Trinamul Congress national general-secretary Abhishek Banerjee sent out a video message on social media at the stroke of Independence Day at 12am, asking fellow citizens to introspect whether they truly were living in an “Amrit Kaal (an era of elixir, as claimed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi)” and were truly free, and if that was the India the icons of freedom struggle had sacrificed their lives for.
“Ask yourself this. Is this Netaji (Subhas Chandra Bose)’s India? Is today’s India Bhagat Singh’s India? Is this the India that (Mahatma) Gandhiji dreamt of?” asked the 34-year-old Diamond Harbour MP.
“Today, we see a conscious attempt to blur the lines between the government and the nation. There is a tendency to pledge to a unitary idea of India and those who fail, are touted as deshdrohi or anti-nationals,” he added in the eight-minute address.
“My nationalism is ornate with the ideas of unity, equality, fraternity. It cannot be overshadowed by the tide of hate, violence and deprivation.”In the speech, Abhishek celebrated India’s essentially inclusive, cosmopolitan ethos, and lauded the nation’s unity in diversity. He has said it is time India reminds its current rulers that the people’s love for the nation is beyond any unitary ideology.
“I want to ask you, are we really a free country? Is there any freedom of speech? Is there any freedom of conscience? Are our streets free for our women? Are our children sheltered from the venom of hate? Is every citizen free from hunger? Are foodgrains available and accessible for everyone living in this country? Is the gap between the rich and the poor merged today?” “If the answer is no, then we need to build an India of our dreams, that our forefathers thought of at the time,” added chief minister Mamata Banerjee’s nephew.
“Let us pledge to build an India that is free from divisive forces.”Abhishek has pointed out that the ruling dispensation at the Centre claims “Amrit Kaal” is being celebrated and urged citizens to ask themselves whether this truly is that era.
“We don’t want anyone sitting in Lutyens’ Delhi to dictate and tell me what I want to wear. What I want to (do for) work, what I want to eat, and whom I want to fall in love with. I want to make my own decisions,” he said.“I want an India where the people will have the right to make decisions for themselves. I want an India where what I want to eat and wear will be decisions taken by me,” added Abhishek.He appealed to the people of India, especially the youth, underscoring how they had “wasted” eight years of their lives – apparently, by living in the Modi regime, since 2014.
“Do you want to waste another seven, eight years? We have to be a nation of doers, and if you want to do, you have to dominate…. Start doing your bit from today, without wasting any further time,” said Abhishek.“Our freedom is not some idea that is up in the air. It is the freedom to live our lives as per our choice, without causing any harm or detriment to others…. Let us stay united and make sure that the people who want to spread the spirit of hatred, venom of division, be ousted from the country.” Later in the day, Trinamul chief Mamata issued a statement on Twitter.
“On the completion of 75 years of Independence, India must awaken to the real essence of Independence. We must stay true to the vision of our forefathers and keep the aspirations of our future generations at heart. My heartfelt greetings to all my fellow citizens. Jai Hind!” she posted on the microblogging site.“I have a dream for India! For the people, I want to build a nation where no one goes hungry, where no woman feels unsafe, where every child sees the light of education, where all are treated equally, where no oppressive forces divide the people & harmony defines the day,” she added.
“It is my promise to the people of this great nation that I shall strive everyday for our dream India. My fellow Indians, what is your dream for India?”