India Wins Freedom

published on May 18, 2014
Dr. TS Girishkumar*

The ancient nation of India that is Bharat, whose civilisation and culture simply dates back to the glorious days of the river Saraswati had taken many severe blows in time, but had amazingly survived. As a matter of fact, there may be nothing unusual in this survival of Bharat and her culture, since etymologically what is called ‘Sanatana’ is permanent, and the ongoing existence of Bharat and her great heritage can be seen as a natural phenomenon only.

Our history has a large chapter of invasions, invasions beginning right from the BCE, with Alexander, son of Philip of Macedonia. Then came a series of invasions from the Muslims, beginning with Muhammad Qasim, and followed by many till the Mughals. Further came the Europeans, and their colonial rule which lasted through modern times.

And there were many attempts to throw out the alien yoke, to breathe free air, and make free space, both in ancient times as well in modern times. The first ever freedom fighter is Vishnu Gupta, son of Chanaka, who is popularly known as Chanakya, who was a Professor of Economics and Politics in the University of Takshasila. Then there were many, like, especially, the Rani of Jhansi and the great Shivaji Maharaj. Still, such attempts were often individualistic, and not collective, mass, common movement throughout Bharat.

During the British colonial rule, a soldier named Mangal Pandey began the struggle of 1857 for the independence of Bharat. Since it all began with a common soldier, the colonial rulers named it the soldier’s mutiny and people repeated what the British christened. It was Swatantra Vir Vinayak Damodar Savarkar who changed the British name, as he called it the first struggle of independence. The book he wrote was promptly banned, as expected of the alien rule. Vir Savarkar had to suffer much, he was imprisoned in the ‘unicellular jail’ which was specially constructed by the English in the islands of Andaman, some 1800 kilometres into deep sea from any point in India, for artful torture. Savarkar was in prison for ten years, which destroyed his health, but certainly not his spirits. Interestingly, people who went from outside lived relatively less longer life, which is evident from the Cemetery of Ross Island, a lesser island where the British tried to reproduced England. I haven’t seen any epitaph where some lived beyond 40 years, suggesting that the Brits who lived there died an early death, for reasons obvious. Naturally, Savarkar who was a prisoner suffered much, and was about to die there. People from mainstream Bharat kept urging Savarkar to get release; since the British offered freedom to him should he writes an apology letter. People insisted that a living Savarkar is what they want, and not the memories of a dead Savarkar. Finally, Savarkar wrote the apology, and he was released from the cellular jail.

By then, the Indian National Congress was going full throttle ahead in the freedom struggle. The Congress, (which literally shall mean a collection of baboons) was formed by a British civil service officer, who was asked to form a congress of British minded Indians to serve the British interests even in their own struggle of independence. AO Hume, the person who formed congress did a good job, though many nationalists joined congress subsequently – but the leadership was pro Brits, predominantly. They could not ‘afford’ to admit Savarkar into main stream politics, and even after independence, Savarkar remained neglected. Congress did not want to displease their British masters. With 1947 freedom many things happened that many of us took granted, like the national anthem itself. The present national anthem was a song of praise written by Tagore when the British prince visited India, and not singling any glory of the ancient land. In short, the 1947 freedom remained in papers to the nationalists, and what is more, the nation also got divided.

To any mind that loves Bharat, the nation’s leadership remained enigmatic. The citizens of this mighty nation remained gluttons for punishment on many accounts. It all went on, for some real long time.

But then, on 16th of May, 2014, everything suddenly changed, a new era of hope and belief had begun. Nationalist forces swept the poll, and again hope for real freedom to Bharat once again bloomed. Indeed, this was the third independence struggle, and this struggle was carried out by just one man, Narendrabhai Modi. It was mainly his struggle, his vision and his planning, with the strong support from umpteen numbers of silent volunteering nationalists. Let us now look for the beginning of the becoming of Bharat, our cultural Bharat, and for our own authentic existence. The whole process, planning, programme and execution of this election ought to be written in golden letters as the third struggle for independence of Bharat, the nation that created a culture based on a knowledge tradition from the Vedas and the Upanishads.

Author is Professor of Philosophy The Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda Vadodara, Gujarat, India

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