August 15th, 1947
"Long years ago, we made a tryst with destiny. At the stroke of the midnight hour, while the world sleeps, India will awaken to life and freedom. A moment comes, which comes but rarely in history, when we step out from the old to the new, when an age ends, and when the soul of a nation, long suppressed, finds utterance."-Jawaharlal Nehru, to the Indian constituent assembly, on the eve of Indian independence.
"I hate Indians... They are a beastly people with a beastly religion."Ostensibly the end of the British Empire, at least on a massive scale, the Independence of India, (and Pakistan, on the same date) set the stage for much of the modern conflict in the Middle East and Asia. England's "divide and conquer" strategy for ruling the Asian subcontinent had already increased antagonism between groups; its refusal to recognize small ethnic cultures inflamed conflicts which are still active. In the power void immediately after independence, chaos reigned, with the British protecting only themselves.
The current state of India is just as complex as ever, and it has become a major international power politically, economically and culturally. It may already be the largest English-speaking country in the world. On this, the 60th anniversary of its independence, I salute you and your people, on your achievements and your future!
Quotes from The New Yorker article "Exit Wounds", by Pankaj Mishra, August 13, 2007