What did we lose 65 years ago? 15th Aug, 1947
If you refer to 15th August to any kid who spent their formative years in late 80′s to the 90′s in Assam, like I did, there is a mighty likelihood you’d find one common resonance.It’s meant to be a day off coupled with alarming indifference mostly due to the “petty” bandhs (strikes) called by the local insurgents. It was not until my high schooling years in New Delhi that I realised that people of India, atleast the rest of it celebrated the day in a rather different way. A stark contrast to the days back home when early mornings of today, constitutes watching the telly as the Indian flag is hoisted by the Prime Minister of the country often followed by rather boring and lengthy addresses and a highly elaborate and colourful parade. Unfortunate as it may be; in hindsight, absorbing the occasion for what it is, is a lot easier for the one’s who were given the opportunity to interpret the significance of this day when they were much older to comprehend its meaning, rather than inherit it from their elders.
I for one always had high regards for the text book stories that told the tales of India’s formative years. Both under the British rule and the ones right after. Some derived from very relevant sources like my maternal grandfather. Hence freedom from oppression and birth of a nation’s identity were two such significant factors that heavily influenced my perspective of 15th August : India’s Independence Day. From whatever I have seen, heard and learnt since has contributed in diluting that meaning a little.
Sometime in the year 1999, my first year out of home, driven by utter curiosity I chose to watch Deepa Mehta’s just released “1947 : Earth” over a major Hollywood release, the name of which skips my mind now. Infact my friends and me dared the Delhi afternoon sun as we bunked classes & stood in unfathomably long queues to avail of the cheap front row seats behind PVR Anupam, Saket. It was only moments before my turn came that I decided to leave the queue and buy a normal ticket for Deepa’s show all by myself, while the rest of my friends went for what we originally decided on.The movie in its entirety did appeal to me at the time but left me rather circumspect over a few facts. The amount of blood shed and broken promises were not one of those things. It was evident that there is a high possibility that we may have lost way too much in our attempts at securing this win over a kingdom of stiff upper lips from the far west – seven seas away, who ruled us for 200 years.
This documentary goes on to elaborate the conundrum that both side of the border at large are still paying for in one way or the other :
The comparisons of gain vs loss deem futile more so when the perception of freedom is accompanied with growth or as for this instance, rather the absence of it. The opinion is derived from the perspective of ROI and a democratic govt by the people and for the people. The pent up remorse for a neighbouring nation for the decades of unstable foreign relations derived from tales of our ancestors seeped in violence, massacre and blood shed will not do either side of the border any good. Generations of the past 60 years have achieved very little in terms of reinstating the faith between these countries which can be a deciding factor to its fundamental development. Both social and economic. The notion that the well read will often debate about is self sustainability and foreign investment although logical doesn’t do enough to justify the funds reserved for the general security and militia of a nation that not very long ago was basking in the glory of potential super power and the one of the world’s fastest growing economies. The mindless pompousness about one’s military strength and nuclear power harbours nothing but fear and exploits nothing but the common man’s tax money sometimes at the cost of their basic human rights including security of livelihood. Fear (to me) was the one explicit reason that led to the division at the first place & potentially the one reason why we are destined to live under the blanket of psuedo nationalism and make belief growth. For that to change a polar shift of breeding brains at a grass root level needs to happen.
This article is solely based on my opinion. It is not intended to advocate my interpretation of right from wrong and should not be seen in that way.