In this short piece by Vernika Tanwani, she writes about the colonial hangover that India is going through even after 70 years of Independence and how we should embrace our country a little more.
“Flags would be hoisted, trumpets would blow
The anthem would be sung, eyes would glow
And once again, we’ll all pretend to be free…”
Let’s spend the next two minutes in silence, honoring those who fought with the external forces so we could be free to fight among ourselves.
Isn’t the wind on every Independence Day tinted with the aroma of freedom? The sky adorns a saffron cloak, rivers flow in the perfect white and the grasses look a little more greener. And then arrives the next day and all of us get back to being black, stinking of rotten chunks of hatred that are so perfectly implanted in our souls. It has been seventy years since we are ‘Free’. Free in the sense that we are no longer controlled by foreign superpowers. What controls us now is far more dangerous than those people. When the British left, we were already too inclined towards having some power dominate our minds, so we took to emotions. Feelings of bitterness and aversion took over the throne. Now that we did not have alien forces, all our rage was channelized towards each other.
Call me “anti-national” but I do believe that the British did more good to us than harm. Had they not been the center of diversion for our distaste for centuries, we the people of this “diverse” country would have killed each other much before. They taught us something we would never have realized on our own-the power of unity. The nation rejoiced as the country rose to independence. Little did we know we were gaining freedom from a force that actually united us. For once, we were not Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs or Christians, we were Indians. And in that moment, we chose to shed our religious identities and embrace our collective national identity.
Can we not, for once be Indians again? But we are too busy playing the blame game. The only thing love doing is glorifying our past and staying there. We just don’t want to, or rather we don’t have the courage to live here in the present and reform it. We are just too happy imagining the period when India was the ‘sone ki chidiya’ and no one was poor, while that might as well be another myth to avoid working towards betterment.
Talking about freedom, it is something we are miles apart from, for we are still in what we call a ‘Colonial Hangover’. The British actually gained victory the day they made us all habitual and in a way, dependent on their culture. One of the biggest imprint of it is reflected in the way we train and nurture our youth, that is our education system. When Lord Macaulay imposed English Education on Indians, he wished to create people who were Indian in blood and body, and British in mind and soul. And guess what? Years later, our children chant the English Alphabet better than the Hindi Varnamala. We still equate fluency in English to education and knowledge.
It’s strange how we regard all things foreign as being better than our own, for no serious reason and then blame those very foreign powers for our backwardness. And the way we decide what is forward and backward itself reflects our inclination towards the Western culture. Whoever said that Western is forward and Non-West is backward definitely someone from the West itself. Our standards of development are vaguely constructed upon the way we follow the West which in a way really sad. If only we could realize the beauty of the culture we possess and that the diversity of it can be appreciated only when unity is attained. Unity is by far the aspect that’s most essential for growth and betterment. Without it, all we will experience is downfall. We need a world where we are all humans, Indians, to be nation specific. For once, we need to understand that all our religion and belief wants us to do is love each other and establish a world where love prevails. We need to come together as a unified force, act and construct love, peace. We are no different. What resides within us, all of us, is essentially the same. We are beings of flesh and blood with immensely complex emotions that need to be channelized into a positive, productive way.
The coming Independence Day, let’s gain freedom from the hatred that’s bubbling inside us, before it swallows us up whole and we once again become vulnerable to foreign control and dominance. Let’s try and accept our own culture in the same way regard the foreign culture. Let’s be Indians in blood, body, mind and soul again. Lets learn to love ourselves and each other again.