The Republic of India came into existence on January 26th, 1950, with the passage of the Indian constitution.
In the millennia of India’s existence, sixty years is but a moment. Before the Muslims arrived to destroy things, India was probably the most advanced civilization in the world. By the time they’d finished smashing her great monuments and murdering multitudes, Islam had brought India to heel. Sort of.
But that was then, back during Europe’s “Dark Ages”. Actually, there wasn’t any entity known as “Europe” then, just warring groups invading one another’s territories under the pressures of population movement. In the 8th century, India’s culture was in flower. And then the Muslims invaded…followed centuries later by the European competition for goods and dominion over one another via vassal states like India.
That world doesn’t exist anymore. Europe diminished itself through internecine warfare and the migration of populations to other continents.
In the present, India can celebrate with pride its independence, wrested from the English after so much injustice. What England did there makes colonial America’s complaints about “taxation without representation” pale in comparison.
Gandhi was a great influence in this process that led to liberty, but he is only a small portion, one that is focused on in the West because his pacifism encapsulated the image that we wanted to emphasize.
We study Gandhi and his teachings, but we do not ponder the countless bloody sacrifices individual Indians made for their country’s ultimate liberty.
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While we can go on at length about the injustice of the British in her Indian colonization (and it was brutal), we don’t give enough credit to the English for their foundational work in training what would become India’s republican bureaucracy. Despite England’s cruel use of India, it left behind a legacy that India put to use in its own behalf.
What would India have looked like with, say, a French overlord? To answer that, look at Algeria. No Gandhi arose there among the Berbers. Admittedly, the two colonies are hardly similar, but the complexities of India were – and are – stunning. That she achieved independence and has maintained it in the face of many threats to her sovereignty is due in no small part to the long influence of England, who once called Queen Victoria the “Empress of India”.
Those days are long gone. The complexities of India with its gargantuan problems, difficulties we could not even begin to grasp (much less resolve to conquer), remain in the forefront. The religious complexities and fractures, the caste system, and the burdens of overpopulation remain. In addition there is the menace of Pakistan on one side and the hovering presence of China on the other.
Were the recent atrocities in Mumbai meant to throw a damper on the sixtieth anniversary of India’s statehood? If so, they didn’t succeed. But that cruel killing-and-torture spree remind us that Gandhi’s tactics are not suitable for all places and all times.
Those terrorists are the embodiment of evil. In the face of the virtue represented by someone like Gandhi, evil has no choice: it must destroy goodness. Is it any wonder that these terrorists particularly chose the Jewish enclave in Mumbai to do their worst atrocities? Those people had done nothing wrong, unless focusing on helping one’s fellow pilgrims and leading a life of strict prayer and observance is wrong. Their very existence was abhorrent to those who plan mass murder and mayhem in the name of their cause.
India has survived as a republic now for sixty years. It will continue on because its determination cannot be destroyed. Shaken? Of course. But it is too big to be brought down by incursions of death dealers. They must know that at some level. Yet, for them, it is the death and destruction that matters. They will be back again, and India knows this.
But they will never bring down Mother India. She is too strong, too intelligent, too ancient, and too varied to ever succumb again to problems instigated by outsiders.
Andrew Bostom’s definitive “Legacy of Jihad” has a whole subsection devoted to Islam’s rampage through the Near East, Europe, Asia Minor, and the Indian subcontinent. Dr. Bostom chose K.S. Lal’s essay, Muslims Invade India for inclusion there. Only twenty or so pages in length, it chronicles the horrors in detail, beginning with the first invasion in 712. For his subheading quote, Lal uses the words of Amir Timur (Tamerlane) to explain their murderous work:
My principal object in coming to Hindustan…has been to accomplish two things. The first was to war with the infidels, the enemies of the Mohammadan religion; and by this religious warfare to acquire some claim to reward in the life to come. The was…that the army of Islam might gain something by plundering the wealth and valuables of the infidels: plunder in war is as lawful as their mothers’ milk to Musalmans who war for their faith.