India’s Independence Day—15 August
POETRY FORMAT, 16 Aug 2021
Independence of a prisoner or a country is a very important event
A prisoner freed from jail means restoration of dignity and life
A freedom lost due to rules imposed by police or the governments
Similarly, independence of several countries colonised by foreign powers
Most African nations colonised by England or France
So were most South American countries colonised by Spain and Portugal
A small country Portugal, overpowering the large local populations in Brazil
Not only in that region but also in Goa in India on the western coastal
The superpower USA, parts of which first colonised by Spain, France
Then overpowered by the mighty British fleets with canons and guns
Destroying the local indigenous peoples, their cultures, languages
Spain moving away to the southern parts, France to the northern Canada
India a land of Buddha, Krishna, Ram, Jain and Nanak, etc.
India that never went out to attack any other peoples
Repeatedly invaded, conquered by small and large Muslim powers
Establishing sovereignty as Mughal dynasties of Babar, Akbar and others
Building forts, mosques, destroying temples, places of learning
Downgrading local languages and establishing Persian language as official
Fortunately Sanskrit, some southern ones — Tamil, Kannada holding fort.
Am I forgetting the British rule in India?
How can I ignore 200 years of British rule where they overcame Indian rulers
They entered through the East India Company for trade and commerce
They wanted us to honour British monarch by chanting God Save the Queen
They built churches, memorials, Mall Roads and grand imposing buildings
The British built the President Estate— official residence of the Indian President
They built grand buildings of the Indian parliament and the government
They built the heritage structure of Delhi University established in 1921
In fact they built the modern city of New Delhi, not disturbing the old one
But they overemphasised learning of English language and its writers,
Ignoring vast local learning, decrying traditional knowledge and its scholars
They pampered local princes by limited powers under the British umbrella
Many were rich, the Nizam of Hyderabad being the richest person
Why bother about the marginalised peoples toiling in fields, small hovella
Then came people like Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, Netaji Bose
Who declared that they would work hard to free India of the colonial yoke
They struggled, were imprisoned but can one imprison the idea of freedom?
Their struggles and determination of ordinary people succeeded on the day
Of August 15 1947 —seventy five years ago with freedom of India and creation of Muslim Pakistan
A country belligerent towards India — its peoples and beliefs of millions
But India will survive; people will thrive on values of equality, honour, justice
We hail Mahatma Gandhi,
We remember his Salt March to Dandi
He is the
Father of our Nation who promoted freedom and nonviolence
Dr Ravi P Bhatia is a member of the TRANSCEND Network for Peace Development Environment, an educationist, Gandhian scholar and peace researcher. Retired professor, Delhi University. His new book, A Garland of Ideas—Gandhian, Religious, Educational, Environmental was published recently in Delhi. email@example.com
This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 16 Aug 2021.
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