Yesterday was August 15th – Independence Day. My friend held a small function at his house. There was flag hoisting, cultural programmes, snacks, etc. He had invited the children from a poor neighbourhood closeby. Toys were distributed to the children. Many children sang and danced. After this cultural programme by the children, my friend said that everyone has to talk for a couple of minutes. Though we cancelled that plan due to lack of time, I had spend a couple of minutes thinking what I should say. Here is what I had gathered.
We all live in India. Some of us live abroad too. We do not become Indians just because we live in this land or we hold an Indian passport or our parents or grandparents lived in this land. We become Indians only if India lives in us, irrespective of where we live. This is the key “India lives in us”. What is India? It has several dimensions. Physical, political, economic, military, cultural, historical, technological, etc. Of all these various dimensions, the central theme is cultural. India represents a culture and a set of values. Everything else are only means to support and manifest the culture.
On why India should get freedom, Sri Aurobindo said, “India is the treasure house of the heights of religion, sublime philosophy, fine culture and all that mankind all over the world is aspiring after. The selfishness and high-handedness of the British is destroying these treasures. So, to preserve these for the benefit of India and the world, India must become free.” “Our ideal is that of Swaraj or absolute autonomy free from foreign control. We claim the right of every nation to live its own life by its own energies according to its own nature and ideals. We reject the claim of aliens to force upon us a civilization inferior to our own or to keep us out of our inheritance on the untenable ground of a superior fitness.” Are we preserving the culture, which our great martyrs fought for?
Now, culture and values do not reside in libraries or museums. The only place they can reside in is living people. Culture is a dynamic entity. If the people following the culture give it up, the culture is dead. The uniqueness of India is its culture. The only place where it can reside is in us. If the culture is not there, India is not there. India lives in us. We are India.
It is the duty of each one of us to live the culture and values that India represents. We have to live the life every moment. The national identity we have inherited, the thousands of years of rich heritage that we are the rightful heirs to, the freedom that we have got after long struggle – all these have their meaning only if we live the culture and values. So, let us all make it a point to consciously know, cherish and enrich Indian culture and its values. Let India live in us.