Happy 72nd, India! STAY INCREDIBLE.

कुछ बात है कि हस्ती मिटती नहीं हमारी
सदियों रहा है दुश्मन दौरज़माँ हमारा

India – one of the oldest civilizations of the world, famous for its unity in diversity, blessed with changing landscapes from Kashmir to Kanyakumari, tolerant of religions and faiths where Hindu kids celebrate Christmas as much as they celebrate Diwali, Christian Kids color themselves VIBGYOR on Holi & relish Sewayaain on Eid, people from all religions sit together and eat in a Langar in Gurudwara’s & kids from all faiths read the stories of Bhagwan Buddha & Mahavir Jain (Lord Buddha & Mahavir Jain) in their school text books. It doesn’t end here & innumerable faiths and religions exist in India.

This India has been liberal, welcoming and incredible since time immemorial, but unfortunately hasn’t been free always. Like a rare gem, everyone eyed India and fought for a piece of it. From the time we know, we have been waging wars and fighting battles to free ourself…with the most recent one being fought against the British when countless lives were lost so that the generations to come can breathe in the free air.

ऐ मेरे वतन के लोगों
ज़रा आँख में भर लो पानी
जो शहीद हुए हैं उनकी
ज़रा याद करो क़ुरबानी

For the love of the country, and the sake of celebration, I recommend three places to pay homage to, in the memory of our honorable freedom fighters.

संगीन पे धर कर माथा
सो गये अमर बलिदानी
जो शहीद हुए हैं उनकी
ज़रा याद करो क़ुरबानी

Hall of Fame, Ladakh, India

1. From where it all began – Mutiny of 1857

It all began with Meerut when a few soldiers refused to cooperate. A few Kms. ahead, in Jhansi, a king dies & officially adopts a child before leaving the world. The British, however, refuse to accept it and annex the state to themselves declaring a monthly income to the wife of the king & command her to leave for good. What they didn’t know was that there was a tigress sitting at the other end who waged a war.

दूर फिरंगी को करने की सबने मन में ठानी थी।
चमक उठी सन सत्तावन में, वह तलवार पुरानी थी,
बुंदेले हरबोलों के मुँह हमने सुनी कहानी थी,
खूब लड़ी मर्दानी वह तो झाँसी वाली रानी थी।।

Jhansi ki rani died defending her country, and sparked a rebellion that ultimately freed up India. Her fort has been converted in a musuem in Jhansi.

I recommend visiting Gwalior fort where she fought till her last breath. You could also visit her funeral site in Gwalior.

Also read: Where she fought gallantly – Gwalior

तेरा स्मारक तू ही होगी, तू खुद अमिट निशानी थी,
बुंदेले हरबोलों के मुँह हमने सुनी कहानी थी,
खूब लड़ी मर्दानी वह तो झाँसी वाली रानी थी।।

Gwalior Fort @Life on Weekends
Gwalior Fort @Life on Weekends
Gwalior Fort @Life on Weekends
Gwalior Fort @Life on Weekends
Gwalior Fort @Life on Weekends
Gwalior Fort @Life on Weekends
Gwalior Fort @Life on Weekends
Gwalior Fort @Life on Weekends

 

2. The massacre that raged the country – Jallianwala Bagh, 1919

Jallianwala Bagh, Amritsar

He came, blocked the entry & ordered fire at many families & kids; young & old. It was the day of Baisakhi – a holy festival and a reason to celebrate in an India that hadn’t breathed freely in decades now. This tragedy drove many young boys to rebel who left their lives and families behind & joined hands with many who had committed to the cause of Independent India.

Bullet marks; Jallianwala Bagh, Amritsar
Bullet marks; Jallianwala Bagh, Amritsar

हाथ जिनमें हो जुनूँ , कटते नही तलवार से, सर जो उठ जाते हैं वो झुकते नहीं ललकार से,
और भड़केगा जो शोला-सा हमारे दिल में है , सरफ़रोशी की तमन्ना अब हमारे दिल में है।

Pay a visit to Jallianwala Bagh in Amritsar & imagine the unimaginable sacrifice that our former generations did to build today. Are you thankful enough?

Jallianwala Bagh, Amritsar
Jallianwala Bagh, Amritsar

Also read: Jallianwala Bagh, of 1919

जिस्म वो क्या जिस्म है जिसमें न हो खूने-जुनूँ, क्या वो तूफाँ से लड़े जो कश्ती-ए-साहिल में है।
सरफ़रोशी की तमन्ना अब हमारे दिल में है । देखना है ज़ोर कितना बाज़ु-ए-कातिल में है ??

IMG_20170414_180020-01

IMG_20170414_180104-01

IMG_20170414_180647-01

3. Armed Forces guarding the frontier – Today, Tomorrow and Always

India became free on 15th August, 1947 & we all awoke at the stroke of midnight. We became free, but it hasn’t been a roller coaster since then either.

I was in 6th or 7th standard, when there was a chatter in School Assembly & we came to know that India is in a war with Pakistan. It was the Kargil War. Every evening, my father would be glued on to the news, take a tally of that day’s progress, applaud the generous donations to the war fund & pray for the country & its people.

I remember watching ‘Jai Hanuman’ on TV every Tuesday night. That time, Sanjay Khan (the producer/ director) had made a whopping contribution for the army & this gesture touched the hearts of many families who were sitting in their homes comfortably, praying for the safety of army people.

Hall of Fame, Leh Ladakh, India
Hall of Fame, Leh Ladakh, India
Hall of Fame, Leh Ladakh, India
Hall of Fame, Leh Ladakh, India
Hall of Fame, Leh Ladakh, India
Hall of Fame, Leh Ladakh, India
Hall of Fame, Leh Ladakh, India
Hall of Fame, Leh Ladakh, India
Hall of Fame, Leh Ladakh, India

India went in wars in ’62, ’65, ’71, ’99 and has been fighting the cause for Kashmir ever since. My husband’s relatives know about these wars inside-out, and know the various dates like the back of their hands. 

You know why?

Because in his village, every single family, lost a son in one of these wars. He is a proud Indian and so are those many families of his village. 

Indian Armed Forces sacrifice every single day for us while we enjoy complaining and cribbing about the most trivial things in Life. They fight for the country and do not mind leaving this world, fighting, without any recognition or acknowledgement. 

Visit Hall of Fame in Leh, Ladakh & see a glimpse of the lives armed forces lead so that we can live in peace. 

Hall of Fame, Leh Ladakh, India
Hall of Fame, Leh Ladakh, India

Also read: Hall of Fame

Independence is precious. It wasn’t handed over to us for nothing. Celebrate the day by knowing a little more about your country, and how they made it happen.

थोड़ी सी धूऊल मेरी धरती की मेरे वतन की 
थोड़ी सी खुश्बू बौरई से मस्त पवन की
थोड़ी सी धोँदणे वाली धक धक धक धक धक धक साँसें
जिन मे हो जुनून जुनून वो बूंदे लाल लहू की
यह सब टू मिला मिला ले फिर रंग टू खिला खिला ले 
मोहे मोहे टू रंग दे बसंती यारा
मोहे मोहे टू रंग दे बसंती 

Shimla @Life on Weekends
Shimla @Life on Weekends
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