As we begin to write this article, the people in India have awakened to India’s 70th Independence Day. Best wishes to all Indians and to the global Indian diaspora on this joyous day.
Rarely does the Indian government or political leadership show that they understand the historical greatness of India. Such a rare occasion was when India became independent in 1947. At that time, the leadership chose a great symbol from one of the greatest periods in World History to adorn the center of the Indian flag.
The Maurya empire was established by Chandra-Gupt after Indians in the Indus Valley unleashed a devastating counterattack on Alexander’s army. In fact, Alexander was injured and died of his injuries as he left India with the remnants of his army. Later Chandra-Gupta defeated Selecus, the successor of Alexander. Selecus gave back territories including parts of Iran to Chandra-Gupta & gave his daughter in marriage to Chandra-Gupt. The empire of Chandra-Gupt Maurya then spread to virtually all of the Indian Subcontinent.
His grandson Ashok took the empire to great heights not merely with his military greatness but with his dedicated efforts to build what we today would call a modern state – highways, universities, a system of a decentralized federal rule with rights to all. The Chakra of Ashok became the symbol of compassionate & dhaarmic rule all over the known world at that time. Below is an artistic expression of the importance of Ashok Chakra to the Indian Flag.
Nothing is greater than a mother in Indian culture. Naturally Indians have always referred to Bhaarat or India as Bhaarat Maataa or Mother India. Ashok himself credited his mother for her teachings & encouragement. So it is fitting that the above graphic magnifies the Ashok Chakra and links it to the famous Sanskrut “Vande Mataram” or “We worship/Our Salutations to Mother”.
These words were used by a great poet to sing about freedom for India and remain the most commonly used words of patriotism in India. The original Vande Mataram song has been musically & visually reinterpreted by so many. Below is one that we had not seen before and one that reflects the wide geographical & cultural expanse of India.
India’s freedom was not won without Indians giving their lives in fighting the the British occupation, probably the worst human evil in scale & impact in world history. And Independence is not retained without people willing to fight for it. Fortunately, India still has soldiers who are proud to defend the borders. They are celebrated in the picture below, a picture of Indian flag hoisted at the top of the world.
The founders of Indian culture, the oldest continuous culture in human history, understood that eradication of evil was absolutely imperative for good to survive and thrive. That is why virtually every Indian festival celebrates the eradication of Evil and the victory of Good.
The people who fought the evil of British subjugation & occupation, the people who witnessed the killing of 5-6 millions in a few months by the British understood what they were fighting for and how difficult their war was. Below is a celebrated poem composed by a great fighter for India’s freedom from the British. The English translation accompanying the Indian words tell the meaning far better than we could.
And what happens when Independence is backed by strength and determination? Doves of Peace fly.
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