It’s Independence day! Well, there will be a surge of patriotism today as we remember long dead heroes of the country and pay our tributes to them. They are interviewing some of the Kannada freedom fighters on TV today, and looking at all this, it makes me wonder, why do we ignore our freedom fighters until it is August 15th? Nobody bothers about the old chap down the filthy lane, ninety-five and barely able to survive on his income, until it is Independence day. Well, on 15th August, we put a shawl around his neck, keep a mike near his mouth, and fire questions at him.
Our freedom fighters—the remaining ones are living in pathetic conditions. I think, atleast, one ought to be practical when honoring such noble, poverty-stricken people. We give them a shawl, a memento painted in the tricolors or a certificate…well, what will an old man do with a hundred shawls? The certificates are useless, and the memento or trophy just becomes a showpiece. We could pay for his food, instead, or even provide him with a comfortable home. These men are grieving deeply—they are grieving to know that they did not fight for the country to be treated like this. They want to live with dignity, they trusted the government to provide them with homes and comfort for the great sacrifices they have made in the past. To me, Independence day is not about walking around in the streets, waving our tricolour flag madly, it’s about seeing the smile on the faces of these fighters again, it’s about the faith in the country returning to their hearts…that’s when I’ll say the struggle for independence fulfilled it’s own causes, and that we are truly happy and free, because India, then, has turned out to be what the original leaders once dreamt of.