This post is the result of my own confusions with this subject, and what prompted me to finally put hand to keyboard was the rather ugly discussion on Vinod Sharma’s blog. I will actually keep adding to this post as I learn and understand more.
Odzer says, anyone who has an Indian passport is an Indian, true, but thats just one way of looking at things. But ask our Chief Justice, and he may consider India and its Constitution are the tools of his emancipation and empowerment after centuries of oppression. Ask a Muslim girl from a small town in UP, and the Indian nation is a platform for fulfilling her noble ambitions. Ask a Mizo or Tripuri, and the Indian nation, unjust in the past, is today a more acceptable political identity than their Chin cousins have across the border in Burma. And these ideas will keep changing because nations are even more fluid than cultures.
Would these changes happened if India was not as it is ? Would empowered Dalits in Maharashtra be able to help and support help their brothers in UP ? Would a Muslim girl from UP be able to touch the moon through an agency that a Gujarati set up with his singular vision ? Would a dedicated NGO in Rajasthan undertake a tough, tortous decade long campaign to give people in Orissa a tool against their corrupt government ? Would soldiers from Punjab and Kerala protect Tibetans in Arunachal Pradesh and Uttaranchal from the Red Army’s oppressive grasp ?
There are people who of course have very negative (perhaps justifiably) notions of India. And they must be heard and understood if India is to become the nation it can.
The Indian nation as in its territory maybe arbitrary perhaps, as may be the territory of other post-colonial nations, but its Constitution is not. Of all the myriad failings of the Indian state and its society, the commitment to not ‘abolish’ the Consti at the whim and fancies of dictators/politicians like has been the tendency in other new nations has been a singular achievement. Yes, there have been many amendments, but most of them been technical details of administration, not the basic structure. India’s state if not stable, has been continuous. This is perhaps the real reward of the long, gruelling struggle for independence that India underwent, which left the new nation with a very politically active population and some sincere, dedicated leaders in its early years. Today, the political and leadership situation is very different. Perhaps it will change in the future.
I am not trying to brush away the inequality, violence and hypocrisy of today’s India, but just clarifying that they are not reason enough to dismiss this unique nation. And the hope of tomorrow’s India should strengthen our resolve to destroy the evil in India today.