I am profoundly grateful that I could write and reach out to my nation and family, Bharat, on this auspicious occasion of our attainment of the Republic. As a Pan-African, if history is true, a look into the age-long relationship between pre-colonial Africa and India, and how it has continued post colonialism traces a similar journey. Whether it’s the culture of our people or how men migrated from various parts of Africa to India, or how similar movements have occurred in India and Africa for knowledge, education, well-being, spiritual pilgrimage and business, all point to the similarities.
One can only say that this “is an ancient bridge-building process that has been sustained for ages and should be maintained.” Such an exemplary brotherhood, if studied categorically, can be an incredible tie, and whether or not it is reflective now wouldn’t be an issue of the passage it will yield. I have always believed that Africa and India are distant relatives, and in pursuit of self realism, held each other’s hand to grow together. This was well observed as early as in the 7th century, when descendants of the Bantu people of East Africa were brought to India as slaves by Arabs, followed by the Portuguese and then the British.
Over the years, I have always centred my energies on positively impacting society with the education that India has gifted me, wherever I find myself with a key interest in the advancement of Africa—as we approach the shared future global south cooperation very closely. I would like to emphasise on the fact that both Africa and India share similarities from cultures, systems, to personal relationships among people with an estimated 65% of the population combined comprising of employable youths.
The similar energies can contribute to the growth of society and nation-building, from tree planting, street cleaning to various volunteering efforts and innovations that are sustainable. Such resources, I believe, should be harnessed anywhere they are found, and similarly, ideas like this should be propagated and encouraged.
In the past 70 years, from my study, I can say that the brotherhood that exists among us has been our source of survival and advancement towards achieving the vision set aside by the founding fathers of our great nation. A lot of youths have developed a passion for contributing to society positively by various means, and it is never easy. But for sustainability, especially because such is the mindset we crave for, a guide for mentoring and support is paramount.
Higher education institutions play an important role in shaping youths to become instruments of economic and social change that can project any nation towards greatness and true economic stability. This is why environments of learning bear a seal of sacredness and must be not just peaceful for learning, but also resourceful to equip young minds and build capacities for a better duniya (world).
Having traveled across India, I can say that the unique diversity that exists in the country is something that is rarely found anywhere else in the world, except in the continent of Africa. It is a strength that outshines whatever challenge may pose a threat to the collective existence of the people of Hindustan. Though we may look different, speak in tribal tongues, we together join our hands in raising the Indian flag. Around the world, we unanimously sing “Jana Gana Mana”, dedicated to us by great Rabindranath Tagore.
I have always seen India from an angle of greatness. I will not hesitate if I get the opportunity to contribute towards this growth—because it is not just for individual reasons but collective benefit. Hence, my favourite Sanskriti saying “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam”. Bearing this in mind, I would like to say that for prosperity, peace and understanding are the keys.
This will not only promote transparent, positive and purposeful systems but will also place Bharat as a model of emulation all over the world. Many people might not realise the position that the universe has naturally blessed India with as a polity that establishes fine neutrality globally and as a young nation that could be crowned as the world’s king. An inevitable position of grace, considering the struggle and journey so far.
From Africa, I say, “We love you, India”. This is not just the love we extend to the rest of the world as is our nature, but one that comes from a closer bonding. The fact is, India might have ups and downs today, which is welcomed in any society that strives to grow as, without experiences such as these, we cannot work strongly and appreciate one another.
It is very important that we learn from our past, improve, and move on. As a people, we have been very accepting and accommodating, supportive and enduring, which has carried us this far. We move from Kerela to Punjab, from Bihar to Sikkim, seek spirituality in Varanasi, and do business in Mumbai. We have always respected the nation and upheld Her values of love and humanity.
Today’s world is a small village; people have and are steadily getting connected—a gift of space that the 21st century has created for us. From the bottom of my heart, I want to say to all those might be reading this piece: whether you are a natural citizen of India or a foreigner, whether or not you have visited India or read about her incredible awesomeness, your positive contributions can only achieve India’s hopes and aspirations and that your support offers not the only fulfilment to our great nation, but would draw us even closer to the world we dream of living in.
Happy 71st Republic Day to all of us, Jai Hind!