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Mechanical elephants, homemade howitzers when India turns 75

#Mechanical #elephants #homemade #howitzers #India #turns

India marked the 75th anniversary of independence on Monday as Prime Minister Narendra Modi delivered a speech from Delhi’s historic Red Fort, decorated with portraits of freedom fighters and guarded by mechanical elephants.

After a 21-gun salute, reportedly carried out using howitzers made for the first time domestically as part of Modi’s Make In India industrial strategy, the prime minister said Indians should shed “colonialism in our thoughts and habits.” .

“Hundreds of years of colonialism have limited our feelings, distorted our thoughts. If we see even the smallest thing related to colonialism in or around us, we have to get rid of it,” Modi said in a 90-minute speech from the ramparts of the fort in the Indian capital.

Wearing a cream turban speckled with the colors of the Indian flag, Modi also said India should crush the “termite” of corruption and nepotism, follow an “India First” mantra and ensure that “in speech and behavior we… doing nothing diminishes a woman’s dignity”.

“Separate India is the responsibility of every citizen, every government, every entity of society,” he said.

The “jewel in the crown” of the British Empire became independent in 1947 after two centuries of colonial occupation and exploitation.

When Britain ran into financial difficulties at the end of World War II – during which some 90,000 Indian soldiers died – the country was hastily split in two: Muslim-majority Pakistan and Hindu-majority India.

– division –

This sparked one of the greatest human movements of all time, as millions of people, displaced from areas where their families had lived for generations, rushed to the right side of the new border.

It also unleashed a catastrophe of sectarian violence that killed at least a million people. Trains full of people were massacred and countless women were raped.

24 years later, more blood was shed and millions more emigrated when East Pakistan, aided by Soviet-backed India, fought a war of independence to become Bangladesh in 1971.

The partition also split the disputed region of Kashmir between India and Pakistan, with the Himalayan territory sparking two of the nuclear-armed rivals’ three wars and numerous skirmishes since.

India’s population has grown from around 340 million to 1.4 billion today, and the country is expected to overtake China as the world’s most populous nation within this decade.

But while the economy is one of the largest — and fastest growing — in the world, millions remain mired in poverty and Modi’s government is struggling to create jobs for its booming population.

Women are often marginalized and suffer high levels of sexual violence while the often oppressive and inescapable system of Hindu caste hierarchy still applies in much of the country.

India’s waterways and cities are among the most polluted in the world, and the country is the third largest emitter of greenhouse gases, with its target of “net zero” in 48 years.

From a religious point of view, the founders of independent India wanted all Indians to be able to practice their faith while clearly separating state and religion.

But many, particularly among India’s roughly 200 million Muslims, fear these ideals will be attacked by Modi’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), many of whose supporters advocate Hindu hegemony.

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