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#JaiHind? A few things to ponder as India celebrates Independence

Today marks the 68th anniversary of Indian Independence.  The day will be marked by parades and proclamations. 

The struggle for independence and the sacrifices of national leaders, namely Nehru and Gandhi ONLY, will be delivered like a mantra. 

The significant work of individuals such as Sir William Wedderburn, Ghokle Naidu, Tilak or even Lala Lajpat Rai, who died as a result of an infamous lathi charge during a peaceful protest against the Simon Commission which had arrived in India in 1928 to study “constitutional reform” in India, will once again be ignored.

And all official ceremonies will culminate with the singing of the national anthem. 

The Indian national anthem has no indication for the Motherland nor does it glorify God and, quite bizarrely, mentions the Sindh, which is now a part of Pakistan. 

The song was written by Rabindranath Tagore in Bengali – a language a vast majority of Indians do not grasp.  It was, in fact, written in honour of a visit by His Majesty King George V who visited India with Queen Mary for the Imperial Durbar in 1911, the first British monarch to set foot on Indian soil.

It was also to proclaim them as Emperor and Empress of India.

Tagore’s poem was first performed on 27 December 1911 at the Calcutta session of the Indian National Congress and was officially accepted as the national anthem in 1950.  It is not an ode to India or its freedom.  For the last 66 years the people of Independent India have been singing the praises of the British monarch, a ruler of India, who died in 1935.

Here’s hoping that the new administration in Delhi will consider a worthy national anthem relevant to the glory and greatness of India.

– Dr Kusoom Vadgama is a London-based historian and author.  She is also the founder of the Indo-British Heritage Trust which aims to promote the centuries-long relationship between India and Britain.

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