What does independence mean? Chaiwallah, safai karamchari, security guard speak
Bengaluru, August 15: By now, your social media accounts must be relentlessly beeping with Independence Day messages. You must have wished your fellow citizens too. Mostly, you have also expressed your views on being an Indian and being independent.
Words like "independence" and "freedom" always become more meaningful during all our national days, especially during Independence Day and Republic Day celebrations.
We at OneIndia thought of talking to a couple of people, who don't have any platforms--be it political podiums or social media sites-- to speak their minds on the occasion of 70th Independence Day on Tuesday.
We caught up with a roadside tea vendor (chaiwallah), a sanitation worker (safai karamchari) and a security guard in India's IT hub Bengaluru to understand what it means to be independent and many other things associated with being a citizen of a free and a democratic country.
Rama TN, a native of Tirumala in Andhra Pradesh, migrated to Bengaluru almost 15 years ago. After doing several odd jobs, since the last three years, Rama is running a small tea stall in the Outer Ring Road--one of the favourite destinations of IT companies in the city.
Ask him, how he is going to celebrate Independence Day, Rama smiled, "I will sell tea, as usual."
Explaining the logic behind working on the day, when almost all offices are closed, and a good amount of Bengalureans have left for a short vacation in nearby hill stations, Rama said he did not have the "luxury to enjoy Independence Day".
"I am a poor man. I have to work every day. I can't sit in front of the television and watch Prime Minister Narendra Modi's speech, no matter how much inspiring it is for others," added Rama.
Like Rama, Sunitha (who only writes her first name), a sanitation worker with the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), was seen working as she cleaned roads near Electronic City on Tuesday.
Although it's an official holiday for all state-run offices, including the municipal corporation of Bengaluru, but Sunitha worked on Independence Day as her bosses asked her to attend her duties.
"I know it's a holiday, but not for us, as we are cleaners. If my colleagues and I don't work, the roads will look filthy. It's Independence Day, we can't afford to have dirty roads on the day. Moreover, it has been pouring in Bengaluru since Monday, we have to ensure roads look neat and clean," said Sunitha.
When asked what does it meant to be a citizen of a free nation, the woman in her mid-40s said, "To be able to send my children to schools. I don't want my two sons to be manual workers like my husband and I. They go to schools and I want them to get degrees and work in offices."
Purnananda Das, a security guard, who hails from Assam, but has been working in the city for the last seven years said that Bengaluru was his second home.
"Independence Day holds great meaning for me. I feel proud to be in a free country. Yes, we are poor, but we are no less patriotic. Who does not struggle in life? I am also doing so, by leaving my home in Assam and working in Bengaluru. The city is beautiful and so are its people. I love working here," smiled Purnananda.