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Independence Day: in a world of commercialisation

As we mark Independence Day today, a number of stores are displaying patriotic themes on everything from fashion to menus to decor. But does this serve the purpose of reminding the public of the struggle that led to India’s Independence? NT BUZZ gets peoples’ opinions

RAMANDEEP KAUR | NT BUZZ

Over the last few days, a number of stores have been displaying various accessories and decorative items themed around patriotism as they prepared to mark Independence Day which is being observed today. Yet the question that arises is whether this in truth evokes a feeling of patriotism among people.

“August 15 is a very important day for all Indians. My chest swells with pride and eyes filled with tears on hearing ‘Jana Gana Mana’ and ‘Vande Mataram’ everyday and more so on Independence Day,” says Vardhan Bhobe, a laparoscopic surgeon. However he does not support the commercialisation of the day. “It downgrades the zeal and enthusiasm of the celebration,” he says.

According to Fr Anderson Fernandes, symbols are always powerful as they evoke an instinctive response from the person who comes in contact with these and help people feel connected to something outside of their own selves.

Thus, when people see the tricolour in public spaces during days and events of national significance, this is supposed to evoke feelings of oneness, togetherness, identity, and the like.

However, he says, sadly this symbol has also been exploited and commercialised and it doesn’t seem to evoke the intended responses always.

“For instance when I see ads or Independence Day sales, the feelings of patriotism are not induced. The sense of sacrifice and struggle is oft pushed to the periphery and other trivial commercial interests have taken centre stage,” he says.

Teacher at Don Bosco High School, Tuem, Infancio J Pires meanwhile believes that all these external show of celebration is fine, but if this doesn’t come as an outcome of our true love for Mother India, it’s futile.

And he believes that as the days go by, we seem to be gradually losing focus from the struggle that led to India’s independence. “Everyone wants to take maximum advantage and make as much money as possible. Selfishness has infiltrated our minds and commercialisation has taken control. It is high time that we realise the true meaning of Independence Day,” he says.

Avila Sumeet Naik from Panaji also agrees that in the name of patriotism we have coloured everything possible in tricolour.

“This actually diminishes the sanctity of the flag which our brave martyrs held onto before making the supreme sacrifice,” she says. Naik adds that even if it does remind all of us to be patriotic it’s a temporary marketing gimmick and nothing else. “It’s high time we stop doing it, as true patriotism has no discounts and it is never up for sale.”

Panaji-based, Pranav Nerurkar too believes that memories of the freedom struggle are slowly fading away.

“In this situation, people need to be reminded of the role of the freedom struggle in the day to day life,” he says. However, he opines that there is nothing wrong with businesses using this day to attract more customers. “At least more will join in the celebration,” he says.

Associate professor, Glenis Mendonça does accept that the day is being commercialised.

“However, the tricolour theme does unravel patriotic sentiments in a few passionate Indian hearts living in India and more so, abroad,” she says. Ideally, Mendonça adds, the tricolour values should adorn our lives every day, not just on Independence Day.

Pharmacist, Neha Sawkar Vaze says that it is a known fact that the generations before ours, were more aware about the importance of the Independence Day having actually witnessed their elders being a part of the day.

She says: “Earlier, it was a lot more than just lazily getting stirred out of the bed to attend the flag hoisting function held in the respective institutions. In the past people had probably closely watched their fathers and forefathers go through the agony of struggle while they even got behind the bars.”

Today’s generation however, she says, will definitely not be able to step into their shoes or get to experience their journey for India’s
freedom.

“But why don’t we take a glance at the positive side of this coin?” she asks, pointing out that today’s youth is continuously attracted and affiliated to the commercial section of the society. 

“So every time our tricolour theme is being displayed, let’s hope this will be one step taken to remind them, enlighten them and in a way, make them curious about learning the story behind the struggle for our freedom and independence. Let’s hope to instil at least a part of the history, every time, in our own way, into the future generations to come,” adds Vaze.

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