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Thursday, August 14, 2014

Celebrating 68th Independence Day of the Nation - recalling words of Lord Dufferin ; Simon Commission..

15th August is a Great ~  On this day in 2014, we celebrate the 68th  Independence Day of the Nation....

On the eve of the 67th anniversary,  President Pranab Mukherjee conveyed his special greetings to members of our armed forces, paramilitary forces and internal security forces.  He also said the focus of India's policies should go from alleviation of poverty to elimination of poverty. The benefits of economic development must percolate down to the poorest of poor," he added. "Good governance is critically dependent on rule of law, transparency & inclusiveness," he said.

Recently, Prime Minister of the Nation Shri Narendra Modiji dedicated to the nation the 44MW Chutak hydropower station at Kargil.  Addressing a public rally at Kargil, the Prime Minister recalled his visit to the town during the 1999 Kargil war. He said gunfire was heard in those days, where now we hear the sound of people clapping. He said the people of Kargil had supported the Indian Armed Forces during the war. He said he still recalled the excitement and patriotic fervour in the town when Tiger Hill was won.  Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi later addressed officers, soldiers and air warriors of the Indian Army and Air Force at Leh.

The annals of the history reveal to us that British colonisation of India began in the second half of the 18th century when the English East India Company took control of Bengal and gradually expanded its territory to other parts of India. From Clive’s victory at Plassey in 1757 to the outbreak of the Mutiny of 1857, Britain’s empire on the subcontinent was administered by the East India Company. A chartered monopoly, the Company significantly expanded its fiscal, territorial and military grip on the subcontinent in the century before its abolition in 1858. In 1858 the British Government replaced the role of the East India Company and became the 'Paramount' ruler of India. It was not until 1947 that India regained its independence - ending nearly 200 years of British rule.

On a search read this extract from a Minute on British policy in India by the Viceroy, Lord Dufferin, November 1888. [source : British Library UK]. One should not be surprised to read his views that ‘to handover, therefore, the Govt. of India, either partially or otherwise to such a body as this would simply be to place millions of men, dozens of nationalities and hundreds of the most stupendous interests under the domination of a microsopic minority, possessing neither experience, administrative ability, nor any adequate conception of the nature of tasks before them’ …. Clearly his concern is more on the ‘stupendous interests’ and not millions of men !!!

To recall a bit of history,  Government of India Act 1919 had introduced the system of dyarchy to govern the provinces of British India. In the late 1920s, the Conservative government then in power in Britain feared imminent electoral defeat at the hands of the Labour Party, and also feared the effects of the consequent transference of control of India to such an "inexperienced" body. Hence, it appointed seven MPs (including Chairman Simon) to constitute the commission that had been promised in 1919 that would look into the state of Indian constitutional affairs. The people of the Indian subcontinent were outraged and insulted, as the Simon Commission, which was to determine the future of India, did not include a single Indian member in it. The Indian National Congress, at its December 1927 meeting in Madras resolved to boycott the Commission and challenged Lord Birkenhead, the Secretary of State for India, to draft a constitution that would be acceptable to the Indian populace.

Almost immediately with its arrival in Bombay on February 3, 1928, the Simon Commission was confronted by throngs of protesters. The entire country started a strike, and many people turned out to greet the Commission with black flags. Similar protests occurred in every major Indian city that the seven British MPs visited.  In  Lahore protest was led by Indian nationalist Lala Lajpat Rai, who had moved a resolution against the Commission in the Legislative Assembly of Punjab in February 1928. In order to make way for the Commission, the local police force began beating protestors with their sticks. The police were particularly brutal towards Lala Lajpat Rai, who died later on November 17, 1928.

On this great day of our National Independence, let us dedicate ourselves to the service of the Nation, remember the patriotic deeds and sacrifices of so many, because of whom we are breathing free air….

Jai Hind…

With great regards to all those patriotic souls

S. Sampathkumar.

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