India is on the path of progress and glory. It’s a matter of pride that India on both economic front and scientific domain has attained glorious heights. That too when the nation being marred by series of scams one after another apart from being chased by horrible contradictions has virtually given way to chaotic state of affairs. However, such a complex scenario has not deterred Western nations to treat India as superpower in the making.
From one angle if we analyze our tremendous growth story, it’s really an encouraging sign for a nation that in not so recent past suffered series of jolts in a very long period of foreign rule. Though I have no intention of ignoring the rise of India, it’s still a very difficult task for me to go gaga over its success story. Why? In the very beginning, let me make it very clear that a nation which was once undisputed leader in the field of enlightened knowledge, it’s really a pathetic scenario that yardstick to measure one’s worth has become materialistic. As a result of shift from a knowledge-oriented society to purely wealth-oriented society,the nation has given way to strange set of values.
You switch on the radio.The first advt. that hits the ears is of a condom !! Look at the way to sale the condoms.The impression generated by the advertisement is that whole causal sexual act becomes no less than a holy ritual only if the partner has manged to have access to condoms. In the end, the man using a condom emerges as man of wisdom. Now that’s the sign of wisdom! Can you notice the subtle change in our attitude? Showing traces of guilt complexes and shame in such matters is backwardness. No wonder why, the younger generation is fast giving way to depressive tendencies. That too is evident if one is lover of radio like me.
I was taken aback when I heard and advertisement on radio that talked about visiting depression treatment centres. What is more shocking is that advertisement cited funny reasons of catching depression. Like if Mr. X comes to own car and Mr. Y is conscious of it than Y has given way to huge bout of depression. Anyway, what I am trying to suggest is that the society, at present, having deviated away from the “samskaras” oriented life has given way to upsetting behavioural changes wherein the person cursing the old order of living is modern and progressive no matter even if he/she is in grip of wrong living patterns.
It’s time to ponder why India has given way to such tendencies that have given rise to society based on ‘Kama’ (desire) and Lobha (Greed). These are two attributes as per Lord Krishna ensure ones birth in the hell. It’s not all surprising that Indian society is exhibiting all the negative traits which have in their root these two attributes. Interestingly, I came to be aware of the fact that now Rural Courts would be order of the day in villages. This news was greeted in a positive way by all and sundry. However, the news was an alarming one for my ears. Matters which till now got settled within the four walls of house with the intervention of elders or senior citizens shall now be issue in case before the courts ! How can that be a healthy sign? However, the reactions of my friends in this regard made me look like a fool. My point of view is that it’s not wrong to rejoice over material progress.
What’s really wrong is that we have started treating material success as be all and end all of the human life. Let’s not downsize the value of human life. It’s been given to restore our connection with the Absolute. It’s not been given to create new bondage. May be that’s why we find that a business tycoon yields a greater respect than people representative of wisdom! Yes, it’s time to discover why money has marginalized knowledge in the Indian society? Why a society that once loved to explore the attributes in field of metaphysics and mysticism as its birth right is now more involved in attainment of material pursuits? Why we did not bother to borrow better values from Western worlds instead of accepting with open arms their discarded values ?
The analysts might come to the conclusion that it’s because of the sinister design of the Lord Macaulay who wished that Indians should be denied access to the refined attributes that have gone into the making of Indian culture. “I have travelled across the length and breadth of India and I have not seen one person who is a beggar, who is a thief, such wealth I have seen in this country, such high moral values, people of such caliber, that I do not think we would ever conquer this country, unless we break the very backbone of this nation, which is her spiritual and cultural heritage, and ,therefore, I propose that we replace her old and ancient education system, her culture, for if the Indians think that all that is foreign and English is good and greater than their own, they will lose their self esteem, their native culture and they will become what we want them, a truly dominated nation.“(AN EXCERPT FROM LORD MACAULAY’S ADDRESS TO THE BRITISH PARLIAMENT, 2 FEBRUARY, 1835).
I must say that this gentleman named Lord Macaulay has emerged triumphant. Just cast a glance at people living in metros or the villages fast turning into cities. You would always find individuals mired in the traits wished by the Macaulay. I am sure his soul, wherever it is, must be very contented over achievement of the desired goals for he has managed to give rise to a scenario wherein worshiping Goddess Saraswati is now communal or outdated happening, but celebrations related with Valentine’s Day is secular and is very much in tune with the times!
Anyway, there is no point in crying over spilt milk. Let’s talk about solutions. One easy way would be that let people in league with wisdom come to the forefront and play a dominant role in awakening of the consciousness of the people. One reason why the negative souls came to rule is that good souls are often passive in their approach. I am not saying that it’s a child’s play to rope in right values. What I am trying to suggest is that even if we all just make a beginning and stay on the route of reforms in a consistent way, I am sure, sooner or later, one would come to notice the changes we all longed for. If the souls capable of bringing in changes further delayed their active role then I must say the Indian civilization would meet the same fate like the civilizations which gave importance to opulence over simple lifestyle.
The first step towards revival of past glory is that let’s have a first hand experience of our cultural legacy. The tendencies of servitude which has come to environ us since the Muslim rule has made us incapable of accepting our stronger points in a positive way. It’s a strange thing that unless a certain theory is ratified as perfect by the outsiders, it’s really become a tough task for us to find meaning in them. It’s really pathetic that outsiders have to make us aware of our past glory. There is again a weird thing involved in attempts to get hold of our better aspects.
Though it’s beyond doubt that Western historians are guilty of distorting the reality and making us have not history but a concocted version of history. In the same crowd of prejudiced minds one also notices some exceptional people born in distant lands, who were not all hesitant in accepting the glory of Indian values.They were, in fact, thoroughly convinced about the supremacy of Indian civilization. So it really embarrasses me when I find our so-called great progressive intellectuals leaving no stone unturned in making us feel backwards and brutes. Worse, they set road blocks on road to revival,proclaiming that there is an attempt on the part of “saffron brigade” to make all Indians owners of “cave-mentality”. I come to remember my writer friend who never misses an opportunity to suggest that Indians lack methodology to create something unique and universal. We are merely used to making false claims just aimed at generating sense of superiority.
Let me strongly refute his claims. It’s very necessary that such figures of negativism be sabotaged with right sort of revelations. ” More high-reaching, subtle, many-sided, curious and profound than the Greek, more noble and humane than the Roman, more large and spiritual than the old Egyptian, more vast and original than any other Asiatic civilization, more intellectual than the European prior to the 18th century, possessing all that these had and more, it was the most powerful, self-possessed, stimulating and wide in influence of all past human cultures.” (Sri Aurobindo).
Echoing the same feelings Radhakrishnan says: “ Indian thought is an extraordinary mass of material which for detail and variety has hardly any equal in any other part of the world. There is hardly any height of spiritual insight or rational philosophy attained in the world that has not its parallel in the vast stretch that lies between the early Vedic seers and the modern naiyAyikas.”
May be in eyes of some readers, who would only believe when the same perception is conveyed by a foreign mind. Let me bring in open the words of Julius Robert Oppenheimer who was a well known scientist and philosopher. He said that ” the general notions about human understanding… which are illustrated by discoveries in atomic physics are not in the nature of things wholly unfamiliar, wholly unheard of or new. Even in our own culture they have a history, and in Buddhist and Hindu thought a more considerable and central place. What we shall find [in modern physics] is an exemplification, an encouragement, and a refinement of old wisdom.”
A French scholar and Orientalist Sylvain Levi is another gentleman who is not ashamed in acknowledging the worth of India on this planet. “From Persia to the Chinese Sea, from the icy regions of Siberia to the islands of Java and Borneo, from Oceania to Socotra, India has propagated her beliefs, her tales and her civilization.” Talking about India he says :“She has left indelible imprints on one fourth of the human race in the course of a long succession of centuries. She has the right to reclaim in universal history the rank that ignorance has refused her for a long time and to hold her place amongst the great nations summarizing and symbolizing the spirit of humanity.” Being a philosopher at heart I just cannot ignore the temptations to rope in glory of Indian philosophers and their philosophy. That’s being done to awake those souls caught in slumber of ignorance, who find it hard to intercept the brilliance of Indian thoughts.
American historian Will Durant unfolding the greatness of Sri Shankara says:”In his short life of thirty-two years Sankara achieved that union of sage and saint, of wisdom and kindliness, which characterizes the loftiest type of man produced in India. ” “Shanakara establishes the source of his philosophy at a remote and subtle point never quite clearly visioned again until, a thousand years later, Immanuel Kant wrote his Critique of Pure Reason.”
Hegel who was a great German philosopher said that“ India is the land of dreams. India had always dreamt – more of the Bliss that is man’s final goal. And this has helped India to be more creative in history than any other nation. Hence the effervescence of myths and legends, religious and philosophies, music, and dances and the different styles of architecture.” “ India has created a special momentum in world history as a country to be searched for.”
I know critics would point out that a nation that’s at present mired in rampant corruption, scams, ethnic violence and terrorism a discussion that’s aimed highlighting the better aspects of past Indian civilization would not serve any good. I just need to remind them unless we learn to to respect our beings in an honourable way, any attempt to create better changes shall not yield better result. An attempt to clean the blackboard of mind with a dirty cloth shall make it more dirtier. What do pseudo intellectuals really want? Should we try to resurrect good values with a dull mind? The right change can only be brought with a positive mindset. It’s means that let’s delve deep into positive Indian orientations reflected in Hindus scriptures. Let’s acknowledge the brilliance of minds of ancient sages and Indian thinkers of yesteryear to make life beautiful not only for ourselves but for the humanity at large.
The Soul of India – By Satyavrata R Patel p. contents).
Indian Philosophy, Volume I – By S. Radhakrishnan)
India as a Creative Civilization – By N. S. Rajaram).
Sylvain Levi in L’Inde et le monde (”India and the World”)
Story of Civilization: Our Oriental Heritage – By Will Durant MJF Books. 1935. p 546 – 547