Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The story of Indian Independence!

Today being Indian Independence day, the day began with the hoisting the tri-coloured flag in our local community area attended by almost all the residents followed by a cultural event in the evening, the central theme being Indian Independence. Having gone through August 15th like any other day for the last three years, while we were in the US, (except some sporadic events hosted by local Indian associations over the weekend), we decided to participate this year in the Independence day celebrations  with renewed interest, partly because we were keen on introducing our little one to our glorious past. He may be young now, but it is never too early to instill some patriotism in kids. While it is intriguing to watch the I-day celebrations go the American way with Independence day sales and discounts offered by all retail giants and I-Day parties at pubs, it is also comforting to find that some things dont change, like the flag hoisting followed by the Prime Minister's speech at the Red fort telecast live on television, or people selling miniature Indian flags at signals, or  "desh-bhakti" (patriotic) songs playing non-stop on Doordarshan! :-) Anyway, since technically,  this was Abhay’s first Indian Independence day celebrations, we went all out to get him into the patriotic mood! So starting with flag hoisting in the morning, we had him participate on stage with several other kids for the famous “Eh…mere watan ke logon…” dressed as an army soldier waving out the Indian flag! Jai Hind!

Though I had expected to find many picture books on the Indian Independence that succinctly explains the story of our freedom struggle in an age appropriate manner, I was disappointed with what I found. Many of the books resembled textbooks more than illustrative picture books. One book I found worth reading and recommending is “The Story of 15th August” by Sandhya Rao and illustrated by Reginald Goveas, part of a series called Read and Colour Freedom Stories brought out by Tulika publications. This book introduces kids to a common man’s perspective on the excitement at the country having gained independence in 1947. Starting with Bala’s story, who was an eight year old girl at the stroke of the midnight hour on 15th August 1947, then goes on to Safdar’s story who witnessed Nehru famous “Tryst with Destiny” speech at the Constituent Assembly Hall, Annamma’s story of her memories of “Gandhiji”  and Dinshaw’s partition experience are some of the stories featured along with detailed line drawings that can be colored by your little one, as he learns the story of India’s Independence. Happy Independence day everyone!

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