Thursday, 15 August 2019

India's Independence Day, 2019

worldbestmagic.in 
. Netaji in Singapore .scoopwhoop.com
 1943. On this day "Provisional Government of free India" was established in Singapore under the leadership of Netaji.

Subhash Bose after resignation from the post of Congress president.
scoopwhoop.com
Gandhi and kasturi Bai www.scoopwhoop.com/
Pictures from the 1947-1948 Indo-Pak war fought over Kashmir scoopwhoop.com
India’s first Republic Day parade in 1950.scoopwhoop.com
*****
Below here I have reproduced an article on India's freedom
posted on15th August, 1947  by one Matt Boughton:
15th August 1947 - India gains independence from the UK
"We need to be the change we wish to see in the world." - Mahatma Gandhi

''Yesterday we looked at the end of the Second World War, and one of the major and rather immediate after-effects of that was the dissolution of the European Empires and their strange, anachronistic grip on Asian and African territories. There was no greater representation of this anywhere in the world than Britain's ownership of India which had stretched back nearly two centuries, seen as "the jewel in the crown", the British quite unashamedly casting themselves as a necessary "civilising" force on this vast, alien subcontinent. Britain's presence in India had shaped how they saw themselves as a nation and in an age of Empire there was very little opposition to what would now seem an incredibly bizarre situation, an enormous and polar opposite land ruled by a country which would fit in its pocket. In the 20th century the status quo began to seem more and more ridiculous, before the crescendo of two world wars, a shifting global balance of power, a new socialist British government and an inspirational Indian independence movement led by Mahatma Gandhi resulted in a resigned exit.

Europeans had established trading posts in India from the great explorations of the late 15th century onwards, with Britain arriving there in 1612 and attempting to edge out the Dutch and Portuguese presence which was already well-established. The French muscled in too but in the early 18th century the decline of the Mughal Empire which had ruled much of India since Genghis Khan presented an opportunity to seize significant power in the area. From 1757 onwards the East India Company asserted their control over the area region by region until by 1835 the British ruled enough of India to demand English be taught in schools and beginning a modernisation of traditional Hindu values such as the caste system, child marriage and the highly controversial practice of "sati" in which a recently widowed woman would throw herself on her husband's funeral pyre. While the abandonment of some of this might have been welcomed by many, other more benign social customs were also suppressed and some became increasingly indignant of British power. However a rebellion in northern and central India in 1857 backfired, as the British government took control of the East India Company and effectively subsumed the country into its Empire. Now there was an official Secretary of State for India in the British Cabinet and a Governor-General (or Viceroy) sent in to keep order. In 1876, their rule was so established that Queen Victoria became Empress of India.

And so began the British Raj, extending over pretty much the entirety of present day India, Pakistan, Burma and Bangladesh, excluding Goa which would remain Portuguese into the 1960s and Pondicherry which remained French until the 1950s. Over the next few decades, opposition to British rule was rather muted within India, any objections largely lodged over the extent to which Indians should have a hand in government, with very few advocating independence, or "swaraj" as Gandhi would later call it. By 1907 a radical group had emerged with the ideal of overthrowing the Raj, though they were vastly outnumbered by the moderates who simply wanted reform and any momentum it had seemed to fade. However, the First World War would change everything, Britain surprised to find India completely supportive of its fight against Germany, throwing men and resources behind the war effort. In the end, 1.3 million Indian soldiers would stand with the British Army but as the conflict dragged on, Indian nationalists began to feel they deserved some kind of reward once it was all over, and the extremists and moderates pulled together in a united front. The British were quick to realise what was happening and agreed to "gradual development of self-governing institutions" which became a power-sharing "diarchy" in 1919. This might have placated nationalists but the Amritsar Massacre in April that same year, in which the British military opened fire on a group of demonstrators, killing somewhere between 379 and 1,500 people (depending on whether you believe the British or Indian estimates), severely dented any hope for the diarchy, particularly when its instigator Brigadier-General Reginald Dyer was hailed as a hero back home.

Enter Mahatma Gandhi, fresh from the civil rights fight for Indians in South Africa, returning home in 1915 with a new understanding of the power of non-violent civil disobedience in order to bring change. This vision was crucial because it allowed millions of normal Indians to become sympathetic to the cause, transforming a minority view into an almost national one. Gandhi urged a programme of "non-cooperation" which took in boycotts of British imports, educational institutions and law courts, resignation of Indians from government and, most importantly, refusal to pay taxes. It didn't last long because in 1922 an angry mob burned down a Raj police station in Chauri Chaura, killing 23 policeman, disgusting Gandhi and forcing him to abandon the programme for the sake of his non-violent ideals. He was subsequently put in prison for 2 years but in the meantime he had inspired so many in India that a new peaceful nationalist movement prospered without him. In 1928 the Congress demanded India be granted dominion status by the end of the decade or a second programme of non-cooperation would be launched. This did not transpire and so the Congress switched its aims to full independence, Gandhi re-appearing to lead the new resistance, embarking on his famous 250-mile march in the spring of 1930 and spearheading the various civil disobedience episodes of the early 1930s.

Ironically the real gift to Indian independence would be world war, again. India were "announced" as joining the war by the British Viceroy, at which point the political parties rebelled, resigning from local government, though at the same time over 2 and a half million Indians joined the volunteer army on behalf of the British. Gandhi sought to calm the civil disobedience movement during the war, adamant that real freedom could not be reached through a total collapse of British power. As in the First World War, they again expected something in return for their support but by 1942 they had failed to reach any agreement with the British government and so launched the "Quit India Movement". This called for a new programme of civil disobedience, though the timing was questionable with the Japanese army knocking at India's door. So the British panicked, imprisoning Gandhi (yet again) and the Congress leaders, banning the party entirely. Then as the war finally came to a close 3 years later, the political landscape back in the motherland was radically altered.

Clement Attlee's socialist Labour government had little interest in Empire, especially given their precarious post-war financial situation and a promise to deliver sweeping new welfare and healthcare reforms within the UK. India was restless and Britain had neither the appetite nor the resources to quell that spirit, the British people exhausted from decades of foreign conflict. A series of mutinies within the Royal Indian Navy in 1946 made the matter a priority and the government announced that they would award independence no later than June 1948, a date brought forward by the new Viceroy, Lord Mountbatten, as agitation between the Hindu and Muslim factions began to rapidly increase. Religious barriers became a real issue in the lead-up to independence, the nationalist leaders in India agreeing on a partition of the country, appalling Gandhi and many others who were vehemently opposed. The Hindu and Sikh areas became "India" while the Muslim areas would become "Pakistan", the historical reality finally realised on 14th (Pakistan) and 15th (India) August 1947. 3 years later India had a constitution, enshrining a sovereign, secular and democratic republic which has survived, and though its economy was slow at first, that would all change by the 1990s. Real poverty still exists though and tensions with Pakistan continue to this day, with 4 wars erupting between the two in the period between independence and 1999. In fact while the religious dispute might seem alien to many in the West, their nuclear rivalry has been a real cause for global concern. As a new nation though, its sustained democracy has been impressive.

Gandhi remained disgusted by the partition, having envisioned religious unity, and indeed half a million were killed on the border areas when riots broke out on the stroke of independence, many desperately trying to switch sides. Gandhi wouldn't live to see the two nations forge ahead as he was assassinated by a Hindu nationalist in January 1948. A nation mourned, with 2 million lining the 5-mile funeral route, and it could be said that in death he had finally managed to link the new state with the wider Indian people and highlighted the dangers of religion being in any way linked to the constitution''.

"You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty."
........ Mahatma Gandhi
Posted 15th August by Matt Boughton
http://thisdaythen.blogspot.com/2012/08/15th-august-1947-india-gains.html