Independence Day

So we asked the kids at Swapaksh School “Why do we celebrate Independence Day on August 15th?”

“Because of India flag.”

“To sing Vande Mataram!”

“No no – not Vande Mataram – Jana Gana Mana.”

In these times of global influences it is difficult to define “patriotism” and “nationalism” even to ourselves – so how do we convey this to a bunch of kids with no context of history? We kept it simple:

Many years ago, our country was ruled by people of a different country and they troubled us a lot. When they finally left on August 15th seventy one years ago, our land once again became our own and we were free. Now its up to us – its our responsibility to make sure India and all Indians are happy and well. What can each of us do to be good Indians? Keep our surroundings clean. Be kind and polite to our friends and family.

Many of our kids were celebrating Independence Day for the first time. We started with some patriotic songs. “Nanha Munha Raahi Hoon” was a big hit! 🙂

Followed by a confident and enthusiastic rendition of our National Anthem. What was very heartening to see was few people who were working nearby, stopped their work and stood still while our kids sang. Couple of young men walking past stopped and listened. They told us later “We wanted to learn the anthem by listening to the kids”. My, we were very proud, I can tell you! Not far are the days when our kids become role models for others in the community and influence more kids to join school and get an education.

We then had a cleanliness drive to reinforce the idea of keeping our country clean.

The last event was of course, a scrumptious treat with sweets and savouries for all kids.