Why Scotland should celebrate India and Pakistan's independence – Angus Robertson MSP

Tens of thousands of Scots-Asians have been celebrating the 75th independence anniversaries of both Pakistan and India.

Members of India's Congress party carry a giant Indian national flag during a procession as part of the celebrations to mark country's 75th Independence Day in Chennai (Picture: Arun Sankar/AFP via Getty Images)
Members of India's Congress party carry a giant Indian national flag during a procession as part of the celebrations to mark country's 75th Independence Day in Chennai (Picture: Arun Sankar/AFP via Getty Images)

The anniversary marks the end of colonial rule by the United Kingdom and also the partition which led to the creation of both independent states.

People in India and Pakistan, and their significant diasporas, can be rightfully proud of their achievements since independence. Today, India is the largest democracy in the world while Pakistan is ranked amongst the emerging and growth-leading economies.

Internationally, people of Indian and Pakistani descent play huge roles including here in Scotland.

Amongst our most talented figures in public life we have Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf, Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar, Glasgow Kelvin SNP MSP Kaukab Stewart, Airdrie and Shotts SNP MP Anum Qaisar, and leading academic Mona Siddiqui, all of whom have Pakistani heritage.

Meanwhile, Shadow Health Secretary Dr Sandesh Gulhane, Tory MSP Pam Gosal and Edinburgh University chair of global public health, Professor Devi Sridhar, are all of Indian descent. There are tens of thousands more, in all walks of Scottish life.

Scotland’s relationship with the Indian sub-continent is a complicated one, given the prominent role played by Scots as part of the British imperial project.

It is one we need to better understand and take responsibility for. All the more reason to celebrate the independence of India and Pakistan and the huge contribution that people from those countries make to present-day Scotland.

Angus Robertson is the SNP MSP for Edinburgh Central and Constitution, External Affairs and Culture Secretary