Today, India celebrated the anniversary of its independence from Britain, but the glory cannot mask the country’s abuses in Kashmir and the shredding of its secular principles.
The ceremonies held to a template that has been followed for decades. Prime Minister Narendra Modi hoisted the flag at the Red Fort just as the country’s first premier, Jawaharlal Nehru, did on August 15, 1947.
This was followed by the prime minister’s speech, delivered from the ramparts of the magnificent Mughal era fort, the singing of the national anthem, and a 21-cannon salute commemorating the country’s freedom fighters.
In a major decision, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the creation of a chief of defence staff (CDS) as head of the tri-services. The prime minister said the CDS will ensure synergy among the three services and provide effective leadership to them.
But, while the feature of a secular democracy remain in name, India has reneged on many of its foundational precepts. In the disputed region of Kashmir for instance, New Delhi has effectively followed the methods and discourse of a coloniser, notes Nitasha Kaul, an associate professor in politics and international relations at the University of Westminster said.
While the country was birthed as a secular nation transcending religious identity in contrast with the foundationally Muslim Pakistan, India today is as Hindu as Pakistan is a Muslim state.