Tuesday, August 15, 2006


Anil makes a call to celebrate the anniversaries of two momentous occasions.

This year is the 75th anniversary of the martyrdom of Bhagat Singh and his comrades. It has passed almost unnoticed. No official functions to mark the occasion. No commemorative postage stamp, no portrait or statue to honour them and remember with gratitude the ‘supreme sacrifice’ of a band of young men committed to the cause of freedom.

Another occasion is close at hand and plans don’t seem to be afoot to celebrate that either. Next year is the 150th anniversary of the First War of Indian Independence. We were taught about it in the terms in which the British colonial historians referred to it – the Sepoy Mutiny. (sipaayi dange in Kannada, the language in which I had my school education). The name itself tried to trivialise the great uprising that resulted from a spontaneous upsurge of nationalist and anti colonial feelings. Since it had its origins in the colonial army, it was easy for them to refer to it as a mutiny, a mere a matter of discipline and quell it.

Wonder why this neglect of these historic occasions and their anniversaries? Is the revolutionary spirit passé? Is the idea of people thinking and who might be inspired by these events and stand up to authority too subversive for the people who hold power and who they hold it for?

He makes a request:
We the people shall celebrate the anniverseries of these momentous events, which occur in 2007. What the governments seem to be ignoring, we shall celebrate in our own way.

Please copy the image above and put it in your own blog, along with this request.Thank you!

If you also feel as strongly about this, then please spread the word around!

Independence Day!

To my dearest brothers and sisters all across India:

A very Happy 60th Independence Day to all of us!!

Just yesterday, while traveling home from work (I was in a bus for once and not in a train), I had the advantage of getting a good window seat in the midst of slight showers and a delightful breeze. Instead of reading a book which I might have done in usual circumstances, I was looking out the window.

In fact though I was looking, I was not really seeing anything as I was thinking. As every year, Independence Day nears I find myself thinking about what it all really means to us and the significance of it. Whether it is all really worth the hype created around it….yes, I agree we achieved Independence from the British on this day. But as we go along, is that all that we should be celebrating? When every year, we are more and more being thrust into another sort of dependence?

Consider the following situation:
My younger brother B works in a major telecom in Mumbai. His entire office team decided to book tickets for 3 movies in a row on Independence Day at Inorbit Mall. Well, he asked to see only the first two since he had already seen the last one before. I guess it would have been a lot of fun to watch 2 good back-to-back movies especially since he is a Hindi movie freak. The tickets were duly booked and people were gearing up for a good time. Then comes the warning: “Terrorist organizations have promised to wreak havoc in the lead-up to August 15, 2006 and also on the day itself. Malls, markets and many other public places would be targeted. Citizens are advised to exercise extreme caution and avoid unnecessary excursions outside their homes.” That did it, both my Mom (especially my Mom) and Dad (based on warnings received from other well-meaning friends and relatives) entreated B to cancel out on the movie plan and stay safe at home. A fuming B acquiesced. Yes, he really did because he knew they were really worried.

This is just one of such many incidents that might have happened across the country this year. So many people who would have normally been out the whole of today celebrating a holiday and our so-called “independence” have cancelled or modified their plans and have restricted themselves to the relative “safety” of their homes.

A typically care-free nation is being held to ransom by a small group of extremists who are so confused about their own pathetic lives that they equate their bloody acts of terrorism with tenets of religion – a religion in which God is another form of love, one that asks us to treat one another with respect, one that teaches us that all are our brothers / sisters, no matter how poor or how rich they are or in what way they worship the Almighty. In order to achieve their own narrow-minded objectives, these excuses for humans use inhuman techniques like bombs, hijacking and other subversive activities to spread terror and chaos in the already strained machinery of the country. The fact that at present, most of the major nations of the world are under the grip of this terror psychosis shows how much strength we have allowed them to garner by laying low. By “we”, I mean both the governments and the countless people who lead lives in these countries.

The recent spate of terrorist attacks has provoked of wave of public outcry such as never seen before. Even the world over, security agencies are doing all they can to minimize the terror threat. This wave of action needs to be carried forward to its logical and required completion before it dies its own complacent death like it usually does.

This Independence Day, let us take a little time out and spread this message of action in our own little way. If anything, let the people in charge know that they have the support of millions of individuals like us. And that the collective effort, put together, is a force to reckon with. After all, it is our own future at stake as well, isn’t it?