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Rebuild India

Sheshadri Chari

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REBUILDING INDIA ON SWAMI VIVEKANADA’S VISION
India has a long and unique history of superior performance, highest achievement and evolved systems. As a result she remained a pioneer and leader in the world. In the course of time, the nation had to face frequent invasions and attacks from outside. Subsequently different parts of India came under the domination of the alien forces for nearly one thousand years. The nation had to endure untold sufferings.
Maharishi Aurobindo notes : “This great and ancient nation was once the fountain of human life, the apex of human civilization, the exemplar of courage and humanity, the perfection of good government and settled society, the mother of all religions, the teacher of all wisdom and philosophy. It has suffered much at the hands of inferior civilizations and more savage peoples; it has gone down into the shadow of night and tasted often of the bitterness of death. Its pride has been trampled into the dust and its glory has departed. Hunger and misery and despair have become the masters of this fair soil, these noble hills, these ancient rivers, these cities whose life story goes back into pre-historic night.”
The time tested native systems were subject to contempt and destruction during the alien rule. Foreign ideas and systems were thrust from above. With the result, the alien thoughts and practices began to occupy the central place in Indian life. Ultimately India had to lose much of her original approaches.Great souls were aware of the consequences and advocated the need for a shift towards Indian approaches, long before independence. Swami Vivekananda underlined: “We must grow according to our nature. Vain is it to attempt the lines of action that foreign societies have engrafted upon us; .... I do not condemn the institutions of other races; they are good for them, but not for us. This is the first lesson to learn. With other sciences, other institutions, and other traditions behind them, they have got their present system, We, with our traditions, with thousands years of Karma behind us, naturally can only follow our own bent, run in our grooves; and that we shall have to.”
Aurobindo echoed similarly in 1909: “We have sought to regain life by following the law of another being than our own. We must return and seek the sources of life and strengthen within ourselves.” But in spite of these sane warnings, changes in the required direction were not initiated after India became independent. The ruling classes continued to make India depend on the alien ideas and approaches.
This attitude pained the concerned citizens and prompted them to voice their opinions. The concerned citizens and prompted them to voice their opinions. The noted Gandhian Dharampal wrote: “Today, we feel encircled by hostility—much of it in fact generated by our own ineptitude and actions. From around 1947, we have treated ourselves as cousins of the West. Dominated by the West, it may be necessary at the moment to rely on Western knowledge and products. But this can be only be a short term proposal.

But unfortunately the reliance on western ideas still continues even after sixty five years of independence. We remain unaware of our past as well as the present, and fail to pose the fundamental questions that are critical to us. To quote Dharampal : “Since Independence in 1947, it is this question of reconstruction of self and society on the foundation of our priorities, values, tradition and culture that seems to have completely eluded us, particularly our scholars, administrators and politicians. We appear to have forgotten that we can look back and learn from our own past, and based on that experience, construct our own unique identity within the context of our own affairs as well as that of the rest of the world. What do we as a nation—without learning on others’ ideological and material crutches—want? Do we have ingenuity or not? Can we make our own points—as against aligning with one sort or another? Do we have a point to make as Indians?”
Times are changing fast. India is fast emerging as a powerful nation at the international level. The Indian thoughts, approaches and systems are getting increasingly recognized. Meanwhile, the west is facing serious difficulties at the economic, social and personal levels. The world is beginning to realize the unsuitability of the western models for other countries. No nation can make real progress on imported ideas.
It is time for us to understand that a strong India can be built only on the Indian foundations. The contemporary events reaffirm that India is fully capable of achieving a lot, provided serious efforts are made in the required direction. For this purpose, it is necessary to understand India – her past and present –from true perspectives. Misconceptions about the country have to be removed and correct opinions have to be formed. Vivekananda says: “We all hear so much about degradation of India. There was a time when I also believed in it. But today standing on the vantage-ground of experience, with eyes cleared of obstructive predispositions and above all, of the highly-coloured pictures of other countries tone DOWN o their proper shade and light by actual contact, I confess, in all humility, that I was wrong. Thou blessed land of Aryas, thou wast never degraded. Sceptres have been broken and thrown away, the ball of power has passed from hand to hand, but in India, courts and kings have always touched only a few; the vast mass of people, from the highest to the lowest, has been left to pursue its own its inevitable course, the current of national life flowing at times slow and half-conscious, at others, strong and awakened. I stand in awe before the unbroken procession of scores of shining centuries, with here and there a dim link in the chain, only to flare up with added brilliance in the next, and there she is walking with he3r own majestic steps – my motherland – to fulfil her glorious destiny, which no power on earth or in heaven can check – the regeneration of man the brute in to man the God the God.”
India can be rebuilt, as she has the fundamentals and the potential. She has the background and capacity to reach higher levels and guide the destiny of the other nations. It is the external thoughts and approaches that are hindering her from realizing the full potential. She has many problems and difficulties. But they can be solved if we decide to tackle them from the correct perspectives. For this purpose, let us recall the words of Swami Vivekananda: “This national ship, my countrymen, my children- this national ship has been ferrying millions and millions of souls across the waters of life.... But today, perhaps through your own fault, this boat has become a little damaged, has sprung a leak; Is it fit that you stand up and pronounce malediction upon it, one that has done more work than any other thing in the world? If there are holes in this national ship, this society of ours, we are its children. Let us go and stop the holes.”

Chari Talks

Dr. Shyama Prasad Mukherjee: A legacy looking for a worthy recipient

Sheshadri Chari

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Dr Mukherjee was elected to the Constituent Assembly by the West Bengal Legislature and was the Industries Minister in Nehru’s Cabinet but resigned on April 15, 1950, protesting the terms of the agreement with Pakistan, popularly known as Nehru-Liaquat Pact.

In fact, Dr Mukherjee’s political thinking was independent of the thought process of the Hindu Mahasabha of which he was the president or that of the Congress. He was unhappy over Nehru’s handling of the Pakistan issue and the first cabinet’s callous attitude towards Hindu minority in Pakistan, especially the then East Pakistan. He discussed the idea of floating a political party with some of his colleagues in Hindu Mahasabha but was firm on his views of a “non-Hindu” party, very much as a parallel to the Congress and not a political party “exclusively for Hindus”. His original idea was to convert Hindu Mahasabha into a broad-based political party which would include non-Hindus as well, as members and desist from appeasement of Muslims under the garb of protecting the religious minorities. An independent India with a democratic Constitution that adopted adult franchise and rejected the idea of the separate electorate has no place for a Hindu party or Minority Commission, he felt. But his own organisation rejected his appeals and as a result, he quit Hindu Mahasabha in 1948.

Speaking at the founding ceremony of the Bharatiya Jan Sangh on October 21, 1951, Dr. Mukherjee reiterated his views that the Partition on the basis of religion was a grave error and that Partition must be annulled to firmly establish the Indian identity. But he refused to make the annulment of Partition a party agenda saying it should be a national resolve and not merely the agenda of one political party. Long after his martyrdom and the dissolution of the Bharatiya Jan Sangh, the Parliament of India passed a unanimous resolution on February 22, 1994, resolving to get back Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK).

The Bharatiya Jan Sangh was formed just a few weeks before the first general elections and had very little time or resources to fight all the seats. Dr. Mukherjee contested and won the South Calcutta seat securing 45 percent of votes against his Congress rival Mriganka Sur. During this brief period, he made his mark as a parliamentarian, brought together MPs from Ganatantra Parishad of Orissa, Akali Dal of Punjab, Hindu Mahasabha, three Jan Sangh members and several independents to form National Democratic Front. In order to strengthen parliamentary democracy, Dr. Mukherjee went many steps ahead and floated the idea of united opposition irrespective of ideological differences eschewing political untouchability. His party, Bharatiya Jan Sangh kept up this tradition. BJS won one third of seats in Delhi Municipal Corporation in 1957 and the next year elected a Leftist Com. Aruna Asaf Ali as Mayor with the help of Communists. BJS member Kedar Nath Sahani became the Deputy Mayor.

Dr. Mukherjee represented the highest form of fundamental Hindu ethos at its best—respect for all forms of worship (sarva panth samadhar), liberalism and humanness. In spite of his serious differences of opinion with Jawaharlal Nehru, it was Dr. Mukherjee, as Vice-Chancellor of Calcutta University, who invited Nehru to speak on “The discovery of India”. Nehru in his prison diary note of November 26, 1941, writes, “He (Dr. Mukherjee) has written again a very decent letter and I have agreed (to speak at Kamala Lectures). The subject I have suggested—Syama Prasad made a similar suggestion—is The Discovery of India”.  Dr. Mukherjee had written to Nehru that, “…all of us believe that India through her ages contributed an imperishable message of the freedom of the soul of man, which alone can save civilisation from destruction and elevate it to a higher and nobler order. At this critical time, you are one of the limited few who can worthily rise above narrow party considerations, appreciate different standpoints and hold out, amidst the crumbling heaps of modern civilisation the picture of a future India worth living in.”

Two years later Nehru, accompanied by Asaf Ali and Diwan Chaman Lal, went to Kashmir, without a permit, in June 1946 to defend Sheikh Abdulla against a sedition charge and was detained in the Uri Dak Bungalow. The British Viceroy in Delhi brought Nehru back to Delhi to join the negotiations for the transfer of power. Seven years later, after another transfer of power in J&K, Syama Prasad Mukherjee went to Jammu without a permit and was detained by Sheikh Abdulla but unlike British Viceroy, Nehru let Mukherjee meet whatever fate awaited him. Dr. Mukherjee had said at a public meeting in Jammu in August 1952, “I will get you the Indian Constitution or lay down my life for it.” The words proved tragically prophetic.

Can all political parties, especially the BJP and the Congress to ponder over their larger national agenda, bury differences and work as a united force to realise the collective vision of their icons? Sounds like a tall order? Not if someone can inherit the legacy of Syama Prasad Mukherjee.

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Good Drama Bad Governance

Sheshadri Chari

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Delhi chief minister Mr.Arvind Kejriwal seems to be suffering from a pathological condition of confronting with any constitutional authority. His constant theatrics and instant dramatics has ruined his party’s credibility and chance of winning future elections

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Chari Talks

If Terrorism has no Religion what is the logic behind ramzan ceasefire ?

Sheshadri Chari

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If terrorism has no religion, how can ceasefire have religion? Ramzan ceasefire failure. It was a one-sided announcement by the GOI which was not respected by the terrorists. The GOI will have to serious rethinking on its policy towards fighting terrorism. Also, there is an urgent need to infuse fresh blood into teams that are entrusted with the task of taking care of internal security in Jammu and Kashmir or in Naxal-Maoist affected areas or elsewhere.

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