The Free World Family
Blood ties of revolution bind us to our brothers and sisters of India, who today celebrate their own independence from the colonial grip of the British. Did you forget that they too had to fight for their freedom from the Empire?
India after a long and unique struggle gained independence from the British Empire on 15 August 1947. We celebrate our independence close in time. We share common independent blood and as free brothers and sisters, a special bond unites East and West. Happy Independence Day family and friends!
Although not literal in terms of DNA, the shared, severe parent is powerful and deep within both cultures. We each have transcended the blood of revolution, but the draw of family binds us close. Far more blood was shed on US soil, but no less effort and courage was mustered by the Indian people.
I realize that most do not view the relationship between the US and India this way, but I feel it deeply, and their rich culture has always fascinated me.
My obsession began with Mahatma Gandhi, who reached from the grave to tell me that we are connected. I am a hard core skeptic, so that's metaphor, but I feel a living connection with the man and his people that drives me to speak of a pivotal time in our blood-born relationship.
His weak appearance and meek presence were ironically his power, no blood, no gun, but a force of courage and charisma that convinced a bound people that:
A small body of determined spirits fired by an unquenchable faith in their mission can alter the course of history.
No greater man has shown such courage and ability to lead a people to freedom, denying weapons, but also refusing to bow his head in cowardice. He endured much abuse and suffered for a cause that did alter the course of history.
Our close human relationship and blood ties to the Indian people obligate us to carefully handle and nurture our alliance with them on all fronts.
Our wavering support and economic wooing
Despite the filial relationship we bear with the nation, we have treated them with far less consistency, respect, and support than they merit.
Obstacles stand in the way of our close relationship on both sides of the ocean, and we look at each other with questioning, doubtful glances. More than anything, each country looks towards what can be gained from the other. Sibling rivalries and struggles apparently hold true in national families as well.
The United States is concerned that India be a profitable enterprise. After all, we have a colonial past, as well,a and our global motives are clear to all but ourselves. We want safety security and prosperity for ourselves even if we ride the backs of the poor to get there. We care less about helping India to build a stable and profitable economy then we do about getting our moneys worth. We debate whether our loyalties lie with India or China, who clearly is not family.
India on the other hand needs to look out for itself as a developing nation, which is fitting and just. Why shed the shackles of one nation only to embrace the chains of the United States who seeks to grow fatter off of the largely impoverished country. If I lived in India, I would be wary of defeating an old master only to replace him with a new one: the United States.
Not only do they bear these struggles, but they have internal battles to fight as well, leading to a country only partially united because of ethnic and economic differences. New research reveals a massive difference between spending of the rich compared with the poor, with the disparity expanding. Money spent by the wealthiest 5% soared by over 60%, but the poorest 5% increased consumption spending by only 30%. Clearly India has internal struggles that she must deal with herself. But, as is often the case, other parties will not allow India to find her own way.
On Mr. Biden's recent visit to India, he made clear that India must meet our demands and that we want ties with the social elite to forge new prosperity. The gist was that India is in a position to forge a strategic alliance with the West, with the subtext that the alliance should be to our advantage.
Mr. Biden: “Imagine what our two countries can achieve together, not only for one another but for the economic and political stability of the region.” Mr. Biden refers to the elite in both countries specifically, trusting in the worn out trickle down theory for the poor.
Our alliance is tentative, as Mr. Biden pointed to four goals towards making this cooperation possible:
His expressions make it clear that we have purely economic interest in the elite of the country, and the United States demands that India follow our tight regulations. Smacks of colonialism, doesn't it?
And, really we cannot disguise our true imperial motives with India, and Indians should be having flashbacks to their years fighting to free themselves from the grips of tyranny, especially on this day of celebration. My counsel to India would be to exhibit extreme caution with us.
The New York Times suggests that statistics show we are, in fact, feeding off of India.
“The general proposition for much of the last generation has been that emerging markets grow faster. That’s what’s changed,” said Neal Soss, the chief economist at Credit Suisse. “The acceleration such as it is happening is in the first-world economy rather than the emerging markets.”
No real signs here of a genuine relationship with India that facilitates stable Indian growth. Rather, we are accomplishing our ends at their expense.
Our blood relationship in a Global economy
My plea here is unrealistic and idealistic. As blood relatives our nations should look out for one another and become a strong alliance. The United States, however, seems to be taking the role of the older brother, exploiting the younger as means to a financial end. We should reconsider history and look critically at our position towards India, as we threaten to either push them away for China's sake, or crush them under the wheels of sibling oppression.
Gandhi envisioned a united and independent India, modeled after the prosperity in its brother country. He feared economic dependence and slavery. He mentioned the service that would build the country strong and independent so that it could be strong for the world:
Consciously or unconsciously, every one of us does render some service or other. If we cultivate the habit of doing the service deliberately, our desire for service will steadily grow stronger, and will make, not only for our own happiness, but that of the world at large
Gandhi envisioned equal partnerships around the globe based upon the industry and work ethic of the Indian people. As it stands, vultures flock to feed off of the country that still needs years to stabilize and develop. The United States risks exploiting that work ethic and hurting the poor in India.
As siblings, we should require more of ourselves: friendship, alliance, aid, collaboration, assistance for the poor, and education.
I conclude with Gandhi's brilliant view of the world, for on this Indian independence day, they should have the final word.
I offer you peace. I offer you love. I offer you friendship. I see your beauty. I hear your need. I feel your feelings. My wisdom flows from the Highest Source. I salute that Source in you. Let us work together for unity and love.
Please share the celebration if you would!