Thank You… For freedom…

61 years ago, the Brits packed their bags and left the Indians alone to mind their business. We celebrate this date in India as the Indian Independence Day.

Stop at a traffic signal and a child approaches you to buy a plastic replica of the Indian tri-color. You buy it in the spirit of celebrating the liberation of your country. Do you notice this child’s ragged clothes or his withered hands? Do you notice how sad it is that this child, who should be studying and enjoying a childhood has a mighty sales target at the tender age of 9?

Moving on… We make plans for the day. Meeting friends, sleeping at home, watch a movie and a lot more. It is nothing but a holiday for a majority of people. They see the parade on the road or catch a few TV shows (which are oozing of patriotism only to raise their TRPs…)

School kids attend the mandatory flag hoisting ceremony at school, run back home to study for the upcoming mid-term exams. ‘It’s so unfair… We are independent now, so what’s the big deal. I’d rather sit at home and finish the history chapters,’ says a student who’s swamped with homework. I want to tell her to jump to Chapter 11 in her history textbook that describes the moment, the midnight hour when Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru welcomed freedom into a nation that had been ruled by the British Empire for a century and a half.

But no, she shouldn’t jump to it. She should read through the text and understand how many lives were laid down to get to that moment. She should know about the magnificent lives who strived hard to give us this Independence that is ‘no big deal’ for her.

‘So the Brits were pretty damn mean haan?’ her young mind asks.

My mind says yes and no. I truly believe that it is the British rule that instated the feeling of patriotism amongst us. Before they arrived, we were a bunch of states ruled by Kings, who fought amongst themselves.

The Brits, united these territories, for ease of administration for them, but thus bringing us under one roof. They brought with them modern western education that taught us to rationalise beyond religion. This education created a class of Indians who went on to fight against age-old customs. If it wasn’t for the Brits, individuals like Raja Ram Mohun Roy or Maharshi Karve would have found it hard to fight the staunch beliefs of an orthodox society.

As an Indian woman, I feel grateful to the Brits and people like Roy, Karve and Phule. They fought together to introduce education for women. They helped us come out of the kitchen and see the world. They fought hard to abolish the Sati ritual. Can you imagine jumping into your husband’s pyre, because without a husband your life is invalid? You can’t! So say a small thank you to these guys today.

As a citizen of this country, which is developing at a fast rate, one thinks of JRD Tata who pioneered industrialization in this country. The technology and the know-how came to India, thanks to the Industrial revolution in England.

Our public transport system, our impeccable postal service, the governance, education, has been set up by the British rulers of that time. The systems they installed were good enough to withstand corruption and million other hiccups that an independent country suffers from.

As a journalist, I feel grateful to Mr. Benjamin Horniman. His name has been eternalised in Mumbai with a magnificent garden opposite the Asiatic library. Have a hard look and you will know why this gentleman was important. As a pro-freedom editor of the Bombay Chronicle, he promoted the feeling of nationalism. With his coverage of Jallianwallah Bagh massacre and his propaganda to plan Satyagrahas against the Imperial rule, this man made a monumental contribution in creating the strongest platform to unite all Indians in thought and opinion.

Take some time and try to imagine what life was like before 15th August 1947. And then think of the day today. It’s not just a mere holiday, it’s a day for us to value our freedom. It is a day to remember our rights and more importantly remember our responsibilities as the citizens of a free India. While doing so don’t look at the British era with hatred. They are a huge part of the reason why we are what we are today. What we will be tomorrow will be defined by our thoughts and actions.

Jai Hind…

5 comments for “Thank You… For freedom…

  1. August 15, 2008 at 7:14 am

    a very nice post…:) i have always loved history…when we had history has a subject(till class 10) i was always ridiculed for loving a subject which had so much in it….:) the truth is that we got freedom,but have used that freedom to become slaves to ourselves…..and it is a good thing that people have noticed it…

    jai hind !

  2. August 15, 2008 at 7:22 am

    Nice to see that at least someone has got an Objective view about the British rule & that to on the morning of 15th August.
    Very nicely written, agree with throughout.

    Happy Independence Day!

  3. Vijay Joshi
    August 15, 2008 at 7:46 am

    this is a very distorted version of Independence and Freedom! thank the Brits for getting the Indian Women out of their Kitchens! and thank Raja Ram Mohan Roy who himself was never personally not infavour of being related to his own Wife! so a person who would leave his own wife is now a HERO for all the women of the FREE India! ok thats a persons personal failure and a social doing. But these facts are never probed into ever!

    FUrther if I need to be thankful to the Brits for my education then I guess we should mock past culture as Adivasis. Just coz now we have an English Degree and the British should take the credit for that its shameful… No matter what they gave us… they have Robbed us of our value system altogether of which the whole World was awry of… Have you heard of beggers in UK? the kids who live in the allies with their Drugged parents? I guess so.

    Its UNIVERSAL. Atleast thank your STARS and this independence this Country is Not SOMALIA or LEBANON or Nigeria. why should i look away. Thank you freedom for not being a Pakistan or Bangladesh.

    Our Government n Governance has got corrupt enuf but its not as selfish as it is in the above countries where Civilians are Dead at Drop of a Hat. And looking at the Development, so It seems we r now comparing ourselves to the UK, Aussie and Americans. SO then i should say one should go and see a regular life there and fight with the system and struggle to see what u face. I dont say they are not good but they are not an IDEAL model to work OUR NATION on.

    We can shout loud abt Reservations and so on. But these were also introduced by the Britishers to divide us. They Started the Class system apart from our Cultural Caste System. Remember the British and Indian Class? Yes that is what has become a ST, OBC, Open Class now.

    So when you count the good things that the British did in name of Kindness to Heylord Mother India. See the Thousands of Atrocities they did as well.. The GOOD will look smaller.

    LORD Winston Churchill said on eve of India’s Independence from UK that This Country will GO back in Slavery within the next 50 Years of its so called Freedom and INDIANS are not meant for Self Governance but only Slavery. I am glad we are not American or Russian Slaves for our Economy till date. And Mr. Churchill is not sound asleep in his RIP for this.

    We call Independence Day as a National Vacation and call the system a shame of Compulsory Flag Hoisting and Marching. So be it. But then what happens in America? They are such a SHOW OFF of Patriotasim in all sense of Commercialising it with Parades and Flag Sales.

    So How many of you will go and stand up to give up your career and Work in the local Politics leave alone the Country to fend for itself. NONE.

    I am sure on this coz the ppl who join see it as a Glory to Success and Money or to Stay above the rest of working class nothing else. It has nothing to do with the Development of the State or the Nation altogether. The Day we have an individual of such Grace then can we talk about seeing development in true sense.

    I can go on with this Non-Linear Talking as I am just going on with whats coming into my thoughts but atleast I am doing an effort to put it down after reading something. (which I never have done out till date) so its a surprise for me as well.

    Thanks for Reading. Hope it has contributed or made some ppl think. weather foolish or otherwise.

    Long Live INDIA!

  4. August 18, 2008 at 8:29 am

    Can’t say I agree with your views but you write well. Your post is original and refreshing. Just wanted to mention one thing. There is nothing to be ashamed of in the fact that we were a bunch of kingdoms fighting each other. We are different, and India is even more diverse than Europe. We have different languages and also different scripts (Europe doesn’t have that) and different ways of celebrating the same festival. If all these various kingdoms had been united before the British came it would have been quite bizarre. True, the British did unite all the kingdoms but it is impossible to say that they did the right thing. Europe flourished didn’t it? Why should we assume that the various “kingdoms” would have rotted?
    At least I cannot assume that. I have a post on this, and have lamented the fact that our history books (and UK’s) do not give out the real truth about British Rule. I feel very very sad to know that we are not teaching our young the facts.

  5. August 18, 2008 at 8:41 am

    Just need to add one more thing. India was just about the richest area in the world before the British arrived and they left it about the poorest. Today many of the states in the north are suffering because their population suffered the brunt of British Rule. Anyway I don’t want to go on here about the way the British destroyed us.
    Also we should not assume that we would not have tried to reform ourselves if it wasn’t for the British. It is a huge assumption.

Leave a Reply