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Dear Readers,
  Greetings and best wishes to all Indian brothers and sisters as we enter the 75th year of our ‘Swatantrata’ or liberation from imperial rule on August 15, 2021. With immense pleasure, Science India presents a Collector’s Edition on this momentous occasion on the hitherto unknown theme — ‘The saga of struggle of Swatantrata through science’.
August 15, 1947, marks the fortuitous day of India’s release from political servility. On this historic day, the rising sun heralded the banner of ‘Swatantrata’, as the darkest night of servitude of several centuries passed away forever. Fetters of bondage of foreign rule were broken and sorrowful sufferings of the motherland came to an end.
 The liberation of ‘Bharatmata’ from the yoke of imperialism was achieved
solely because of the sheer sacrifice of enlightened and unyielding patriots. Along with the opportunity of paying warm tributes to these patriots, the celebration of the 75th year of Swatantrata has offered us an opportunity to revisit, study and understand the deeper meaning of the multidimensional struggle carried out to gain swatantrata. It is of great importance to know how the vision for Swatantra Bharat was evolved through struggle; and to realise that vision, how creative and enterpris- ing souls presented the best of their life to the lotus feet of motherland.
Out of several invasions, the last one, i.e., the British invasion, was truly unique in its nature. An exclusive characteristic of this invasion was the use of ‘science’ to subjugate our country. The beginning of the British rule, i.e., the victory at Plassey in June 1757, coincided with the 1st Industrial Revolution that began in 1760. The phenomenal success of the Industrial Revolution became an extraordinary strength of the British offensive. The British could penetrate and inflict harsh blows to every walk of life of our nation, just because of the use of science even though their pres- ence was meagre in this country. The British dominion, therefore, was like never before in every respect.
A brilliant and spirited struggle to defend ‘swa’, i.e., identity, was carried out in the domain
of science.
Has history recognised and acknowledged this saga of unique struggle for ‘swatantrata’ through science?
 It was obvious that a fitting response to the unjust and discriminatory British
rule, or rather a counter-attack, emerged from all walks of life. The newly emerging
domain of modern science was not an exception. Intelligent Indian minds not only
learnt and assimilated the knowledge and methods of modern science but equipped
themselves with scientific arms to take on the biased and oppressive British hege-
mony. A brilliant and spirited struggle to defend ‘swa’, i.e., identity, was carried out
in the domain of science. Has history recognised and acknowledged this saga of
unconventional and unique struggle for ‘swatantrata’ through science? No. So, through this edition, an attempt has been made to capture and present the essence of this hitherto untold story along with its multiple aspects.
 Discerning readers will observe the use of term ‘swatantrata’ in place of the commonly used terms like ‘freedom’ or ‘independence’. There is a reason behind the conscious use of the term ‘swatantrata’. This term precisely denotes the objective of struggle. Destruction of ‘swa’, the very identity of the Indian nation, was the aim of the British Empire. It means that the sole intention was to denationalise Indians. Denationalisation is a process of stripping off the national identity of native people and replacing that with the conqueror’s identity, in order to recast the natives as strangers in their own land. The greedy British state was aspiring to achieve a long term or rather permanent subju- gation of India through the process of denationalisation. This was a life-threatening attack and was nothing but an existential crisis.
People were shaken to the core as the ‘swa’, the identity, was jeopardised by the British Raj. It gave rise to peo- ple’s unrest and as a result, struggle started with a goal to restore ‘swa’. That is why the most appropriate term is ‘swatantrata’; and not ‘independence’ or ‘freedom’ which just means ‘mukti’.
This discussion about the term ‘swatantrata’ has a significance in today’s context. The experience of the last 74 years sheds light on a fact that though we have attained ‘swaraj’, i.e., self-rule, we are yet to recapture the ‘swa’ in every sphere of life. It is absolutely essential to restore ‘swa’ to regain our glory.
The year-long celebration of the 75th year of Swatantrata has given us an opportunity to work intensely, and with the sense of urgency, to achieve the permanent restoration of ‘swa’. Science India is committed to this task in the na- tion’s interest.
Jayant Sahasrabudhe

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