The first attempts at colonisation and de-colonisation were in India, said Rajya Sabha MP M J Akbar during his session on challenges to modernity on Sunday at Bangalore Literature Festival.”The period of 1947 to 1950, when the Constitution was being framed, represents the collapse of European colonisation,” he said.
“Even the neo-colonisation model – the princely states – was attempted in India. So instead of protecting the entire region, the British were protecting the interests of one royal family.”During the rest of his session, he spoke of four identifying factors of modern nations -- liberty, faith equality, gender equality and economic equity. The first three, he believes, India has imbibed.
”We have individual and collective liberty,” he said. “And there’s no place better to show you what secularism is – not Europe, not America – than India. You wake up to azaan, then hear the bells in a Hanuman temple, after that the Guru Granth Sahib in a gurdwara and then the church bells.” As for gender equality, Akbar said, it has gained such momentum in India that there’s no reversing it. “But the last one – economic equity – is our biggest challenge,” he said. “There’s no such thing as economic equality – the poor are not stupid; they don’t expect to die in a palace when they are born in a hut. But if they are eating two rotis a day when they are born, they expect to eat four by the time they die. “The first planning commission’s objectives was hunger alleviation, he said, but now hunger elimination is way to go.