58 yrs ago, on August 15, 1947, "When the World was sleeping, India awakened" (something like that were Nehru's words"). These are some thoughts. They are individual brainstormed thoughts I just wrote down in one go;
they are NOT representative! you might see that I often go against the mainstream
A black chapter of history finally found its end. For hundreds of years, our resources were robbed and used for manufacturing processes in the country of the colonial administration, depriving India of its wealth. A lot of indigenous knowledge was lost. Many people were imprisoned and killed in a mostly peaceful resistance. The Jewel of the Crown was lost.
Against popular perceptions, our 58 yrs thus far can be summarized as success story. Democracy was never really endangered. India produces a food surplus, despite difficult climate conditions. The state never fell apart. India had managed to accommodate linguistic, religious, ethnic, tribal etc.. Minorities within one nation!
India had remained neutral in its foreign policy (Nehru's Non-aligned aspirations were just brilliant! However, it is sad to see how the two big Powers tried to drag everyone into their conflict). India was the nation going most for disarmament. Unfortunately, China attacked us in 1962, leading to necessity of the creation of a strong army. India always promoted nuclear disarmament and wanted the WHOLE world to be nuclear-free, but the P5 (US, Russia, China, France and Britain) wanted to keep a monopoly for nuclear weapons and still makes the world more insecure with their power aspirations. Unfortunately, we decided to test our own bombs, leading to a new cascade effect (I am one of about 1 % Indians against who was against these tests). India had tried her best for piece and good relations, but the big Powers were not really interested. They wanted to poison the world with their own dogmas and a new form of imperialism. Since India remained neutral, foreign policies directed towards us were rather insane. The involvement of some nations in Afghanistan and the short-sighted support of our neighbor has made the continent instable. Terrorism, partly sponsored by the powers of our neighbor (NOT the people, they are brilliant!) will NEVER defeat us! It will collapse soo, and hopefully we will be able to have good relations within South Asia and beyond.
India had great leaders. Nehru wanted to cease imperialism worldwide, wanted to stay neutral and was interested in good relations with all nations. Unfortunately, this great man only was a dreamer. Still, he was the symbol for India's stability, well-admired in India and abroad. He managed to (re)define India's new nation and give some meaning for the post-colonial period. Indira Gandhi finally made India a regional power, after realizing that India was surrounded by enemies. She made the economy strong (the green revolution- though you can argue about this, as no real land reforms took place), she further promoted the growth of the own industry. It was good that India did not liberalize the economy from the beginning on, because India had a big comparative disadvantage against the West and needed to create its own industry and economy (and strengthen its agriculture). Otherwise, the Indian market would have fallen into the control of the West again. It was very important in the first instance that India mobilized her own resources, supported her own industry and agriculture before engaging in adventures like free trade. Of course, Mrs Gandhi had her negative sides, too (keyword Khalistan, Emergency) I do not want to emphasize on. Now, we have Manmohan Singh, one of the most brilliant politicians worldwide. I have full trust in him. I noted with happiness that India said NO to this BJP
-led right-wing circus.. democracy has reached the grassroots..
Since 1991, India is growing. India is a symbol for High-tech, skilled manpower etc.. India will be the 3rd strongest economy in 2020 - it is progressing. But is everything really so great? I see the caste system still existing in the heads of the people - especially in the heads of the new rich upper middle class. These people treat poor people very badly, employ them as cheap labor and underpay them - hardly give them air to breath and treat them like slaves. These people think they possess them and do not want to share the new wealth the have acquired. I am shocked to see how bad my own countrypeople deal with their own countrypeople sometimes. This new urban upper middle class - the wannabee Americans - are the real danger for the country. They hardly contribute anything for the development of the nation and poverty eradication. They want the status-quo to pertain, so that they can keep their own slaves and do not have to share their welfare.
On the other side, I am noting with great happiness that many things continue to be positive. Poverty is on the demise. The fight against corruption is being more successful day by day. Checks and balances are improving. People discuss about everything. The media and press is free and critical (very critical against the own government!), very rich and elaborate. Democracy is not endangered. India is the home for many minorities and has a very liberal refugee policy. One has to be here with the heart, and one loves it. Never try to comprehend India.. you will fail! People come back here, and many people never want to leave. Many great people live here. We are happy that we still manage to produce enough food and don't have severe droughts, despite this brutal climate and having more than ! Billion people. And... we are happy to be part of the future. We need to clean up a lot of things in our own house - but we do not want to surrender our market to MNCs! We do not really need any foreign aid, we will be able to manage ourselves. And I am sure we will manage. We want to be part of globalization but do not want to surrender our identity and culture, please respect this. So, you might disagree with me 100 %, but let us agree one the following I want to say:
HAPPY 58th INDEPENDENCE DAY! India remains a great nation! Let's all work towards a better future and let us all have good relations!
[Edited 2005-08-15 07:03:18]
[Edited 2005-08-15 07:08:12]
"The earth provides enough resources for everyone's need, but not for some people's greed." (Gandhi)