Reflection on the 75th Anniversary Commemoration

Reflections from Fletcher alumna Neha Ansari, PhD
Neha Ansari

As Pakistan and India marked 75 years since their independence from the Britain Empire, both countries had much to celebrate, but also have much to introspect and improve. Indeed, coming out of the shadows of colonialism was no easy feat: these nascent countries created new institutions and systems, created strong political-economies, and reinvigorated centuries-old culture and arts to establish new identities in an uncertain post-war world. However, despite a lot of progress, today both countries have disempowered some segments of society and even allowed the persecution of minorities, have curtailed freedoms, and are battling corruption and political uncertainty. The political elite in both countries appear very similar to the colonial elites we gained independence from. Therefore, at 75 years, let us pledge to truly empower all people in our societies and create a culture of pluralism and accountability. Without this, can we truly claim to be free and independent?

Fletcher alumna Neha Ansari (MALD 13, PhD 22) studies new weapons technologies and their impact on warfare. Her dissertation, which received the Peter Ackerman Dissertation Award, studied the shift in public opinion within Pakistan’s tribal belt on American drone strikes. Her research interests include security studies, counterterrorism, counterinsurgency, Afghanistan-Pakistan, and China’s Influence in South/Southwest Asia.