The tricolour has unfurled for the sixtieth August 15 on the Red Fort. I am getting SMSs of all types, some congratulating me as a fellow Indian on this occasion, others threatening our real and perceived enemies against even fantasising about causing any harm to our nation. The messages of the later type are the more circulated. It’s been the same for many years and don’t know for how many more. Last year I asked myself the meaning of the freedom that I have and also attempted to draw similarities between the kites that dot the independent sky every Independence Day and the freedoms that we enjoy.
Yesterday as I was returning from work, it took me longer, much longer, to reach home. Almost every vehicle was being frisked. This morning I went to receive a friend at the railway station, there was khaki all around. Last year, men in uniform watching over me made me uncomfortable. This year, I’m more accommodating, their presence make me more secure, though I am very aware that something happens when you least expect it. In between the last and this Independence Day, a lot happened – Delhi, Varanasi and Bombay/Mumbai (Srinagar no longer makes the first headline).
I switched on the television, and saw the Prime Minister giving his ritual speech on the occasion. Over the years, the speeches have become so ritual. I switched off the TV. Unemotive reading of prepared text is not what I expect. I am not good at kite flying, so am not at the rooftop. There are too many security restrictions around, therefore I’m at home. My internet connection is working, therefore I’m blogging. I live in a free country, therefore I’m smiling.
Listen / download mp3 audio featuring excerpts from Jawaharlal Nehru’s famous ‘Tryst with Destiny’ speech. Click on the link below:
[MP3 217 KB 00:00:27 64kbps Mono 22 kHz]