Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh): India has progressed in last 76 years but genuine spirit of nationalism is missing. Corruption has grown and communities are fighting each other. This is what freedom fighters told Free Press on the eve of Independence Day.
“If corruption was 1% during British rule, it is 200% per cent now. In British Raj, there was 100% adherence to laws, now not even one per cent of people follow laws now,” said 91-year-old Heeralal Tamrakar who had participated in Quit India Movement in 1942 and Goa’s liberation movement.
“During British rule, the country was enslaved but people were free. Now, the country is free but people are enslaved,” Tamrakar added. 104-year-old Habib Nazar from Bhopal said country’s atmosphere needs to be changed. “We have progressed much more than other countries but there is conflict between different Indian communities. We cannot and should not blame any one community for the situation,” he said.
Chandrabhan Rai, 92, from Jabalpur said that he was getting “samman nidhi but not samman”. “There are only two freedom fighters in Jabalpur but collector who is supposed to felicitate freedom fighters on Independence Day is yet to invite him and me,” he added.
Gandhi Bhavan Trust secretary Dayaram Namdev,84, said, “Merely replacing your DP on your social media accounts with Tricolour is not patriotism or nationalism. It is sad that people are indifferent to what is happening in the country. How many ordinary people are perturbed by what is going on in Manipur,” he remarked.
Namdev lamented that political leaders are not loyal to their parties. “Then, how can we expect them to be loyal to the nation?” he asked. Citing a famous song penned by poet Pradeep (Hum laye hain toofan se kashti nikal ke), he said people were not ready to preserve, protect and promote legacy of freedom movement. “Everyone is busy working for his or her material progress, feathering his own nest. Who cares for the nation,” he said.