Subhas Chandra Pattanayak
Dear August 15, every second, every minute, every hour, every day of the year has passed away only to make me say that you are the fountainhead of my pride as an Indian.
The Sun was not seen. Not seen by any of us on our soil. But when August 14, 1947 elapsed into midnight, you had come to us illuminating our entire existence, illuminating every entity of our Nation, every atom of our Land. In the darkness of that midnight, there was only light, light and light. You had brought us our victory, so unique, so bright, in that midnight.
You had brought to us our victory over the British Empire where, according to its bards, the Sun was not daring to set. You witnessed that it is we the people of India to whom that Empire had to concede defeat, never again to dare to rise.
But where now is that victory of ours?
Where is that victory when we are rendered homeless so that private industries will prosper? Where is that victory when we are pulled out of our environment so that the Tatas or Jindals or Ambanis or POSCOs and the likes can consolidate their Empires? Where is that victory when a government elected for five years leases out all our mineral deposits to outsiders and leaves no scope for our future generations to derive any benefit from the resources Mother Nature had stocked for them? Where is that victory when wages are increased only to enhance the purchasing power of the working class so that the merchants would fetch more profit? Where is that victory when perishing under continuous slow starvation innumerable innocent children of Mother India die prematurely but Prime Ministers, as for example Mr.A.B.Vajpayee as he then was, deny starvation deaths even in the floor of Parliament quoting some puppet periodical’s or bureaucrats report that the deceased had food before the death? Where is the victory when mothers sell away kids to eke out a days living? Where is the victory when communalists vandalize social tranquility in the name of religion? Where as the victory when more and more numbers of youngsters remain unemployed? Where is the victory when more and more people fall in debt-trap? Where is the victory when farmers commit suicide? Where is the victory when more and more people go on praying for inclusion in the list of people below the poverty line even as more and more girls get caught for human trafficking?
When you come, do you look around to find out where is the victory you had brought to us in that midnight in the blaze of which the darkness had become so bright?
Dear August 15, under the surge of independence our victory has been lost.
We were not dependants on the British to be independent. They were trespassers. They were looters. They had come to our land in search of their bread. They plundered our land taking advantage of our magnanimity. They conspired against our culture. They imposed their system on us. They ruined our solidarity, our way of life, our age-tested economy, and our self-employed autonomous social forces. They crippled our spiritual quest, our traditional trades.
We had fought to drive them out of our soil. It took time. We lost many a life. We refused to be afraid of the sharp spate of dispatch into prisons and to gallows. We used non-violence as a weapon against violence. We also trained violence to supplement non-violence. We exhibited incomparable magnanimity in standing with our enemy, the British, in the world war against the fascists. And we took pity on the poor Britons in service in our Land and let them safely go back to their Country, when, after driving them away, you have witnessed, we kept in our service their number one man, their Viceroy, Lord Luis Mountbatten to assist us in celebrating our victory over the British, which was such a victory that the British Empire collapsed.
But like the mare on the moon, the concept of independence has over-shadowed that victory.
Independence has given independence to judiciary to enlarge criminals on bail without any concern for time-bound adjudication of the case. Independence has given independence to legislators to stonewall or to stop proceedings of their respective Houses in blatant disregard to democratic ethics and procedures with full immunity. Independence has given independence to bureaucracy to mismanage administration and independence has given the Press the independence to indulge in lobbying for the vested interest manipulators as it likes.
Dear August 15, do not resemble this independence.
It is time to rip open the cocoon of independence to look afresh at our victory, to our victory against imperialism and to decide not to be deceived by the word independence being used so lucidly by the new agents of neo-imperialism who have spread their tentacles around all the four pillars of our democracy.
Teach us dear August 15 to discard ‘independence’ to rediscover our victory. And, we sure will do.