The widespread usage of colonial languages – English, French, Portuguese and Spanish in the subjugated countries – added to the enlightenment. The educated class could get the news of revolutions and changes from all over the world. These ideas got ingrained together with the more acceptable idea of equal rights for all.
United States of America went through a huge upheaval when the reformist idea of equal human rights started taking shape. There was a sharp divide in the opinions of the North and the South with the North agreeable to release Negroes from bondage and the South totally against abolition of slavery.
Slavery was an accepted affair in British Dominions but the Emancipation Act of 1833 abolished this dirty practice. This being the start, voices were raised in America too but it had to undergo a severe Civil War in 1861 for the cause. This was the first time Abraham Lincoln was elected as the 16thPresident of USA. He raised his voice in favor of abolition and this was the manifesto on the basis of which he was elected.
Ultimately in 1863, the American Senate voted in favor of abolition and slavery became a thing of the past. This had severe repercussions, as there were several farms, plantations and cattle breeding centers which were totally run through free slave labor. With the abolition, these huge establishments became redundant overnight and within a short time, the grandeur of their owners reduced to nothing.
This had its reaction all over the world and the nations of colonies raised a hue and cry for equal rights. The example of a London educated and established lawyer being thrown off a train because he had the audacity to occupy a first class compartment is well known. Mohan Das Karam Chand Gandhi was a Barrister with a valid first class ticket, erudite and well dressed to the boot but his rights were at par because of the color of his skin.
That this was one of the turning points in history is an accepted fact, as this was flashed in several newspapers. The struggle for equal rights gained momentum and ultimately became vociferous in their clamour for Independence.
Unfortunately, these nations did not think of what could happen after their struggles bore fruit. The fact is that, all the years of subjugation had created a mentality where they would either bow or scrape before superiors or if power came to them, it when to their heads. Freedom or Independence became synonymous with misuse of power due to which the value of the freedom struggle was reduced to nil and the state of the country reduced to shambles.
This has happened all over the world, even where monarchy was overthrown and especially in those countries where literacy levels were low and religious dogmas were at the forefront.
The initial stage was the euphoria at achieving freedom and the leaders who fought for the principle of equal rights and independence took charge, but only for a limited period. With the idea of own governance, a wrong conception took roots. The conception of being free to do as one pleased because the rulers were no more, the result was that fear of law and respect for rule of law, slowly diminished. This paved the way for the over-ambitions to try and gain power, at any cost, by hook or by crook. Unprincipled, the corrupt and even criminals fell in this category and the results were all on the same lines, unfortunately.
This deterioration in ethical and political values, the greed for money and power, the diminishing pride and love for country led to total moral and financial bankruptcy. The result was that such countries faced severe shortages, lack of basic amenities and breakdown of law and order leading to situation verging on civil war. Such situations are always ripe for takeovers by those with the maximum strength, fire power and muscle power, be it a civilian who emerged as the Dictator or military strongman who brought the country under military rule.
The scenario is getting quite common today and our neighbors Pakistan and Bangladesh are very well known. Pakistan has been facing disruption of democracy and military rule intermittently since its independence. Right from General Ayub Khan, General Yahya Khan, General Zia-Ul-Haq to the present General Parvez Musharraf, they have had a series of military rulers. Pakistan has even witnessed the summary hanging of a duly elected Prime Minister Julfiquar-Ali-Bhutto.
Similarly Bangladesh is a witness to the brutal assassination of a duly elected leader Sheikh Mujibur Rehman and takeover by the military generals. Most of the Islamic countries have been witness to such occurrences. Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, the Libyan strongman has ruled the country with an iron hand for the past 35 years or so, claiming to the self-styled protagonist of Muslims, around the world. He is also the protector of Islamic terrorists and has expansionist designs in North Africa reaching as far as Zaire.
Saddam Hussain of Iraq was another one of these military despots who had elected himself President since 1979. he had been infamous for his harsh dealings and the use of chemical weapons against the Kurds, who sought some degree of autonomy. He attacted Kuwait and was successful in annexing it during a short was in August 1990. the country has been under severe attacks by USA and UK bombers and missiles, also faced an embargo and sanctions due to its non-conformity with UN sponsored regulations. However, it was to his credit that he had the people of his country behind him and he had been defiant, refusing to bow before American demands. The attacks on Iraq had united the Arab and Muslim countries against USA and UK.
The case of the former USSR under stalin is too prominent to be retoled. North Koria under Sung-Jong II, son of late Kim II Sung, fomer dictator is another,very well detailed example of the day. The dismissal of an elected representative Mahendra Choudhury in Fiji, appointed Prime Minister, by military strongman Colonel Ratuka is also vividly etched in our memory.
The African countries have been facing dictatorships and military rules ever since their independence. The classic example of Gen. Idi Amin of Uganda, a debauch and tyrant, left the country’s economy in shambles and the non-ethenic on the run.
Laurent Desvie Kabila declared himself President of Zaire (Congo) after he was abel to storm the capital Kinshasa. He is now threatened by two of his former supporters Rwanda and Burundi. Thousands of died in the attacks and unless international intervention comes soon, the country will pass into anarchy for several years to come.
Our neighbor Myanmar (Burma) has been under military rule for the last several decades. Elections were held there in 1990 after a gap of 28 years and Aung Suu Kyi, daughter of revolutionary leader Aung San won handsomely. However, the military authorities are defiant and in no mood to hand over power to a democratic leader.
India has been lucky in this case. It has face several upsurges by the Communist backed MarxistLeninist Group, popularly called Naxalites in regions of West Bengals, Assam, Nagaland, Bihar And Andhra Pradesh but the law enforcing authorities have clamped down brutally on them.
The division of power in the defense wings, separates commands for East, West North, South and Central has the military wings divided and the incorporation of the nation’s President as Supreme Commander of our Armed forces is also a saving grace, otherwise we would also have gone the way Pakistan went.
The administrative and operational control of our Armed forces is exercised by the Ministry of Defense and the three services headquarters of Army, Air Force and Navy. The division of power and constant delegation has indubitably avoided concentration in a few hands, spreading it all over in steps. This has also negated any thought of dictatorship by a person or a group. This is how India could save Dictatorship or Military Rule after Independence and still is the best Democratic nation of the world.