As we enter the 72nd year of our independence, several important questions come to mind. 71 years is not a long time in the history of a nation, and certainly not in the life of India. India has an existence that predates the constitution and many civilizations across the world. However, the last 71 years certainly mark the existence of an India in the independent, free world and 7 decades is a span that deserves evaluation.
So how do we assess this journey? On the midnight of 14th August, standing in the central hall of Indian parliament, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru said India had a tryst with destiny. Every free citizen who heard him that night, every individual who saw him that night had a vision and hope of a new India, an India of his dreams, an India which will ensure that his all dreams are fulfilled, and will give him a life of respect and dignity. An India which will respect it’s heritage with her eyes on the future, which will fondly keep memories of its patriot in its heart while creating a great future for its youth. An India that will carry within itself every hope, dream and ambition of the citizen. An India, which will learn from the past while carving out the future.
Now when we look back, we notice that a majority part of the last 71 years has witnessed a big loss. Loss of history, culture, heritage and ethos. Our constitution makers were visionary people, they were men of wisdom and intellect. They envisioned an India where despite all diversities, everyone will live together, where everyone will be free to speak. But starting with the first amendment, Pandit Nehru attacked the very basis of the Indian constitution which was followed by many more creating a series of attack on free speech.
Then came his daughter and the horrific days of emergency when political opponents were jailed and tortured for the atrocious crime of not believing in the principle of synonymity of India and Indira. Another one from the family came and overturned a judgement which gave equal rights to women with a brute majority while the last heirs of the crown brought a Section 66A in the Information Technology Act to silence citizens who took to social media, sometimes, to display dissent towards the dynasty. A strong legacy you see!
Our constitution makers envisaged an India proud of its ethos. Hence they put a picture of Raja Ramchandra on the initial pages of the constitution. And in the very initial years of independence, same Raja Ramchandra was locked inside his home by the government where he remained for a long 36 years when an amateur Prime Minister was compelled to open them under public pressure.
In 1966, innocent people and sadhus were killed in open fire by police on orders of the Central government for committing a big crime – demanding a ban on cow slaughter, something which the great makers of constitution mentioned as the Directive Principles of State Policy.
Later, an amateur Prime Minister made it part of state policy to rather promote cow slaughter and bring a ‘Pink Revolution’. India also saw a government hell-bent on destroying its cultural heritage, the Rama Setu, under pressure of its ally. Hail the Supreme Court that it ensured that the bridge wasn’t touched.
History is indeed one of the most important parts of a nation’s journey. So how long do you think Indian history is? If you read Indian textbooks, history of India started once Babur came in and flourished followed by Akbar, the king of a leftist’s heart.
Ashoka who had a kingdom covering entire India, Shivaji Maharaj whose clan once ruled almost the whole India, RajaRaja Chola who was the architect of world’s first navy, Prithviraj who fought Ghori with blinded eyes, Chalukyas, Pallavas, Chhatrasal and many more got covered in single paragraphs.
Fake heroes were imposed upon us. So a Shershah Suri is hailed for building a road from Kolkata to Kabul, (though he was king for a period of only 7 years) but a Vivekananda who raised the flag of Indian culture globally just gets a mention in one tiny corner!
Indians were made to believe that invaders arrived, looted, ruled and went away, while our ancestors meekly surrendered every time. No one taught the story of the Great Indian resistance. No one told why India still has about 80% of Hindu population while every other country where Islamist invasion happened, converted to Islam within years. What kept us alive? What was that one thing which kept us together, which didn’t let us lose our values and ethos?
Finally, in the past few years, the smokescreen which was built over years has started to clear. Indians are seeing through the window. Thanks to the almighty internet, the young generation is seeing what it deserves. But there is strong resistance. Even now the same set of people who kept us away from the reality for years are trying to hide facts. And now realising that they are failing, they have resorted to agenda peddling in a new way.
Random incidents are seen as a pattern and the whole nation is defamed for that. The ‘intolerance’ agenda brigade is out to ensure that the young generation stops questioning them and doesn’t search for the truth. But it looks difficult for them now. India is rising and it will not stop.
We have missed so many chances. But not any more. India is now certainly ‘waking to life & freedom’ and as the great Swami Vivekananda said, shall not sleep until the goal is achieved.
Rahul Kaushik is a Digital entrepreneur based in Delhi. He often comes in TV debates representing social media and is on Twitter as @kaushkrahul. (twitter.com/kaushkrahul)