The just-concluded Tiranga Yatra announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to commemorate the 70th year of India’s independence and to celebrate the contributions of revolutionary nationalists, now forgotten or marginalised since independence for political reasons and omitted from the saga of our freedom movement, has given rise to a wave of enthusiasm.
The yatra organised at various places across the country, in villages, towns and districts, has also understandably given rise to palpable nervousness among those who have questioned civilisational India, who have time and again in the name of “freedom of expression” forwarded insidious agendas of national disintegration and, more importantly, among those who have always argued the case of India’s enemies and of those who wish to see her bleed and get cut into thousands pieces. These elements have worn the mask of derision against the yatra because it directly challenges their divisive mindset.
The Tiranga Yatra is a resounding speed-breaker, a formidable barrier against those who wish to see India fragmented. The symbolism of seeing Central ministers, ordinary karyakartas and citizens make an effort to reach the spot where a particular revolutionary was born, had attained martyrdom or had carried out a decisive feat, which gave a fillip to the freedom struggle, itself was a moving one. It was a moving moment when senior leaders and Union ministers undertook journeys to these sacred spots and along with the Tricolour paid homage to the sacrifices, spirit of selflessness that these forgotten freedom fighters epitomised.
It was for the first time since independence that such a nationwide effort was made. For it has been the bane of our education system and political discourse that often those who selected a certain path to freedom have been erased from our texts, and generations of young minds have grown up without knowing of these great personalities. This deracination from our essential revolutionary struggle has thus led a group, goaded by some out of job politicians, to speak against the very existence of India and call for her vivisection. For those who have not had to struggle for our freedom, especially the Communists, and some sections among later generations who got freedom on a platter, the sense and spirit of freedom is an easily bartered commodity.
The Tiranga Yatra is a historic response to the attitude that is now being flaunted with rashness and with the aim of belittling the raison d’être of India. The Yatra propitiates the memory of revolutionary nationalists and strengthens the fabric of freedom and, as PM Modi said, gives an opportunity for millions of youth to pledge that they shall live and sacrifice themselves for India’s well-being, for her present prosperity and future greatness.
BJP president Amit Shah reminded those gathered at Ullal in Mangalore, the place where Rani Abbakka Devi carried on an epic struggle against the Portuguese forces throughout the 1500s, that it was “imperative to unite against those who, in the name of freedom of expression, are working to divide and dismember the country.” Without “nationalism and patriotism”, he said, no nation or people could aspire to greatness; “inspiration could only be derived from the lives of these valiant revolutionaries and not from NGOs who sloganeer against the existence of India.” It is a message worth introspecting, especially in the 70th year of our independence. The forces of disintegration have to be countered and decimated.