“At the stroke of midnight hour, when the whole world sleeps, India will awake to life and freedom.” – Jawaharlal Nehru, “Tryst with Destiny”
With the clock striking 12 midnight on 14 – 15 August 1947, ‘India was to awake to freedom’. The Constituent Assembly to whom the power was to be transferred began its sitting at 11 p.m. with Smt. Sucheta Kripalani singing Vande Mataram. The hand of the clock gleamed in every eye. After 200 years of immense tyranny and brutality by the Britishers, India finally won her freedom and independence. So, on this auspicious day, let us travel back in time to have a look at those 200 cursed years.
The STORY begins as:
During the reign of the Mughal Emperor Jahangir in 1608, the first ship of the East India Company named ‘Hector’ arrived at the Surat port situated on the coast of Gujarat. The British obtained permission from the Mughal Emperor to establish trade settlements at Surat and other parts of Mughal Empire. For nearly 150 years the East India Company concentrated on trade and commerce, carrying goods manufactured in India and spices grown in India to Europe and making huge profits by their sale in England and other European countries.
The Revolt of 1857 was the first serious attempt of the Indians against the Company’s rule. However, it proved nugatory pertaining to lack of unity, co-ordination and effective leadership among the rebels. A retired British civil servant, Allan Octavian Hume founded the Indian National Congress in 1885. The primary objective of the Indian National Congress was to secure political, economic and other reforms from the British rulers. However, the INC gradually became the official organization of India’s freedom struggle.
With Mahatma Gandhi, the Indian national movement acquired a new direction from 1920 onwards. With the doctrine of ‘Satyagraha’, Mahatma Gandhi launched a movement against the mighty British Empire with non-cooperation and civil disobedience as his weapons. In August 1942, Mahatma Gandhi gave a call to the British ‘to quit India and leave the country’. The Quit India Movement was widespread leading to British brutality and death of thousands of freedom fighters. As the freedom struggle reached its zenith, the British realized the futility of holding on to their Indian possession and in turn, made a number of proposals to plan out the programme of final transfer of power to the Indian hands after the end of the War. At the mid-night of August 14-15, 1947, passage of India from bondage to freedom was marked.
However, let’s not forget that the STORY is far different from the HISTORY. So the bird’s eye view of the HISTORY is as follows:
Mahatma Gandhi’s non-violent struggle was a MINIMAL contribution to the cause of India’s freedom. Yes, you read that right!!
The British rule over India was entirely on the support of British Raj Army and the Royal Indian Navy. During World War 2, USA agreed to help UK in return for the end of preferential trading system by the UK with its colonies after the end of war. Besides, the Royal Indian Navy Mutiny was a major count. Hence, the fallout of Indian armed forces with the British Government under the leadership of Subhash Chandra Bose, and the end of preferential trade system made it unaffordable for UK to continue ruling India.
“The British quit India not because of Gandhi but because of the damage we faced at the hands of Subhash Chandra Bose.” – Lord Atlee, Viceroy
The truth is that by chalking out everywhere that Gandhi got us independence, we deprive the young Indians of the true facts of history and the true contribution of Gandhi and what Gandhi stood for and should be remembered for; they are – his idea of non-violence, peace and love for all communities and religion. He is rightfully the father of nation because his ideas of harmony and unity work way better in Independent India than they ever worked for Independence of India.
So, let us all join hands and take a pledge on this very day that we all will stand united and work all our might to make India not just Independent, but also DEMOCRATIC in true sense.
Also, let us not forget to remember all the great leaders and freedom fighters who sacrificed their lives for the very nation, but at the same time, break stereotypes and look towards the reality. Let this 70th independence be written in the pages of history. Lastly, let us shout out to the loudest cries – Bharat Mata ki Jai!
Rajasthan Blog Team Wish you all Happy Independence Day!!