By F R Chowdhury:
Born in British India in 1945, I came across two more nationality changes automatically. The first was the independence of Pakistan and India in 1947 when I became an East Pakistani. The second was in 1971 when East Pakistan became an independent country named Bangladesh. Then in 1991, I applied for a job in the UK and joined British Civil Service that eventually led to my British citizenship. In my retirement I live in the UK and occasionally write on my life time experiences.
For this New Year 2020, I decided to write to congratulate the people of India for what they have finally achieved. India became independent after nearly 200 years of colonial rule on 15-August-1947 when in fact two countries emerged out of original India. Within matter of three years India hot its own constitution and became a republic on 26-January-1950 when Dr Rajendra Prasad became the first president of India. India preferred to follow the British parliamentary democratic process with a prime minister as the head of the government and with a president (elected by the parliament) as ceremonial head of the state.
These changes were very quick. The annexation of Hyderabad, Goa and Sikkim were equally quick. Other changes took time. Thanks God, they made a water sharing agreement with Pakistan which still holds. But that was not the case with Kashmir – they fought war with Pakistan at least three times over Kashmir issue and may yet fight again.
In last 20 years India has made good economic progress. But it is still very slow with social changes. Many people still say that in rural India “thanadar is still the mai-baap”. With no effective local government the fruit of democracy has not reached the mass people. But education is slowly playing its role. Education will eventually bring all desired changes.
India is supposed to be a secular state or at least claims to be so. Very recently The (BJP) Government, having total majority in the parliament, made some changes in its nationality laws. This law changes the very secular character of India as it discriminates Muslims. This time the people revolted. There have been mass protests almost in every corner of India. It proved that the light of education has penetrated to dark corners. People are now for equality, freedom and justice. They place humanity above religious barriers. Yes, India has now achieved social progress. We congratulate India and its people. Perhaps the inspirations came from Pakistan which recently made it possible for Sikhs in India to visit the birth place of Guru Nanak in Pakistan without the need for any Visa.
London, 29-December-2019. <[email protected]>