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Durable Link to this BlogWednesday, August 15, 2007

Musings on 60th year of Independence

Musings on 60th year of Independence

Indian Tricolor in a Rangoli Design

This year, on the 15th of August, I was invited to be chief guest and hoist the National Flag on India's Independence Day at a school in Electronic City, some 20 kilometers away from my residence. Memories came flooding covering the entire gamut of Independent India and schooling from 1947-2007. Everybody is not lucky to witness privations and prosperity or struggle and success of a nation through sixty long years. I am one, and would like to share my experiences.

In 1947, as a ten-year-old, I witnessed the Great Independence Day when the British handed over the power to the Indians. In the town of Kumta, we school children participated in the procession of celebration which comprised of all rejoicing citizens joining us, singing national songs and loud shouting "Bolo Bharat Mataki Jai (Hail, Mother India!) at intervals. It was an unprecedented procession stretching for more than a mile. No police to control. It was indeed a thrilling experience.

In 1957, I was a teacher-trainee at Graduate’s Basic Training College, which provided training in Gandhiji's experimental education. It was through some handicraft that children were taught basic geography, botany, arithmetic, history, economics etc. Spinning, weaving, kitchen gardening, and some such activities formed chore of "activity lesson". We trainees built the flag hoisting platform for our college that year, by carrying bricks, cement and water. Dignity of labor formed the very crux of basic education. The platform we built is still going strong at the old building in Dharwad.

In 1967, arrived our child Vikas, in Independent India, demanding all attention and reminding that I was not wholly "Independent" anymore!

In 1977, India emerged as a strong democracy, casting away Indira Gandhi's Emergency (dictatorial) rule and all restrictions (including press and printing), in the general elections and defeating her and her party. In our Radio Service (All India Radio), we continued or restarted songs of liberty and equality.

The year 1987 saw me writing a book on Schooling in Karnataka. The book later, fetched State Academy award as the best book on research in Kannada for the year.

In 1997, our son Vikas thought of launching Kamat's Potpourri. He wanted to beam programs connected with India's heritage through innumerable pictures his father had clicked over years. This venture was a great success. Today Kamat's Potpourri, with its 300 different sections, attracts five million viewers every month. My own efforts in introducing various aspects of Indian culture continues till date. The audience happens to be world wide this time!

On 15th of August 2007, I was hoisting our beloved National tri-colored flag, with Ashokan wheel, which indicated a full circle of sixty years. I was surrounded by children of different age groups who represented the strong Independent India. With all the drawbacks of newly acquired freedom, nobody can dare say that India is not a noteworthy country. Though one of the most ancient countries in the world, this huge subcontinent of numerous ethnic groups, religions, languages and civilizational stages had occasion to become one nation, after a painful and prolonged struggle exactly sixty years ago. It indeed is a tremendous achievement for a divergent, heterogeneous, multilingual country.

My "schooling days" are not over yet! They are revolving more than six decades.

Amma's Column by Jyotsna Kamat

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Jyotsna Kamat

Jyotsna Kamat Ph.D. lives in Bangalore.


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