India became a free nation on August 15, 1947.

We are celebrating the Independence Day today.

Time has moved on, so has the nation. So have the people. The stalwarts of those times are in their eternal heavenly abode and the new generation of the population of India have almost no connect with those times. Still patriotism ( even of the jingoistic variety of out current TV culture ) makes people to celebrate and respect the Independence Day.

I was born in the year 1956.

The feeling of being an independent nation was new and strong in my childhood. There was an older generation who had lived through the British Rule and they were quick to compare the present with the past.

Our generation grew up on the stories of struggles and fight with the British, with poverty, with the aftermath of partition. And finally the people had triumphed.

Time moved. I went to school, then to Engineering College and graduated in 1977 which is now 43 years in the past.

1977 was the year when India saw the first change of government at the national level. Congress government led by Mrs. Indira Gandhi was voted out and a rag tag combination of parties called Janata Party formed the new government. Only to fritter away the good will of the people of India through their infighting and lost the elections in 1980 which made Mrs. Indira Gandhi once again the Prime Minister.

In our younger days, we did not have distractions like TV and internet.

The quest for information and knowledge could be satisfied only through books. Reading more and more books was the key to get ahead in life as well as to know more about our nation.

When we are young, we are impressionable. As we grow old, we become world weary and skeptics. This is normal. But there are some books from those days which have left a permanent impression. It does not matter what your political leanings, these books conveyed the life, times and aspirations of the people of India in those days.

Freedom at Midnight was one of the most popular books in 1977. The reason was that we were almost celebrating the second freedom — the freedom from the internal emergency declared by Indira Gandhi in June 1975. It looked like that the nation became free for the second time.

One of the rare books which left an indelible impression on me in my school days:

Yash Pal was himself a revolutionary who was part of the group of Bhagat Singh, Rajguru, Sukh Dev and Chandrashekhar Azad.

This is a book written not by some outsider. He was one of the fighters.

It is unfortunate that such books do not find any readers today.

Those readers who can read Hindi, should not miss this book.

This was some of the reading thoughts.

Some Uneasy Truths:

In 1977, one of the catchy slogans was given by Devi Lal in Haryana:

Bhrashtachar Bandh, Paani Ka Prabandh.

“I will stop the corruption and make drinking water available to every village.”

Drinking water still remains a problem 43 years later and Devi Lal’s son, a former Chief Minister of Haryana is undergoing 10 year jail sentence for — Corruption.

We have made few strides forward but have not moved far.

That is the irony of life.

I shall close with the words of Shri Rabindranath Tagore, which were inspirational when I was in school and which inspire today when I am in the golden years. We still need such inspiration:

Today we talked something other than stock market and trading.

These thoughts too are important.

Good thoughts lead to good deeds.

Thanks for reading, dear readers.

Enjoy the celebrations on Independence Day. Nation building never stops and all of us have a role in that.

Act well your part and there all the honor lies.