1947: INDEPENDENCE OR TRANSFER OF POWER ? – 2 (Post No.8630)

WRITTEN BY R. NANJAPPA                        

Post No. 8630

Date uploaded in London – – – –5 SEPTEMBER 2020   

Contact – swami_48@yahoo.com

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1947: INDEPENDENCE OR TRANSFER OF POWER ? – 2

R.Nanjappa

GANDHI ENTERS THE SCENE

Gandhiji entered the scene then. He had in his small book, the only book he ever wrote, “Hind Swaraj” (1909) outlined his idea of how India lost its freedom. He also said how it could regain it. He considered India not as a mere country, but as a civilization; the real enemy it was facing was Modern Civilization. The British were also its victims., more to be pitied than hated.  Swaraj for India really meant the protection of its civilization.”My swaraj is to keep in tact the genius of our civilization”, he said. India gave up its adherence to its civilization and so it lost its freedom.

WHY INDIA FELL

But having said that, he also understood and pointed out what made us give up our adherence to our civilization. It was the economic exploitation forced on the nation by the British and relentlessly pursued for 150 years. Here, Gandhiji touched on the real, core issue: India did not live in the cities and towns; it lived in the 7,00.000 villages. These villages had been independent economic units, self-sufficient for all practical purposes.  Kings and emperors rose and fell, but had not touched the villages. This was the basis of our national Polity and Society. This was the secret of India’s survival and prosperity through the ages.  But the British disrupted their economy, deprived them of their independence, and took away the products of their labour by way of excessive taxation. Polity and Society too declined in consequence. The three lost their organic links. Real Swaraj was therefore to restore to  the villages their rights as independent economic units, to let them function as a society and operate their own Polity. Gandhiji therefore ceaselessly talked of Village Swaraj, or empowering the villages.

The centre of power is in New Delhi, or in Calcutta and Bombay, in the big cities. I would have it distributed among the seven hundred thousand villages of India.

There will then be voluntary cooperation….Voluntary cooperation will produce real freedom. 

Gandhiji knew that Indians had to fight for it, the British just won’t grant freedom. As early as in 1916, he had said in his Benares Hindu University speech:

 If we are to receive self-government, we shall have to take it. We shall never be granted self-government. Look at the history of the British Empire and the British nation; freedom loving as it is, it will not be a party to give freedom to a people who will not take it themselves.  


ELITES AND MASSES

The British as colonialists did not want to encourage Indians in any way.India was not suitable for their direct colonisation, i.e by immigration and settlement.( such as Australia or Canada) So they devised a method to rule the country by military power, and in course of time engaged Indians themselves in enslaving India and its exploitation. These Indians formed an elite, the English educated elite, who studied English language and literature, law, some Western philosophy- all at superficial levels. They were given very junior and minor positions in administration; but this was enough to make them identify with the colonial masters and alienate themselves from the people of India. On top of them were the British bosses.

This “elite” force was created by the education system imposed by the British, discarding the indigenous education system. But it achieved its objective only because the British had made knowledge of English compulsory for service. The Indian economy having been fully disrupted by then, the educated people had to take up ‘service’ or employment in increasing numbers for a living. This made them increasingly identify themselves with the colonial masters and distance themselves further from their own people and traditions.

This system was sustained by the enforcement of colonial law and order, and a police department under the control of the British officers. 


This was the system we had in India on the eve of Independence in 1947. So, what happened on 15 August 1947? What changed afterwards?

Indian government under Prime Minister Nehru took over the structure as it was then. Not a single element in it was discarded or altered. Law and order, administration and education-everything continued as they had been under the British. Nehru even continued Englishman Lord Mountbatten as the Governor General (unlike Pakistan). The Army Chief was also an Englishman- Robert Lockhart.

           *           to be continued

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