India's 70th Independence Anniversary

The seventh decade has been completed as India marks its independence. Beyond the celebrations, there is also remembrance as the brutality of the partition cannot be forgotten. Partition divided India into two new countries of India and Pakistan.

Around a million people died as Hindus, Sikhs and Muslims had to make life changing decisions as to which part of the political and geographical divide they stood. Whilst Mahatma Gandhi and India’s first PM Jawaharlal Nehru fought for a non-violent movement, partition changed all that as Indians fought amidst religious divides. The aspirations of independence turned into the new challenges ahead beginning with the largest and bloodiest mass migration the world had seen.

For those unfamiliar with the history, it is worth reading the succinct piece done in The Telegraph which gives an excellent brief account.

In current times, there is much to be optimistic about for India with the economy growing, investments as a high, success in science and technology and of course Bollywood and cricket. But beyond such optimism, there are unsolved issues of over population, a significant part of India still under developed and people still suffering below the poverty line and environmental catastrophes. The solutions for Kashmir are still nowhere in sight.

Prime Minister Modi in his Independence speech in Delhi surrounded by a spectacular assortment of independence symbols spoke of his vision of New India which is corruption free, violence free and where caste and communal differences are things of the past.

As Indians enjoy the celebrations and remember the sad memories of partition let us hope that the next decade brings peace in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh – the precursor to such aspirations is dialogue.