by Robert Brow (www.brow.on.ca) Kingston, Ontario December 2007
Sixty years ago (August 15, 1947) India became an independent country after
a hundred years of British rule. When I was back in India (1952-63) little
had changed. I used to attend functions at which the British were blamed for
most of the ills in the country. Much of this criticism was justified, but
some of the legacy that remained has proved to be important in the long term
development of the modern India. Here are six of the main ingredients.
A judicial system provided for trained judges with reasonably impartial courts in every district, and the right of appeal to the highest level.
India has remained a truly democratic country with elections in every province.
Universities and medical schools were functioning in most of the major cities.
A railway system made travel and the movement of goods freely possible all over the country.
I served five years in the Indian Army (1942-47), and I was proud to see the high standard and traditions continue in the modern army, navy, and air force.
India has a dozen languages, each with its own script. This could have made a unified country unmanageable, but English has continued to be the common language among all educated people. It also opens the way for international influence and trade.
A seventh factor has been working quietly behind the scenes. Although the British discouraged conversions from Hinduism, Christian faith and morality has now been permeating every level of society. This leaven is now beginning to appear, not as a foreign religion, but as appealing both to the heart of the previously untouchable people and the educated computer generation. It is too early to predict that India will become a Christian country, but at least we can be certain that the old Hinduism with its caste system has lost its hold on the country.