The movement that came to unite the Indian people came from external sources. India has been invaded many times. Alexander the Greek was one of these Invaders. Lol, not Alexander the Great you will notice, even though they are one and the same. It makes sense that the Indian people do not think he is great. What you see in India today is a mix of all the invaders, including the peoples and their cultures. All great cultures except the Romans have at one time or another invaded India.
1.) 1498 – Vasco de Gama invaded, this is called the European invasion. He invaded at Kerala, a favorite site of invasions many times over.
2.) 1526 – from St. Alecia a 20 year old named Babur invaded. Babur was from Asia. He conquered Afghanistan, and then came to India and defeated the Indian king. Babur decided to stay in India. He settled down and managed to unite the Indian empire. His unification of India lasted for 200 years until 1756. During his rule Persian became the national language of India. In 1756 the Europeans came and conquered India. (There is a great book called The Places Inbetween, by Rory Stewart, that talks about Babur. The book is about Rory’s walk across Afghanstan in 2002. http://www.amazon.com/The-Places-Between-Rory-Stewart/dp/0156031566)
3.) 1756 – the East Indian Trading Company – this begins the period of British colonialism in India. In 1857 resistance and agitation by the Indians over their treatment led to the East Indian Company turning control over to the British monarchy.
The British needed what they called “brown English men” to help rule India. The British established schools in Calcutta, Bombay, and Madrases to educate these brown English men. They brought Northern Indians down to these Southern ports to protect their own interests.
The princely state of Rajasthan is an example of how British policies negatively impacted the people as a whole. Rajasthan was not of interest to the East India Trading company. This area had the richest and the poorest people in India at the time the British ruled India. The Rajasthani princes would pay money to the East India Company to provide muscle for the princes when they needed it to keep the poor subjugated. (We traveled to some of these palaces later in our trip.)
Mahatma Gandhi was one of the greatest human beings who ever lived. “Be the change you want to see in the world.” Gandhi
At the beginning most of the Indians fighting to free India were from the educated liberated class. Gandhi was from this class. Many of these Indians had traveled to England. While there they wondered why they were helping the British and not the people of Indian. In 1920 Gandhi made the National Movement for Change a mass movement.
WWII – the British were trying to negotiate with the Indians. The British could not fight the Europeans and the Indians at the same time. The British told Gandhi if he would stop the independence movement and ally with the British, they would give the Indians their independence, which the British did on August 15th, 1947 at midnight. There are many references about this midnight signing. It is why Salman Rushdie’s book is entitled “Midnight’s Children.” This book is about India’s transition from British colonialism to independence. http://www.amazon.com/Midnights-Children-Modern-Library-Novels/dp/0812976533/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1450623779&sr=8-1&keywords=Midnight%27s+Children
A group of Muslims came together and formed the Muslim League. This group agitated with the British for a separate country. In Calcutta after Friday prayers on August 16th, 1946, the Muslim League came out of their mosques and began to slaughter everyone in sight. 3 million people were killed from all faiths Sikh, Hindu, and Muslim over the course of a year. There were massive riots about these killings. Gandhi fought hard against this division, but in the end to stop the slaughter Gandhi agreed to the division. This led to the creation of East and West Pakistan on the 14th of August, 1947. These two countries bordered India on its east and west sides. East Pakistan became Bangladesh after rebelling against Pakistan in 1971.
India is a secular democratic country. All non-Muslims were thrown out of Pakistan, which became a religious theocracy. India has more Muslims than Pakistan because many Muslims did not want to live under a religious theocracy; they preferred to live in a secular democratic country.
What has happened since? India’s greatest achievement is that it has survived 68 years as a democracy. This is good for a third world country.
It has it’s problems though.
Education & health care: India has elite institutions that rival any in the world, but mass education and health care is of very poor quality.
It’s greatest problem is that it is one of the worlds most corrupt and criminalized countries in the world, because it has the most politically criminalized politicians.
Also, because the population is so large, it has the largest number of poor. The 1% that is filthy rich is the largest too with vast wealth.
All this has led to a situation where democracy has started to collapse. Against this collapse a civil society movement has begun to correct this in the form of social movements. There is a powerful women’s movement and a Hill movement (called Dalits = oppressed). There are many groups starting reform movements. AAP who at this time is only in Delhi just won big in an election that happened while we were here. They are two seats away from a majority.
Because India is still a democracy it can create its own corrective movements.
I like that last saying. All this information is courtesy of Dr. Ray & are not my original thoughts.