Why is the 15th of August a holiday?
The obvious answer is that the 15th of August is a holiday because it is our country’s Independence Day. But have you ever wondered why we need a holiday that day?
15th August is always a holiday for every Indian – so that we have a chance to pause and remember that there was a time when we were not free. It is a time to recall the selfish and foolish mistakes that led to our being ruled by a foreign power – so that we never repeat those mistakes again. And it is the time to resolve to do whatever it takes to keep our country free and independent forever.
Our beloved country did not grow into freedom without struggle. Freedom from the British rule was hard-won and it was the result of the sacrifices made by our freedom fighters. Millions of people sacrificed their lives – many of them were just teenagers when they died. And they gave up their lives for us – so that we can enjoy freedom.
Freedom is precious and every moment of every day our soldiers guard it with their lives. So many soldiers give up their lives every day on the borders of our country to ensure that no one invades and occupies even an inch of our motherland. We the citizens of India lead carefree lives thanks to our brave soldiers.
The Independence day holiday is the time to teach your child all about freedom, independence, our rights as free citizens, our responsibilities as good citizens.
10 things you must teach your child this Independence Day
The history of our freedom struggle
Tell your child about all the things that Indians were not allowed to do when the British ruled us. They will be surprised to know about the restrictions the British had imposed on Indians – because ever since they were born – they have always seen freedom as their birthright.
Our National emblem
The National anthem written by Rabindranath Tagore is a profound creation and is one of the most patriotic pieces of poetry ever. Help your child to understand what the song means so that they can feel proud and emotional when the sing it.
Explain what the national flag symbolises – and how we must respect and honour the national flag and stand at attention when it is hoisted. Show them videos in which soldiers hoist the flag on the battle field when they have ousted the enemy from our soil and how they are proud to give up their lives to protect their motherland.
Children can explore a bit on their own and learn about the Indian currency ,take out a few currency notes and see what images are inscribed in it .
Our rich culture and heritage
Let us spend some time with our children to learn a lesson or two in history about the various invaders who came into our country to conquer us and how they were conquered by the love of the people of our country instead. How they have blended with our culture and the historical monuments that have built in our city or state, their food that has now become every day fare for us etc.
Help them feel proud of our secular nation
Do your children know that there are various religions that we welcomed into our country over the centuries? How we accommodated everyone, changed a little every time and continued living as one nation? Let us talk to them about the various religions in India and why we call ourselves a secular nation.
Talk about unity in diversity
Show your child how in each district of each state – we are so different in the way we dress, the way we talk, the food we eat and the customs and traditions we follow and yet how similar we are in spite of all the differences. Teach your child how to wear the dress of the state you belong to. Your child is sure to love dressing up.
Converse in your regional language
Teach your child a song in a regional language. Teach your child the language of the state your ancestors were from. Also teach your child the language spoken in the state you currently live in. Learn a popular song , a rhyme or a bunch of frequently used sentences with your child.
Talk about our role in democracy
It is important for children to understand that we make our country what it is. We cannot blame anyone else for what is happening in our country because we choose our leaders. Explain how a democracy works and how each vote is powerful and meaningful. Explain how voting is a responsibility and a privilege that we must value and exercise with great reverence.
Discuss our rights as free citizens
Independence is meaningful because it gives us the freedom to do certain things that we could never have imagined doing when we were ruled by the British. We now consider these freedoms our rights and we must exercise these rights and ensure that no one takes away our freedom to exercise these rights. The right to say what we want , to write what we think ,to express our thoughts freely without any restriction, the right to practice any religion , the right to dress the way we choose. Tell your child to be unafraid in exercising these rights
Talk about our responsibilities
Rights give us power and with power comes responsibility. We must give back to our country what we get from it by being responsible citizens. By doing our duty towards our country. Teach your child how important it is to abide by the laws of the country not just when there are policemen watching over us and imposing fines – but every day all the time – because we want our country to be a safe and happy place to live in. Obey the traffic rules, do not damage public property, avoid littering, dispose waste responsibly and pay your taxes are some of the things we must teach our children from the time they are born.
Talk about how we can make India better every day
It is easy to be disappointed and dejected and give up when things go wrong – but that is not what responsible citizens and patriots do. Teach your child to be proactive. Help your child to believe that no one is too small to bring about a change. Tell your child how in recent times one man working every Sunday manged to clear the whole Versova beach in Mumbai of garbage. Encourage your child to solve problems in the neighbourhood instead of turning a blind eye towards them. Whether it is bad roads, issues with water supply, water logging , potholes or anything else – show your child how to find out how the problem can be solved. Discourage sitting around and complaining.
Our children are the future of our country. Let us work towards empowering our children with the tools they need to build a brighter future.
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