This blog contains material I wrote and posted on between the years 2005 and 2011 only. It does not contain any new material. For newer writing, please check my main blog (Bill the Butcher).

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Why we don't value our independence

(May 2007)

One of the abiding mysteries of the age, to non-Indians, is why - just a short six decades after becoming independent from a colonial occupation that began with foreign traders setting up shop - we are busy giving away our economic and political freedom, apparently with our eyes wide open.

There is - to my mind - little that is inexplicable in this.

It's just a fact that we Indians have always been feudal, and therefore extremely amenable to being ruled by whoever holds the feudal power. Whether that power is wielded by slant-eyed Mongols from Central Asia or blond Britishers has never mattered much to us. It's the dispensation of patronage that we've cared for.

That of course goes with the fact that we're a nation of people driven primarily through self-interest, a true nation of compradors. I many be wrong in this, but I doubt it, when I say that if there was an Iraq-style invasion and occupation of this country you'd see no resistance movement whatever except by small, scattered Maoist groups. As far as the "mainstream" is concerned, once the main fighting is over, they'll all compete for the occupier's favour, and the neocon fantasy for Iraq would have come true here.

How, otherwise, could a hundred thousand or so Brits rule a nation of hundreds of millions for close to two hundred years?

You see, unlike many countries, we were handed our independence on a platter. Despite the official propaganda of the Indian "non-violent freedom movement", all said "movement" did was get everyone locked up at regular intervals. The Quit India Movement of 1942 was a classic example of this. All it did was lay the way open for the disintegration of the country on religious lines.

It was because of the economic devastation of Britain caused by the Second World War, and the coincident demise of conventional imperialism (which is beginning to make a comeback) that Britain, unable to cling on longer to its empire, left. Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi and his Non-Violent Struggle had nothing to do with it. It was just used by the British as a useful safety valve, so more people did not take up the gun. Gandhi and his minions just took the credit for what was a natural historical process.

We had violent struggles for freedom, including plenty of martyrs - Bhagat Singh, Khudiram Bose, Jatin Das, Pa Togan Sangma, U Tirot Sing Syiem, and many others - but official historiography won't even mention them except in passing. Most of them, in any case, held strongly left wing and hence unsuitable views. Hell, even Subhash Chandra Bose (in picture) is no longer persona grata in Indian government circles - recently the government said it had no documentary evidence about his role in the freedom struggle.

Unlike countries like Algeria, Vietnam, the US, China, or even Eritrea, which won independence in brutal anti-colonial wars (or as a result of failed but significant anti-colonial struggles, like Indonesia, Malaysia or Kenya) we didn't have to fight for our freedom.

That, and the national comprador mentality, is why we're so eager to give it away now.

No comments:

Post a Comment