In honor of India’s Independence Day, my sister had emailed my dad about his recollections of Independence Day as a kid. His reply:
I do remember the first one in 1947. I was a little guy (8 years old). Scared of everything. I had no idea what was going on and what all the fuss was about. People started chanting “In Kilab-Jindabad”. Not sure, what it means even to this day – I think it means “Long Live Our Country” or something like that. Anyway, I had fun marching with a new Indian Flag in my hand and raising my arm chanting “In Kilab Jindabad”. I was a student in Junagarh High School in 4th grade. Just started there, away from Palas [his home village – ad], homesick, and scared. We went around the main street in Junagarh and returned to the school, where we started. Then we all were treated with Indian sweets and drinks. The State’s new Agricultural Minister P. Pradhan gave a lecture about what it means to be independent. He was a colleague of Mom’s grandfather, K.P. Nand, who was the first Home Minister of Independent Orissa State. At the time I had no clue that I would end up in the USA. It has been fun looking back.
Every time I hear stories like this from my family, I try to imagine it in my own context. I am not sure that I would have had such a great perspective on things if I had been 8 years old in 1776.