CEO Speaks: Being Indian!

CEO Speaks: Being Indian!

In January 26, 1950, India ceased to exist as an independent Dominion of the British Commonwealth of Nations with King George VI as the monarch.

From that day onwards, the Constitution of independent India came into effect, declaring her occurrence as an independent republic, abandoning our national values as ancient, given and tangible.

January 26 was chosen because on this day in 1930, the Indian National Congress revealed ‘Purna Swaraj’, the declaration of India’s complete independence from colonial rule.

Republic Day signifies the right spirit of independent and individual India — intertwined in a vast variety of diversities, held together by the symbols of unity — the national anthem, and the national flag with national integration as the country’s primary goal.

Our hearts swell with pride when we read about Gandhi’s struggle for India’s national freedom; Jawaharlal Nehru’s contributions as a visionary; Subhas Chandra Bose’s influential speeches, his extraordinary leadership skills and his charismatic oration to even watching Aamir Khan driving out the British from his village in Lagaan (albeit in a film); to others marvelling at India’s diverse languages, cultures, arts and cuisines.

School textbooks often taught us about Indian nationalism through the framework of the anti-colonial struggle, where the emancipation of the Indian people could only be an unambiguous moral good as if the Partition was some sort of collateral damage; a chapter barely linked to the story of Indian nationalism. However, in-depth historical research has revealed that the population exchanges and violence of Partition were the direct result of the creation of the Indian and Pakistani nation-states and their borders.

Often used interchangeably, ‘nationalism’ and ‘patriotism’ are two very distinct and different words. While ‘nationalism’ refers to an ideology of the superiority of one’s nation in comparison to others in multiple aspects, ‘patriotism’ describes utter devotion to and vigorous support for one’s country, even to the point of self-sacrifice.

It has become all the more important for us to understand nationalism (plagued with several negative connotations) in its true spirit, shedding the blind, uncritical pride in the nation-state, that prevents us from following an analytical, critical attitude towards cultures, traditions, history and policies of other societies and countries; not holding on to an unsavoury past that is so distant from realism.

Dr Sanku Bose, Group CEO (Techno India Group)

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