Something that permeates the air, or does the sun exude patriotism this time of the year– the world might never know the secret that fills Indians with this undying love of the country, that in fact dies a pretty fast death in 24 hours.
You know you have done it, I know I have done it. Here are the illogical things we do to showcase loyalty to the flag on the 15th of August that change nothing, and make no difference.
Changing Display Pic – 15th August is now more like “Change your DP to the National Flag” Day. I saw someone taking it a notch up by elaborating – Saffron represent Hindu, Green Muslim, and White stands for the peace between them. As much as I applaud the intention, that is not the idea perpetuated by the very secular Tricolor. Please apprehend the Triranga before applying it mindlessly.
Status Update – “Vande mātaram, sujalāṃ suphalāṃ, malayajaśītalām, śasya śyāmalāṃ, mātaram, vande mātaram – Rabindranath Tagore. Happy Independence Day, Folks” was the first 15 August-esque update I chanced upon last year. Just like any other celebration, it is only natural for one to extend warm wishes to the expanded kinship on the web world. But alas! The plagiarism in there. It’s safe to avoid Vande mātaram, Sare Jahan se Achha, or Jana Gana Mana, if telling apart Bankim Chandra Chattopadyay, Iqbal, and Tagore is your greatest struggle. Even the borrowed lyrics from Bollywood are cringe worthy Aye Eff. A heartfelt Happy Independence Day is fine.
WhatsApp Messages – Just like the status updates, the forwarded WhatsApp messages on the 15th, leave me fuming than elated. Can we get real for a moment and agree that no one’s reading them – neither the sender nor the recipient? We all are copying wisdom evoking words from one group to paste it to the next. A text from a friend on 26th January read, “Let’s Celebrate Freedom by Promoting a Human rights Culture in which Respect, dignity and equality Become a code for living.” I am hoping he’ll educate me more the significance of the constitution this Independence Day.
Patriotic songs in Loudspeaker – Aarghhhhh… blatant noise pollution. Yes, I get goosebumps when Lata Mangeshkar belts out the high notes of Vande Mataram; Rafi’s “Ab Tumhare Hawale Watan Sathiyo” brutally tears me up every time, but we aren’t living in the 70s anymore. We have numerous ways to show love towards these soulful melodies, and the eardrum shattering loudspeakers shouldn’t be one among them. Put some headphones on.
Buy Flags – It’s easy to roll down the glass, stick a 10 rupee note out of the car, and buy a flag from the boy at the signal on Independence Day, but is it such a struggle to offer it its due? Don’t treasure the paper replica forever, but at least save it the humiliating dejection? My heart fills with pride as the flag furls high on the sun-kissed morning of the 15th, also, my head hangs in shame when I see numerous tricolors stepped on slightingly in the street if not drifting by the drains on the 16th.
Going Traditional – Considered ‘Behenji-ish’ to throw on your Indians all-round the year, at least it gains its ‘cool’ status this one day of the year. Your orange, green, white Kurta-Pajama-Salwar-Kameez, glass bangles merely double as just another filter adding the patriotic quotient to your selfie. In most cases, you bangles and jhumkas are contributing to the Chinese GDP.
Abusing Pakistan – Despite being a nationalist to the core, I cannot for the life of me perceive the revulsion for Pakistan when it is not needed. “Screw You, Pakistan” on social platform, on I-Day, however, doesn’t translate to “All praises to India”, though I’m pretty sure this Tuesday, a good chunk of the hate reserved for Pakistan will be claimed by China. Not that I am a stranger to this emotion, our good neighbors have made my blood boil in multiple occasions, but why not dedicate this day our country alone, keeping animosity reserved for a different day?
Living the Couch Potato Life – Why 15th August motivates a massive part of the working population to transfigure into couch potatoes is beyond me. The leaders put in so much effort to pen down a speech, but who’s getting up that early on a holiday, anyway? With overflowing patriotism channelled toward the idiot box, the Independence Day, consumed up in binge watching Tirangaa, Chak De India, Swadesh, Rang De Basanti, The Legend of Bhagat Singh – movies watched a gazillion times before, is inarguably the least productive day of the year.
How about taking a resolution? How about refusing the rice lights and buying diyas this Diwali, making a donation towards a martyr’s family, paying our taxes right, not spewing venom at a fellow-citizen of another faith on social media? How about living the 15th August spirit 365 days a year?