27 November, 2020

Freedom's Just Another World

We still struggle with freedom—we have to defeat the sins within

Freedom's Just Another World
India became independent on August 15, 1947. When did Indians become free? Jawaharlal Nehru, an architect and master-builder of independent India, often remarked that Mahatma Gandhi's greatest gift to Indians was abhaya—freedom from fear. Some 50,000 Britishers held over 300 million "natives" in the grip of fear. Gandhi led them out of this prison, but only after he had lost his respect for the Empire. Till virtually the end of the First World War, Gandhi was a servant of the Empire, fawning and obsequious in his support of the war effort. Jallianwalla Bagh smashed that heavy illusion. Once Gandhi had released himself from himself, he crafted the non-cooperation, or the aptly named Khilafat, movement between 1919 and 1922. It was a swivel moment of history. Gandhi could not end British rule, although he made the Empire's knees wobble, but he destroyed British mystique. After 1922 it was never a question of if, but when.

August 15 is celebrated as Independence Day. We should rename January 26 Freedom Day, because that was the day...


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