India celebrates its 70th Independence Day today. As time goes on and as we get farther and farther from that day in 1947, we all have to take stock of what that day means to us. Does it mean that, it is the day that we got indepedence from the British Empire? Does it all that means? From my reading of the history books, it is not too unfair to interpret that the timing of the Indepedence may have been political manuverued but the end result of the partition was eventual. Are we supposed to celebrate eventuality? Or is this day to memorialize the day India was partitioned?
To many Indians, it is a day of a mixture of both the emotions. It was a success because we finally had the right to call shots on our own destinies after centuries rule of several empires over the Indian subcontinent. For the political class, it meant admitting a sort of defeat because India could not save itself from being divided. That defeat was soon overwhelmingly trounced by the fact that they were now leaders of a new nation of their creation. But for a great many people not in the political class, it meant loss of a generation of people whether through death, or displacement.
The partition serves today, as perhaps the best example of a lustful consummation of a flawed, yet exciting relationship, between church and state. It is a moment in history, where in the name of expedient political indepedence, we sold our souls and included religion as a factor to divide. Religion is meant to be inner connection of oneself with the unexplainable. It is something mystical. But too often, it has been used to create ‘the other’ in human history.
On most occasions, the better angels in our being fight back. But these were desperate times. And what remains today is a reminder. A reminder that, if we as a people do not remain vigilant of such urges and not think through for the long game, we create a situation where there is no turning back. No turning back from people with shared language, shared culture, and shared hopes and dreams for their children being separated.
No matter how much Indians in India and around the world try to fight it, we will always have to remember the other, and the tragedies in the events of 1947 and what followed. It is undoubtedly a very proud moment to take note that we finally had the right to self-govern, but is equally important to remember the entire history. You are playing with fire when you stoke people’s faiths. You change things forever.