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“The secret of happiness is freedom, and the secret of freedom, courage.” This quote of Thucydides, a Greek Historian is so fitting, as we are on the threshold of 72nd Independence Day celebration of our country. On this day, we remember the heroic stories of courage and struggle for freedom; selfless and unrelenting efforts of our freedom fighters in attaining the freedom that we enjoy today. They sacrificed their lives that we may have freedom and happiness. The struggle for freedom was painfully long, tedious and required sacrifices on the part of many freedom fighters, who even gave up their luxurious life for the cause of freedom. During this Independence Day, let us proudly salute them and pay our tribute and homage to these legends of our country. It is their sacrifice that has brought us a long way on the path of progress and development. India’s rich history urges us to continue to march ahead with head held high towards advancement and progress.

While on one hand it gives us a patriotic feeling when we fondly remember our revolutionaries and their tremendous courage, on the other hand it is equally important to understand that patriotism is also being a responsible citizen with courage, commitment and a sense of belonging to the nation. In this context, Ronald Regan the 40th US President has aptly said, “With Freedom comes responsibility, a responsibility that can only be met by the individual.” True freedom demands complete responsibility. In other words, freedom without responsibility will only lead to anarchism; it is no freedom at all. A truly free person will robe himself/herself in patriotism that seeks the well being and prosperity of his/her fellow citizens and of the country at large.

Looking back on the years since our first independence day, India has certainly come a long way witnessing drastic changes and progress such as improvement in the economy, an increase in the rate of literacy, a tremendous growth in the fields of business, construction, agriculture, energy, medicine, transportation, communication, information technology, education and so forth. India is a fertile land today where we can reap a rich harvest of peace and prosperity. Our country is poised to become a leading nation of the world. This is possible only if we understand that freedom is not a privilege but a responsibility to make our society a better place for ourselves and for others around us.

The spirit of patriotism that is rooted in freedom and responsibility needs to be revitalized and rekindled among the citizens. The fire of 'Patriotism' and love for our Nation has to be kept alive amongst the present generation just as the lives of our freedom fighters reflected these very sentiments. It is high time that we come forward boldly and say, “I want to do something for the country in my own little way.”

India has been blessed with more than 50% of its population below the age of 25. We are the youngest country in the world. Statistics show that 300 million children are enrolled in the school and colleges. In this light, educational institutions are the ready hubs where young minds are moulded and groomed. It is here that the seed of true patriotism needs to be sown among our youngsters as they are the ones who will hold the future of our country secure. They are full of energy and are willingly learners to contribute to nation building. Let our youngsters know that along with respect and honour for our freedom heroes, patriotism also means ensuring cleanliness, promotion of hygiene and sanitation, garbage management (Reduce, Reuse and Recycle), conservation of water, fuel and electricity; also taking care of public properties, pollution control, giving back to society through acts of service, skill management and undertaking eco-friendly activities are all a part of being a patriotic person. India is indeed a precious gift to us and it is only we as individuals who can make it a land of peace, harmony and a superpower in the years to come. To let this happen, Mahatma Gandhi urges us, “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”

On this Independence Day, as patriotic and responsible citizens, let us pledge for Green India, Clean India, Beautiful and Prosperous India! Wish you a very happy Independence Day! Jai Hind!

Dr. A. F. Pinto
Ryan International Group of Institutions

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