many in India, August 15, 1947 was the first day in a long
time in which they could breathe freely. It was the day
our country was handed back to our people by the British.
On Independence Day, Indians remember their long struggle
for independence and the thousands who sacrificed their
lives for this motherland. It is the day to remind ourselves
of the cost of freedom and how important it is to keep it
From a young age I remember my school teachers teaching
us about India's long struggle for freedom including Mahatma
Gandhi's teachings about non-violence, non-cooperation,
civil disobedience and other principles of resistance. It
evokes feelings of universal patriotism and reminds me of
the responsibilities I have toward my country. There remains
a lot to learn and to apply in my own day-to-day life.
Independence Day is also a day to reflect on our old friends
- Pakistan and Great Britain.
Although many people do not agree with the ways in which
we were governed and ruled by the British I believe they
have positively contributed to our country too. Because
of their influence we can now say that we are the world's
And we continue to use things they left behind, as large
as the education system and small as our love of tea. We
continue to cement our relationship sixty years later and
it's significant to note that so many of those who emigrate
from India are living in England.
The August 14, 1947 separation of Pakistan from India allowed
Pakistan to obtain independence from the British too. And
although there are many perspectives about the India-Pakistan
split, I don't think it was a great move for either side
and could have been resolved differently if party leaders
had acted differently at the time.
Since then we have developed better relations with Pakistan.
In many ways our two nations are similar. We share a lot
of things including languages such as Hindi, sports and
the kinds of foods we eat and clothes we wear.
During an exchange year I spent in the United States I
met many Pakistani people and became good friends. I am
lucky to know them. We are all teenagers and share many
common beliefs and ways of thinking. And I don't think I'm
alone in my beliefs. There are many people from both India
and Pakistan who don't have any hatred or enmity towards
Yes, there still are tensions between the countries but
that is through ruling governments not average people. Many
people are ready for peace and do not want to repeat the
strife of the past. The few terrorists there don't represent
the whole people of Pakistan.
I am hopeful that conditions will improve and that there
will be greater mutual understanding between the youth and
governments of both countries.
Bharat Mata Ki Jai
--Vishal Rajput, an AFS exchange student, is from Kobapur
Gangapur in India and is seventeen years old.
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