Today is the 70th anniversary of India’s Independence. The event matters to all of us. Not just because it impacted one out of every five humans walking the planet at the time. But because two centuries of domination by the largest Empire that the world had ever known were finally undone by a revolution that was fundamentally spiritual and had nonviolence at its core.
I’m not here to romanticize the power of the state, or to present nonviolence as the only option for those who seek liberation. I have no desire to idealize the life of Indians today or to ignore the extreme violence that followed the subcontinent’s partition.
But I am here to assert that anyone who concerns themselves with the question of freedom and the role of spirit in the quest of liberation must also pay attention to what the Indian people did 70 years ago.
Indian independence is a reminder that the oppressed are the many and the oppressor the few, it is a reminder that numbers matter. It is also a reminder that the first revolution is a revolution of the mind, a reclaiming of the spirit, an event that must first happen in the realm of our beliefs. It shows us what can happen when we refuse to cooperate with a system that is fundamentally wrong.
Ideas are powerful. So is the embodiment of truth.