“I remember feeling overwhelmed- we all did. It was a time of complete change. Together we swept away British rule and ushered in the birth of the Indian Nation.” That’s my father’s expression whenever he was asked about independence.
I am 78 years old. I studied in a government school and believe me when I say that independence day was celebrated like a festival back then. I used to get up early, put on my freshly washed clothes, and gather my gang to go to school. Our beloved headmaster used to lead us on rounds throughout the village, chanting ‘Vande Mataram’ and waving our flags.
The government supplied all the necessary resources on Independence Day. After the flag hoisting by the leader where you now call the chief guests is done, we used to get ready for the performances. As I look back to my earlier years, I received the top honour for reciting the poem, “idi oka dinamu, illu vakili alikee dinamu, thellaga mugullu vese dinamu, idi oka dhinamu, panduga dinamu, pandhra August”.
When my grandchildren ask me what is it to be an Indian, I recall my father’s tales of his battles for independence. “We are all Indians, and together we make India,” will always be my response.”