Many, many, years ago the British came to India to trade. To protect their trade they fortified themselves. To stabilize trade they conquered India. As conquerors they ruled India. They introduced their culture to the Indian people. They taught the Indian people their sense of values. Ultimately they had to depart. Since then much water has flowed down Delhi’s Drain Number Eight ...
Indians went to Britain in search of jobs. They got jobs. To guard against unemployment they accumulated savings. By investing their savings they entered business. To protect their business they built influence. To stabilize their influence they conquered Britain. As conquerors they are introducing their culture to the natives of Britain. They are teaching them the Indian way of life.
India’s conquest of Britain is complete. Laxmi Mittal is Britain’s richest man. The natives now prefer eating tandoori chicken to fish and chips. But because of the humane attitude of the conquerors few natives feel the yoke of foreign rule too heavy. Instead more and more of them are beginning to live by the civilized norms of their foreign rulers. They are beginning to increasingly exercise the higher freedom taught to them by their foreign masters.
Earlier the natives were prisoners of the hidebound constraints of their rigid tribal customs. But with the spread of education through example of their foreign rulers they are rapidly learning to use their freedom and wealth to make civilized choices. It was heartening to note that Indians have successfully taught the British to use their wealth in constructive manner by purchasing peerages and titles. Indians are teaching them the concept of higher freedom that relies on conscience rather than on the barbaric discipline imposed by tribal loyalty.
It is in this overall context that the significance of the latest general election should be viewed. This election could forever alter Britain. It could lift the natives to the level of becoming equal partners of their foreign rulers. It could signal the entry of Britain into the comity of developed societies. The hung House after the British poll is just the start. The future prospects offer even greater promise.
It remains to be seen with what skill the new coalition government will function. It remains to be seen how wisely the MPs exercise their freedom to split parties and enlarge the number of coalition partners. More and more coalition partners would indicate that more and more natives are learning to exercise their freedom of conscience. The signs are positive.
Only registered parties are allowed to contest the British election. At present there are 367 registered parties in Britain and 46 in Northern Ireland. These may not have a presence in parliament today. But the doors have been opened to them for the future. Hopefully by the next poll there will be at least a dozen parties boasting of one or more MPs. It may take time for demands of reservation of seats to emerge. But already the demand for a change of the electoral system is beginning to resonate ...
Amidst these hopeful developments it becomes doubly important for Indians to display patience and restraint. We cannot hasten the transition of a backward society from its medieval tribal values to the norms of enlightened civilization. Although India does derive benefits from its colony Indians should never forget that the purpose of colonizing Britain did not arise from the quest for material gain. The higher purpose to civilize the natives was never far from our thoughts. It was always considered as our moral responsibility. It is after all the Brown Man’s burden.