Vatan ki mitti Yaad aati hai….

Abhilasha Goel with sons Sarthak and Samarth

By Ritu Ghai

The countdown has begun…15th August is here and a patriotic fervour spreads all around. India is abuzz with Independence Day preparations and recollecting the sacrifices laid down by the freedom fighters and unsung heroes who freed India from the 200-year-old colonial rule and gave us this nation we all live in now.

Lucky are those born in a free India.

Down the years, the pride and love for nation has deepened but the ways people celebrate this national holiday are varied. Some spend the day watching movies, arrange family get-to-gathers, participate in their colony’s Independence Day’s celebration and many travel to spend time out. A spirit of camaraderie prevails in the air.

The Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav, fuelled with the spirit of India has already started. Hon’ble Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi has appealed to people to change their social media profiles to that of the tricolour between August 2-15. To further our connect with the sovereign spirit, the movement ‘Har Ghar Tirangaa’ is in full swing as every house proudly hoists the National Flag.  

Bollywood movies like Richard Attenborough’s Gandhi, Border, Mangal Pandey, The Legend of Bhagat Singh, Rang De Basanti etc. chronicle India’s freedom struggle with a tadka of modernism, especially for those who are born post 1947.

For Indians living overseas, this day is like any normal working day but mind overflows with nationalism.

For Abhilasha Goel, Operations Director and Campus Manager, ALTEC college, Melbourne, this day brings in nostalgic memories of 15th August in India. “I remember going to school wearing extra white uniform and super shiny shoes, participating in patriotic songs and dramas and marching with National Flag at the school grounds. After this, we went to the Rotary club with my parents, planted a tree and organizing meals for the disadvantaged. Life has come a long way and we are busy running our home with both our sons, Sarthak and Samarth. But it’s a proud moment when monuments in Melbourne are illuminated in the colours of Indian Flag, on this day.

Abhilasha with husband Pankaj Goel: It’s a proud moment when monuments in Melbourne are illuminated in the colours of Indian Flag

With one hand on our hearts and one hand saluting, its gratifying to see Tiranga take over the world”, recalls Abhilasha and her husband, Pankaj Goel.

 Rajni Ahuja, a CPA professional working in Australian Public Service, has been living in Sydney, Australia since 24 years, along with her husband, a Mechanical Engineer. “I remember every house resounding with the National Anthem and patriotic songs from movies on Doordarshan. Colourful decorations at Lal Qila with Tricolour hoisted with marigold flowers sprinkling. Back then I could hardly understand the speech of Prime Minister and kept asking my father to explain the words. After all we had to write our school essay”, laughs Rajni and explains that the significance of Independence Day is clear now.

Rajni Ahuja: ‘I remember every house resounding with the National Anthem and patriotic songs’

“Especially when you are living away from your country, we have to not only represent your identity but your nation as well. Although we are blessed to be living in Australia but like the famous quote – ‘You can take an Indian out of India but you can’t take India out of an Indian’. We still rejoice when India wins a cricket match, launches a satellite or when an Indian triumphs in Beauty pageants. I, my husband, always cheer at India’s victory. We are proud of our heritage that instilled the values of equality, love and respect in everyone, regardless of religion, state, language or region”.

Rajni celebrating with her family and elderly parents

We, the people of India’ is how the preamble of our country’s starts. But the rural and urban population is still widely divided and no one bothers to question.

Luckily there are people who are not only asking ‘why’ but doing their best to make a difference. Delighted to be in touch with Veteran Indian Air Force Pilot, Rahul Monga, a Shaurya Chakra awardee, McGregor Medal awardee, Aviation instructor. artist, author, golfer, motorcycle enthusiast, Rahul has recently adopted 5 villages in Uttrakhand with the aim to provide sanitation, health and education.

Rahul Monga has adopted five villages in Uttrakhand with an aim to provide sanitation, health and education

Says Rahul, “I am keen to work towards uplifting women and children, protect environment and animals Although I love my profession and passion but there is nothing like working towards a good cause. My friend from DPS, R.K. Puram, Pawan Kocchar, has also done his bit to support my mission” says Rahul Monga. 

Krishna Sharma: ‘The essence of nationalism is to continuously work towards connecting citizen with each other to make a better secular India.’

For Krishna Sharma, retired Joint Secretary from Government of India and ex World Bank employee, memories of 15th August, 1947 are blurred, “I was 13 years old and studying in Railway high school at Abu Road, Rajasthan. I still remember the discrimination and punishments meted out to us by the colonial rule supporting teachers. Independence for us was primarily getting rid of the cruel teacher who hastily left after India’s Independence. I am happy that the national spirit is alive in people even today, but we must understand the essence of nationalism and continuously work towards connecting citizen with each other to make a better secular India”, opines Mr Sharma.

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