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Lest we forget….

The country marks the 74th anniversary it finally and symbolically rid itself of the yoke of the brutal exploitative British rule which basically did far more damage to India as a nation and as an economic superpower in the 2 centuries of rule by deceit and by divide and rule, it’s single but potent weapon in its conquest of the economic superpower of the time, a country that contributed to between 27- 35% of the global GDP that it looted so effectively that by the time the Brits finally were forced to leave India had dropped to below 2%. The robbers of Britain gave India multiple divisions and carved the country into multiple fragments, while taking away £45 trillion for the favour. India suffered 165 million excess deaths due to British colonialism between 1880 and 1920. This figure is larger than the combined number of deaths from both World Wars, including the Nazi holocaust.

The struggle for Independence got some focussed effort in 1857 but this was most brutally and barbarically crushed by the British with the kinds of cruel acts that would make the ISIS, Hitler, Idi Amin and Pol Pot look like amateurs. After this crushing blow, the freedom struggle remained low key for nearly half a century.

 “We should have but one desire today – the desire to die so that India may live – the desire to face a martyr’s death, so that the path to freedom may be paved with the martyr’s blood.”
Netaji Subhaschandra Bose

The mistaken belief that it was the Congress that asked for freedom from the Brits should be given up for good. It was Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak and like-minded leaders during the early part of the 20th Century who were expelled by the Loyalists Of the Congress who propounded a clean break from the Brits. Lokmanya Tilak was imprisoned and externed to Mandalay in Burma. After his return, he reentered Congress through a rather devious route and in the Lucknow Conference of the Congress in December 1916, famously declared:

‘Home rule is my birth right and I shall have it.’ (स्वराज्य मेरा जन्मसिद्ध अधिकार है और मैं उसे पा कर रहूँगा)

The Congress, by then slipping under the influence of Gandhi, thanks to the demise of influential “moderate” leaders like Phirozeshah Mehta and Gopalkrishna Gokhale, both in 1915, did nothing about this declaration for more than a decade, and then hijacked the idea as it’s own.

On January 26,1930, the historic “Poorna Swaraj” declaration was officially promulgated by the Congress, as if it was a new, original idea.

The Constitution was prepared soon after independence in 1947 and adopted officially by the Constituent Assembly on November 26, 1949. Since 1950, January 26 has marked the day India’s Constitution came into effect. The date of 26th January was proximate enough to the 26th November adoption of the Constitution and sought to commemorate the 26th January 1930 declaration.

To commemorate the great sacrifice made by all those countless people I have chosen a song from a movie released in 1948. The lyrics are by Raja Mehdi Ali Khan (more famous for his soulful ghazals set to unforgettable tunes by Madan Mohan) and the composition is by Ghulam Haidar. https://youtu.be/_MWGeyQzQ4s

 “Freedom is not given – it is taken”
Netaji Subhaschandra Bose

It is this sacrifice of more than 4000 martyrs who were executed by the British on the gallows, hundreds of thousands more who died on the streets and thousands of members of the Indian National Army who died fighting for India, not to speak of nearly 6 million deaths during the Bengal Famines created by Churchill and Gandhi by diverting food grains from India to Britain, followed by revolts in the Indian Armed Forces (Air Force and Navy) that finally led to the British being forced to leave India.

Forgetting or overlooking the facts in our history is dangerous.

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” 
– George Santayana, The Life of Reason, 1905. 

Stay united, folks and committed to our great nation that is now beginning to awaken from the slumbers of the past. Stay focussed, committed and let us all move ahead.

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By abchandorkar

Consultant Interventional Cardiologist, Pune, India

26 replies on “Lest we forget….”

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