Freedom Is Everyone’s Birthright

Saare Jahan se Achcha…Hindustan Hamara

Happy Independence Day to all the people of Indian origin, wherever you are in this world, and of whatever faith, religion, color, caste or creed.  Be One!!   The country you hail from is one of its kind – a land of beautiful culture, strong values, spiritualism, linguistic and religious diversity.

It’s a day to value your freedom, to remember that it was attained after huge sacrifices, to not take it for granted and to constantly work towards maintaining this freedom so that our future generations can thank us, just as we thank our ancestors for the hard work they did to give us this day. A free country gives us all roots and belonging, it’s a prerogative but also an onus.

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This poem by Rabindranath Tagore sums it up:

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 led forward by thee
Into ever-widening thought and action
Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake

~~~

Today, in this post I am writing whatever comes to my mind. In all the previous years I’ve often hesitated to openly display my allegiance and duty towards my birth country. But as we grow older, we realize certain truths do not change so no harm in speaking out our heart.

Nothing judgmental in this innocent question but even with so many years gone, how many times do we get asked, “Where are you from?
Our skin, our eyes and our hair leak out the secret.

Migrants to any country are known by their native country. If their native country is free and progressive, they too earn respect, and vice versa.  If their native country is war-ridden…well, we all know the status of refugees and asylum seekers.

25 thoughts on “Freedom Is Everyone’s Birthright

  1. That was beautifully expressed. We as the citizens should strive to make India look like the country of our dreams. Is is only us who can make this happen 🙂
    A very happy independence day !

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  2. Saare Jahaan se accha… of Iqbal, and the lines of Tagore, vibrate with an authenticity of spirit, steeped in genuine pride and nationalistic fervour of Bharat Varsha and Hindustan. In my career spanning nearly four decades, I have worked in a couple of countries outside India, and witnessed national day celebrations of many countries. I can strongly come forth to state that there is no other national anthem matching the lyrical beauty, lilting melody and powerful rhythm of our ‘jana gana mana…’ The only close exceptions are those of South Korea and Japan. That said, it is all well to talk about protecting our independence and preserving our spirit of nationalism and culture, but it should not degenerate to jingoism, jingo scurrility, isolation of minorities, and destroying the country’s social fabric. Nationalism ought to be expansive and accommodative in spirit, broadening into a larger love of humanity, irrespective of caste, colour, creed and nationality. We can be proud Indians, by also being conscious, at the same time, of the fact that Indian subcontinent is just another part of the planet, shared by human race of many countries and cultures.

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    • Thanks for your insightful comments based on personal experiences. The lyrics, the melody, the rhythm of Jana Gana Mana are definitely unique, and we are not saying this due to some sentimentalism, but as you too shared, it’s our personal experience. Actually Australian national songs are also lovely, all of them. I will listen to South Korean and Japanese anthems. Of course love of humanity is of utmost importance and nationalism comes second. Even if I continue to be an Indian citizen, a general and universal fact is, these days we all are global citizens esp. on migrating we have duties towards our adopted land. But Australia is so multicultural that everyday there are functions related to one or the other country. Even if we want to forget that we are Indians, no one lets us 🙂 As for India, It has historically always embraced and welcomed as well as assimilated so many different races coming from outside.

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      • A priest quoted Tagore at my grandmother’s funeral and I was in raptures. I studied English and Australian literature at university but had never heard of Tagore and he is just so incredible. From there I went on to find Kahlil Gibran “The Prophet” and Rilke and Rumi. Wow! Wow! Wow! I posted this Tagore quote the other day with a photo I took recently: https://beyondtheflow.wordpress.com/2015/08/10/tagore-speaks-through-sydney-sunset/
        I will be posting a few Tagore quotes this week. xx Rowena

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        • Thanks for sharing your experiences and the quote. For me it was with Rumi, as if I’ve found some treasure house. Tagore, Gibran and Rumi are more like mystics and philosophers, and one feels like reading them again and again to get answers about life’s truths. Growing up in India, I was never ignorant about Tagore’s works and read a few but it’s not enough. In India we studied English, American and Indian-English literature, and in Australia, while bringing up my boy, I got exposure to wonderful Australian writers.
          Much Love.

          Alka

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          • I so relate to what you say about Tagore, Rumi and Gibran being mystics and philosophers and giving you those pearls which answer life’s truths. Have you read Rilke’s “letters to A Young Poet”? That is fabulous. One of my all time favourite books as a mum is “Letters to Sam” by Daniel Gottlieb. It’s a series of life lessons written by grand father to his grandson. Grandfather is a psychologist who becomes paralysed through a car accident and is thinking he won’t be there to see Sam grow up. Meanwhile, Sam was diagnosed with a form of Autism. It is a simply brilliant book. Most of my books are all over the house and have limited order but I do have a row of my favourite books and that is pretty close to number one on that shelf.xx Rowena

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          • Rowena, these days I often feel it’s no use thinking too much about life, but generally I too have always liked such enlightening books that provide some psychological insight into human nature. I read “Letters to a Young Poet” long time ago. Superb. I haven’t read “Letters to Sam” but going by your review and given the fact that it is number one on your book shelf, I would love to read it as and when possible. I sometimes helped my son with his HSc Advanced English and used to get carried away by all the stories. It’s a vast syllabus with texts worth reading.

            Alka

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          • I am definitely over-thinking things, which is also a bit of a temptation when my mobility isn’t great. I am currently trying to get out of that and just get on with it. Stay tuned for my next post about procrastination. xx Rowena

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  3. Happy Independence day to you too Alka!
    Yes we take pride in our country and the diversity that it has endowed us with! It has almost everything a person can wish for…bounties of nature, be it the mountains or the beaches, deserts or the historical heritage! Our villages are still the labs for social and cultural traditions, many of which have seeped into our skin.

    This poem of Tagore takes me back into my classrooms, where I must have discussed this poem, word by word hundreds of times, admiring at the same time how well Tagore could sum up the traditional servitude, which had shackled even the spirit of people, yearning for freedom.

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    • Same to you, Balroop! I wrote all that because sometimes people end up underrating what they have, and keep looking here and there. Yes, if one’s culture is strong, there is a need to pass it on to future generations. Such festivals and associated functions keep it alive and pass it on to future generations.

      Yes, we do have associations connected to various literary works, whether anecdotes from our own student life or our children’s. In your case it’s your lovely memories as a teacher. Servitude becomes an attitude, a habit hard to break, a comfort zone hard to come out from. That’s why freedom is to be treasured. We can read this poem again and again.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Yes Maniparna, there’s no other like Gurudev. As you are able to read his works in Bengali, you can understand better. Translated work is always different.
      Rabindra Sangeet is also magical like his poetry. Soothing.

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  4. Your reblog, Alka, tells me that it is a little more than an year since our cyber paths crossed, as we now celebrate India’s 70th year as a free country. The country’s democratic structure is still strong and intact, which by itself is an achievement when seen in the background of stresses in neighbouring and many other countries. Not that we are lacking in challenges. There is a need to safeguard citizens’ rights by further strengthening the autonomous institutions and insulating them against political incursions. There is a need to strengthen economically and socially, to open up opportunities for the young citizens constituting nearly sixty percent of the population. For now it is happy independence to you, and through you to the millions of Indian diaspora across the globe.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes Raj, time slips by and now it is more than an year when I started this blog. It is India’s democratic structure that keeps it going strong despite multiple problems that continue to raise their head one after the other. Masses have a voice and, good or bad, nothing is hidden. Autonomous institutions…now that’s a way out as political interference is what ruins their calibe. Observing the way talented youngsters continue to migrate to the more developed world, of course there is a need to open up new opportunities within the country itself.
      Thanks for the wishes. Happy Independence Day!

      Actually I wrote another fresh article first, and then re-blogged the previous one:

      https://aussiecurries.wordpress.com/2016/08/15/to-be-independent-in-body-mind-and-spirit-azadi70-india/

      Liked by 1 person

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