Readers Write In #395: Questioning the Independence behind the “Independence” Day

Posted on August 13, 2021

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(by Deepika Santhanakrishnan)

The Britain invaded India, amongst all their other successful colonial ventures. Many of the Anglo-Indians stayed back in India even after Britishers agreed to move out of India while offering India her “independence”. The reasons for some staying back could be practical, like how one sitting in a tea shop would comment; or theoretical, like how a social-scientist would comment; or hypothetical, like the one I am going to entertain the reader with. 

Maybe they came in not just for the spices, but for the wealth and good-fortune of living in India because of – without much ado – Goddess Lakshmi. Maybe some of them stayed back because of the same reason. Wait, I said the reason could be hypothetical. And, at the moment, I could mean that Indian’s had a persona that was warm. What I would also get as reply, is that, Britishers themselves could have had a persona on their own. And that persona could be King-like1

Maybe what British’s colonialism meant was not just ruling an enslaved kingdom, or not just theft of wealth; but also, a service to the Indian nation, like that from a King himself. Maybe, the remained people would have wanted to go back to their nation, but, maybe, they came back to India anyway, for the good fortunes of being in India.

Maybe, at this juncture, if I hypothesize that what as a consequence of British’s entry could have meant for India was a political hierarchy. On this hypothetical note then, how did Indians respond to it? 

Clearly, the upper-caste wanted them out. But Goddess Lakshmi being a Goddess, was also empathetic. So, her presence has stopped the upper caste from rebelling against this political superior-ism; only up to the point of problems reaching its heights.  

Next, the “brahmins”, who surely represented clean and conscientious surrounding, may have had their life going better, compared to the aforementioned upper-caste. 

But when the upper-caste and the “brahmins” meant to be converging towards a higher life amidst-and-against the colonial powers, who came to the rescue? Maybe, the untouchables.

I would have answered it as the warriors, if not for the “Intellectualism” in the war. I don’t think intellectuals would go for a physical war, when especially there is an intellectual one going on. And much to everyone’s dismay, the war was lost, but, contrary to the desire, by India. 

Wait, What!

***

Now, I am not saying that I have been talking about Summer of ’92 – one of the anthologies in the Navarasa series, which represents the Hasya rasa. I am not saying that the “Maharasa” alias the “King” character in the story represented the “Anglo-Indians” who stayed back in India. I am not saying that the dialogue “kedachathu illa, nozhanjithu” represented the Britishers. I am not saying that the “Lakshmi” character, with her warmth, represented “Goddess Lakshmi”. I am not saying that our “Naas” represented the King-like persona of the Britishers. 

Neither am I saying that political hierarchy existed between the Britishers and the Indians. Neither am I saying that the bride family represented the upper-caste in the film. Nor am I saying that the groom family represented the “brahmins”. Nor – also – am I saying that the “Velusaamy” character represented the “Untouchables”. 

Also, am I saying that the human excretion at the end – that which got splashed by “King” in the engagement ceremony – represented how stinky the intellectual war was?2

What I am saying though is:

Happy Independence Day. Freedom is not just from Britishers, it is also from within, which in addition to removing the stink from Lakshmi teachers’ home, will also convert tragedy into comedy, in contrast to what the bazillion other movie-reviewers of Summer of ’92 have done! 

And, maybe, I have attributed the Intellectualism to the “Laughter”!

***

To conclude this small essay on the eve of the “Indian Independence Day”:

Well, Summer of ’30 granted freedom from Britishers. But what is sad though, is that even during the Summer of ’21, we haven’t granted freedom from within, which is evident from the reviews stating the failure to create a laughter by Summer of ’92. 

My question is – How would it?, for the stink remains in the home!

Footnotes: 

  1. Maybe.
  2. Maybe.

References:

  1. https://www.thenewsminute.com/article/summer-92-navarasa-humourless-tale-dedicated-casteism-153653
  2. https://www.jstor.org/stable/pdf/2870280.pdf

Written by: 

Somebody who has become funnier and ironier during her PhD journey.