

Dr. Swati Popat Vats

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