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Old August 12th, 2003, 07:46 PM
Rahul Rahul is offline
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Cool 56 Events That Changed India

Its a very big artilce in India today (you need subscription to view the link), those 56 events will be next post to this thread.

India as an idea continues to renew itself in the forecourt of history

Unifying Colours of Freedom

Following the footprints of a nation that defies the worst instincts of its politicians and dire desperations of its enemies.

By S. Prasannarajan

THE first draft of the national narrative is preserved in the parchments of memory. It is the text that never ceases to provide adjectives to the actions and ideas that define a living nation-like India, whose ecstasies and elegies, sighs and sorrows, anxiety and aspiration, are resonant echoes from the distant day before. If a nation is an emotional covenant between the land and the people, India of the moment is a unified, and unifying, faith, an idea that is a permanent astonishment, renewing itself in the forecourt of history.

It is a captivating performance in growing up. Born in a midnight lit up by dreams, and the freedom feast attended by the wailing ghosts of Partition, numbed in the infancy itself by the three gunshots that felled that extraordinary man who led the national struggle, brought up by leaders hardened by the labour of liberation, matured in democracy's functional anarchy, let down by the politics of paranoia, recharged by the awakening nationalist mind, India is an engrossing story of survival, of overcoming. New triumphs are followed by familiar tragedies. The show goes on, choreographed by the common will of freedom.


Here we are following the footprints of the scarred nation, the scandalised nation, the reinvented nation, the nation that defies the worst instincts of its politicians or the dire desperation of its enemies. Assassins lurked in the garden or merged in the crowd to orphan the state, but the state was too strong to be abandoned in the street, too strong to be sabotaged by the fantasy of the fanatic. Extra-territorial temptations of dictators across the border led India to more than one war, but victory-or defeat in the case of war with China-didn't alter India's vocabulary of peace. The private fears of a popular leader-for many the political incarnation of Mother India-gagged the nation, but Indian democracy didn't lose its conscience to such emergency measures of the paranoid. It saw the slow descent of Asia's longest political dynasty and, as the sun set over the Congress century, it didn't cry. The national mind is larger than the collective volume of the political mind.

India defies fathers. The Nehruvian model is as redundant as the Gandhian spinning wheel. New shrines of national worship are emerging in the wasteland of the Socialist raj, and barriers are being removed from the marketplace, where a zillion cell phones are ringing, and the theme songs of the brash new age are written on silicon. Still, beyond the buzzing bazaar lie the ghettos of hate, and in the name of simulated God, someone is arguing with history, someone in the dark alley is wielding the knife-Ayodhya, Gujarat and what next? And elsewhere, the bearded radical of Kalashnikov Islam is waging a losing war against the very idea of India itself. As Salman Rushdie said in the aftermath of Gujarat, "India's problem turns out to be the world's problem. What happened in India, happened in God's name. The problem's name is God." The armed fallacies of faith are pitted against the nation that doesn't wither away.

In the morning of the 21st century, India looks confident and sounds responsible, and is ready to be an engaging partner in the global project of economic wealth and national well-being, stepping out of the rusted mindset of Third Worldism. It may express its unity in the polyphony of culture, caste and language; it lives on as an edifying idea, and occasionally volatile. What follows is a brief history of that idea in 56 chapters-pages from the Book of Freedom. So let's flip through the wall calendar of the history of modern India, and travel back to the moments that set the foundation of the day we live in.

Beyond the chronology of events that changed the nation, for good or worse, is the overwhelming truth: the one big Event named independent India, currently crossing the 56th stage, into a future that, hopefully, will be as fabulous as yesterday.

http://www.indiatoday.com/itoday/20030818/cover.shtml
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