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Archive for जनवरी, 2012

The coverage of Rushdie Affair at Jaipur Literature Festival on Television channels and in newspapers left those in Media business, literature and some audiences aghast, at what seemed as utter contempt to the rule of law and order. The image of event producer, maudlin on the stage; the emotively charged Barkhas and Arnabs in studios and dead serious  Vinod Mehtas, Shekhars, Swapans, Gilani’s and of course Sir Rushdie- all made a perfect material of entertainment, somewhat akin to the tear-jerking blockbuster.The package was complete. It appeared, the experience as a cathartic was success and the relief was complete. Today everyone sat with ease thinking and sharing observations and being eve of republic day it is sounded all the more pertinent. To enumerate my observations:

  1. It exposed the utter disconnect of the English speaking, thinking and writing fraternity of this blessed country from the people (often called Mobs). This class enjoyed privileges like no one ever since the ‘Raj’ days. First time this class, majority of who subscribe to ‘liberal’ values found a mirror. They enjoyed upon liberal cultural and traditional values of this land, ridiculed it without a miss; this time ended up heaping upon itself tons of ridicule and found its impotency exposed. They are nothing in democracy and this democracy also, is worthless without Indian cultural ethos.
  2. The artificial construct called ‘the republic of India’ that was made to trample Indian values and severe all connections with the tradition, in an attempt to implant democratic values from   experience of Western democracies has been shown its limitation. The fact that it is the respect of diversity imbedded in the Indian experience and not some ‘secular’ word in some book called the ‘Constitution of India’, which has kept this nation so accepting to narrow identities.  The multitudes of Indians who didn’t side with the ‘liberal’s outrage and historically-misguided ‘Hindutva’ proponents does deserve our gratitude and thus they outwitted the fundamentalists design to vitiate the atmosphere. The western democratic tradition work for homogeneous, monolithic cultural identities and concept of nation there is based on some such values. So, if a group there, feels its identity threatened or disparaged, they require a constitutional guarantee from the monolithic –homogeneity promoting state. If someone asks a wider question – what if beliefs of two groups clash together? Answer is – Simple – read Huntington’s Clash of Civilization.
  3.  The great intellectuals who were discussing the issue of ‘freedom of speech’ in cozy television studios and newspaper space were somewhat misplaced about time and geography. The battle ground for the freedom of speech is between Europe and Asia and not India; and battle lines have been drawn on the issue already with Geert Wilders trial in Denmark, Burqa ban in France, post 9/11 action in Iraq, Afghanistan etc. and conflict is steadily spiraling towards the ultimate showdown.

Is there any lesson for us to learn? I think, two lessons can be taken from this incidence:

–          This clash (of civilizations) is going to be mortal and fight is between two thoughts that subscribes to exclusivist claims; East, and especially India (China and Japan know this very well) has no partisan ‘role’ to play here. We have to be careful about misinformation spread among the locals through use of new terms, concepts, categories and identities. The way would be seeing world around through local languages, idioms and context sets.

–          Each individual should strive to reach at his values that would guide his conduct as individual and member of family, society and the country. He should find it in his tradition and culture; reason it out and imbibe the essence. It is the only way to reach at values which are universal via locality. The West considers this would lead to disorder and chaos. It may but for them, in their narrow construct;  which anyway growing out of size has started crumbling under its own weight.

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That the industrialization lead by growing population or even exports is antithetical to Sanatana thought, which is more based a concept of Yajna (sacrifice to Gods and receiving sustenance).

This developmental model is not only harming the Sanatana-Vedic culture but is a threat to humanity and existence itself.

What we need is nothing short of a Counter revolution from Indian stand point, something that will rediscover its values and relevance. This is the real challenge before the corporate sector, political class and Academia.

In this sense corporate entities by not searching real alternative sustainable models, are doing a great disservice to humanity. Their greed is potent and its pernicious effects are on polity, science, education and every facet of out life.

This high population, energy hungry, and narrow values conception of development is succeeding; owing to some historical -civilizational reasons despite its obvious limitation.

Indian intellectual class in general has betrayed its lack of commitment to values and understanding of the happenings and there is hardly any important ‘visionary’ corporate leader, historian or thinker who took this cause of the country.
The unsavory irony of the situation is that the riches and prosperity of this Bharatvarsha is used to undermine the country and its values and environment.

From Indian point of view we cannot accept it patiently considering this as Aapat-Dharma or Vyavharika reality that we are following under an overpowering external order. This is so because then in such a case there is needed genuine evidence to show that we have in our hearts true allegiance to the tradition and we are not part of the adharmic forces that are driven by greed and consumerism.

There is need for Organisations to revisit their orientation and work for strengthening the environment that is conducive to sanatana tradition. This all is possible only if the corporate decision makers are aware of their responsibility to the Sanatana tradition. Unfortunately this connect with the tradition is greatly dented by the education that has little faith in Dharmic values and is molded in Abrahmic-Geeco thought. But it is not simple as this would mean that the philosophy and basic assumptions of self and other their interrelation and connection, society, work and environment is reassessed. How many of the corporates can muster courage ? ( Vidyaniwas Mishra’s ‘Hindu Dharma Jeevan Mein Sanatan Ki Khooz’ and Rajiv Malhotra’s ‘Being Different’ are good referral point to revisit these assumptions).

The alternative in form of social activities that corporates and organisations are promoting though does fill some vacuum it cannot be an alternative as this whole thing is alien and narrow. Majority of NGOs and Social work etc. lacks depth, roots, connection, value systems and investment in the tradition. Their rampant usage of fragmenting methodologies imported from western socio-political academics are playing with the age old values and sustaining structures of the society. Thus Indian mind is shifting from a dharmic value oriented to political values orientation. While these socio-political constructs are alien and at times hasty and mischievous, there is no Indian response to it.

So we need promotion of dharmic values with Gayatri-yajnopavita, Vedic Patha, Gau Sewa and Geeta at level of Samskara; sharing of tales from Itihasa and Puranas at familiy / society level; right pronunciation Samskrit and Vyakrana, art in education and so on. This is not difficult also as one small step can lead to great change. For example if we can rehabilitate Veda-Pathi Brahmins in the main stream life as teachers for primary classes for Hindi, Samskrit and subject like moral sciences etc. and so on. The connection with Language, Grammar and by implication with the wider Samskrit universe can be achieved very easily.

Today the Nitya and Niamittika Karma have lost and so also the Aatmic connect with the universe and the Rta. A child brought up with these values the connect with the tradition will create a better – citizen, member of family, society and world.
(This rant is edited portion of a mail that I had sent to a friend)

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