Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Idea of India

What is India? Is it a geographical boundary? Does not it include the sky above this land? How about mountains and rivers? Or is it about people living here? Or is it about their culture? That is the question Nehru posed to common people before India had gained independence. About twenty years before him, Mahatma Gandhi had asked this question to himself and the idea of India was born. He got two more supporting personalities in Nehru and Patel who were equally committed to the idea of India. They struggled throughout their lives to realize their dream.

Today we are educated enough to say India is not just a geography or people alone but the culmination of all of it and the evolution of a civilization. But few decades ago before India’s independence, someone had to take the initiative to feed this idea of India into the people who were ruled by foreigners. That job was done by the trio – Gandhi, Nehru and Patel, who traveled all over India tirelessly and waited long enough until their idea was sold and created a momentum to prepare India to rule herself.

Long before them, couple of thousand years ago, foundation of was India was laid out and reinforced by many people ranging from Buddha to Emperor Ashoka, Gupta to Mughal kingdoms, Adi Shankara to Swami Vivekananda. There was no dearth of patriotic personalities in the history of India. But the idea of modern India had to be revolutionized and it was well done by Gandhi, Nehru and Patel. I don’t credit success to only these three people but there were lots of others who were fiercely loyal to idea of India like Bhagat Singh and Subhash Chandra Bose. But the protagonists or the successors chosen by history were Gandhi, Nehru and Patel. Two of them did not live long enough to see what they fought for. It was just Nehru who emerged as sole successor of every single freedom fighter’s struggle and ruled independent India long enough to hold the record which is not broken yet. All decisions Nehru and his colleague and mentor took and the compromises they had to agree to were necessary for the welfare of India. Without these three people, the idea of India would have been void. If you think Nehru’s socialism was bad for India, think again. If Govt. did not have a greater control, many of us who studied in Govt. schools would not have had access to education in case Nehru had preferred privatization over socialism. I don’t say we can’t criticize Nehru’s actions but before we do that we need to get back to those times and think how much of India’s population had access to education and entrepreneurship. Hope you get the reasoning behind making India a socialist country for few decades.

I strongly believe that Gandhi, Nehru and Patel were committed to idea of India than the ideology of a political party they belonged to. If Nehru was alive and in power today, he would have defined the foreign relationships of India like no one else of his contemporaries would have done. Similarly, if Patel was in the the helm, he would have been more efficient than today’s Modi.

Identifying these historic personalities with political ideologies and seeing them in wrong shadows would be a grave mistake. It is like ridiculing your own birth which is equivalent to doubting foundation of modern India. Hope we overcome that and celebrate the success of making of India.