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Recalling 'common bonds' between India and United States, dating back to 18th century

Tipu Sultan, George Washington
By Dr Mike Ghouse* 
July 4 bonds the United States with India and Muslims. Indeed, India is a part of the American heritage from the very beginning. Upon declaration of our Independence on July 4, 1776, one of the first three heads of the states who recognized the sovereignty of the United States was Nederland, Morocco, and the kingdom of Mysore (now Karnataka), India.
Morocco was the first country to recognize the Independence of the United States of America and signed the Moroccan-American Treaty of Friendship, the first of its kind. Friesland, one of the seven United Provinces of the Dutch Republic were the next to recognize, and Tipu Sultan, the King of Mysore State, was the third.
Today, we celebrate our Independence and democracy. Indians and Americans have a shared heritage. America is the oldest democracy in the world, and India is the largest democracy.
Both George Washington and Tipu Sultan fought our common enemy Lord Cornwallis – Washington chased him out of America, and Tipu Sultan defeated him in one of three wars but lost to him in the 4th war of Mysore. Cornwallis bribed Tipu's confidant Mir Sadiq to get information about Tipu's whereabouts and hit him from the back. Had Mir Sadiq not betrayed Tipu Sultan, India would have achieved her freedom in 1799, right behind America in 1776.
Tipu Sultan also sent a congratulatory message to George Washington, which I believe is in the National Library of France. Both George Washington and Tipu Sultan died in the same year, 1799, Washington on December 14, and Sultan on May 4.
Dr. Chik Range Gowda, an authority on Tipu Sultan in Bangalore, whom I met several times, believes that Tipu Sultan funded George Washington's Army, however, it is not verified yet.
Dr Gowda also presented me with a brass bust of Tipu Sultan made on the Bi-centenary of the Tipu's death in 1999, and is one of my cherished possessions. I had let go of many of my collections to choose to live a minimalist life, but I have kept Tipu's bust. So, I may have to present this to the Smithsonian to preserve it.
The Mysorean Rocket was Tipu Sultan's invention. He also invented the Torpedo, known as Bangalore Torpedo, which is considered the precursor for American rockets that went to the Moon.
Thomas Jefferson wrote the immortal Declaration of our Independence on July 4, 1776: 
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed, by their Creator, with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness."
Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar also made an immortal declaration about India's Preamble on January 22, 1947: 
"It was, indeed, a way of life, which recognizes liberty, equality, and fraternity as the principles of life and which cannot be divorced from each other: Liberty cannot be divorced from equality; equality cannot be divorced from liberty. Nor can liberty and equality be divorced from fraternity. Without equality, liberty would produce the supremacy of the few over the many. Equality without liberty would kill individual initiative. Without fraternity, liberty and equality could not become a natural course of things."
Article 19(1)(a) of the Indian Constitution says that all citizens have the right to freedom of speech and expression. Freedom of Speech and expression means the right to express one's own convictions and opinions freely by words of mouth, writing, printing, pictures, or any other mode.
Had Mir Sadiq not betrayed Tipu Sultan, India would have achieved her freedom in 1799, right behind America in 1776
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances", said the first amendment of the Constitution of the United States.
Both India and America have identical Human Rights – the right to equality, right to freedom, rights against exploitation, right to freedom of religion, and constitutional remedies. Indeed, the objectives stated by the Preamble are to secure justice, liberty, equality for all citizens and promote fraternity to maintain unity and integrity of the nation.
The above declarations resonate with Muslims as well. Prophet Muhamad (pbuh) made a similar announcement on March 6, 632 AD, Eleven hundred forty-four (1144) years before Jefferson's declaration. "All mankind is from Adam and Eve; an Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab, nor a non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab; also, a white has no superiority over a black nor a black has any superiority over white except by piety and good action."
When Mahatma Gandhi was seeking Independence from the British, Churchill had said nasty things about Indians. He did not believe Indians can handle democracy, and they have proven him wrong repeatedly. Indians are inherently democratic in their views.
Until 2014, India was a stable democracy and was on track to become a great nation as a non-aligned leader. However, India is going through a turbulent time now, and we pray for her recovery. Prime Minister Modi has failed the Indians on the economy, social cohesion, human rights, and democracy, his ratings have dwindled to 22% , and may be voted out in the 2024 elections. Indians believe in freedom, and fascism is anathema to them. Indian democracy is resilient.
India and the United States will continue to have a strong relationship to bring peace and security to the world. Indian Americans, and Muslim Americans, we uphold, protect, defend, and celebrate the values enshrined in the U.S. constitution. We believe in the creed of "One Nation under God, with liberty and justice for all."
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*Founder-president of the Center for Pluralism, Washington DC

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