I was asked a question at the Republic Summit by one of the junior anchors. He asked: What in your opinion has been the most significant transformation India has witnessed in the last nine years?
I gave the question a deep thought. It was a question keeping in line with the topic of the Republic Summit. I am not known to ramble on a point incoherently without much thought. So I told him with all humility my view on the most significant transformation India and Indians have witnessed in the last nine years. I said: To me, it is ‘Self-Belief’ that brings confidence and conviction in thought, words, and actions.
India and Indians in the last nine years have transformed themselves into a nation and people of ‘self-belief’. People who are proud of their religious and cultural beliefs, proud of their nation, their political leaders, their business leaders, their sports leaders, and proud of being Indian and belonging to India.
Today, India and Indians are surging ahead on global platforms in all works of life. India as a nation is now looked at as a nation of promise, rapidly progressing as a global nation with ticks on check-boxes on socio-economic yardsticks.
India is not just a demographic outline on a map but India is the resilient spirit of the people who have witnessed over 800 years of attacks on its civilization fabric of socio-economic existence due to Mughal invasions and British Colonial rule. More importantly, the most brutal impact of colonization in India besides the socioeconomic impact has been the psychological impact. We, as Indians, were led to believe that we belong to a second-class existence when compared to the Western countries.
Most times in the past India and Indians were perceived as a nation of snake charmers and poor people who lived on the largesse of Western nations. In fact, Israel as a nation has not allowed the world to forget the horrors of the holocaust unleashed by Hitler’s Nazi Germany where reportedly 6 million Jews lost their lives, as Indians have quietly forgotten the Bengal famine where reportedly 3 million people died of starvation because of the diabolic policies of British leader Winston Churchill. Just as trials of war crimes were conducted against Nazi Germans. Britain owes India an apology and must be tried for the crimes committed against India. And we Indians must raise our voices.
Similarly, the Portuguese and certain sections of the Catholic Church unleashed the ‘Goa Inquisition’ where the indigenous people of Goa were forcefully converted to Christianity. The pontiff of the Catholic Church Pope Francis must find in his wisdom and humility the grace to apologize for the horrific crimes committed to the child, women, and men in Goa. Pope Francis has apologized for the crimes committed by the Catholic Church in some other countries.
Some people do continue to have the colonial hangover and mourn about the so-called good times in the British or Portuguese era but these people are now an insignificant number. The slavish noises mouthing their foreign masters’ dictates is lost in the thundering voices of a resurgent and self-belief driven India.
The people of India are slowly freeing themselves from the shackles of a colonial past. They are reasserting their ‘Sanathan Dharma’ principles and maintaining the secular fabric that is so quintessential Indian in spirit.
India of today is not only about religion, caste, or economic status in society. It is much more. India is today about being an Indian. Indians are moving away from the submissive psychological character that was drummed down into our psychosis for centuries of colonial rule and which we often displayed as an inferiority complex.
All India needed was a leader like Narendra Modi to rekindle the confidence in the people of India. Not that India was not growing before PM Modi, it was, no doubt. But the infectious spirit of nationalism was missing. We saw the pride of being Indian mostly on the cricket field or in some patriotic movies. Today the spirit of nationalism has spread across India in every influential sector. We wear our national pride on our sleeves.
India will continue to see more leaders that will take forward this ‘self-belief’ not only in politics but business, sports, entertainment, space, and many different sectors.
I see this ‘self-belief’ taking India ahead to becoming the beacon of light in a world of conflict. Sanatan Dharma is the soul of India. And it is the principles of Sanatan Dharma that will make India the peacemaker in global conflict. The world is looking towards India to build bridges of peace.
The world is looking at India and Indians. This is the time of transformation.