India is one of the oldest civilisations in the world with a kaleidoscopic variety and rich cultural heritage. A diverse country, a fact that is visibly prominent in its land, people, culture, heritage and climate. From the eternal snows of the Himalayas to the cultivated peninsula of far South, from the deserts of the West to the humid deltas of the East, Indian lifestyles clearly glorify the geography.
The long span of Indian history covering more than 3000 years and enumerating several civilizations has been a constant reminder of the country’s rich multicultural extravaganza and world-renowned heritage. The monuments showcase the breathtaking architecture and intricate work. Behind each monument is an underlying sense of mystery, intrigue and romance.
The people and their lifestyles, their musical styles and dance forms, art & handicrafts, and such other elements go on to reflect the varied hues of Indian culture and heritage, which truly epitomizes the nationality of the country.
But then all of sudden this peaceful ambience was disturbed by foreigners who came to Indian shores under the garb of traders. India was for the first time forced into a subordinate role within a world system based on industrial production rather than agriculture. A country that in the eighteenth century was a magnet for trade was, by the twentieth century, an underdeveloped and overpopulated land groaning under alien domination, oppression and imperialism.
India’s freedom movement was in fact a movement of the masses. The people as a nation united to oppose the tyranny of the foreign rulers. There were a number of great leaders with fierce patriotism and great visionary ideas who sacrificed their entire lives for the nation’s cause. The Indian Independence movement incorporates various national campaigns, agitations and efforts of both non violent and militant philosophy which had the common aim of ending the British rule in India.
And finally on 15th August 1947 at the stroke of midnight India our motherland awoke to her freedom!!
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was the pre-eminent political and spiritual leader of India during the Indian independence movement. He was the pioneer of The Satyagraha—resistance to tyranny through mass civil disobedience, firmly founded upon ahimsa or total non-violence—which led India to independence.
Gandhi explains his philosophy of non violence or Ahimsa and way of life in his autobiography The Story of My Experiments with Truth. He was quoted as saying: “When I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love has always won. There have been tyrants and murderers and for a time they seem invincible, but in the end, they always fall — think of it, always.” “An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.” “There are many causes that I am prepared to die for but no causes that I am prepared to kill for.”
Gandhi undertook a “fast unto death” to improve the status of the Hindu Untouchables although he was himself a member of an upper caste.
Subhas Chandra Bose was popularly known as Netaji (literally “Respected Leader”). Mr. Bose was a fierce and popular leader in the political scene in pre-independence India. He founded a nationalist force called the Indian National Army. He was admired for his great skills in organization development.
Bose advocated complete freedom for India at the earliest supported by the younger leaders including Jawaharlal Nehru and finally at the historic Lahore Congress convention, the Congress had to adopt Purna Swaraj (complete freedom) as its motto. Bose was outspoken in his anti-British stance and was jailed 11 (eleven) times.
Nehru was a charismatic and radical leader. Nehru’s appreciation of the virtues of parliamentary democracy, secularism and liberalism coupled with concerns for the poor and underprivileged are recognised to have guided him in formulating policies that influence India to this day. He is sometimes referred to as the ‘Architect of Modern India’
Nehru was given the singular honour of raising the flag of independent India in New Delhi on 15 August 1947, when India gained Independence.and also gave the famed inaugural address titled “A Tryst With Destiny”
“Long years ago we made a tryst with destiny, and now the time comes when we shall redeem our pledge, not wholly or in full measure, but very substantially. At the stroke of the midnight hour, when the world sleeps, India will awake to life and freedom. A moment comes, which comes but rarely in history, when we step out from the old to the new, when an age ends, and when the soul of a nation, long suppressed, finds utterance. It is fitting that at this solemn moment, we take the pledge of dedication to the service of India and her people and to the still larger cause of humanity.
He was fondly called Chacha Nehru
Bhagat Singh:was an Indian freedom fighter, considered to be one of the most influential revolutionaries of the Indian independence movement. He is often referred to as Shaheed Bhagat Singh (the word shaheed means “martyr“).
As a lad of fourteen he went to this spot to collect soil from the park of Jalianwala (bagh) in his lunch box, sanctified by the blood of the innocent and kept it as a memento for life.
On April 8, 1929, Singh and Dutt threw a bomb onto the corridors of the assembly and shouted “Inquilab Zindabad!” (“Long Live the Revolution!”). This was followed by a shower of leaflets stating that it takes a loud voice to make the deaf hear. Singh and Dutt gave themselves up for arrest after the bomb. He and Dutt were sentenced to ‘Transportation for Life‘ for the bombing on June 12, 1929.
Now 62 years later, having unitedly fought for our Independence from severe oppression, imperialism and exploitation, we still find ourselves sinking in murky waters…poverty, corruption, communalism, crime prevail in our country! But despite these existing impediments there are numerous Indians who strive through their careers and work to make a difference!!!
Yet Rahman finds time to involve in various charitable causes. In 2004, he was appointed as the Global Ambassador of the Stop TB Partnership, a project by WHO. He has shown support to charities including Save the Children. Rahman composed the theme music for a short film for The Banyan in 2006, in aid of destitute women in Chennai.
Harish Hande: Harish Hande co-founded SELCO INDIA. , a social venture to promote sustainable technologies in rural India. Today SELCO INDIA has installed solar lighting systems in over 85,000 households in the rural areas of these states.
His work at Asha Parivar is focused on Right to Information and other forms of citizen participation in removing corruption and improving the efficiency of governance.
Mukti Datta Datta launched a massive signature campaign to press for her demands against raging forest fires, uncontrolled tree cutting and poaching and got overwhelming support from the inhabitants of the region and the wildlife conservation lobby. To lead the initiative, she founded an NGO, Jan Jagaran Samiti (Society for the Empowerment of the Population), in 1987.
But the most ambitious project undertaken by Jan Jagaran Samiti is the one to empower the women of Kumaon by imparting vocational skills in the production of woven and knitted products.
Over the years, she has actively campaigned against communal violence, violence against women, stigma concerning HIV/ AIDS and has raised a strong voice on the issues of child rights, disability and human rights. Not only has she voiced her concerns at relevant platforms, but she has also actively advocated for certain issues close to her heart at various social forums in India and abroad. In recent times, she has also produced & directed short public service films on issues like Education & Rainwater Harvesting.
Convened by UNICEF with UNAIDS, and involving partners from every sector of the international community, “Unite for Children: Unite against AIDS” is intended to redirect policymaking, investment and research towards children affected by the pandemic. Says Rahul Dravid “I am signing onto the AIDS campaign because I know what’s required to beat back AIDS is the kind of teamwork that is needed to overcome our biggest challenges.” “Victory over AIDS – not simply the disease itself, but its impact on families, and communities – requires teamwork and leadership – beginning with the family and community, to social workers, politicians, religious leaders, Bollywood stars, and media professionals. I’m signing on because I believe the only kind of team that can win is the one that all of us are on.”
Freedom was not only achieved by us in 1947, but every August 15th we are reminded that we are free people. Let us as Indians not focus on what has NOT BEEN DONE in the last 62 years or what SHOULD BE DONE but rather channel our energies to celebrate what HAS BEEN DONE and be inspired to do more and see our country move forward.
I would like to quote Rabindranath Tagore from ‘Geetanjali’
“Where the mind is without fear
and the head is held high;
Where knowledge is free;
Where the world has not been
broken up into fragments by
narrow domestic walls;
Where words come out from
the depth of truth;
Where tireless striving stretches
its arms towards perfection;
Where the clear stream of reason
has not lost its way into the dreary
desert sand of dead habit;
Where the mind is lead forward by thee
into ever-widening thought and action-
Into that heaven of freedom, my Father,
let my country awake.”