What Scottish independence means for Asia, for India

Flag-Pins-India-Scotland I spent some of the best years of my life in Scotland. As a student at the University of Edinburgh I was exposed to many radical and liberal ideas that have contributed immensely in shaping my present work and life. Also, the great cultural and linguistic pride of the Scots resonated deeply within me. I’m a native Tamil speaker born in India, where a dominant culture of Hindi nationalism constantly looks to overpower other linguistic “minorities.” I believe that Scotland’s independence would not only give political, cultural and economic freedom to the Scots, but would also have astounding repercussions around the world.

Asia is on a high at the moment. With the Chinese economy looking to overtake America’s and Indian businesses eager to grow under the auspices of its newly formed right-wing government, it would seem all is well in the east. But a closer look would reveal the million mutinies within. Be it the violent separatist movements of Xinjiang and Tibet in China, Kashmir and Manipur in India, or take the case of the exploited Rakhine people of Myanmar, cultural and economic dominance is prevalent all across the subcontinent. Kashmir was promised a referendum sixty years ago, and the Indian government has still not gotten around to granting them one.

China rules its people with an iron fist and is not necessarily the land of free thought. In India, I’m glad to note that freedom of speech and expression does exist, but only as long as it conforms to the majority’s definition of it. Any group that is first-past-the-post is considered a majority here, as it is in the UK. It would seem that India is similar to the UK in many ways, given the shared history. Starting with lazy bureaucracies, underrepresentation of minorities in mainstream politics, to unequal distribution of income and glaring regional inequalities.

The India of today is a union of many culturally exclusive states that were under the British Raj. These states did not have much to do with one another before the East India Company came into the picture. In fact, the north and south of India were completely disconnected from one another politically. When such a kaleidoscope of cultures forms a nation – sure it’ll face challenges, many of which, I might add, are direct results of colonialism. And India’s hesitancy to reform its system has led to many present-day problems. In recent times, the Indian Westminster style parliamentary system struggled under coalitions of unwilling parties that stalled policy and implementation, catering only to the states that contributed to political power at the centre. All other states were neglected. This has pushed an exhausted Indian electorate to vote for right-wing nationalists, the Hindi-Hindu BJP, hoping for faster economic growth, thereby trusting India’s future in the hands of religious autocrats. Unprecedented communal riots have broken out in many parts of India since the BJP came to power.

If today’s politicians deconstruct reality in a rational manner and form socio-economic policies that cater to the diverse needs of culturally different peoples of all regions, things might be different.

However, in nations that thrive on fanatic nationalism and patriotism, read India, UK, China, the US, et al, internal problems are often swept under the carpet. There is only one national narrative and only a few voices are heard.

This must change. Regional voices need to be heard. But do representative democracies serve that purpose? What other forms of democracies can we experiment with? After all, people’s welfare is the ultimate aim, isn’t it?

Many might say that we are better together as larger nations. Let us stay this way and work towards building our economic strength and regional power. Except, at what cost? By stealing natural resources? Exploiting whole communities? Obliterating “minority” cultures? These are questions that many are reluctant to ask.

In today’s war-torn, power-hungry, imperialistic and unfair world, it is rare that a country is given the chance to write its own future. To form a peaceful country that says no to wars and nuclear weapons, and upholds its cultural heritage while denigrating no other, a utopian land.


It’s a beautiful dream, to be able to achieve independence democratically. Conscious separation. A bid for freedom – grounded on hope as opposed to hate.

I trust the people of Scotland would build a society that stands for social equality and peace. Where art and literature can thrive, alongside businesses.

I’ve closely followed the debates on Scottish independence, and realise that much hinges on the economics of it all. But what are borders, nations and economics anyway? They’re human constructs. The economics of humanity is what’s supreme and nations that stand together in that will surely succeed.

The future of the world, as I see it, is one where many, many, small nations peacefully coexist under the banner of humanity.

Scotland has the chance to lead the way towards that future, in a democratic, peaceful manner. An opportunity to make history, to inspire many around the world… in Asia, in India… to prove that one can nonviolently break the shackles of the past and create a better society for tomorrow.

PS: A word of caution. Please do not let the politicians hijack your independence.

Comments (18)

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  1. picpac67 says:

    Wonderful – thank you.

  2. dougiestrang says:

    Great article, thank you, and a most salient PS.

    1. Clootie says:

      my exact thoughts!

  3. Thank you.
    This is exactly why I believe that independence for Scotland is of critical importance to the world at this time. I too dream of a world of small states acting in co-operation, rather than big, clumsy, centralised and unaccountable behemoths with their imperialistic and warlike ways.
    I would say that the people of Scotland have a moral duty to vote Yes for the sakes of their brothers and sisters across the wider world.
    They also have a moral duty to
    step forward and take direct responsibility for the building of the new nation and get involved with the drafting of our written constitution and being active in smaller, more localised seats of government. There’s a lot of work to be done and potential pitfalls along the way but this does not scare me; it actually thrills me instead and fills me with hope and energy.

    1. Samir says:

      Yes to Scotland !!

  4. Aye independence the hope of my dreams.The article is a very good take on us Scots.I thank Sindhu Rajasekaran for his input.

  5. MBC says:

    This is a fantastic article, many thanks.

    On one point though, the US constitution is set up to give maximum autonomy to the states making up the Union. There is a constitution, and states may pass what laws and collect what taxes they like provided they receive a democratic mandate and do no breach the constitution.

    If such powers were available to the nations of the UK I doubt we would be having this referendum.

  6. YHG says:

    The ‘divide and rule’ culture originated with the British. Now it’s coming home to roost.

  7. ewenart says:

    Wonderful words of wisdom and reflection – which we in Scotland, India and much of the world, should heed and be mindful of! Thanks, from Alba (Scotland)

  8. oscartaime says:

    Suspect this isn’t just the final nail in the British Empire (albeit only a rump fantasy at this point) it is the chance to show that politicians can no longer rely on a disengaged, uninformed & apathetic electorate to keep them in their sinecures.

    And as the author rightly says our chance to show how dysfunctional states can split peacefully into smaller happier & safer states.

    Scottish Enlightenment V2

  9. Abulhaq says:

    For Tibetans, Uyghurs, Syriac Christians, Kashmiris, Québecois, Catalans and many many more….

  10. yesvote2014 says:

    மிகவும் நன்றி

  11. daibhidhdeux says:

    An end to the war-mongering, monster- imperialist, skullduggery-contrived, artificial super-state behemoths being dismantled by the peoples incarcerated within them and Scotland (Alba) in the vanguard of doing it peacefully in accordance with the sovereign will of its citizens?

    By Christ – forgive me – but what is there to repudiate about this?

    Bring on a second Enlightenment turbo-charged due to its globally connected, free-thinking, and genuinely democratic roots in Scotland and elsewhere.

  12. chandran says:

    you need not worry about Indian society by living there. First you live here and worry about
    our people thanks

  13. Baloch_Warrior says:

    And if you are so worried about everybody in the sub continent Mr. ISI Agent ,then how can you forget Balochistan and the sufferings and killings of Baloch people for the last 60 years in the hands of Pakistani Army ….

  14. R Selavn says:

    Mr. Writer , I don’t understand why with your knowledge about Scotland you qualify to write about India, Indian sub continent and the rest of Asia …You very conveniently forgot to mention about the freedom struggle of Tamils in Sri Lanka , Bengalis in undivided Pakistan and Balochs in current Pakistan , how these people have suffered for so many years .. from almost the genocide of Tamils to killings of close to 3 million Bangladeshis by Paki Army and now brutal killings of Balochs by Pakistani army again and never these people were never given a chance to vote ..Please read more about this geography or go back to Junior school to complete your history lessons .Good article on/for Scotts but poorly researched in Indian and Asian context.

  15. Mohammad Faizan says:

    History repeat itself,

    Hindustan ko baatne waley aaj khud tukro mien bat jayenge, , , , ,
    meri dua hai ke allah scotish indians ko khus rakhe, , , ,

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