Sudhanva Shetty Shetty
Writer, coffee-addict, likes folk music & long walks in the rain. Firmly believes that there's nothing more important in a democracy than a well-informed electorate.
Image Source: techicy
We just celebrated our 70th Independence Day. On Aug 15, 1947, at the stroke of midnight hour, India became free.
But only from the British.
India knew that there would be countless challenges facing her as a free nation – but she was ready to face all of them on her own terms.
When freedom came, it came at the cost of Partition;
The artificial lines of religion and politics tore apart the subcontinent and engulfed it in bloodshed and the murder of a million.
But the spirit of India endured.
Our Founding Fathers established plans for a robust, inclusive democracy.
The world laughed: a nation of 350 million uneducated men and women divided in every way possible, voting together for a popular mandate? The country would break within a decade, they joked.
But democracy in India only grew.
In 1962 when our communist neighbour invaded our northern borders, an infant, unready nation struggled to give a fitting response.
“Here come the bells of balkanization!” the media declared.
But the unity of India never dwindled.
When we were called upon by a foreign nation suffering a genocide in 1971, we answered the human rights violations with befitting military might, liberating an oppressed people and cementing our influence.
The influence of India would only grow in the future.
During the dark days of Emergency when civil liberties were suspended and India ceased being India,
We resisted the tyranny of the government and fought for democracy:
The freedom of the Indian people was more important than the games of politicians.
When we were faced with an act of unprovoked aggression in 1999 by our theocratic neighbour,
Our men in uniform fought valiantly and sent the invaders cowering for cover.
The reputation of India would never dampen.
As mobs pillaged in various riots and killed innocents,
We stood hand-in-hand with Hindus and Muslims, refusing to be divided by religion.
The secularism of India was more important than religious loyalty.
When terrorists vandalized Mumbai and killed our brothers and sisters in 2008,
The aggressors thought they could destroy the oneness of India –
But nothing, nothing whatsoever could hurt the unison of Indians.
In 2012 after a young Delhi girl was brutally raped and died,
A nation of a billion stopped in its tracks to demand justice for her and everybody else facing her plight.
An attack on one was akin to an attack on all.
Let it be remembered that throughout history
India’s darkest days were followed by her most glorious moments.
And that no agent of division – foreign nations, religion, caste, sexuality, language – nothing whatsoever can impinge on that raw, innate Indian desire for harmony and unity in diversity.
No matter what happens, India will endure.
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