Mumbai: It is Independence Day and to showcase our patriotism (which we otherwise show only when Indian Cricket team plays), we landed up at the doors of a 86-year old Freedom Fighter Chandan Sharma.
Chandan Dada was not walking much and his only alive daughter is helping him live by feeding him some meager rations thrice a day. But his voice and memory is still intact and so, we were excited to learn about freedom struggle from his own eyes.
Faking News Reporter (FNR) : Namaskar Dadaji!
Chandan Sharma (CS) : Happy Independence Day, young man.
FNR: Same to you Dadaji. How was your feeling sixty nine years ago, on this same day?
CS: The emotions we were going through, it cannot be quantified in words. I danced on the roads and ate sweets. Also, I cried thinking of the friends we lost in the struggle. We paid respects to them. I felt a sense of peace in my heart.
FNR: Ok. How do you feel now?
CS: I had gone to jail twice – once for nine month and again for three months, for taking part in a violent protest against British officers here. A few months after Independence, I felt like the king of my country. Not only me, everyone felt like that. As years passed by, I was shocked to see that our hard-earned freedom is being wasted. All our struggles are now going down the drain.
FNR: Sorry to hear that. What do you feel about the young Indians of current generation, who could barely remember more than three freedom fighters?
CS: I could see a lack of that enthusiasm and fervor for the nation among youth now, which we had in surplus when we were in British India. Nobody cares about our country other than the soldiers at borders. I could see so many ‘Freedom sale’ ads in TV and newspapers. I was shocked that the young Indians are again selling the freedom that we fought hard for. But, my grandson said that ‘Freedom sale’ is freedom from high costs, as these businessmen sell at discount prices. Thinking back, now I realise that, we fought hard, sacrificed our own lives to get the freedom, so that you all can buy clothes and shoes at discount prices (laughs).
FNR: But Dadaji, similar discount sales happen even during other festivals like Diwali, New Year, Christmas…
CS: (tone turns angrier) Other festivals did not originate after the sacrifice of real men and women. But, our Independence day is not like that. Many men of your age had given their precious life , many women had experienced all the violent pains, so that you all can live without fear, live free. Yes, you all live free now – live in freebies. That is not the real freedom…
He started coughing and his daughter brought a glass of water for him. Sensing his frailty due to old age, we got his blessings and left his home, so that we do not miss on the 69% discount being offered today in one retail shop under the garb of ‘Freedom sale’.