So this morning, woke-up without realizing that it was 55 years ago India gained its independence from the British Raj. It was while watching the Morocco Cup at dawn, I realized that India as we know it is 55. Booting up my computer, I was almost sure that my mail-box was going to be chock full of email about the Independence Day celebrations. I decided to include one which is so poignant and describes the overseas Indian’s emotions on days like today. This email came from an Indian-American, who is American as Bruce Springsteen. Click to read the email – and if possible, weigh in with your thoughts on the matter.
Today, August 15th is India’s Independence day. It’s barely 10:00am, and I
already count 11 ‘Happy Independence Day’ messages in my inbox.
Forgive me for not jumping up and down…. I’ve never lived in India, barely
speak hindi, and though I still have a few relatives there, I haven’t visited
in 22 years. I consider myself Indian by default – not by choice.
Politically, economically, geographically, I am American, and not only proud,
but also very thankful of that fact. My heritage is of Sindh, and because my
Hindu ancestors chose to leave Sindh instead of converting to Islam or death
- I no longer have a land, I am therefore, by default, Indian.
Of course, I eat Indian food, watch the occasional Bollywood blockbuster,
dance to the music and wear the clothes at weddings. My blood used to boil
when I heard about the atrocities committed by the British, and it still does
- I made the mistake of watching Lagaan and the Legend of Bhagat Singh the
same weekend….. not a good idea. Divide and conquer was their mindset, and
that’s what they did.
I understand that had it not been for partition – I would not be who or where
I am today. But could I ever go back to Sindh? Forget going back, because
I’ve never been – but, could I ever go to Sindh? Some people say it’s safe,
other say it’s not. There are times when I don’t want to and times when I
ache for it, in spite of never having had the frame of reference of ever
actually being in Sindh. Ultimately, I’ll find a way there, and then I’ll
tell you what, if anything, I can celebrate on India’s Independence Day.
Enjoy your celebration, but don’t ever forget what my forefathers gave up for