This article was first published in The Big Smoke on January 26, 2016.
Becoming an Australian after 34 years of being Indian has mostly involved progress for me. On most social and economic indicators, Australia beats India hands down. My family is safer and healthier in Australia than it would be in India. Unfortunately, politically and ideologically, I have regressed. And January 26th forces me to confront this regression.
As an Indian, I used to celebrate January 26th as the Indian Republic Day, the day on which my country declared itself a modern democratic republic (in 1951) after more than 200 years of British rule. Instead, as an Australian, I have to celebrate the day on which my new country started on the path of colonisation.
Don’t get me wrong. I have no axe to grind with the white people of British descent. I am honestly over colonisation of India. Yes, it was a general nightmare for my people but unlike in many other countries, when India gained independence, most British people upped and left, mostly back to the UK.
Growing up in India three decades later, I only saw a sea of brown faces around me. If colonial history existed at all for me, it was in textbooks, charming old buildings and occasional street names or public statues. It is rather hard to remain angry at buildings and statues (especially good looking ones), when the people behind them are long gone.
Read more on The Big Smoke.