Sixty Ninth Independence Day: New “Mother India”

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Muscat, Oman – History is a Mystery. Victories and defeats confused us together. We have marched forward a long road from Indus to Kalam, still we ponder over centuries which have gone by. Those remind us of the dancing girl in bronze (Mahenjo-daro) featured in every text, the excavations of Indus revealing existence of old civilization in the sub continent, the sturdy and strong Aryans depicting their act of bravery and courage and the quotes of the Vedas “tamed Dauyus”.

Maurya’s, Gupta’s, Kushan’s rein found places in our history as “Golden Ages”, Kanishka, Harshavardhan etc. left marks as efficient rulers. Then came Ghoris, Khiljis and chaos were added. Law and order, peace were prime focus of the Mughals, the efficient rulers like Akbar, Jahangir, Shah Jahan and strived to be the best of architects. But could they keep India United?

Then came the British, the French and the Portuguese and in the process the British ruled India for about two centuries. Their policy of divide and rule was the great threat to Indian civilization. It was eventually through the “Freedom Movement” Gandhi, Nehru, Netaji attempted to bring unity and patriotism amongst Indians. Netaji cried out, opted for aggressive path through “Azad Hind Fauj”, Gandhi on the other hand longed for peace through symbolic “Dandi March”, Nehru eventually became the leader of Independent India and declared freedom “A dream come true” on August 15,1947.

History cannot be undone, there is no use in just blaming people for the crimes of their ancestors, but we can at least recognize what has been done to the people and then strive to rectify it and honor them.

The British came to the subcontinent in 1608 AD under the pretext of trade and eventually established their rule. Our freedom fighters faced much hardship, brought freedom for the country. Gandhi had once commented during India’s freedom movement from the British colonial rule, “the system is designed to serve the wealthy in the colonial powers while subjugating the poor”.

Colonialism gave rise to capitalism and massive ecological questions too. Colonial minds are colonized, decolonizing a mind is a very difficult task. In Indian context too, after sixty nine years of Independence, not much has changed for the poor. While 69th Indian Independence Anniversary is being celebrated, we are still facing poverty, deteriorating law and order situation, growing corruption, uncertainty, economic disparity and political chaos.

We Indians have always been easy victims to the traps laid before us by others. Our blind trust on the “British Traders” led to the colonial rule in India. We continue to be victimized to the electoral traps of the politicians. When shall we become patriotic citizens? What is the reason for us not being able to defeat the corrupt politicians in elections? If this trend goes on, soon we may hear someone singing ‘Sare jahan se achha, Hindustan Tumahra’.

Many countries have own story of struggle against alien rule to achieve “Independence.” However our freedom struggle was outstanding. No freedom movement united so many people. Never before history has seen the weapon of “non-violence” can be so powerful.

When good things happen in our life, we hardly recognize their presence. We only enjoy the rewards. This clearly shows the lack of understanding of the concept of Freedom. We do not care to reflect back on the sacrifices made by our brave fellowmen years ago.

The present young generation of discotheques, video games, shopping malls and mobile phones let out a groan at the thought of having to come to school to celebrate Independence Day. To them Bhagat Singh is not a picture of patriotism but boring chapter in history text books. The essence of being an Indian has to rise from within for every Indian. We have to teach ourselves the fact that we are Indians is a thing to be proud of.

“I know there is an India, but I wonder if there are any Indians”-this sad statement was made by an Indian himself, none other than Pandit Nehru himself. A nation which has been unfortunate enough to be a slave to the varied rulers ranging from the British to our own avarice, it is painful to see the great divide that segregates the rural and urban panorama. We live in a country where a rustic earns barely enough to live from hand-to- mouth while some in the city is affluent enough to zoom past the streets in a swanky new luxury car.

This great disparity has given a false sense of progress and sophistication to the urban class who are on the verge of auctioning the heritage that is responsible for initiating education and dispelling the darkness of ignorance. It is not only a matter of concern but also matter of shame of the highest degree to see that the urban Indian teenager is unable to speak his mother tongue with the same distinction as he can rattle off a rap song by ’50 Cents’ which is nothing short of a volley of atrocious abuses.

Every nation is not fortunate enough to boast of a heritage like the Indian heritage. It is our duty to scrutinize and appreciate every aesthetic form that is presented to us.

Radical promotion of Secularism and Independence may have freed the nation from the clutches of colonists who looted and plundered the nation like avaricious pirates. The movement remains etched in the bloody pages of history. Millions of lives were sacrificed for the single word “Independence” for a single identity that of an Indian.

Sri Aurobindo once wrote “The soul of India triumphed first in religion” and this religion is nothing but our nationality ie, “Indian”.

Swami Vivekananda gave a clarion call to the Indian Youth “Arise, Awake and Stop not till the goal is reached”. These inspiring words echoed in the ears of our forefathers as they broke past the fetters of slavery to gift the eternal glory of Independence to their successors.

What is ludicrous is the fact that in spite of being well-aware of their folly, the Indian youth is foolish enough to comprehend the gravity of the dilemma. A sinking feeling inevitably erupts within me whenever a little boy is seen begging, perhaps for some coins, perhaps for life and to know that we are callous enough to do nothing about this apathy that surrounds us.

Let us pray for the stability of the country and congratulate all Indians on this happiest occasion.

Mousumi Roy
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Mousumi Roy has a Masters (MA - Political Science) from Calcutta University and is a visiting professor of International Relations in Muscat, Oman

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