Virtual 74th Independence Day celebrations

-Dr. Moushumi Bhattacharjee

As citizens of this country none of us might have ever imagined that there will come a 15th August, where celebrating our independence day out on the streets with our societies, friends and family would seem impossible. But the year 2020 has made up its mind to give us an experience of everything that we never expected to happen. It hasn’t been an easy year for India as well as the whole world. More than 80% of the world population is locked in their homes, companies are working remotely and countries are still struggling to find some solution to control this COVID 19 pandemic. Many popular festivals of our country like RathYatra, AmbubachiMela, Eid-ulFitr, Good Friday, Eid-uz-Zuha, Janmashtami have been cancelled.

The days leading up to 15 August, important landmarks and government buildings are all lit up in the country’s national colours. Shopping malls and market complex are decorated in similar colours, and shopkeepers could be found selling flags, badges, Dupattas and kites for the occasion. Patriotic films and programmes related to India’s freedom are aired on Doordarshan along with private channels to upsurge the spirit of Independence Day.

Indians celebrate its Independence Day annually on August 15 to honour the country’s independence from the British in 1947. To celebrate this, a ceremony is held at Delhi’s Red Fort in which the President and the Prime Minister address the nation, and hoist the national flag. Organisations and institutions across the country hoist the national flag and hold cultural programmes in its respect.

But the Independence Day celebrations this year wears a veneer garb which the entire country is waiting to celebrate because it would be sans our freedom and the credit for this goes to Covid -19 pandemic. The Corona victors (people who have recovered from the disease) will be the highlight at the celebrations. Around 1,500 of such people which would include 500 local policemen along with others from other parts of the country are expected to attend the function and listen to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s speech from the Red Fort.Prime Minister Narendra Modi will present a new outline for a self- reliant India in his address to the nation, which is an attempt to give a fresh dimension to Mahatma Gandhi’s ambition for ‘Swadeshi’.

Schoolchildren,who turn out in large numbers, will not attend the celebrations this year. In lieu, cadets from the National Cadet Corps are expected to be a part of the function.Fewer dignitaries will be seen attending the event because of the social distancing norms.But the fervour of the citizens finds a new platform this year which no virus can ruin and that is the social media platform. People have embraced virtual celebrations in the past few months for everything from birthday party to marriages. So this time we all should gear up for a virtual Independence Day celebration following all the protocols given forward by the government with the belief that ‘together we can and together we will overcome this crucial situation.”

Dr.MoushumiBhattacharjee is an Independent Researcher and Folk Media Enthusiasts.

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