“What makes a nation, is the past, what justifies one nation against others is the past“, says the noted historian Eric Hobsbawm.
Hence, when talking about a country, it becomes important that the past should also be talked about. And the past of India is charming and motivating as it is historic.
To mark the 70 anniversary of India's freedom, a display is being planned by Getty Image Gallery in London. Most of these pictures were taken in the middle of the 1800s after the first combat of Independence. Captured by photographers like Samuel Bourne and Felice Beato, these images helped generate curiosity about India in the western world. The pictures also give a peep of the life of nineteenth century India.
1. Women and children bathing at a ghat on the banks of the Ganges in Benaras (Varanasi), Uttar Pradesh, India, circa 1875. 2. Girgaum Road, Bombay, India, c1925. Street in what is now Mumbai. Cigarette card produced by the Westminster Tobacco Co Ltd, Indian Empire, 1st series. 3. A troupe of musicians outside a Buddhist temple in Darjeeling, West Bengal, circa 1875. 4. The Taj Mahal in Agra, seen from the Jumna, 1859. Vintage albumen print. 5. An archway over a street in Delhi, India, 1858. 6. A view of the Hama (Hamta) Pass in the Lahaul Valley in the Himalayas, Himachal Pradesh, India, 1866. 7. A silver gelatin print of an elderly Pathan (Pashtun) man, Northwest Frontier Province (now part of Pakistan), British India, 1915. 8.Ratneshwar Mahadev temple (left) and surrounding temples on the bank of the Ganges at what is now the Scindia Ghat in Benaras (Varanasi), Uttar Pradesh, India, circa 1865. 9.A man playing a single-stringed fiddle, Darjeeling Himalayan hill region, West Bengal, India, circa 1875. 10. Maharajah Jai Singh of Alwar, circa 1877.
Independence Day is a festivity of the new and a closure of the old. In the jubilation following freedom, it is enticing to play the pompous victim, and blame the past; but for how long? Now that the shoe is on the other foot, we should be trained to tie up our laces and progress. The only malingerer, who stumble in decadence, find an excuse in history to stay away from work.