My husband’s grandmother, Dadi, was a freedom fighter in India’s struggle for independence from the British. Today marks the 61st anniversary of the historic day when India’s hard-won battle was completed at the stroke of the midnight hour. (Coincidentally, today is also Dadi’s birthday). Freedom fighters sacrificed their education, their livelihood, and sometimes their lives for the political cause. A student protester, Dadi was arrested and imprisoned for demonstrating as part of the movement for independence. Her future husband was spared a police record when an officer recognized him as the doctor’s son and released him without charges.
Independence was the culmination of long and sometimes violent struggle, which resulted in the Partition of India into what it now three countries: India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. The legacy of independence and partition continues today, in political conflicts that flare across the northern regions. As we remember the valiant sacrifices of millions of people who gave their lives for this political cause, let us offer a moment of silence for a peaceful resolution to this and all world conflicts.
Nehru’s “Tryst with Destiny” speech, delivered on the eve of independence.