Comradeship of Heart and Soul

Abbas Agha Jafri

Of all the relations that a man can possess, Friendship is the purest, eternal and never-ending form of relation that stretches in time of our happiness, joy, sorrow, sadness, disappointments, worriedness, anxiousness, hope, anger, love, respect, fear, confusion, wonder, courage, amusement and in almost every emotion that one can exhibit. International Friendship Day is the occasion which is celebrated worldwide to honour and thank those who has been our protagonist no matter whatever being the situation, result or consequence. The imparable, ceaseless and incessant support of those whom we call as friend serves as an elixir to ease our life making it more efficacious, fruitful and accomplished. The idea of celebrating, honouring and beholding thankfulness in the name of friendship is as old as human civilization, but it got an official recognition as a friendship based consecrating event lionize globally in 2011 by the General Assembly of United Nations when they declared 30th of July as International Friendship Day. However, many countries have been celebrating the Friendship Day on different dates of year and in different manners of their traditions long before the official recognition and declaration from the United Nations and that is why a few countries in Asia including India is seen to observe the Friendship Day on the first Sunday of August every year and not on 30th of July.

Friendship is defined as an affection, fondness and tenderness that one feels within others fellowship. It is an absolute categorical unconditional link of trust, love, respect, affection, loyalty and profusion of fun that binds the heart and soul together of people having mutual interests and prolong attachment for each other. The necessity and inevitability of friendship came with the evolution of man on Earth and its progress towards development. As the Early man was developing and various social forms were taking shape, friendship and coordination among them served as an expedite in their contemporaneous and coeval advancement. The importance and significance of friendship can be understood by the fact that even bloodline relations preferably try to establish an association of friendship with their family members rather than a relation of family-relative correspondance so as to incite better understanding and potentate interminable bond. Friendship is a precious saccharine gift and essential blessing which makes life thrilling with mellifluous, phenomenal and pleasant experiences. Friendship knows nothing of boundaries and discriminations based on age, caste, colour, creed and religion. It is a feeling of comfort and contentment where no one has to pretend of someone or for something, people are appreciated and accepted as they are without any flattery, poseur and exaggeration. Good friendship serves as a great pillar of life, withstanding crisis and phases of breakdown. A man cannot live all alone, everyone needs someone with whom they can share their thoughts, intuitions, feelings of joy and sorrow, one who can understand, help and support them in time of their difficulty and happiness. Friendship stands by you through thick and thin and is one such thing which increases and multiplies the happiness and diminishes grief by dividing sorrow. Friendship is a basic need of a successful and consummate living required in each and every phase of life. A friendship is beyond description and limitation, one can be friends with anyone that comforts and eases the other’s way of living, it could be a child, young or old, irrespective of age, colour and religion. Friendship is a gratified feeling of bliss where one does not have to weigh and re-think of their thoughts, measure and limit their words before speaking them to a friend.
 The tradition and history of celebrating the Friendship Day is about 96 years’ old when the Greeting Card National Association promoted the event in 1920’s by sending and selling greeting cards commercially. The idea proposed by the Greeting Card National Association of buying greeting cards on one given day and sending them to friends, telling them how much significance they hold in one’s life was not readily accepted and it met with a consumer-resistance, considering it to be a commercial gimmick to promote greeting cards. However, people rejoiced the occasion in 1930’swhen Joyce Hall, an American who was the founder of the Hallmark Cards, declared 2nd August as the day of buying, sending and receiving greeting cards in the name of friendship. The second of August was chosen as “the centre of the largest lull between holiday celebrations” and this time people corresponded with active participation in sending and receiving greeting cards. In 1935, the US Congress decided to dedicate the first Sunday of the month of August every year to honour and behold thankfulness to friends which furthermore added contrast to the occasion. It is believed that the US Congress designated this day to minimize the devastating, terrible and intimidating effects of the First World War but never the less, Friendship Day soon became a National Fest cherished all over the United States. It attracted people from every sect of the society, particularly youngsters who were greatly touched and moved by the aristocratic idea of honouring the sheen and amazing relation of friendship, and in no time Friendship Day became highly popular annual festival in America. The charm and success of this celebration soon hit other countries and the trend was delightfully taken over by a number of countries across the globe. In 1958, Dr. Ramon Artemio Bracho along with his friends in Puerto Pinasco,( Paraguay ) formed The World Friendship Crusade which proposed the idea of Friendship Day to be celebrated on 30th of July worldwide as World Friendship Day. The aim of World Friendship Crusade was to promote fellowship and friendship among everyone regardless of their colour, religion and race all across the globe and World Friendship Day worked as a catalyst for their motive. World Friendship Crusade also lobbied and consistently requested the United Nations for many years to recognise 30th of July as World Friendship Day. The efforts of World Friendship Crusade started taking shape when the United Nations Secretary General Mr. Kofi Annan along with his wife Nane Annan, named Winnie the Pooh as Global Ambassador of Friendship in 1998. Later, on 27th July, 2011 the General Assembly of United Nations finally designated July 30 as International Friendship Day and invited all the member countries to observe this day in accordance to their culture and customs of local, national and regional communities.
Friendship Day is now being celebrated with elating enthusiasm and vivaciousness in almost every part of the World, reflecting different forms and colours of various traditions. To mark this day with vibrance and vigorousness, the United Nations encourages community groups, organizations and government of various countries to hold several events, initiatives and activities that promotes healthy interactions, saughting, mutual cooperation and understanding between people in the form of friendship. The idea of International Friendship Day motivates harmony and frith by bridging countries, cultures and communities. Taking part in various community activities and cultures not only promote International understanding and communal perception but also imputes respect for the varying diversity in youths who are expected to be the future leaders. International Friendship Day is the day meant for friends, spending time with them, expressing love and trust, exchanging gifts are the common traits of the fest. In South Asia exchange of friendship gifts like flowers specially the pink and yellow ones, chocolates, jewellery and greeting cards are preferred where as in various parts of Europe and South America the day is acknowledged with exchange of colourful Friendship Bands. In India, Friendship Day is observed with great exuberance and exhilaration, exhibitinga number of perky activities and traditions to strengthen the everlasting bond of friendship. The occasion of Friendship Day is an opportunity which is utilized to make new friends, strengthen the old friendships and to reduce the differences caused over the period of time among few. Making a phone call to a friend and telling them how important and essential their presence is in one’s life, writing a greeting card to a friend outlining how much valuable their friendship is , buying and presenting chocolates, sweets, flowers or anything that can bloom someone’s mood, exchanging and tying friendship bands, planning and going to fun places together, hugging a friend, dedicating friendship poems and songs to a friend, throwing a party to honour friends, going for lunch and dinner with friends etc. are some of the few activities carried out to celebrate International Friendship Day in India. Over the years, ways of celebrating Friendship Day has been changing but what has remained incessant is the sole purpose and theme of the event – Acknowledging a friend’s contribution in life, transcribing and exhibiting love, trust and respect to them, appreciating and valuing their presence in life, and paying tribute to them!
“Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy and art, friendship has no survival value; rather it is one of those things that give value to survival.”   -C. S. Lewis
Writer is a An engineering graduate, the writer is passionate about the city and its culture.
(Published in The Lucknow Observer, Volume 3 Issue 29, Dated 05 August 2016)

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