What Independence Day means

Deccan Chronicle asks a cross-section of society over what August 15 means for them, 76 years after India became free

Asaduddin Owaisi, AIMIM leader: I welcome the resolution to announce August 15 as a national day of celebration in the USA. The RSS can claim otherwise, but they had no role in the freedom struggle. The first to be arrested and shifted to the Andaman jail was Moulvi Ismail from Hyderabad, who had taken a demonstration from Macca Masjid to the Women's College. Our ancestors gave up everything and fought the British for 200 years to earn this freedom. This is an occasion for introspecting what we have done to their aspirations. If we had remembered the difficulties of those who endured Kalapani, the country would not be in this situation. Unemployment has become a challenge and bulldozers are being used to target a community. Independence wasn't given to us on a platter, we should remember that.

D.K. Aruna, BJP vice-president: Independence Day to me is both freedom and responsibility. It is the freedom to choose what we want to do and be responsible to act in the larger interest of society and the nation. It is being self-reliant. It is a call to action for all Indians to put the nation first, regardless of their individual differences and strive to build a stronger and more united India. Independence means being rid of social evils such as violence against women, corruption, poverty, and illiteracy.

Dasoju Sravan, BRS leader: For me, Independence is to rethink, reinvent and rededicate to the nation. India is dreaming of becoming one of the top economies in the world from being a poor, illiterate and unorganised nation. While India has seen its own share of historical highs and depressing lows, on this monumental occasion I stress that there is an urgent need to rethink, reinvent and rededicate ourselves to chart a new and glorious future for the unique yet diverse nation. It is time to rethink the political, social, economic choices we have made and come up with new ideas and solutions to address the present-day problems plaguing the Indians in the new world order.

Mubaashir Ansari, independent consultant: It's a very proud moment. Liberation is one thing, but how we use it to be truly independent is another. It means equal opportunity and happiness for all. When we got freedom, we got a country enslaved in poverty. After 76 years, the problems have remained the same, but look better because of the natural progress we have made. We should have done a lot more in terms of alleviating poverty and providing a level playing field for everyone. What have we done with Independence is facing us starkly in the face.

Mazher Hussain, executive director, COVA Peace Network: We continue to be subjects and have failed to become citizens. We continue to be enslaved to our identities of religion, caste, region, language, ethnicity etc that prevent us from becoming citizens. The day we break away from our mindset of subjects and become citizens in word and spirit, with no fear to exercise our rights as free beings, who are all equal, will be the day of our Independence that we can celebrate as an empowered nation.

Niranjan Pagadala: Founder, 8 Views: Right from my childhood I had the freedom to make my choices, from being a first-class cricketer to now becoming a tech entrepreneur. My parents always backed me in pursuing those dreams I had - and then you realise on a day like this that a country is a billion plus such different dreams. Our beautiful great country gave me all the opportunities to flourish. Independence to me is the foundation to happy living and to help create a society everyone can pursue their dreams, with freedom.

Mohammad Afzal, advocate, social activist: The spirit of unfurling the National Flag should not be a one-day affair. It should be entrenched in our life. Health, education and employment are not guaranteed although the Constitution talks of them. Ruling parties are not stopping riots in Manipur and Nuh, and the Supreme Court orders are not being obeyed, like in the Delhi Ordinance episode.

Noorjahan, social activist: The goal of Dr B.R. Ambedkar has to be achieved. India is a bouquet. Only if the flowers are good, will we remain good. The kings used to fight for their fiefdoms. Right now, we have nothing to do with the past. We should fight against poverty, illiteracy etc."

Sheikh, fruit seller from Old City: We are happy about celebrating Independence Day. We will celebrate it grandly by unfurling the Flag. The streets are being decorated. Every vehicle and house will have a Flag. My children will celebrate and take a procession through the streets. My kids have made posters of our country Bharat."

Mohammed Yousuf, coconut seller: I am happy about celebrating Independence Day, but problems like rising prices are affecting our spirit as we are facing difficulty in living. I don't know how to increase my income, although I am through the night, until 1 am."

Sheikh Hamid, autorickshaw driver: Because of poverty, not everyone might be visibly celebrating Independence Day. But we are happy. It will be celebrated in schools and will be done by leaders who lack sincerity, like before. It pains me to see riots happening between communities. If we were together, this would not happen. Murders are happening for a few bucks. Education is not making our children good citizens. It pains to see the flags being thrown on the next day in dustbins.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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