Phir Bhi Dil Hai Hindustani?


Independence Day is possibly one of the biggest, most-celebrated holidays in India, and I can say this since I’ve not only witnessed it but been a part of it.

As a child I loved everything about Independence Day, it made me feel as if I belonged to something great. I remember the celebration of Independence Day began weeks before the actual event. At school we’d be given craft equipments which we used to recreate the Indian flag and sketch the map of India. All week we would review supplementary information about India, such as its national language, national animal, bird, calendar, flower, fruit, song and tree. We were given miniature versions of the Indian flag to pin on the left side of our chest – right over the heart. At home, around the neighborhood and particularly all over India you would hear the tunes of Vande Mataram, Bharat Humko Jaan Se Pyara, Phir Bhi Dil Hai Hindustani, Ab Tumhare Hawale, Ae Mere Watan Ke Logo, just to name a few patriotic Indian songs that would play over and over again. Everyone would be looking forward to the various parades that would be taking place across the nation. Furthermore, movies and TV shows would also be related to this event, giving tribute to the Indian freedom fighters and the Indian soldiers.

As I write this entry I recognize how imperative this day is for many Indians in India and around the world. This is evident through their abundant amounts of songs, movies and national symbols employed to commemorate this day. From what I remember it didn’t matter what religion or caste you were, how much money or status you possessed; all that mattered was that you were Indian. This is probably why I enjoyed this day as a little boy. Everywhere I went I’d see orange, white, blue and green painted on people’s faces, pinned on their chests or being gestured around. Everyone seemed so kind and happy that day. Strangers would wish “Happy Independence Day”, sing the national anthem and recite the Indian pledge with you.

Even today when I hear patriotic Hindi songs I spool back to my memories as a child. It’s not that I feel patriotic when I do this but feel encouraged to do something good for the world, not just the nation from which I come from.

I’m not sure what it is particularly about patriotic brown songs but they leave you in tears. Personally I find Hindi/Urdu songs so beautiful and soulful, it’s hard not to be moved by them, especially if people like A.R. Rehman have composed them. What can I say? Phir Bhi Dil Hai Hindustani?

So in honor of India’s 67th year as an independent country and my incredible childhood memories associated with this day I’d like to wish everyone a Happy Indian Independence Day!

About anasebrahem

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