'United we Stand’, but then why should we stand? Isn’t it the backbenchers who stand? Since we do not like to stand, we don’t like being united. Infact there never was a united India before the British Raj. India was separate smaller kingdoms living together bounded by the mountains and oceans. [That does not however mean that there was no identity of India. If we look at the writings of ancient writers, both from and outside India, about India we still find the entity of India. India however represented a greater culture that spread from East Afghanistan to Malaysia] Even during independence many states wanted, not to be part of India, but a separate country. These included Travancore, Bhopal, Jodhpur, Junagadh, Hyderabad and Kashmir. It is not surprising then that there is hardly anything, apart from cricket, that unites India. I find it really surprising how democracy survived in this country for so many years. But then, that is the miracle called India.
The revolt of 1857 was united India’s first war of independence. People remember it as a mutiny by Indian soldiers forgetting the active role played by the peasants and nobles. But then whom to blame, forgetting is the most common disease in India. We forgot the Vedas of ancient Hindus, we forgot the architectures of Moguls, we forgot the infrastructure provided by British, we forgot the terrorist attack in Mumbai, we forgot the humility and kindness that we were once known for, and we even forgot how to play cricket. We lost the battle of 1857 because of lack of planning and coordination, something we still lack after 64 years of freedom. If you do not believe me then watch India v/s England test series. The revolution meant that India came under the direct rule of the queen. 48 years later, the British made a shrewd ‘divide and rule’ policy successfully increasing the tensions between Hindus and Muslims. This would ultimately lead to partition of India. The ghost of that policy still haunts us in the name of border disputes and terrorism. We fight, forgetting the reason why we started fighting.
What we also forgot was that Indians celebrated the First Independence Day on 26th, the last Sunday of January 1930, and not on 15th August. Indians all over came together and declared ‘purna swaraj’, complete freedom. This time there was better planning and coordination, and more importantly there was not a single case of violence. Had we achieved our true independence then, we could have avoided partition and a lot of bloodshed. However, it was 15th August 1947, when India was given freedom, a time when the Second World War just ended. The date was selected by the British cleverly to remind Indians of Japan’s surrender to the Allied Forces after the world witnesses a dirty display of atomic power. There is a lot to be proud of our independence, but nothing to be proud of the date 15th August.
1950’s was an interesting time in history as the global power shifted from the imperialistic Europe to America and Russia. Soviets and US engaged themselves in a massive competition to become the world superpower, and India was inevitably a big prize. Even though India’s democracy had more similarity to Americans than the Marxism of the Soviets, India preferred the later for economic and military aid. Indian’s saw in Americans similar characteristics as the British, and India was separated from it just by an ocean controlled by US navy. Soviets on the other hand had neither an onland route nor a navy to control India directly. US took the India-Soviet relation as a threat and thus aided Pakistan to weaken India. This geopolitics of cold war increased the strategic importance of Afghanistan. Soviets, with encouragement from Indians, wanted it badly to enclose Pakistan from both sides.
Even China saw the Indo-Soviet relationship as a threat as their relationship with Soviets deteriorated. Irony was that a Maoist China, along with democratic America, helped military dictatorship of Pakistan to counter the relationship between democratic India and Marxist Soviets. Chinese involvement made control of Kashmir, which connected China to Pakistan, critical. Neither India nor Pakistan want Kashmir for the poor people living in the paradise on earth, they want it for selfish military and political reasons.
In the 90’s Soviet Union collapsed ending the Cold War. The pro-Pakistani Taliban government, helped by Americans, replaced the Indian-allied Soviets from Afghanistan. America wanted to control Afghanistan in order to have influence over the emerging Asia, and protect its oil interests in the Middle East. But Pakistan itself lost the strategic importance it had earlier. It was China, rather than India that became the biggest threat to US now. The tables were turned, as US now wanted to befriend India rather than the pro-Chinese Pakistan. No wonder US attacked Pakistan and apparently killed Osama there.
The dirty geopolitics, border insecurities and lack of unity meant India could hardly focus it’s resource on developing the country. It started to grow weak from within until the time Dr. Manmohan Singh took the bold step to open up our economy. The GDP improved rapidly, but it was not helped by the growing inequality. The illiteracy also increased as India forgot true knowledge that it was once proud of. Even the prestigious IIT’s does not rank amongst the top universities in the world. Inequality and a flawed democracy gave people in power enough scope of corruption that reached its peak in 2011 as thousands of Indians joining Anna Hazare in a protest against corruption.
We are part of another interesting phase in history as India celebrates 64 years of independence. The powerful economies have weakened, new countries are gaining stronger foothold in the world arena. The superpowers are changing again. It will be interesting to see how India emerges out of this phase with all the problems it already has.
To me there are 4 things India lack: Free-mind, Unity, Coordination/Planning and Knowledge/Education. If India needs a smooth ride through this phase it has to implement policies that promote them. I call it the F.U.C.K. India plan, not a bad name considering our population growth. In case you are offended by that word, all I can say is that it is just a word. We have freedom of speech don’t we? Or probably not. The government is watching my ass, even in facebook. After all the scams unravelled, India’s condition is worse than just a word. We gave too much importance on words and too less on action. It’s time to act. Miles to go, but it is upto us to make India a place ‘where the mind is without fear, and the head is held high’.
You can also find this post in the following link (sanitized). It's my fist guest post. Thanks to Er. Shaikh Md Jamil and his MULTIBAGGER STOCK IDEAS. Multibagger Stock Ideas is one of the leading blogs on Technical Analysis, Stock Recommendation, Investment Ideas, Nifty Analysis. Do check it out!
INDIA AFTER GANDHI: The History of World’s Largest Democracy – By Ramchandra Guha
THE GEOPOLITICS OF INDIA: A Shifting, Self-Contained World - By Dr. George Friedman (2008), Stratfor