India celebrated her 73rd year of independence from British colonial rule. There was a time when people from all over the world were trying to reach India for trade as epitomised by Columbus. So how did the colonial traders become India’s rulers? By taking advantage of India’s fractured society because of an entrenched caste system and by taking sides in perpetual battles between its multitude of bigger and smaller kingdoms.
Indian society continues to be fractured because of manipulation of tenets of affirmative action, which was integrated into the Constitution with the objective of the upliftment of socially backward classes, by the political class which has allowed them to seamlessly replace the British colonials as the new rulers of the country. Squeezing out every possible penny from the working class in the name of taxes continues without any change. Like the colonial rulers, the present federal government system enjoys zero accountability towards the people in spite of being in a democratic system. Corporate sector and the business class have taken over the role of draining the country’s resources from the colonials.
From colonial ‘slaves’, we have become economic ‘slaves’ as the country’s economy has become largely dependent on international trade, foreign currencies, imported technology, and foreign aid. Most Indians are looking for opportunities to study, work, do business and settle in foreign countries including the country against which we had fought and gained independence. We carved one country into three and have been living with problems with each other ever since.
India’s independence was mission accomplished without a vision. The independence struggle should have also been against the erstwhile societal ills but they have persevered, thrived and become manifold now. My grandma had moved to Kolkata before Independence and used to say that a woman could deck her body with jewels and walk out in the middle of the night without any fear during colonial rule. Forget robbery, Indian women step out of their homes with the fear of rape and abuse now.
So what are we celebrating on this day every year?