Friday, August 15, 2008

Today is India's Independence Day.

Also, it's VS's actual birthday. (Piranda naal vaazhthukkal!)

India has had 61 years of independence from British Rule, 58 of them as an independent Republic.

The British ruled India for more than 200 years, first under the aegis of the British East Indian Tea company, initially in Bengal. In 1858, the British government got in to the act, and became Paramount ruler of India. On August 14, 1947, Pakistan and India were sectioned into two different nations.

"At the stroke of the midnight hour, when the world sleeps, India will awake to life and freedom. A moment comes, which comes but rarely in history, when we step out from the old to the new…India discovers herself again."
- "Tryst with Destiny", Jawaharlal Nehru, 1947

The struggle to transform India into a modern state had just begun. Violent inter-religious clashes followed the 1947 independence. Mountbatten was invited to continue as Governor General of India, and it fell to Deputy PM Patel to unify 565 princely states into the beginnings of the India that we know today.

We'll be celebrating this important day in Indian history, and VS's winning of the Best Birthday Competition, at Tea today at 4:00.

The cheese plate (fresh, as always) will make a return, and the gin and tonics (not an excessively onerous residue of British rule, we hope) will be plentiful.

See you at 4:00!


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