Mahatma Gandhi once said “Independence means voluntary restraints and discipline, voluntary acceptance of the rule of law.” India is a diverse country in terms of caste, religion, sex, and creed still we manage to have 68 years of “unity in diversity”. On 15 August, 1947 India got independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain (UK). On the eve of Independence Day, the President of India delivers the “Address to the Nation”. The prime minister hoists the Indian flag on the ramparts of the historical site Red Fort in Delhi. Twenty-one gun shots are fired in honour of the solemn occasion. AnimationXpress.com pays tribute to our great freedom fighters like Mahatma Gandhi, Pt. Jawahar Lal Nehru, Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Sarojini Naidu and many others who sacrificed their lives for the freedom of our country. And on the occasion of Independence Day, we spoke to members of the industry on their thoughts and memories of this memorable day. Read on… Ram Mohan, the father of Indian animation Childhood memories: I was in Mangalore in my youth, and I had gone to the ‘maidan’ in the city for a huge celebration along with friends of my college. What was so special of this gathering was that it was the largest gathering that we ever saw in the city. Importance: During, the freedom struggle what really disturbed me was the partition of India and Pakistan. I never liked that fact, because it has such a negative effect on many souls. But, we are a free democratic country and I always look forward to the Prime Minister’s speech on this day, let’s see what Modi has to say this year. Favourite Movie and song: We have many patriotic films in the country, ‘Duur Hato duniyawalo, yeah desh hamara hai’ is the song which I really love, but we still don’t have a good film on the importance of Independence Day, so I am still looking forward for something that captures the spirit of Independence, though I would like to say ‘Gandhi’ to a certain extent managed to captivate my imagination. Ashish Kulkarni, animation industry veteran Childhood memories: We use to wear white uniform on Independence Day. There was flag hosting in the school. As I was part of NCC we use to have special parade on that day. Importance: Extremely important, we got our freedom on this day. Every individual in this country has his/her own identity. Today we are one of the leading countries in the world. Things would have not been possible without independence. Favourite Movie and song: My favourite movie is the Aamir Khan starrer ‘Rang De Basanti’ and the song would be ‘Mere desh ki dharti’ from the movie ‘Upkaar’. Jason Quinn, content head, Campfire Graphic Novels Childhood memory: Last year we celebrated Independence Day, one day before at the Campfire office. It was great fun we all wore dhotis and Nehru caps, we decorated our office with white curtains. The funniest part is being a foreigner my dhoti was tied the best and everyone was trying to pull it down (giggles). Importance: It’s important to me as I have written a biography on Gandhi, and while I was doing the research I got to know how important a part he played to get this country its independence. Favourite Movie and song: I haven’t watched any Hindi film, but I can recall one American Sci-Fi Independence Day movie and britishers were common on both sides. And I really like the song “Ae mere vatan ke logo”. Rajani Thindiath, editor, Tinkle comics Childhood memory: If teenage counts as part of childhood, the happiest memory I have is of the 50th year of Independence. I had joined a street play group and we performed street plays at railway stations and street corners. The mood was intense. There were celebrations everywhere. I had goosebumps while performing. The plays were about social concerns and for the first time I felt I had given something back to my country. Importance: Independence Day is very important, perhaps not the date so much as the moment it symbolizes, breaking away from old shackles and staking a place on the world stage as a nation. We may be a nation of contrasts and extremes, but we have won the right to be the way we want to be; free and democratic. Favourite song and movie: I love listening to “Ae Watan” from Shahid and “Kar Chale Hum Fida” from Haqeeqat. As for my favourite movies, I loved the transition, from careless cynicism to spirited defiance, of Rang De Basanti as much as I admired the quiet patriotism of Swades. Abhijeet Kini, founder, Abhijeet Kini Merck Childhood memory: During my school days I was part of this group singing band and every Independence Day we used to perform a patriotic song during our assembly period. I still remember how “besura” our harmonium teacher was J but those eight days of practice was so much fun. Then there was flag hosting in our school early in the morning, which is the best memory of my childhood days. Importance: It is the most important day of every Indian’s life; we got democracy this day because of our freedom fighters. But nowadays people take advantage of such democracy; youth of the country is not that serious as compared to what it was earlier. Favourite Movie and song: I like watching Manoj Kumar movies on Independence Day because most of them talk about nationalism and as for my favourite song its AR Rehman’s rendition of ‘Vande Matram’. Alicia Souza, freelance artist Childhood memory: I did my schooling from Abu Dhabi, so there was not much of celebration; we used to sing the National Anthem every Independence Day. Importance: Last year on 15th August I was in some city in Karnataka, there I saw many kids on bicycles and all of them were carrying the tricolour. It showed the true colours of India and how patriotic we are. Favourite Movie and song: My favourite movie is ‘Lagaan’ and as for the song its AR Rehman’s rendition of ‘Vande Matram’ Soumitra Ranade, director, Paperboat Animation Studio Childhood memories: I spent my childhood in Kabul, Afghanistan. I use to celebrate Independence Day with my family at the Indian Embassy. There was flag hosting and mouth watering snacks that I used to look forward to. Importance: I am not much of a patriotic person, in India it’s more of celebrating Hinduism. We remember our country only twice in a year; once on Independence Day and the other on Republic day. I feel this day is quite meaningless; it has lost its importance. Favourite Movie and song: My favourite movie is ‘Hum Dono’ and song would be ‘Aye mere pyare vatan’ from the movie Kabuliwala. Dhvani Desai, founder, Metamorphosis Studio Childhood memories: As a child I used to look forward to buy the flags and broaches we would get at the traffic signals. I still buy them year after year. During my primary school years, my school would give us a tiny paper flag which I would proudly wear it as a broach for the entire week. Importance: Every year the Independence Day makes me conscious of millions of lives that have been sacrificed during our freedom struggle and salute them and their families for giving us a free country. The thoughts of social responsibility haunt my mind about what I should do for my country now. I try to live on the Gandhian ideology as far as possible of “Be the Change that you want to see in the world”. Favourite song: ‘Vande Mataram’, composed by Bankim Chandra, this song appears in the Bengali novel ‘Anand Math’, was a source of inspiration to our countrymen in their struggle for freedom, this is certainly my favourite song of all times. Aniruddho Chakraborty, executive editor, Chariot Comics Childhood memories: During my childhood days I used to fly kites every year on 15 August. I was really fond of comics so my parents use to give me money to buy Diamond Comics, as it was my all time favourite. Importance: Independence Day is a very important day for me as we have “chutti” on this day, but the sad part is that it’s a dry day (chuckles). Favourite Movie: My favourite movie is the Ben Kingsley starrer ‘Gandhi’ Akshay Dhar, founder, Meta’Desi Comics Childhood memory: In early 80’s I used to attend the Independence Day parade every year with my parents at Rashtrapati Bhavan. That is one memory I can recall at the moment. Importance: There was shift in the planet itself, as all the Britishers were washed away from our country.