Yes, so we indians are going to celebrate our Independence day for the 70th time. There can be many views both pessimistic and optimistic about the nation on where it stands today. When we look at the social media we can see that many people (including me sometimes) behave like children on various issues concerned. I am still on the optimist's side. No, for me there is no "neutral" opinion regarding this issue. The britishers were the worst kind of looters that indians have experienced in the past. Many of my friends believe that india was better with the britishers than they are with the present kind of politicians. Such kind of thoughts are not only regressive but factually wrong. Let me present some of the facts here.
Before the british arrived in Indian shores, the share of Indian economy GDP worldwide was 23%. By the time the british left it was below 4%. Why? Simply because India was being governed for the benefit of the britishers. The rise of the "great" british empire was financed by its oppression that was done on India. In fact the british industrial revolution was premised upon the de-industrialisation of India. For instance, the handloom weavers of India who were famed across the world at that time and their goods exported around the world, the british came riding, smashed their thumbs, broke their looms, imposed tariffs and duties on their cloth and products and starved them out of their profession. The british took the raw materials and shifted back manufactured cloths flooding the world's markets with the dark and satanic mills of the victorian England. The weavers in India thus became beggars and the country became an importer of the cloths which was a leading exporter of the clothes earlier. The exports of the nation fell from 27% to 2% of the world trade during this course. By the end of 19th century India was britain's biggest cash cow, the world's biggest purchaser of british goods and exports and the source of highly paid employment of british civil servants. Yes, we literally paid for our own oppression as Mr. Shashi Tharoor said last year in the oxford debate.
"No wonder, the sun never sat in the british empire because even gods couldn't trust the british in the dark." - Shashi Tharoor
Whenever we think of a mass killing the first name that pops up in our mind is hitler who killed about six million jews in germany. What we ignore is churchill whose conduct in india resulted in more million people dying of the artificial famines of bengal. When asked, his reply was, "Why hasn't gandhi died yet? ". Violence and racism were the reality of the colonial experience. So even an Indian beggar could proudly say to any british that they are really living with her/his money.
There is another argument of railways that many people give. First of all these were really meant to serve british interests and not Indian local people. Having said that, many countries have built railways without having to colonize to do so. The purpose of railways was to carry raw materials to be shipped to britain and need of the public was incidental. In fact the railways were built by heavy incentives offered by british investors which was in fact the indian tax payer's money guaranteed out of Indians. All these came at private enterprise (british) at public risk (indian). That was the railways as an accomplishment.
Many say that democracy and rule of law was given by britishers to India. Well, this is also factually incorrect. Also it's really hilarious to say this when you can oppress, enslave, kill, torture people for 200 years and then celebrate the fact that they are democratic at the end of it. We were denied democracy. We had to snatch it, seize it away from britishers. The british democracy just like the athenian democracy was only functioning BECAUSE of the slave society on which it was built. This is how the evil the british raj was.
Much of what the problems that we even see today in India were given by the britishers. What are the two biggest problems in present day India? I say, corruption and communalism. Before the british came the scale of the corruption was really low which was the primary reason of the flourishing economy of the Indian Subcontinent. The britishers rose to power in India by planting the corruption in the ranks of Mughal and other generals who betrayed their own kings and sided with the britishers in the battles. There were no communal riots before the british arrived here. The two biggest groups, the hindus and muslims were living harmoniously before them. The Britishers sought meetings with the religious leaders and planted conspiracies of throwing some cow meat in temples or pork in some mosques thus allowing the Indians to fight other Indians while they fill their pockets.
So, the Independence is a big thing for us. Many had predicted in the past that Indians were bonded together because of nehru and after Nehru, India will break into pieces. While Nehru was really a reason and a true statesman who laid the foundation of a modern secular india, the Indians were never dependent on a single person. India still survives with all its problems. Many were very depressed after we appointed a stupid person as the prime minister of the country two years back. To them I must say, yes, they are right but even that stupid guy had to control his communal statements to reach there and even though for the sake of power had to pretend to be secular and is pretending to do so. He is forced to recognize the diversity of the country which is against his party's opinions. That is because he sits on the Prime Minister's chair and he somehow understands (to some parts) the repercussions of it.
Finally, yes we are still struggling, we are in a pathetic condition and we dont treat women, dalits, religious and ethnic minorities properly as we should be. We jail students, kill writers, bloggers who speak opposite to us, kill our own civilians using our army. But there are a lot of good people in this country are protesting and winning against all these oppressions without any whataboutery at this very moment that I am writing all these. All they need is to Unite and move in the Scientific Rational way!
Happy Independence Day :)