The tricolour flutters in the monsoon breeze. Its bright colours dazzle in the backdrop of the grey skies. It happens every year as it infuses a fresh dose of patriotism into our weary minds. Preparations for the Independence Day celebrations start off days ahead with much-needed fervour. But this year, something seems different. The atmosphere is charged, the spirits high and the tricolour ready to dominate the skies in full glory, announcing its presence to the world.
Why is this Independence Day special?
Yes, we know we got our independence after more than two centuries of British rule on 15 August 1947. The freedom struggle movement is part of our rich modern history and is replete with tales of heroism and passion and patriotism. Our freedom fighters were united in their objective, irrespective of ideologies or caste or gender differences. Today we enjoy the fruits of their labour, their sacrifices.
Independence day is celebrated each year to mark this momentous occasion. And to remember the price that we have paid for this independence. The present generations need to understand the significance and value of this freedom that they are enjoying.
Independence Day in 2022
It’s a special day this year because we celebrate the 75th year as an independent nation. It’s the perfect time to look back and learn from our mistakes. I feel the areas needing our immediate attention are education, skill development and sports. There are many, many more burning issues but these, not critical but important issues, have been long ignored and with a little attention, not just from the government but also from the public, can assure faster results.
No nation can hope to move forward unless its population is educated. In India, education has a major role to play. Education is sought by everyone, irrespective of caste, class, religion, region or gender factors. The rampant commercialisation of higher education has led to colleges churning out graduates, engineers and doctors by the lakhs but in the bargain, the quality has got compromised. It has only contributed to the unemployment market; they are graduates in theory but with little or no knowledge base or skill.
The NEP 2020 has infused some life into the morbid system but it’s a long way to go. It is about time the education system underwent a major overhaul with a drastic course correction. What could be done is –
- Curriculums can be reinvented to include knowledge acquisition and do away with non-productive rote learning.
- Schools can opt for interdisciplinary studies to make the core subjects more dynamic, encourage lateral thinking and foster a spirited thought process.
- Universities can encourage their students to produce more quality work instead of engaging in non-academic activities.
- Research work must be made more appealing, engaging and fruitful so that more and more students opt for genuine research work.
What’s the point of all that learning if it cannot be used? Since our school curriculums are content-heavy, insisting on being restricted to the prescribed books, the students get no opportunity to expand their thinking and explore the vast expanse of knowledge otherwise available to them.
Schools do provide everything, from sports or music to art as subjects, but they do not encourage it; these subjects are dropped off once the students reach senior school. A very unhealthy practice which does no good to the students.
It would be better if some skill development subjects are also introduced at school. Subjects like robotics, carpentry, cookery, computer usage, office management, social work are all productive subjects, full of life skills and knowledge.
Not all students are academically strong. Giving them other skills to work on would be a great way of ensuring employability opportunities in the future. Industries could be roped in to conduct courses which could develop and train future human resources.
It would infuse new energy into the schools with the students showing interest in varied activities, making the school the hotbed of creativity and knowledge and skill development. A nation can be truly independent only if it has independent thinkers.
It was an absolutely spectacular performance from our sportsmen who have finally come into their own and shown what they are made of during the recent Commonwealth Games 2022 at Birmingham, UK. It was an exciting time as each day the newspapers were filled with tales of grit and determination in the face of tough competitions but they stuck to it and got a spectacular bounty of medals.
This glory was long due to them. Sports was never given this kind of attention or support or encouragement. It was restricted to only cricket and sometimes chess or badminton or football. The rest of the sports lived short lives between each achievement and then were pushed back into oblivion until the next medal.
On one hand, we are talking about creating more opportunities and on the other hand, we are restricting our budding sportsmen and women from pursuing their dreams with red-tapism. It was heartening to read about the unsung heroes, the family members who went out of their way to ensure that these stars got a chance to shine. Achinta Sheuli, Tulika Mann, Harjinder Kaur, Avinash Sable, Jeremy Lalrinnunga, each one of them is an inspiration. Fighting against all odds and the not-so-supportive system, they have shown what they are capable of.
Sport is a demanding career. It pushes the person to the limits of physical, psychological, physiological and mental limits. Their dedication, passion and focus are worth emulating. On this occasion of the 75th Independence Day, it would be nice to include sports and sportsmen/women in our way forward towards creating a better India.
The last two years of the pandemic have shown us that it’s important to change and think ahead. It would not do any good to be complacent just because we are comfortable with it. Resisting change is like the death knell to a better future. Let’s hope we have learnt our lessons and will work towards the future with more enthusiasm, more positive energy, more constructive changes and most importantly more compassion. I’m hopeful that when we celebrate a century of our independence, we would truly be independent.
P.S. Don’t forget to unfurl the tricolour at your home as part of the #HarGharTiranga initiative by the government of India. You can use the affiliate link to buy (if you do, I get a small commission at no extra cost to you!)