As we are ushering into the 71st year of Independence, I want to take time for us all to explore the meaning of independence in a bit more detail. Have you ever wondered what independence really is? This blog is specifically to explore the meaning of independence as it does for a country. The next blog will explore it from an individual perspective.
India gained her independence on 15th August, 1947. So, what did it really get?
Wikipedia says: Independence is a condition of a nation, country, or state in which its residents and population, or some portion thereof, exercise self-government, and usually sovereignty, over the territory. The opposite of independence is a dependent territory.
But what does self-government or sovereignty mean?
I have asked this to many a nationalist reveling in the idea of the nation called India, but haven’t received a convincing answer. I have asked others and the notion of independence for a country is devoid of a foreign ruler.
In my view, independence for a country is simply the notion that from now on all resources in the country will be optimized for the benefit of the nation. (Please note the word is optimize, not maximize).
While easy, this brings up an interesting question. What is the nation?
If you look at it, the British did a lot of development in India. Roads, infrastructure, rail network, buildings, technology introduction. But we don’t consider it as nation’s progress.
May be the thought of a nation is people within it. But then, who are the people within it? What does ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikaas’ mean? For sure, there is not even one work that I can see which will benefit all. It will benefit a community, a region, a set of people. Nothing that is impact-all. So, what does being independent in that sense mean? Are we, as India, really independent?
Yes, we have a self-ruling government (the classical definition of independence). Also, we have freedom, provided to us by the constitution, protected by a combination of judiciary and law. In that sense, the people in the country do enjoy a lot of freedom. They are independent.
But let us look at the government and what is the concept of nation in the defined independent sense. In our democratic, socialist, independent India, all actions by the government seem to be forced. Forced by the ground realities of caste, region, religion, sect, gender, occupation and what not. We are no longer about creating equality and freedom as a society. We are about giving-up to whoever can create the biggest chaos, the biggest riot, cause most anarchy.
We are not a dictatorship, we are not ruled by the whims and fancies of an individual (Modi power is no match for a dictatorship). We are worse, we are a society ruled by the mob-anarchy. We are a democracy which works not on the peaceful resolve of its majority, rather it works on the chaotic resolve of the minority. We are a land of entitlement, not earned, rather promised.
This Independence Day, if you want to make a resolve, if you want to look at independence, if you want to feel victorious, look at how you can give-up all specials, all quotas, all entitlements that you receive. How you can give up the power of the mob, the power of revolting, the power of exceptions and accept things as is. And that will help formulate an independent India.