August 15th 1947 – the year that gave us our freedom from the British rule was a watershed year for our forefathers who witnessed history being made. While some were a part of the freedom struggle, others listened with bated breath to sagas of heroism of Indians who laid their lives. To them, independence meant tremendous effort coupled with unswerving determination to break free from the British rule. But unfortunately, today’s youngsters are different -iIt’s hard to find the same streak of patriotism.
Independence Day is around the corner. But unlike the past, the youth of today look back with cynical eyes wondering what Independence Day is all about. They mop up historical tales along with grandma’s bedtime stories, proclaiming both as fiction. All this is perhaps due to the sweeping change in every field, be it in media, fashion or lifestyle. Television has evolved alarmingly and every bit of information is beamed right into one’s drawing room. Violence, sex, perversion, murder, rape – it’s all there, served with enough sauce to spice up. Children have no qualms when it comes to discussing the Arushi murder case or debating over whether the father was guilty. They take in salacious details with curiosity. Lifestyles of the rich and famous, celebrity make-overs, reality and game shows are the kind that fuel the imagination of the youth today.
So, when an occasion like Independence Day is around, it is difficult for them to take their minds off their daily shows and immerse themselves to witness how Indians toiled hard decades back to achieve Independence in 1947. Today’s youth do show respect when the tricolor is hoisted or the National Anthem is being sung, yet the spirit of patriotism which was so very strong during yesteryears is not the same these days.
“My great grandfather was a follower of Mahatma Gandhi” remarks Mohit Suri. “I have been brought up on the stories of the salt satyagraha and the Quit India Movement. But I prefer to watch a movie like Rang De Basanti which shows the boisterous side of the youth of today and their feelings for freedom fighters of the past.”
Many have been influenced by Ben Kingsley’s Gandhi. They see Bhagat Singh immortalised by Ajay Devgan and Sunny Deol. The freedom movement comes alive for them in books like Freedom at Midnight and Midnight’s Children. The depiction of women like Kasturba and Sarojini Naidu is passé.
Today’s heroines are as varied as Kiran Bedi, Sushmita Sen, Arundhati Roy and Kiran Majumdar Shah. On the 15th of August and the 26th of January, the country watches the most-sought spectacle on television with pride. India has taken giant strides and made a place for herself among the developed nations. While the youth on one hand appreciate the sacrifices made by their forefathers and pay homage to them, they have their eyes set on a different future for themselves - one that will help them forge ahead in the world, something which they can only do by moving ahead with confidence.
Do you think the youth of today are losing sight of the past and their roots in doing so?