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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.”

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