Independence by vote? Seriously?

India was bled dry for our independence, economically and literally. Tomorrow Scotland will VOTE for independence – and that’s it; they will get their way if their majority so chooses. What happened in India? Why did WE have to win our independence after millions were killed, imprisoned or tortured for the sake of our freedom?

a sweet neem branch growing against our wallWhat has changed so much? It wasn’t that long ago that we got our freedom from the very people the Scots are demanding from. India is still full of first hand witnesses of that time. My own family has several members who were born in British India. Three quarters of a century may be significant in a person’s life but it’s not much for a people or a nation. And yet the Scots can get independence merely by voting for it.

I have absolutely nothing against Scotland or its independence. Nor am I trying to undermine their intention to live their lives on their own terms. I’m all for people who want circumstances conducive enough to live by their own accord. This isn’t about how easy it is for Scots to get independence but how difficult it was for my people to do the same. Freedom is a big deal or so many Indians would not have sacrificed their lives so I could sit here and, at the very least, express my views without fear. But what I am confused about is whether we got it wrong. If it’s that simple, why didn’t we go and ask for it from the same British and achieved it by voting?

monsoon caterpillar crawling on our mango tree trunkWas it a race issue? Maybe we weren’t considered clever enough to decide on our own? Or the distance? Unlike Scotland, India was too far geographically to put pressure on the British home base. Maybe we couldn’t embarrass them enough from so far away? Religion? Development? Resources? So many theories flash through my head as I sit here but I can’t logically attribute any of them to the ease with which freedom can be had in 2014.

Okay, maybe that should read “freedom can be had FOR SOME in 2014.” There are plenty of oppressed people around the world struggling for independence from powers that won’t let go. This entry is not about them either. For that I apologize.

Maybe Scotland is an anomaly. If so, I am happy for them. They should appreciate this opportunity and remember, no one rules for free. If the rulers get nothing out of it, they pack their bags and go home on their own. Whatever the apparent lack of struggle in this independence, if Scots choose yes, they keep what the British hitherto take home as domination tribute. For India this price was beyond measure but not as much as the price we paid to break free of our bonds. I’ve never known bondage so I’m not qualified to say if all the lives and blood we lost was worth it. Only those who suffered but stood resolute deserve to answer. But I can say this; I am forever grateful for their sacrifice and freedom my family and I enjoy today. We, as a nation, have more than our fair share of problems; we will solve them as best as we are able. But in the end, our destiny is ours to decide and no one can take that away from us anymore. Our lives will be by our choice and it makes all the difference.

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