Seventy-one years ago my sister Shanthi and I alongside our cousins, were allowed to stay up until midnight to hear the celebration on the radio of The Birth of a New Nation, an Independent India.
The National Anthem blasted over the radio at Midnight. I sang along, as best as I could at seven years old. I don’t think I knew all the words. But I remember my little heart pounding with pride as my father cheered on.
The next day we watched the Independence Day Parade at the Pangode Military Base, not too far from town. We were handed little Tricolor flags of a free India to wave as the Parade passed by the viewing stands.
In the year previous to this event, Mahatma Gandhi had tried his level best to avoid splitting “India” into the two countries of India and Pakistan. In support of Mahatma, my father, photographer Sivaraam, who was an ardent Gandhian follower, posted these tableaux in the local paper as an illustration to keep the two countries together. With the relief of an United India-Pakistan in the background, I donned a Nehru-cap and touted the Indian flag, while Shanthi had the Muslim salwar-kameez outfit and the flag of Pakistan. The accompanying article pleaded with our leaders not to split the two countries.
While both attained freedom from the British rule, history has shown the united nation was not meant to be.
Freedom fight, 1946-1947
On the relief of an United India-Pakistan country, Shaku wearing a Nehru-cap holding an Indian flag, and Shanthi with the Muslim Salwar-Kameez outfit holding a Pakistani flag. This was the local town’s appeal to avoid splitting the two Nations. It did not come to fruition.