Breaking the Myth of Independence
This is a guest blog by Jeet Sinha.
An age old proverb says that, “half knowledge is more dangerous than no knowledge”.In an era of unprecedented growth in science and technology, an area that has largely remained manipulated, is our history. Thanks to our text books and curriculum very few Indians actually know the reason why we got independence. A very common myth is that we are independent only because of the Congress and Gandhi. The people of our nation have largely associated our independence with a One-Man- Party show and thus, the myth exists.
Below are the actual myth-busters that will certainly force you to look beyond the “Usual” history.
1. The Second World War:- This was probably the biggest reason behind the Indian Independence. After the Allied victory ,Britain was far too weak to continue the occupation as is evident from the fact that in 21 years since the Allied victory (1945–66) as many as 27 countries declared their independence.
2. The INA trials:- The British suffered terrible losses and the INA under Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose had reached as far as Assam. However, the defeat of Japan and Netaji’s death, made for the defeat of the INA. The British made a grave error when they decided to try the INA patriots for- of all things- high treason! The nation was completely shaken and the British could no longer rely on the Indian Army to maintain control over India. The last nail in the coffin was however the Naval Mutiny.
3. Economic reasons:- After two centuries of loot, India which was the ‘Jewel in the Crown’, was no longer profitable to stay in. In fact in 2 years after the World War II the British lost more than they gained. Post World War II, Britain was left dry and bleeding and it simply could not afford to wage another war against a vast country like India.
4. Change of party in Britain:- A sudden change in the party in Britain caused a massive change in heart. From the conservative Churchill to the liberal Attlee, Indian independence decision took a complete U-turn. The Indian independence had gained widespread support and sympathy in Britain and this helped Attlee come to power.
5. Demand for ‘Purna Swaraj’:- Unlike the myth which suggests that Gandhi was the first one to ask for complete Independence ,it was Bhagat Singh who first made this demand in 1927. This was later picked up by Gandhi and gained momentum. The very concept of ‘Poorna Swaraj’ made the British Raj finally heed.
6. Foreign pressure :- External pressure from the allies, particularly USA which wanted a free market in India greatly lobbied and pressurised Britain to grant India independence.
7. National Movement and Gandhi:- Last but not the least, when the people of a country stand united for a purpose no external power can destroy it. Gandhi was a great mass mobilizer and influencer. His ability to reach out to the masses helped us gain independence.
It is important for us to know that there were multiple reasons for India’s independence & not just the few which are popularly believed.