As I began to write this article India has already slipped or slept into its 63rd year of existence as an Independent nation. While writing this I am not at all concerned about the nation and all its woes but the people and generation which will drive the nation into its next evolution. The purpose is not to give any sermon or to cry hoarse about the state of affairs, but they are simple thoughts that are bothering my mind to last two days. It has no whatsoever bearing on anyone’s or everyone’s particular act or acts but just the abstinence which makes me bother.
August 14th has greater significance in sub continental history, because on this day the brightest jewel of a limping empire was cut to size on the basis of its contents. However for this year, the 2009, it happened to be ‘Janmasthami’ or ‘Shri Krishan Janmasthami’. I am not going to explain what this Hindu festival is all about, just google it. But yes, what I feel is that people especially the younger lot are losing the interest in it, only if you leave the traditional ‘puja’, there is seldom any interest in it now. Just rewind few years back, say, 1995, as a 10 year old kid I knew the fervor with which we use to celebrate. The whole of streets used to be full of ‘jhankis’ (tableau) created by the kids, using everyday toys, cars, chalks, soil etc. These tableaus used to describe the life of lord Krishna. A lot of creativity used to flow into this, along with a lot of colors. It was not possible that you miss a street where there has being no ‘jhanki’ at all. But today, in my own colony where I’ve being living for past 22 years, there are only few of them, easily countable on the fingers. What is it? Lack of interest or lack of support, or is it plain old ignorance and attitude, let the other do it. I still cannot fanthom the answers.
August 15th is Indian Independence Day, for many it is just a holiday, but for crazy people like me it is much more than that. Again let’s get back few years, say again 1995, on this day, it was my typical routine, get up early, watch the Independence Day ceremony being telecast live from Red Fort, pester my father to buy kites and see him fly. Kite flying is a science and art, science because getting it fly involves the principles of science, an art because learning to maneuver it and outmaneuver others is nothing short of an art. I never really mastered it, rather I never mastered it, I used to do some ancillary jobs attached to it. But I still liked it, and I still like it. A month before the Independence Day, the sky would be full of kites, of various sizes and shades, competing against each other, for the mastery of sky. But today I can only see few and that too far between and that too on Independence Day. Have we forgotten this art or we have gotten ourselves some really new priorities or Xbox or Playstation has an electronic version? Heaven knows.
The change might be for good or might be for worse. But whatever it should be for, it should not erode our creativity, our competitiveness and our belief in future. It has taken us a long time to shed the habit of saying ‘nothing can happen to this country’. Just don’t let it re-grow it.
These are just my thoughts and all of you are entitled to have your own contradictory view points.
© Tarun Mitra