Today, India celebrates 75 years of independence from the British rule. The movement began during World War I and was led by Gandhi who organised the first of his many effective non-violent campaigns protesting Britain’s oppressive rule in India such as the “Quit India” campaign to hasten the British departure. On August 15, 1947, India got its freedom, ending an almost 200-year British rule. On August 14, 1947, Pakistan too emerged as a free nation under the leadership of Mohammed Ali Jinnah. The partition of the two countries, resulted in mass migration, riots and mass casualties. Muslims migrated towards Pakistan, and Hindus and Sikhs in the direction of India. There were 14 million refugees who were at the end of the partition living in camps. The death toll post partition migration is estimated to be about 2 million.
While India, the largest democracy in the world has been celebrating 75 years of freedom, the current situation in ‘free’ India is far from ideal, humane, and moral. Here are some questions to ponder over today.
1) The pogroms and discrimination against Muslims and the Dalit community all over the country.
2) The (mis) management of the COVID situation leading to mass cremations, oxygen shortage and unwarranted deaths across the nation.
3) The situation of migrants (workers of the unorganised work sector) in India during the 2020 COVID lockdown with no assistance from the government.
4) Farmer’s strike that shook the country and their demands still needing to be met.
5) The life of Kashmiris who are living in the world’s largest militarised zone became worse.
6) India collapsed in the freedom of press index and moved from the status of a democracy to ‘autocracy’. India’s economy has also declined. There has been a death of dissent wherein political activists, authors, journalists’ students have been imprisoned.
To celebrate independence from oppression, we must strive towards a humane, dignified, and moral society and speak out against tyranny and autocracy with movements inspired from India’s forefathers who fought for independence. Quit India Movement of 2021.