Posts tagged ‘freedom’

Blog tour guest blog – Malika Gandhi

Quit India – the story behind it
by Malika Gandhi

 

A thought became a revolution; it took over minds and hearts and it divided a country in two. Once brothers, the people of India turned into enemies when their motherland, India, became India and Pakistan.
But when did the hatred, the resentment begin? When did the British Raj become insufferable?

The British entered India in 1608, concentrating on trading on new land. It was only when the Mughal Empire weakened in 1707 and dissolved that the East India Company took over India in 1764 after the Battle of Buxar. The East India Company – a British trading company administered power over India and ruled most states aswell as exercising power and control of Indian Military Forces.

There were many battles and disagreements through Indian history, such as the Battle of Buxar but what began the Indian Independence ‘battle’ was the ‘war’ between the British Raj and the Indians in 1857, known as the First War, the Great Rebellion and the Indian Mutiny amongst other such names. This war was a sepoy’s (an Indian soldier) fight that escalated throughout India.

Although this was seen as the catalyst of the First War, other factors contributed to the slow but sure build up of resentment and hate toward the East India Company.
It came to be believed by the sepoys that the East India Company intended to divide faiths and have them convert to Christianity, by force or deception. Land seizure was another British rule, one that forced the fact that if a ruler did not produce a true heir, their land would then be the property of the East India Company. As a result, many kingdoms such as Oudh, Nagpur and Awadh were taken over.

But what started the Mutiny? What was the cause of such an upheaval? The answer – a disregard of the native’s faith. The beliefs of the Hindu and the Muslim man were ridiculed by the East India Company.

Ignoring the Hindu’s religious devotion and worshipping of the Cow, the ‘mother’ who gives milk, and the Muslim’s revulsion of the Pig, that they see as dirty, lazy and greedy, the East India company ordered their army to manually load ammunition that was greased with the fat of the pig and the cow. Therefore, biting one end of the cartridge before use in a certain rifle was outrageous!

But no one had the nerve to stand up until Mangal Pandey, an infamous sepoy, took lead and braved to voice the injustice of the Company. He brought the cow/pig greased cartridge fact to the forefront to his fellow sepoys. Anger led to retaliation, with Mangal Pandey leading. He fired the first bullet.

Mangal Pandey with a few others was arrested and sentenced to death by hanging but Pandey was hanged ten days before his sentence date.
After the ‘War’, the East India Company was abolished and the responsibility of India was taken over by the Crown. Many steps were taken later to ensure some peace, some which included the end of attainment of land from stately princes.
After a lull in the Indian subcontinent, in 1915 Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi arrived from South Africa, known as Bapu (father) and Mahatma (the Great One). Gandhi travelled throughout India to ‘see’. He observed the rich and the poor, he witnessed ill treatment from the British Goré (white people) directed at the natives. Racial discrimination and prejudice were high.

Gandhi realised that India needed to fight back, to win back her rights and to claim her country back from the ‘foreigners’. One day, Gandhi settled on his decision. The European’s injustices and his tolerance to them went just too far. In 1942, he called for the ‘Quit India Movement’. He wanted the British out of India!

Gandhi advertised the Quit India Movement throughout India and voiced clearly that there must be no violence. India’s people embraced the Movement and embarked upon it with passion. Vallabhai Patel – Indian barrister and statesman, Jawaharlal Nehru – Indian politician (who became the first Indian Prime Minister), and Muhammad Ali Jinnah – Muslim lawyer, politician, statesman (founder of Pakistan), united with Gandhi in the Quit India Movement and participated and argued in heated discussions and speeches.

They were all arrested for ‘disturbing the peace’. But this didn’t stop India, who fought back. Nothing was going to stop them now. During the course of the Movement, many riots started along with the damaging of government buildings, derailment of railway lines (which the British Raj had introduced into the country), boycotting of schools and colleges and the throwing away/setting fire of British goods.

Marches, riots and freedom speeches were a regular occurrence; violence (against Gandhi’s pleas to stop) turned murderous. Indians were arrested or killed – the lathi, a soldier or policeman’s baton was never far away from the protestors. Many were jailed for a long time or executed.

In 1946, Jinnah proposed a new country – Pakistan. He wanted a Muslim country, to be ruled by a Muslim man, not Hindu. The other leaders were not happy about this and tried reasoning with Jinnah to no avail. Jinnah was adamant. He declared 16th August 1946 as Direct Action Day which saw colossal rioting and manslaughter across Calcutta.

Tension, anger and fear grew amongst the Hindu and Muslim communities and during October and November 1946, horrendous numbers of massacres, abductions, rape and forced faith conversions of Hindus, aswell as loot and arson were seen in Noakhali, actioned by the Muslim community.

Gandhi spent four months in Noakhali trying to restore peace and bring the communities together. But his efforts failed. During this time, Partition of India was accepted by the Congress Party.

14th August 1947 – Pakistan was formed.
15th August 1947 – midnight, India was made a Free country; she gained her independence. The British flag was lowered and the Indian flag rose.
It was Independence Day and both countries rejoiced in their new found Freedom.
Today, in England and in many other countries, Independence Day is celebrated each year on the 14th and 15th of August remembering those Martyrs who sacrificed their lives for us and mourning those Indians whose lives were taken away through riots and massacres; a time which changed lives forever and is still fresh in those minds who lived during those horrendous times.

 

Today, I am giving my Ebook Freedom of the Monsoon away for free. Just click on the link below. I hope you enjoy the book, and I hope you will be
encouraged to leave a review. Thank you!

 

Abstract:
Pooja stared back at her reflection. The bruises were deep purple and her mascara had run, leaving black streaks behind. Taking a wet cloth, she wiped away the signs of abuse from the corner of her mouth. She took out a compact from the antique dresser and fought to cover the bruises with her scalded hands, then she brushed through her already knot free hair. It was then that she stopped crying.
Gingerly, Pooja adorned her hair with a butterfly clip, and stood up to examine herself in the full-length mirror. She looked better now; the bruises didn’t show up as much.
“It’s alright, beta, things will get better, I promise,” she whispered, putting her hands on her stomach. “Your Papa didn’t mean to do it. He is a good man.”
Pooja walked from room to room, overlooking the cleaning of the house. The servants were busy today; Amar was expecting guests. She must try and present herself well…
“Meenakshi, how is the dinner coming along?”
“Very well, Memsahib,” Meenakshi, the chef’s wife assured her.
Pooja was satisfied, and moved on. Everything must be perfect today. Amar must have no complaints. Pooja passed the drawing room – something wasn’t right. The cigars!
“Laxman!” she called.
“Yes, Memsahib.” Laxman, who overlooked the housework, appeared.
“Laxman, the cigars. Fill the cigarette holder and quickly. Saab must have it full.”
The big clock struck seven. The guests would be here soon with Amar. Pooja steadied her breathing, and went to her bedroom to get changed. Maybe a little more powder will be good. She opened the wardrobe, which contained over two hundred saris, and searched for something suitable. She settled on a pink and silver one. She hoped Amar would approve. Glancing in the mirror, she noticed there was something wrong with her hair. It was the hair-clip. Amar didn’t like butterflies…he would be so angry. Pooja changed it to a flower design – yes, that’s better.

 

Links to download the free Ebook:

UK: http://amzn.to/2waXrA6

USA: http://amzn.to/2ffQk2o

INDIA: http://amzn.to/2w9UeAE

 

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Love Without Borders

In celebration of Canada Day and Independence Day. This was a writing prompt about what might happen if the Canadian flag and American flag joined together in marriage.
by: Rebecca Taylor
“We are gathered here today to celebrate the rejoining of two nations, Canada and America. I, Freedom, am ecstatic about the opportunity to officiate this marriage. Without further ado, does anyone object to the union of these two countries?”

The two flags leaned in closer to each other on a high mounted flagpole, each one almost holding their breaths in anticipation, it was their day and they feared that someone may object to them because of their past differences. It didn’t take a fancy dress for the bride or a suit for the groom to make the twosome shimmer in the moonlight just like it didn’t take the same citizenship, colour or exact beliefs to make a harmonious union.

“And now onto the important part,” said Freedom, “the marriage vows, Canada, do you to take America to be your lawfully wedded wife through natural disasters, joyous celebrations and international disputes until the end of eternity?”

“I do,” replied Canada.

“America, do you take Canada to be your lawfully wedded husband through natural disasters, joyous celebrations and international disputes until the end of eternity?”

“I do,” whispered America, her stars gleaming.

“Amen,” said Freedom, “and now I believe you both have a very special vow to make to each other. Canada, you may begin.”

“Meri, you and I have known each other for what seems like forever, our designs have changed along the way and sometimes so has the way we’ve felt about each other. I want you to know that even though we are from different sides of the border, my love for you is boundless. There was a time when we grew apart, our ties felt severed by our differences, but while we were distant, I learned the importance of holding onto my beliefs no matter what the cost. The bottom line is regardless of what happens to our individual economies and elections, I love you and we belong together. This day is for us and for all the other lovers out there struggling with their differences. I want you and them to know that when a couple is meant to be together even when they have differences, they need to reach for the sky. You cannot stop loving because someone thinks you do not belong together. Our love is immeasurable, and I thank the higher powers every day that I have you,” said Canada clutching America.

“Canada, that was absolutely beautiful. Now, look at me, you made me cry. Tears of joy because we have been so fortunate in love to be devoting ourselves to each other again. We have been given a second chance at happiness and because of this our countries should rejoice. There was a time when we may have been called opponents, but what we need to be seen as are allies. In our union, I pray that we may be seen as one. Canada and America, reuniting with the blessing of our countries, our witnesses, and the wisdom of Freedom and Liberty. Thank you for being my rock in this world of turmoil. It is my belief that together we can assist the universe in overcoming many obstacles. I’m in this marriage for the long haul, I know it won’t be easy, but when have we ever taken the easy route. Thank you for living with me each day and loving me to your fullest.”

The crowd assembled beneath the lavishly decorated flagpole clapped and cheered, all the onlookers smiling and taking in the wonder and knowledge of the couple. The crowd began singing “The Star Spangled Banner” and “O Canada” and then the most radiant display of fireworks engulfed the darkening sky sealing the vows which Canada and America had made to each other and the world.

Canada

by: Rebecca Taylor
 **Previously published by Halcyon in 2013 for Canada Day.**

 Flags flying everywhere 
 maple leaf encompassing this special day.
 Reliving history,
 as the country joined together
 First four provinces,
 over time a growth to ten and three territories.
 Languages mix together
 the theme is clear in all voices
 This is Canada, proud to be free.

			

With Nature

by: Rebecca Taylor

based on this week’s picture prompt

Feeling of freedom
as bare feet touch the damp sand
ocean’s spray misting in from the tide.
Seagulls squawk with joy
feeding on fish found near the shore
undeterred by the beach goers.
So much happening all at once
but in the moment with nature
all feels right with the world.

Superior

By Christian Sopkowiak

Mosquitos, each one of them wanting a taste of blood, surrounded me. I swatted them away as they came but their numbers always seem endless when a body of water is nearby. I eventually killed one on my forearm; the mosquito was now only a red bloody spot on my body. The icy air sent shivers through me as I wondered why the mosquitos were out at this time of day. It was a beautiful but unfriendly Minnesota morning. I was standing on the shore of the enormous Lake Superior in the confines of a cold but welcoming Minnesota. The sand crunched beneath my feet and the cool air breathed continuously across the shore. My eyes were adjusting to the rising sun; its crimson rays were inviting as well as striking.

I exhaled heavily to see my breath take form in front of me. The air was an oddly calming tinge of frigid. It was spring and the lake was just getting used to being free from the rigid ice. I had begun to feel the shivering tingle of lake water drift in between my toes. Back and forth. Back and forth. Back and forth. I was too close to the shore but the water is exactly what I needed to wake me. I decided to sit down in the sand with my knees high and my arms wrapped around my legs.

I stared out into the lake, the water shone bright as an occasional wave lapped up the air. Some moments there would be a fish flopping in and out of the water, others there would be a loon cooing, and others there would be a bird of prey swooping in for its breakfast. The lake’s greenish blue tinge entranced me for a few moments; the lack of movement on the surface calmed my nerves for a bit.

That is when I stretched my mouth to smile at the lake. The water again brushed against my toes and the restful wind hit my cheek. As the sun rose that morning, I decided to stand up from the brittle sand. I looked at my hands after I stood; sand and blood caked my palms and fingers. The blood spread to my white shoes and jeans, the stains would take forever to get out.

“It would be so much simpler if we were free,” I said aloud. That is when I heard the police sirens behind me. My eyes drifted to the lake again. An eagle clenched a trout in its talons and flew off into the distance, into the clouds.Image

Beyond the Bridge

A fictional story based on the picture prompt

 

By: Rebecca Taylor

 

                As children living in a small town, it was always a treat when our parents rented a cottage and we got to go swimming and canoeing in the river. We often canoed under the bridge but our trip to Gold’s Lake meant that we didn’t cross over the bridge by car. My sister and I used to play games of what was beyond the bridge – was it a giant city or a magic village, maybe there was royalty that lived there in a castle, or a gold refinery or…and the list went on. Now, that I’m an adult and I had a chance to get out and see for myself what was beyond the bridge, it makes me kind of sad because while there is a city, there isn’t really anything that unique about it, unless you think that the house down the street from where I live is special in its fluorescent pink paint with the bright yellow trim. Being in the city is like being in most places, there are people, some are nicer than others, there are coffee shops and restaurants, some I’d rather eat at than others, there are office politics and ladders to try and climb to get better opportunities. There are places of truth and justice, of good and evil, of right and wrong, but this is life and I am happy making my place in it, even if being beyond the bridge didn’t hold the same allure as it did when I was a child. And, the most amazing thing might still be on this new side of the bridge, a wonderful man who I recently met and who has asked me out on a date, this evening. I’m getting ready and am hoping to not be too nervous but whatever happens, I’ll know that I took a chance just like I did in coming to work on this side. I know too that if ever I want my small town life back all I have to do is get in my car and make the drive back across the bridge. Knowing it can go both ways is a very freeing experience. 

Set Me Free

The longest moment of my life was when I said goodbye. The moment was too short still. I hardly got to say goodbye. He was the crown prince and I would be his queen. One foggy afternoon we were together in the castle. He was about to embrace me, when the Dark Ones attacked the castle. I see now that we should have been more prepared for it. We should have thought it would happen, but we did not. His father, King Sebastian, was ill, and with the kingdom preoccupied with the matter, it was the opportune time to invade. They slashed King Sebastian where he lay in his sick bed, kidnapped Francis, and became our ruthless leaders. They sold me, along with Sophie, a castle maid who was present, into indentured servitude. At the Inn where we were to serve, we were literally bound.  The Dark Ones possess a sort of magic that whatever they say is made permanent. When they sold us, we acquired chains around our ankles. They were light chains – a chain that would retract and extend according to where I walked in the inn. It was light enough that for a moment I could forget about it. But then, if I tried to go out the door of the inn, the chain would drag me back. I never stopped trying to escape, and it never let me fully forget that I was a slave.

It’d been three long years since we arrived as the house maids of Buckshire Inn. Every day Sophie and I scrubbed and washed cleaned. Every day Sophie saw into my downcast soul and put her hand on my shoulder. “Your prince will come.” Everyday she tried to instill a hope in me.

Every day I answered, “That he will.”

This morning wasn’t any different in that respect. She repeated her worn out expression.

“That he will,” I responded. I looked up from the floor I was scrubbing and saw her face was aglow. “What is it?”

“Oh, you haven’t heard?” She squealed softly. “They say he’s out.”

I only frowned.

“He’s escaped from the Dark One’s camp. Gone.” She searched my face.

I swallowed and tried to put all the pictures of Francis out of my mind. “Are you sure?”

“The talk is all over the kingdom. The Dark Ones are terrorizing villages, looking for him.”

I sat down on the sudsy floor, trying to take this in.

“That’s it then,” she continued. “He’s going to rise up against them. The Dark Ones.”

“And if we could defeat them, don’t you think someone would have done it already?” I asked.

She shrugged. “Little is known about the Darkness. Surely they have their weaknesses, too.”

I was a bit skeptical, but I knew she was right. I fingered the bright chain on my ankle. If the Dark Ones were no more, their power would be gone. I would be free.

“And once he defeats them, he will come for you.” I looked up at her and she looked at me sternly. “He will, Alisha.”

“He’d better.”

That was all I could say, for it was the refrain of my heart. I’d stopped wishing for merely Francis long ago. What we had together wasn’t even particularly wonderful. When The Dark Ones took away what was mine, it was not my prince that I meant. It was my freedom. I would never stop waiting for it to come back to me.

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