“Long years ago we made a tryst with destiny, and now the time comes when we shall redeem our pledge, not wholly or in full measure, but very substantially. At the stroke of the midnight hour, when the world sleeps, India will awake to light and freedom. A moment comes, which comes but rarely in history, when we step out from the old to the new, when an age ends, and when the soul of a nation, long suppressed, finds utterance.”
Thus spoke Jawaharlal Nehru on the eve of India’s independence from the British Colonial Rule ,at the dying minutes of 14th August,1947. The clock moved past the midnight hour of 14/15th August,1947, and a new nation was born. This nation was unique and unparalleled in the sense that it was not a representative of war, aspirations, dreams or ambitions. Rather, it was the representative of Hope of teeming millions-unfed and unclothed people, maligned and abused for centuries.
These poor and helpless people had given up their bodies and souls to the foreign lands, to the outside events on which they had no control and helplessly accepted it as their destiny.
“The appointed day has come – the day appointed by destiny – and India stands forth again, after long slumber and struggle, awake, vital, free and independent. The past clings on to us still in some measure and we have to do much before we redeem the pledges we have so often taken. Yet the turning point is past, and history begins anew for us, the history which we shall live and act and others will write about.”
The independence brought these teeming millions a ray of hope. By the time, this moment came, the people had understood their weaknesses, their mistakes and their fallacies. They had understood the superiority of the outsiders and had learnt about their own equally glorious past. Now, what was needed was the freedom of their bodies,souls and minds from all outside interference so that they could chart their own way..
And the Hope that was making the dead nation alive was the future–Hum honge kaamyaab ,though succinctly put up as history in the speech“… history begins anew for us, the history which we shall live and act and others will write about.” And ,thus the journey started.
Seventy years down the line, where do we stand? Everyone will have his own answer to this question but all answers will lead to one conclusion –the journey lies in shambles, the hope lies in tatters.
The Rail-road ahead has completely vanished and the bogeys have turned turtle. So far, it was appearing that the journey is going in the right direction, but suddenly, it appears that the train has hit a boulder fallen from a cliff-though this is not the case.
The reasons may be many but the conclusion is the same..
On closer scrutiny, it appears that not one, not two but three sets of wheels have given away leading into jamming of the wheel-set assembly. Ironically, these three sets of wheels find their mention in the very beginning of the famous speech quoted above, therefore one has to ask himself whether the journey itself was wrongly conceived. Or it is just the case of consequential failure that as you move ahead, opposite force start acting and the weakest part gives way to the opposing forces.
The first set of wheels is “WE”. Initially, it was presumed that we means the people of India-the citizens of this country-irrespective of their religion, color,caste,creed,culture or language. However, somewhere in the middle journey, the “we” started getting into “we” and “they”. We are not They and They are not We. The “They” has become an outcast in the modern India-who are not be seen, thought of or cared for..
The second set of wheels is “India”. What is India? Who is an Indian? It is an accepted fact that in the initial phase of journey, the definition of “India” or “Indian” was very vague. But as the time changed and the world changed, the term started getting a definition.
Interestingly, the definition was more on account of the outside world than the inside world. But as luck would have it, this definition also started losing its meaning and a new definition came up. Today, an Indian means the one who is proud of the country, even if the pride is shallow and totally false.
The Indian has to blow his own trumpet day in and day out that everything born in this country has been great and greatness is the virtue of the country. Any thing foreign is of inferior variety as long has it is not helping in the attainment of this greatness—English language for example. If somebody objects to the falsehood, he is promptly branded as Un-Indian.
The last set of wheels is “History”. So far, it has been an accepted fact that the history of India is in three distinctive parts-Ancient period, Medieval period and Modern period.
The ancient period is assigned to the times immemorial to about 12th Century AD. During this period, immigrants came in wave after wave to the land, but they dissolved themselves in the native contemporary culture and society.
The “foreign” effect had been minimal. The foreign effect, whatsoever, was indigenized and merged with the mother culture. For the first time in 13th Century, a wave came but it brought its own set of customs and
traditions. This wave did not adopt the culture of this land but started spreading its own culture, which it thought was more contemporary and with-the-times and thus more beneficial to the mankind as such.
However, before this wave could make an everlasting impact on whatever indigenous, another wave came, which subdued the earlier wave. This wave was not interested in cultures and traditions, it was mainly looking for trade and profit. Though, it made profound changes in the upper strata of the indigenous society which was destined to become the torch-bearer of the country in the future.
When the country got independence, all three sets of period were clubbed together to form the history of the land and its people. Later on, this history started acquiring a new meaning that attempts were started to delete a particular period of history from the history of this land. And also, to glorify the ancient history even by with the help of blatant lies.
Now who is right and who is wrong-nobody cannot say for sure. But one thing is sure that unless these issues are resolved, the country cannot move ahead. Worse, these issues have now taken political dimensions, so
these groups cannot be taken care of through democratic means because that would then mean the elimination of an alternative power structure.
But one thing is certain that two versions of We, India and History cannot exist side by side. Either, a consensus has to be reached between the groups once and for all or one of the group should be prepared to get eliminated totally.
Unless, of course ,a dark horse appears from the woods and takes both