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Independence Day

Thankfulness is an integral part of Worship of any Christian. This thankfulness is not for anything in particular received by any Christian, but a GENERAL GRATITUDE firstly for being ALIVE, secondly for being CONSCIOUS enough to recognize our own existence and thirdly for the GOOD THINGS that God had given us. A sense of GRATITUDE, because despite the vicissitudes much of the good status quo had been maintained, not because of one’s efforts or efficiency, but because of God’s GRACE.

Likewise, INDEPENDENCE DAY in India being celebrated all over the country is a day to CHERISH that we, the people of India, exist an an INDEPENDENT NATION. We also recall those days when we were under the rule of foreigners, who could not have had our weal their overwhelming priority, and were liberated through the efforts of our forefathers and foremothers(!) and stabilized a nation which would make the governing process its own, without any interference or directions from outside forces. To put it succinctly, WE FORMULATED OUR OWN CENTRE, the centre was not outside of India and the people who determined our LAWS were all to be INDIANS. This is the IDEA which makes me joyful and thankful.

And we did not achieve it overnight through the efforts of a few leaders, but because the GENERAL RESENTMENT of being ruled by ALIENS, was politically organized by our well known freedom fighters and presented a fait-accompli to the British that to rule India with a Home Secretary for India sitting in London, would not only be viable anymore, but if still persisted with, the consequences could be unproductive for the British!

It is that snowballing of the resentment to a  political organization which led, i believe, to the great Gandhian force. Further, the destructive power of the masses were tactfully controlled through the NON-VIOLENCE advocated by the Mahatma. It is the MEANS which were used in obtaining the Independence, which is even more laudable than anything else. It showed to the world that that as a NATION we could abjure violence against even atrocities of a well entrenched political system.

One of the most important aspects of our Independence Day celebrations which is a cause of concern is that the freedom fighters who came from certain areas have not been highlighted at the national level. If we peruse those history text books prescribed in schools, we could see that the POLITICAL LEADERS have been given enormous space, ignoring the PATH BREAKING ATTEMPTS MADE BY SOME OF THE INDIAN FREEDOM FIGHTERS. The one name about whom the Northern India is still ignorant of is Vallinayagam Olaganthan Chidambaram Pillai, (1872-1936) (Tamil: வ. உ. சிதம்பரம் பிள்ளை) popularly known by his initials, V.O.C. (spelt Vaa. Oo.Ce in Tamil), also known as Kappalottiya Tamilan (கப்பலோட்டிய தமிழன்) “The Tamil Helmsman”, was a Tamil political leader.

VOC might be listed as a political leader, but his reach and scale was not in organizing people into a particular political thought. Even though VOC might have been successful in the limited scope of his Madras Presidency and the state, it was the formation of Swadeshi Steam Navigation Companywhich was an activity, which transformed the thinking of the moneyed class of people in India. There were the TATAs and the BIRLAs, who were providing employment to thousands of Indians and thriving in their businesses, but to PUBLICLY STATE THAT THE BRITISH GOVERNMENT WAS MONOPOLIZING SEA TRANSPORT AND FETCHING BACK FINISHED GOODS AND SELLING THEM AT EXORBITANT RATES TO THE DETRIMENT OF THE FARMERS CULTIVATING COTTON,  make it  COMMON KNOWLEDGE is DIFFERENT!

VOC did not stop with that, he organized a STEAMER COMPANY and competed with the British. VOC was incarcerated on grounds which smacked of nothing but vendetta,and till his Steamer Company was liquidated, the British did not release him from jail. His matter went upto the Privy Coulcil, which gave the British executives enough time to finalize the liquidation process based on the laws, severely skewed in favour of the alien rulers!

Freedom fighters like Vanchinatan, Baghat Singh etc used force against the crushing might of the British, despite knowing their own weaknesses and even though they lost their lives, they did resurrect the COURAGE of the contemporary Indians against the consequences of revolt and violence. But it is the act of VOC, which took the first  economic foray into the very ramparts of the British. The RESOURCES which British so easily gained out of the raw material, labour and land of India was brought to challenge. And, i take this day to pay homage to a man who saw the RESOURCE GARNERING of the BRITISH and DID SOMETHING TO RATTLE THE BRITISH!

I see the Independence day as an opportunity to discover what our forebears did to destabilize the ALIEN  British and make the notion of FREEDOM a step closer than where it was before they did something!


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