HomeOpinionWhy I Refuse to Celebrate India’s Independence Day

Why I Refuse to Celebrate India’s Independence Day

Why I Refuse to Celebrate India’s Independence Day

Shakeel Syed

I heard a sage say, “home is where my children and grandchildren are born and not where my parents and grandparents are buried.” As a hyphenated Indian-American, I often find myself questioning the idea of “home.”

Although I left India four decades ago, I am grateful for my Indian heritage. To this day I carry many fond memories from my childhood and many more profound values from my formative years in India. Yet, I refuse to celebrate India’s Independence Day, and here is the reason why.

The “secular India” that I knew has already lost its way. If not, it will lose it, if it does not quickly alter its course from the widespread acceptance of vile prejudice, contempt for rights, and glorification of violence toward others who too have called India their home for centuries. And that’s why I refuse to celebrate India’s Independence Day.

The value of “fellowship” that I learned from my teachers, neighbors, and friends (irrespective of their religion and ethnicity) nurtured a shared spirit of decency, mutual respect, and unconditional love for each other and the greater good. Today’s India is obliterating (if not already done) fellowship with bigotry, fanaticism, xenophobia, and intolerance, organized and institutionalized by the State. And that’s why I refuse to celebrate India’s Independence Day.

As a young man growing up in the “poetic India,” I would find myself overwhelmed watching my elders breaking down listening to the late Lata Mangeshkar serenading us with “Aye mere watan ke logo.” Lata-ji gave her melodious voice and eternal life to Kavi Pradeep’s spiritual lyrics for all of India’s children, however much some politicians and pundits of this day may believe otherwise. And that’s also why I refuse to celebrate India’s Independence Day.

I close with what I have started with. Although my children and grandchildren have been in the United States of America, I must remember to not forget the home of my parents and ancestors that is on fire!

(Syed is the Executive Director of South Asian Network, Artesia, CA) 

Share With:
Comments
  • You have a right to your opinion Shakeel Sayed. Wonder why you have to post a picture of children wearing Skull caps. Could you not find a photo of children, boys and girls of all faiths saluting the Indian flag? Or are you trying to garner sympathy and playing victim?
    Pakistan was created so Muslims can have their own Islamic country and yet Islam flourished in India, while Hindus continued to be harassed and had to flee Pakistan and Bangladesh. There are 57 Islamic countries and Bharat is the only country which Hindus can call their own.
    But look at the state of affairs. I am sure you are referring to the call by many Muslims to behead Kafirs (non Believers) in a Hindu majority country. Yes, no one would have dreamt of such state of affairs in India where Muslims are safe, flourishing, have more benefits than many Hindus, have perpetrated a genocide on Kashimiris, and have freedom to call “sar tan se juda”. ( call for beheading)
    Where PFI a Muslim organization has a tool kit to make India an Islamic state.
    I hope journalist like you make sense and educate these people rather than stick to desk top journalism and criticize Bharat a wonderful and diverse country. Why use the medium to spread hate? Use the power of pen for better.
    All countries have limitations. Will you stop celebrating July 4th just because of discrimination against blacks, the anti abortion?
    Reminds me of many Muslims born and brought up in India, refusing to call India a motherland or sing Vande Matram. Some challenge Indian government to take away the police for short time and the havoc they will play on Hindus.
    Happy Indian Independence Day to you.
    Be well, and stay peaceful.

    August 3, 2022
  • Maybe you and anyone who do not want to follow the laws of the land should move elsewhere. Bharat was and is the only country safe for Hindus.

    August 3, 2022
  • Sentiments which I sadly share. Hindutva/RSS increasing its power. Muslims and other minorities are under attack.
    I have been banned from the world’s largest democracy since 2011. Mind you that was not under BJP/Modi Raj but rather Manmohan Singh and UPA.

    August 3, 2022
    • FYI the minorities in Bharat are not under attack. The Muslims in particular wants to create another strife torn republic. My view is that Modiji and BJP remains in power forever and clean up the mess we are in. If Muslims do not like to live there they are invited to move to a Muslim country. So Shakeel we do not care if you do not want to celebrate the independence day.

      August 4, 2022
    • David Barsamian, what did you do exactly to be banned from India? If you don’t explain your own actions, you are simply throwing a victim card, just like Muslims do after beheading non-Muslims. Under Manmohan Singh’s rule, Pakistani Muslims launched a terrorist attack in Taj hotel in Mumbai. Under Modi’s rule, such elements are being brought to justice. Hindus are awaken and resistant now, which does not mean any minority is under attack.

      August 4, 2022
  • It looks Shakeel is misled by bad politicians and Mullas there.
    I have seen the real life in Pakistan and India. The people in general, the politicians and religious leaders Mullas in particular, treat people of other religions as slaves and Kafirs. They have virtually wiped out the Hindus.
    In India Muslims have freedom to lead a productive life. They have progressed in every field of life. There is no such opportunity available in Pakistan for people of other religions.
    Yes, when a few traitors eat the food there and lead a respectful life in India; they also chant the slogans for Pakistan; they disrespect the flag of India; they want India should be a Pakistan occupied by the Military with no fundamental rights for common people.
    Why you feel differently while other religions cooperate; India has the second largest population of Muslims ; No muslim wants to leave India.
    Why you are spreading bad words while you got educated and prospered with the resources of India?
    I am settled in America since 1977. I respect the country. I suggest you to teach your Good Muslims whoare trying to break India

    August 3, 2022
  • I think the majority in India is highly tolerant of minorities and are themselves fearful of the minorities taking over them or killing them. The minorities are and have been far more violent in India against the majority (e.g. mass exodus of pandits from Kashmir in 1990). Try living as a minority in other countries of South Asia even for just a few months.

    August 3, 2022
  • It is a pity that a newspaper that touts itself as pro-India chooses to publish fake news. Shame on you. The advertising money we were planning to spend in your newspaper ain’t happening now.

    August 3, 2022
    • Mr. Navneet Chugg the editor of the newspaper probably has forgotten that Guru Gobindsingh was beheaded by Aurungzeb for not converting to Islam and two of his children were also killed by Mughal governor Wazir Khan.
      Shakeel Saeed is sadly the executive officer of a charity called South Asian Network, and is spreading hatered against India.

      August 4, 2022
  • The India you talk about is still there and thriving. The big difference is that the anti-Hindu corrupt Congress is no longer in power. Now that Hindus are not being suppressed in their own nation, every other nationality, especially people like you get upset. If you think your skewed articles are going to make any difference, then you are 100% correct. Hindus are even more motivated when they see, read and hear the frustration of the likes of you. Thank you for motivating Hindus. Keep writing such fake articles.

    August 3, 2022
  • This guy should be DEPORTED

    August 3, 2022
  • I respect the sentiments of a Indian intellectual settled now in USA.

    This is beyond saying that religious fanatics are present on both sides.

    India has been grateful to many Indians who proved their love for their motherland and made India Proud.

    Let us remember the contribution and those who took pride in celebrating India’s Independence like three Presidents of India Honourable APJ Abdul Kalam, Dr Zakir Hussein, Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed, Chief Justice of India Hidayatullah, Air Chief Marshal Idris Hasan Latif, Abdul Kalam Azad, numerous freedom fighters, list of actors and sports person is endless – Shabana Azmi, Shahrukh Khan, Aamir Khan, Salman Khan, Saif Ali Khan, Irfan Pathan, Zaheer Khan, Sania Mirza, Moh. Rafi, Javed Akhtar composer A R Rahman and industrialist Azim Premji.
    We salute and respect all of them.
    The list continues ——

    August 3, 2022
  • Even if any of your reasons is true, what does it have to do with the independence of India from British?

    As for your reasons you have listed including intolerance, is there a reason you have not listed Hindu killings by Muslims in India (e.g., the beheading of a tailor in Udaipur because of his social media support for Nupur Sharma) and planned love Jihad by Muslim men for Hindu and Sikh girls? You are right, these are organized and institutionalized by the state. It’s just that the state is Pakistan that funds Indian Muslims to do such atrocious acts in the name of secularism.

    Final question. By choosing to not celebrate India’s Independence Day, are you suggesting that we were better off ruled by the British?

    August 3, 2022
  • Not surprised, we know musalman can never be loyal to state

    No doubt why he is suffering everywhere he it Palestine china Myanmar Iraq Syria Bosnia etc

    August 3, 2022
    • good reply befitting to Shakeel

      August 9, 2022
  • Refusal to celebrate India’s independence day is unlikely to make any difference. There are other ways to lodge protests against bigotry, fanaticism and intolerance, which might be more effective.

    August 4, 2022
  • Since you left India over 40 years ago, and now living in US as a US citizen, you are no longer an Indian citizen. There is no need for you to celebrate India’s independence day or waste you time thinking about India or criticizing India or its government. Focus on your work and in improving the condition of minorities here.. You may write your reasons for not celebrating USA independence day in a national media but to write your reason for not celebrating India independence day when you are no longer living there makes no sense. As you will end up dying here, please focus on this country..

    August 4, 2022
  • I am an Indian National, working in another country for the past more than 20 years. But my heart is always in India… I am always proud to be Indian and will always be…. I always feel proud of our national anthem, songs, greatness of our leaders from the independence day until today and every small event to celebrate our India’s achievements and greatness.

    August 9, 2022
    • I am with you sir

      August 10, 2022
    • And we are proud of you, Muhammad Ashraf! We need more Muslim brothers like you in India!!

      August 10, 2022

Leave A Comment