Sunday, August 14, 2005

Independence Day thoughts

Today is 14th August, Independence Day of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, my motherland. On 14th of August, 1947 Pakistan came into being after a hard tussle between the All India Congress, All India Muslim League and British Government. My ancestors, like many other people, migrated from India to smell the “free air” of this land of pure. The sacrifices of these migrates became a legend.

I want to look back in time and access the whole independence process once again on this special day. Starting from what went right and what went wrong to what must be done.

The British came in and formed their East India Company. There sole purpose was trade. The waged wars against the locals, developed sophisticated communication and transport system to facilitate trade. They even suppressed the War of Independence of 1857 and India came under direct British rule.

Why were British so interested in India to bear all the pain of some development and wars? The answer is simply that the whole balance of trade was in favor of the British. Triggered by the Industrial Revolution, British were the super power of the world and looking for the world markets in order to utilize their increased productivity. Europeans systematically colonized a great deal of world in order to gain primarily in economic terms. The primary slogan of the colonial process was Commerce while Christianity and Civilization were just there to facilitate commerce. The developments that East India Company and British Government brought around in India were nothing in comparison with the economic growth. So, “economic growth without development” meant that a huge chunk of the capital was flowing out. India became more and more dependent on the British.

In order to assist the exploitation of India, the British created a whole system of government. That system of government served the British cause since it was their creation. That is not hard to understand. To further support the system, they created a class of people that was Indian in their outlook but Europeans in thought. They were equipped with English education and adapted to an English life style. That way they created a class with similar interest of exploitation of masses.

This class served the British but soon realized the unequal terms on which it was working. They new that the white are still their masters no matter how intelligent or civilize they become. They created a movement against the British that later on resulted in partition of India.

There was another kind of revolt that was rising in India too: the revolt by the poor masses of India against the exploitation on the hand of the foreigners. The British facilitated the movement of the “brown sahibs” because they had at least the same self-interest. The “brown sahibs” tried their level best to change the tide of the movement. They portrayed the English as the actual troublemakers while they were themselves an integral part of the exploitative system of government. They were successful to a very large extent.

What happened when Pakistan came into being? Very effectively, a new ruling elite (of brown sahibs) came into creation. This elite was those who were working under the British. With the departure of British, this elite replaced them.

The whole British machinery that facilitated exploitation stayed where it was. There was no change brought to the system. Only the machinery was run by a new set of people. This machinery was meant to serve the British system and now that no change was brought to it, it still worked for their old masters. The colonial hierarchy maintained itself, with only minor changes at the above. The colonial legacy continued with the dawn of a new era of exploitation.

There was not freedom under the British system of government, say our ancestors. But what we see is that the whole system was persevered after the 1947 and the system kept on running in the same manner. In that case, there was not freedom after 1947 too. Why do we celebrate this Independence Day then? I wonder…

After a long dark night there is dawn, I heard that somewhere. I believe that.

Pakistan will be independent only when there are structural changed brought to the colonial system of government. The whole system of government that curbs human independence must be destroyed in order to smell the fresh air of freedom. Things will change because they will have to change.

No comments: