Every Fifteenth of August, since 1947, Indians celebrate the anniversary of Independence Day. On this day, it’s believed that India declared herself “free” from the tyrannical and imperialism British rule.
Before we mindlessly debate over nationalism or recklessly defend the Orwellian nature of Aadhar card, ask yourself: Are you truly free and independent?
If you intend to honestly use the word ‘independence’, you should have the intellectual courage to give it a real meaning and i.e. “Independence is living without government coercion”. So, when our politicians or your friends celebrate ‘Independence Day’, you must ask yourself whether this politician is advocating for more governmental action/intervention or less. On the contrary, no politician would love to see its own people living freely. Name me at least one neta, if you can, who believes that people should enjoy more liberties at the expense of the whole political fraternity.
Yes, with all due respect, our seditious and audacious freedom fighters valiantly fought against the fascism of British rule because they truly believed in the principles of individual liberty and social freedom. But, unfortunately, since 1950, the government of India has grown exponentially….which isn’t a good sign. From license raj system (1950-1991) to permission raj system (1992-2014) to inspection raj system (2014 to present), the government is now involved in nearly every aspect of our lives. Which aspect isn’t regulated, controlled, taxed, centralised, monopolised, dictated, notified, snooped, or licensed? Name me at least one function which is not scanned by the government, if you can.
Other things being equal, tell me, how much “independence” is there in today’s “Independence Day” euphory at all?
Let’s examine the recent (2016) shocking stories:
- India is ranked at 130 out of 189 countries, when it comes to doing business.
- India is ranked at 124 out of 166 countries, when it comes to the economic liberty.
The reason behind India’s “stagnant development” is mainly due to the embodiment of structural traits like draconian rules or procedures, big bureaucracy, eleutherophobic tax administrators, regulatory captures and the apoplithorismosphobic monetary system. On the other side, India’s global ranking for ‘Enforcement of Contracts’ (2016) stands at 184 out of 189 countries. Which means that institutions “responsible” for the ‘rule of law’ are not grim about “implementation” because they are not “accountable” to the taxpayers. Who cares?
Whereas, the media freedom (2016) is ranked at 136 out of 180 nations. Least said about the government involvement (interventionism) in mainstream media and social media, the better.
On social progress (2016), India stands at 98 out of 133 nations. To be very frank, as long as the principles of self-ownership and personal freedom are socially underestimated, no matter how many euphemisms our political rulers use, India’s score on this global index will stay static.
Coming to Gender Inequality Index (2016) and Human Development Index (2016), India stands at 125 out of 159 nations and 131 nations out of 189 nations ‘respectively’. Since many people do not even believe that they are obliged to one another for maximizing the size of government for such ratings, otherwise how would their collective nescience create a society of expropriation and anti-humanism? The scope of human capital has been vociferously quantified and horrendously determined by the government, post-independence. This has generated a coupon of deficiency in our social relations and social capital. Therefore, the developmental opportunities are dependent on the hierarchical structure than on the spontaneous order [of our system]. Question: Is it a purest sign of independence?
Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely. The unchecked, unacceptable and unaccountable power in our political structure is the root cause of corruption. Corruption is also about maintaining the monopoly on power. That is why the comfort of our master (government) is dependent upon the abundant supply of slaves (people). What kind of independence should we genuinely celebrate, today?
In essence, independence is the absence of government coercion. Nothing more, but certainly nothing less.
Hans-Hermann Hoppe describes a “free and independent society” as the absence of aggression against one’s body and property. Now, to be very frank, on introspecting more about communal tensions, cow vigilantes, moral policing, government sponsored trollers, Aadhar card, spiral of silence (anti-free speech attitude), film censorships, book bans, rising inflation, bemusing GST system, jobless growth, crony socialism, etc., I am doubtful of the “Independence Day” celebration in our current atmosphere.
Nevertheless, friends, Happy Dependence Day! Don’t tell me “move to Pakistan” because you don’t own our India.
About the author
Prof. Jaimine Vaishnav is an anarcho-capitalist based in Mumbai, India. His hobbies are about defending the liberties of all his dissents without charging any fee.
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