In Dependent India
By Joseph Mattappally on 19-08-2014
Early morning on the last Independence Day, aside an Ahmadabad Highway, I saw a very old lady selling small national flags. Just yards away, I witnessed an old man in tattered and soiled dress filling a century old scooter tank with drops of petrol that were still dripping from a small soft drink bottle. In the School compound to where I followed my grandson for the flag hoisting ceremony, there were music and aesthetically attractive displays. The Chief Guest of the day was a young lady, who hoisted the flag. She stood saluting the flag for a while, her eyes closed. From the few words this high profile lady shared, I understood how serious a patriot she is. She said that freedom does not mean that we are allowed to create and follow weird laws and regulations like dying in the parliament house is illegal in England.
Every time I see people stand prayerfully listening to our National Anthem, tears use to roll down my cheeks, because it takes me to solid memories of our fighter heroes willingly surrendering to supreme sacrifices. That day, I heard this Chief Guest asking the listening public if there are any freedom fighters there. I saw an old man and his wife slowly raising their heads from behind the gallery. The lady stopped her speech, slowly walked towards them and respectfully presented the beautiful bouquet the School leader had given her. Further, she bowed her head before the old couple and boldly gave them a salute. This was the first time I saw a New Age Indian offering such a gesture of respect to another lay Indian who could not resist attending a national flag hoisting ceremony. I earnestly wished if I could have stopped aside the old lady with the plastic flags on her hand and given her a big salute. She could have been a ‘no less freedom fighter’.
In the afternoon on the same day, I happened to read the story of an 84 years old Abidali Lakhani, a devout Muslim, living in Mumbai, which was published in the Times. Lakhani lived a happy life and he eventually decided to make others also happy after his death. In 2002, while he was 74, he collected an organ donation form from JJ hospital Mumbai. After his death, he wanted his body as a whole used by medical students or his usable organs appropriately utilized. The clerics in his community ruled out his plan and his family also refused to endorse the document. Even after 12 years, he is still waiting to hear from somebody who might help him. It is not occasional incidents like this that touch me. I am worried about the quality of consciousness that cover the nation. Who doesn’t know that it is the earnest wishes of patriots like the old lady with the flags and humans like Abidali Lakhani that still keep the nation safe on track? If we do not get a bill for the freedom we enjoy, remember that there is a good reason for it; somebody already paid for it. This is just one thing that I remind my Indian friends all over the world. Though slightly tattered is my ambitions on India, drops of hope still keep dripping down.
About The Author
Sri. Joseph Mattappally, Founder and Director of Indian Thoughts, is a writer and social worker. He is also a Reiki Master (RIRC Mumbai) and licensed Amateur Radio Operator ( VU2JIM). He has authored 'Success Secrets', a book detailing basic life management principles.