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As India completes 70 years of Independence, it’s time to junk the blame games

  • Editor
  • August 12, 2017
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Independence Day is a celebration of the new and a closure of the old. In the euphoria following freedom, it is tempting to play the self-righteous victim, and blame the past; but for how long? Now that the shoe is on the other foot, we should learn to tie up our laces and move. Every year Independence Day sends out a clear non-partisan message: this is your country now, look ahead, not back.

We can accuse the British for our poverty, our bureaucracy, our cumbersome laws, our rote learning, and so on, but such charges are time barred. It is now our job to right those wrongs and not of that ghost who has long since gone. When we allow memories to condition our thinking, we lose the capacity for self-examination and introspection – so essential for progress. The truth is that those who remember too much of their past are condemned to repeat it. We must break this cycle before it becomes an addiction. The right time to stop smoking is ‘now’.

In the 1950s, most of the policies our Constitution enacted were to combat those aspects of our tradition that had made us weak. The founding figures of independent India did not waste time on the British, but critiqued our society from within, even when it hurt. We recognised our internal deficiencies and, by law, no less, sought to neuter them.

Consequently, a slew of measures against caste, gender and religious discrimination came to life. Together, these firmed up India’s position as a full-fledged democratic nation. A culture that allowed child marriage, untouchability and occupational rigidity, was now breaking free from its past, almost at one stroke. In a similar fashion, the newborn Indian state turned against landlordism and the many iniquitous practices that went with it.

The determination with which our leaders carried out post-independence reforms was, in one word, heroic. They demonstrated both correctness and self-correction in equal proportion. The first Indian-owned cotton factories still needed British engineers to establish them. Should we blame Lancashire fat cats, or make sure such situations never recur? When a country is truly Independent it enters a time machine that only goes forward.

In other words, instead of moaning over our historical misfortunes let us resolve never to be in that place again. The best way to plug these flaws is to trash the blame game’s mother board. We have had enough of memory and there isn’t room for anymore. This could be our Independence Day resolve.

Independence Day is a celebration of the new and a closure of the old. In the euphoria following freedom, it is tempting to play the self-righteous victim, and blame the past; but for how long? Now that the shoe is on the other foot, we should learn to tie up our laces and move. Every year Independence Day sends out a clear non-partisan message: this is your country now, look ahead, not back. We can accuse the British for our poverty, our bureaucracy, our cumbersome laws, our rote learning, and so on, but such charges are time barred. It is now our job to right those wrongs and not of that ghost who has long since gone. When we allow memories to condition our thinking, we lose the capacity for self-examination and introspection – so essential for progress. The truth is that those who remember too much of their past are condemned to repeat it. We must break this cycle before it becomes an addiction. The right time to stop smoking is ‘now’. In the 1950s, most of the policies our Constitution enacted were to combat those aspects of our tradition that had made us weak. The founding figures of independent India did not waste time on the British, but critiqued our society from within, even when it hurt. We recognised our internal deficiencies and, by law, no less, sought to neuter them. Consequently, a slew of measures against caste, gender and religious discrimination came to life. Together, these firmed up India’s position as a full-fledged democratic nation. A culture that allowed child marriage, untouchability and occupational rigidity, was now breaking free from its past, almost at one stroke. In a similar fashion, the newborn Indian state turned against landlordism and the many iniquitous practices that went with it. [ads1] The determination with which our leaders carried out post-independence reforms was, in one word, heroic. They demonstrated both correctness and self-correction in equal proportion. The first Indian-owned cotton factories still needed British engineers to establish them. Should we blame Lancashire fat cats, or make sure such situations never recur? When a country is truly Independent it enters a time machine that only goes forward. In other words, instead of moaning over our historical misfortunes let us resolve never to be in that place again. The best way to plug these flaws is to trash the blame game’s mother board. We have had enough of memory and there isn’t room for anymore. This could be our Independence Day resolve.

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