What makes a nation? Or more specifically what makes India a nation? What is that one thing that binds us, the people, together? Is it a common tongue like French which united the people of France, or is it a set of ideals and values that are prevalent among the United States of America?
When French was made the national language of France, the country lost its rich linguistic diversity as countless other languages faded into oblivion. Is this what we want? Sacrificing our cultural identity for a national one? With values and ideals closely linked with religion and culture, is it even possible to have a single set in a country as diverse as ours? What do we do when some worship an animal, the others love to eat, or when some condemn what others depend on?
So, since it’s clearly not a language or a set of values that binds the people of India together, then what is it? What could a people constituting the descendants of the subjects of the Mauryans, the Guptas, the Sultanate, the Palas, the Pandyas, and the Mughals have in common? That’s right. Their colonial past. This country united under the East India Company and its people are defined by the liberation from it. That is what gave us a national identity. We are the people who resisted the British.
Maybe the memory fades because the Crown left the country in the hands of the INC instead of being driven away by people like Bose and Singh. But it is high time that we remember. Either remember our colonial past or find something else that defines this culturally diverse nation of ours, because it sure as hell isn’t Hindi, Hindu or Hindutva.