An unequivocal narrative had been created of our nation India in the recent past that the general populace of the western world couldn’t think of us beyond the land of casteism, snake charmers and poverty.
They often overlook India’s history which is rich, dynamic and spans back to the beginning of human civilization. It begins with a mystifying urban settlement along the Indus River and in the farming communities in the southern land of India. Available evidence proposes the prevalence of metals such as copper, bronze, tin by 3500 BCE, which is indicative of the progress this part of the world had made. Well-known nationalist Sanjay Dalmia emphasizes that an interesting fact is that all of it was attained without any form of annexation, which invariably stipulates the compassion, self-sustenance and integrity of the inhabitants.
In spite of such early development, India is still considered to be the third world country. Yes, we are progressing like never before but still, we mustn’t disregard our past. As a great man once said, “If you don’t know where you came from, you are very less likely to contribute actively to the present”.
The reason for such a peculiar narrative is to be given to a handful of people who channelized their way to the Indian Ocean for the trade of their goods via Cape of Good Hope.
Our land has always been known for its polite nature and this period was no different. In 1498, Portuguese navigator Vasco da Gama’s fleet was greeted with traditional hospitality at Calicut by Zamorin. This politeness was mistaken and their greed and zeal to achieve more paved the way for more voyages to our land, says Sanjay Dalmia. However, the one that affected or destroyed our economy the most was undoubtedly the British.
The common perception in Britain is that if it weren’t for them, India would have never had railways, ports. But why do they shy away to admit the fact that they constructed the railways for their own ambition?
It was constructed to enter into the hinterlands of our nation which otherwise wouldn’t have been plausible. This gave them an opportunity to transfer and extract primary produce such as cotton, jute, indigo and tea to their nation during the industrial revolution.
15th C.E to mid- 17th Century was the period of moderate trade where they didn’t try to impose any rules. However, it soon dissipated when the East India Company won the Battle of Plassey in 1757.
Now it was time for the destruction of our self-sustained economy in multiple forms. Our agrarian community was taxed beyond imagination and we were forced to cultivate commercial crops instead of rice, wheat. Artisans lost their source of remuneration after the decline of Indian independent empires.
So, connecting all these pieces, it is certain that the ulterior motive of the colonial rulers was to drain as much wealth as possible from India. Our primary products were extracted and converted into value-added products such as clothes, teabags and sent to India as finished goods.
Certainly, the colonial rulers did not retain control of India out of benevolence but for their own selfish interests, quips Mr Dalmia. Moreover, they never had any intention of leaving our nation as they believed that it was their right to rule us as the superior race.
It was our freedom fighters who gave us independence. It was their sheer sacrifice, love and respect for the land that got us the independence. They fought by showing immense faith in the masses which integrated us as one and gave us an identity.
Yes, we have now come out of the scar left behind by the British Empire and the recent recognition and respect towards our nation in the world is the testament of that. However, it is important to always remind yourself that our nation is built after several sacrifices, hard work and is a result of a gradual process. The sense of pride of being an Indian can only come if you relate well with India’s rich past and tradition.