Post Mortem

Interrogating Independent India

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 8/16/2019 12:37:28 PM IST

 At the dawn of 15th August 1947, the people of India celebrated independence. In that very moment, the country must have breathed a sigh of relief, overcoming its long struggle. 

The prospect of independence from the clutches of the colonial rule coupled with the aspiration of seeing a new India, these two overwhelming feelings must have filled the atmosphere of India. 

But although we became an Independent India, the nature and stakeholder of political power shifted merely from the colonial rulers to the domestic leaders? In essence, power never detached itself from independent India. And so 7 decades after independence, the country, and its many citizens continues to be enslaved by those who wield power. 

Today, as the country unites to celebrate the 73rd Independence Day, do we not need to revisit the pertinent question about the status of India and its people? Should we not look at independence beyond the myopic lens of colonial rule?

What has changed? The country has developed, infrastructure changed, we embraced modernization. Economically we are better placed. However, on the contrary, the marginalized, they continue to be marginalized in our independent India. 

The misery of women continues to worsen, and their safety, more importantly, is a debate that the country cannot rid itself from. Despite the claim for ever-increasing economic growth the question of poverty riddles our mind. 

The rampancy of unemployment has taken a comfortable front seat amidst all. In the name of development, our environment has been compromised. Keeping these flaws in mind, we need to question ourselves, what is the worth of merely celebrating national independence when the larger section of the country and our environment, they are left behind in the new development model of India.

I would not like to categorize myself as an idealist simply for wishing a better India. As much as the celebration of Independence Day aspires to instill a sense of nationalism, what is the purpose of being symbolically nationalistic for a day when limitations overwhelm the positive aspects of India? Hence, leaders and citizens should call for a pledge, a pledge to fulfill the essence of celebrating this historic occasion more meaningfully. 

Leaders should pledge towards inclusive governance free from the chains of caste, class and communal fabrics. Pledge to celebrate diversity and abstain from homogenizing the composition of society. Citizens should pledge towards creating a favorable environment for women, free from the fear of the patriarchal tone and free from the fear of being expressive. 

A true nationalist I understand should be one that serves justice, practices equality and exhibits an ethical life. Oppression in every form should cease. Our environment should be taken care of and the utmost importance of sustainable development needs to be channeled. 

These in sum will foster India’s growth, not in economic terms per se but growth in the social fabric of the country. And till we cease to overcome these challenges, we will never be independent.

Chibenthung Yanthan

Research Scholar, JNU


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