Finally, it is

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Our Independence Day

Today is 15th August, the Independence day of India. I remember how happy I used to be on (and before) this day. We used to go to school for flag hoisting and then there will be some cultural programs. I remember the thrill and tears sprouting in my eyes with pride when I sing “Jan Gan Man”. Then? a patriotic movie on Durdarshan. Most probably Gandhi. I have seen it for number of times and still I want to see it again and again. Though it is quite difficult task to give justice to one person as big as Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi in a movie of 3 hours, Sir Richard Attenborough has honestly got the real picture out of him. Are you a Gandhi lover or hater? Go, watch the movie.

But today I am not going to write about that movie or anything else. I want to write about the recent incident here at South Korea. (I am here for office work at Samsung Electronics). Today, our Korean counterparts invited us to have lunch with them at some restaurant. Today is a holiday in India and so in Korea. Coincidently, both have their independence day today. India got freedom from British empire on 15th August,1947 and Korea got freedom from Japan on 15th August,1945. One of my managers, Mr. Jaeman Kim asked me about our freedom fight when I told him that today is our Independence Day also. Then, I told him about how English man came to India in early 15th century, how they increased their business in 17th century, How East India Company started ruling part of India and how finally they took over the reins of almost the whole India. He asked me was there any protest or war against them? I told him about 1857 revolt that unfortunately was not successful at the extent it should be. He asked me then you had war with Briton? And I just smiled. I asked him,” Have you ever heard of the name of a gentlemen called Mahatma Gandhi ?”

He suddenly grinned. “Yes”, he said, “Tell me more about him.” Well, those who know me know that there are few topics on which I can talk passionately for hours. And Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi is one of them. I told him about how his movement was different than other conventional means of revolt. How he used non-cooperation and non-violence to protest peacefully and with virtue against British Empire. How he united one nation which was previously just a cluster of big-small kingdoms. How he gave new meaning to freedom as a spiritual movement along with our inner being. How he worshiped Truth and saw God as nothing but Truth. I told him few incidents about satyagrahi movement. That satyagrahis will go without any arms to British police. They will hit them like anything. But, no counter attack, not even slight protest!! They will bear it with a lion’s heart and give way to next group. And they just come forward and come forward and come forward…until British police finally had no courage to hit more. This is courage. This was the first time, a person removed fear and installed courage to common men of this country. Though, history will not tell anything, this itself was a very radical shift in terms of perception in the people of India.

He was just bewildered! He told me,” I can not imagine how one can fight with his enemy without any arms and just with non-violence and lots of courage?” He said:” Korea got freedom because after 2nd world war, Japan was defeated and few Korean groups fought with Japan and won freedom for their country. Then he added,” Both Korea and India got freedom at similar time but it is because of Mahatma Gandhi that you have won your freedom with such a peaceful way. We didn’t have any person like Mahatma Gandhi and so we could not have such virtues with us. I just wish we would also have somebody like Gandhi”

I consider this as a very genuine tribute! How true! And at what good time I was a witness of something like this. I just said in my mind: “Now, it is like my country’s Independence day. Happy Independence day, India!”

P.S : For those who consider Gandhian methods as out-dated, they are right. Gandhi means practical solutions. Even he would have not gone with Charakha or some other methods in this age. He would have devised new practical and effective ways to deal with the existing problems. That was Gandhi.