Breaking News
Nagaland Post Logo
You are here:  Skip Navigation LinksHome » Show story
Jawans sweeten ties across border on Independence Day
Published on 15 Aug. 2010 11:31 PM IST
Print  Text Size

Celebrating the 63rd anniversary of India’s independence, the Border Security Force (BSF) on Sunday presented sweets to its Pakistani counterparts at the Attari-Wagah joint check post between the two countries here.
BSF Inspector General (Punjab Frontier) Himmat Singh presented the packets of sweets to representatives of the Pakistan Rangers.
“We are all brothers and sisters and this is our gesture to express solidarity and brotherhood with Pakistan. We hope that in the coming days all tensions will fade away between the two countries,” said Himmat Singh.
Tens of hundreds of enthusiasts, carrying the Indian national flag in hands, had also gathered near the Attari-Wagah border to be a part of the celebrations.
Earlier on Saturday, on the occasion of Pakistan’s Independence Day, Pakistan Rangers’ director general Mohammad Yaqub presented sweets to BSF commandant Sumir Singh.
Besides, at an hour when most people across India would have been sleeping, thousands of people converged at the Attari-Wagah joint check post Saturday night to be part of the midnight celebrations for India’s 64th Independence Day. Singers and other performers entertained the crowds with patriotic and other songs late on Saturday evening to mark the occasion.
India-Pakistan Dosti Manch peace activists led by veteran journalist Kuldeep Nayar and filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt, along with a few other prominent people, later marched up to the zero line along the international border between both countries with peace candles.
Tehe BSF, which mans the 553-km long barbed wire fenced international border between India and Pakistan in Punjab, had beefed up security around the joint check post for the event.
The cultural function was held at Attari village, about 300 metres from the border gates.
Mahesh Bhatt, Kuldeep Nayar and other peaceniks have been lighting peace candles at the border on every Independence Day for the last few years.
Children brighten function
As the tricolour unfurled at the Red Fort, children dressed in saffron, white and green - colours of the national flag - seated on the front lawn made a bright and cheerful statement with their presence.
The enthusiastic children clapped the loudest when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh arrived and cheered when he mentioned the Right to Education act, the legislation which provides for free and compulsory education to children aged 6 to 14.
The audience too comprised a large number of children who were escorted to the venue by their teachers as early as 5 a.m. Many of them held tricolour pom-poms, adding more colour and vibrancy to the celebrations.
The crowd gathered for the Independence Day function at the Red Fort were a worried lot. The weather office had predicted rains and they had been strictly prohibited from carrying umbrellas to the venue for security reasons.
The invitation card had specifically mentioned that only raincoats were allowed. But much to their relief, the rain gods did not smile.
However, the high humidity was reflected as many of the VIPs were seen fanning themselves with their invitation cards.
Cleanliness lesson from PM
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, in his address, expressed concern over India lagging behind in terms of cleanliness and sanitation and called for a ‘Clean India’ campaign where children are taught about “hygiene”.
Listening raptly to his message, the around 500-odd school children took it to heart. Usually the Red Fort area looks like a garbage dump after the Independence Day celebrations as children litter the place with empty food packets.
But this Sunday it was different. The premises wore a spic and span look.
A lesson well learnt and some relief for the cleaners.
Patriotic songs, balloons
The majestic Red Fort facade was decked with flowers and the colours of the national flag could be seen everywhere. But what heightened the patriotic mood were soul-stirring songs sung by children in many Indian languages.
Many in the audience were seen humming the tunes, while others tapped their feet while waiting for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to arrive for the function.
And stealing the show at the end of the celebrations were the tricolour balloons floating in the sky.
Saffron, white and green helium balloons with folded flags attached to them were released, and the audience, specially the children, strained their necks looking upwards to trace the skyward journey.
Many of the children clapped loudly when the folded flags, filled with glitter, unfolded as the balloons rose upwards.
Further, Manmohan Singh Sunday became the third Indian prime minister to hoist the National Flag seven or more times at the 17th century Red Fort on the country’s 64th Independence Day.
The tradition was started by the country’s first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru, who unfurled the Indian tri-colour at this historic fort in the old quarters of the national capital as many as 17 times -- from 1947 to 1964.
His daughter Indira Gandhi came next with 16 times, first between 1966 and 1976 and then again between 1980 and 1984.
Atal Bihari Vajpayee was one short of Manmohan Singh, unfurled the Indian flag at the Red Fort six times -- 1998 to 2003.
Chandrashekhar (November 1990-June 1991) was the only prime minister who could not make a single Independence Day speech from the Red Fort. Gulzari Lal Nanda, who was interim prime minister briefly after the death of Nehru and Lal Bahadur Shastri, also could not deliver a single such speech.
Other prime ministers who have delivered I-Day speeches from the Red Fort are Rajiv Gandhi and P.V. Narasimha Rao, five times each, Shastri and Morarji Desai, twice each, and Charan Singh and V.P. Singh, once each.
Why Red Fort?
This venue for unfurling the flag on Independence Day was chosen because the massive complex had served as the capital palace of the Mughul empire till 1857 when the British overthrew its last emperor, Bahadur Shah Zafar, to start its rule over India.
The red-sandstone fort was built by Mughul emperor Shah Jahan. Its construction, on the banks of the Yamuna, began in 1638 and took 10 years to complete, according to information available in the country’s archives.
A rich and visually-appealing architectural fusion of Mughal, Persian, Timurid and Hindu traditions, the complex was declared a World Heritage Site in 2007 by the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco).

Comments:(0) Login or Register to post your Comment
(Available for registered users only)
More News
  • 1
  • 2