15th August 1947
I’ve grown up listening to stories of how India gained its independence. The stories of the many who laid down their lives hoping for a better future for our country. The songs, the movies, the stories about our fight for Independence still give me goosebumps. Knowing that less than a century back – people my age and even younger were giving up their lives so that I could be here right now writing this from the comfort of my home – makes me want to honour their memory. Walk down memory lane with me?
Bharat or India was called the ‘golden bird’ of the world. Until about the 18th century, India’s GDP was 1/4th of the world’s GDP. India flourished in trade and industry. India was ruled by different dynasties across the country with the significant ruler being The Mughals. In 1857, the British took control of India and started an oppressive rule that lasted almost 200 years.
It amazes me how the world doesn’t stop shaming Germany for the war crimes of the Nazis but has left colonialists like Britain off the hook for the crimes that they’ve perpetuated. To put it in numbers:
- A Columbia University researcher calculated that the British drained India of over $45 trillion.
- The British stole treasures worth billions of dollars from India. Some of which are in the British Museum and many are a part of the Monarchy’s treasures. The Kohinoor Diamond (which sits on the queen’s crown) alone is estimated to be worth about $10 billion.
- The British killed about 35 million Indians during their oppressive and cruel rule. (Just for comparison – the Nazis killed around 17 million people but in a much shorter time frame.)
- The British used around 2.5 million Indian soldiers in WW2.
- The British war politics led to a major famine in India (in 1943) that caused the death of around 2-3 million people.
- The British still not pleased with the idea of giving India independence struck the country and divided it on the basis of religion leaving behind a trail of blood and hatred even as they exited the country.
(Please note these are only numbers related to India. There were other colonies where the same crimes were perpetuated by the British and other colonialists.)
When I hear of the ‘Commonwealth’ it angers me SO much. The Commonwealth countries are basically all the countries wronged by the British that deserve repatriation. Honestly, if today the British museum returns all the treasures stolen from across the world – the museum would stand almost empty. It angers me when people from the ‘first world’ countries make snide remarks about poverty and people from the ‘third world’ countries without realizing that their entire present life is built on a history of oppression and cruelty perpetuated by their forefathers on the very same ‘third world’ countries.
When the British exited India in 1947, they left the country – broke, poverty-ridden, and worse of all divided. India has risen from the flames. We are an economic power to reckon with today with our nominal GDP almost at par with the UK. And I’m proud of how far my country has come in the last 75 years.
Is India in its present state perfect? Ofcourse not! But honestly, no country in the world is perfect. Even the largest democracy (and economy) in the world in 2022 hasn’t had a single woman president and is still taking basic rights away from women.
But here are my hopes for my India in the coming decade –
- More unity: The politics of divide and rule started by the British, unfortunately, still continues to be a trend amongst our politicians. I hope the younger generations are able to unite for a better future for our country.
- A stronger judicial system: Unfortunately, our judicial system is dated and needs a major upgrade with stronger laws and faster handing out of justice. Also, a relook into laws like UAPA.
- More youngsters in politics: I say this even though personally I would never enter the dirty world of politics. But I hope other, more determined youngsters get a chance to change the future of India.
- More focus on the environment: India has started doing its bit but there needs to be a push to do better especially with regards to clean energy and curbs on industries.
- Population control: Here is hoping with more people like me (who don’t want biological children), the population issue can be solved. But if not, we definitely need laws and/or incentives for this.
- More start-ups, more push for manufacturing in India, and more economic growth
I am incredibly proud of my country. Onwards to greater achievements. Jai Hind!
If you haven’t already, check out my other recent posts: