26 January 2010 - this was the first Republic Day post-retirement – I missed the Flag-hoisting function at school. Not to worry, I consoled myself, and braced myself to pay honors to the tricolor in our housing society of some 400 flats/shops. Though a notice had been put up about Flag-hoisting at 9am, there was no stirring anywhere in the vicinity till well past 9! But by 9.30, the flag was hoisted followed by the National Anthem in the august presence of a very distinguished audience – of a dozen men (half of them senior citizens) and an equal number of children (who had missed school) and a sole lady (yours truly)! What made me cringe was that there were pockets of families on various missions dotting various points in the society but they did not bother to grace the occasion. Announce ‘Tombola’/ Orchestra program and you’ll have people of all age groups zooming in to have fun. Ditto for the 10-day Ganesh festival and 9-day Navratri Garba program when they’d not mind spending a couple of hours! But when it comes to the National Days, people just want to enjoy the holiday. Okay fine, grant it to them. But my question is whether their enjoyment will in any way be affected if they shell out 10 minutes to salute our national flag?
Agreed 90% of the population was not witness to our freedom struggle. So what? Haven’t they studied it in detail in history? If that was too long ago to revive patriotic spirit, surely they must have refreshed their memory while teaching / revising with their kids recently. What better way to inculcate patriotic fervor in our kids than practicing the imbibed values? Everyone need not become a soldier to serve the motherland. The least we can do is honor the flag – especially when we have a national function – that too in the neighborhood. Teachers are bound to attend at school, so they have it in their system – maybe that’s why I feel so strongly about the lack of reverence for the national function! Students too – many of them – make it a point to attend the school function for a variety of reasons. But it should not be just a part of the academic rigmarole. Again, we have witnessed students and teachers stand up in attention when the national anthem or ‘Vande mataram’ is played; everyone should continue to do so any time at any place without external monitoring. The values should sink in.
Today’s parents are very particular about their children’s personality and versatility and send them for various classes. My fear is that some bright brains might come up with ‘Values-inculcation Program’ – for a hefty fee and the ever-so-eager-and-enthusiastic parents would queue up to sign for that. Then what are parents for? Just for shelling out money to mould their offspring? Wouldn’t they like to have an imprint of their individuality in their children’s personality? Children imperceptibly imbibe the culture at home and so it is the parents’ prime responsibility to be role models if they wish their kids to be good citizens. That requires them to tread with caution at every step and endeavor to project themselves in worthy light. So remember, my dear friends – a little sacrifice now and then is really worthwhile.© Copyright 2011. Brinda Balasubramonian.
y worth it!