What do July 4th and August 15th have in common?

August 15 Cards to Email Click here

One represents the birth of what is considered the world’s oldest democracy. The other represents the birth of the world’s largest democracy.

On July 4th, 1776, the Continental Congress approved the Declaration of Independence, thus paving the way for 13 American colonies to becoming a sovereign nation.

On August 15th, 1947, India won independence after over 200 years under British rule – a victory that came at a very high price, including the partition of the country.

That’s about where the similarity ends.

Although these dates may both represent the Independence Days of the respective countries, when you look under the surface, the contrasts could not be any starker.

I won’t go into the details here as that would be beyond the scope of this post. But here’s a fact that reflects the vast difference.

The American War of Independence lasted 8 years. India’s Freedom Struggle lasted for about 100 years.

Of course, you can’t really compare the two situations. And citizens of one country can’t possibly understand how those of the other really feel.

But when you think about a country that was known as a flourishing land where ancient civilizations and cultures thrived, you can’t really picture it being enslaved by a modern country.

And yet history does not lie.

So, when I think about the fact that this Saturday, August 15, 2009 will mark India’s 63rd

Independence Day, I have mixed feelings. As someone born and raised in India, sure – pride, joy and nostalgia are in the mix. But so is a kind of sadness. I can’t help but admire the courage and patriotism of the countless, nameless, faceless people who made the supreme sacrifice to win a freedom they would never live to enjoy, the hardships and humiliation they encountered, the unquestioning faith they placed in the nation’s leaders and in themselves.

So, yes, while I will celebrate India’s Independence Day, probably by sending free ecards to my friends and family, listening to patriotic songs performed by Indian artistes and probably singing a few with my family, I will also take a moment to remember the sacrifice of those who made this day possible.

All over India, in schools, colleges and other institutions, Independence Day celebrations usually include a flag hoisting ceremony early in the day followed by a patriotic speech and cultural performances.

When you compare it with the fanfare associated with the Fourth of July celebrations, Indian Independence Day is a relatively somber affair. Perhaps that’s where the difference lies.

One marks the Declaration of Independence of a great country. The other marks the end of a long and hard struggle of an ancient land that should never have been colonized in the first place.

Happy Independence Day India – Aug 15th

If you have roots in India, then Aug 15 holds special meaning for you.

You may not have been around 62 years ago when India won her independence. But, surely, you have enjoyed the liberties of being born and raised in or having ties with an independent India.

As we approach independence day on August 15th, Indians are proud of the progress they’ve made in various fields. The past couple of years provided some great moments of pride to Indians across the globe – India’s launch of Chandrayan, her first Mission to the Moon, Abhinav Bindra winning the long-awaited and elusive Olympic gold and A.R Rahman winning the coveted Academy Award to name a few. But it’s not just the famous names and faces that make India proud. Everyday, there are millions of nameless, faceless people in various walks of life and professions ranging from army personnel to doctors, teachers, social workers, engineers, entertainers, scientists, religious leaders, homemakers and countless others hard at work to do their bit for their country, society and fellow citizens.  August 15 is in fact a day to celebrate their spirits and hard work.

And yet, even after six decades, India is still not free from other self-imposed shackles that continue to plague her existence and stunt her growth. It is these negatives that come to light, far more frequently than the positives – maybe because they’re more abundant or maybe because that is human nature. Complaining is easier than appreciating.

India is still the land of the most ancient cultures and rich heritage. It is still where many religions of the world have their roots. India is still the birthplace of some of the oldest civilizations, languages, sciences and arts. This may not be immediately obvious to someone visiting the country today, or even to Indians living in India or abroad, as we may have strayed quite far from our origins in our quest for modernization. But, the core, no doubt, remains intact- buried beneath several superfluous layers perhaps- but intact nonetheless.

It is that truth, the core, the soul of India that we celebrate on Independence Day.

So, Indians – no matter where you are, be sure to spare a few moments of thought and prayer celebrating your great country and her heritage and wishing her a glorious future.

And regardless of your plans, spare a quick couple of minutes to send free Indian Independence Day ecards to your friends and family.