“At the stroke of the midnight hour, when the world sleeps, India will awake to life and freedom.” Yes, we did get freedom but at a cost …
Today morning when I got up, the whole sky was reverberating to the tunes of Lata Mangeshkar’s, ‘Ae Mere Watan Ke Logon’. There was a different sense of belonging. The air felt fresher than usual, this was the air of freedom. A freedom for which our ancestors fought, so that we could bask in its glory. Today 72 years, after India got its freedom, I still believe that India is not free. Forgive me if anyone feels that I am not patriotic enough. But this is the truth.
I have grown up listening to stories about how India got Independence. My grandmother’s family were active participants in the freedom movement struggle. She has many memories of British India, a chance meeting with Gandhiji, and the horrific tales of the trains coming and going to Lahore. She often compares that India to Free India, and why not it is quite obvious. After all, she has seen her grandfathers and father fight for this.
But as we stepped towards freedom, we were and still are not free. Not free from our own created mess, not free from our cluttered brains and above all slaves to hatred. We achieved this freedom at a cost, the cost of hatred which seeped into our existence, at the stroke of the midnight hour, when the world slept. India did come to life and freedom but the seeds sowed were so strong that they have not even spared us and the children of this generation.
A few days back, my daughter’s friends had come over. They were chitchatting and I like a curious mom, eavesdropped their conversation. As these girls chatted one of them said, oh I hate that person. I could not help but intervene in their conversation. I asked her why she had so much malice and hatred but quickly changed the topic as I could sense she was getting uncomfortable.
What amazed me, was that the girl who spoke about hating the other child did not just say it casually. She was so strong and staunch when she said it. It was clearly visible that she had revenge in her eyes. Later I found out that she also troubles the child she does not like. This is just a small example and the feeling just grows stronger with each passing day.
I mean how old are they, 5 or 6 or maybe 7. At an age like this, they should get into quarrels but sleep over and forget by the next day (which children usually do) and not carry feelings of revenge and hate. But are they at fault? No, they are not, it’s us.
Hate is in our genes and has been passed on from one generation to the other. Hate against the British and then Pakistan has just ruined our youth. Even a small kid can be heard saying that Pakistan is not good. Really, is it so, aren’t they human. They faced the same thing which we faced in an attempt to gain freedom. People from both countries have suffered a lot.
Teaching a child to hate is very easy. It teaches them to be negative. But teaching a child to let go of hate is difficult especially when it is deep-rooted. Thus as parents, we should help our children to think critically. This allows them to think and contemplate about the person, rather than portraying everyone in a similar manner. This empowers them to think with an open mind and reduces the chances of hate. By preventing the act of disgracing people, these children have a better chance for themselves in the future.
This problem which we have seen in the country is deep seeded and routes back to our culture and birth. In order to straighten out things, we need to talk to our children, show them compassion, be kind, teach them to respect elders and stand against bullies.
And as I always say, children may not be listening to you, but they are always watching you. So watch your words and actions, show some love and respect and be a little kinder, so that children can imitate the same.
Let’s work towards for our children so that they can breathe free in a hate-free India and enjoy this independence for the many years to come. Like our forefathers gave us the gift of Free India, similarly, helping them to let go of off their hate is the best gift we can give to our children.
Let’s take a pledge and look forward to a Hate Free India