The great Indian Secular, Socialist and Democratic Republic and we are also proud of world’s most populated democracy, largest not land wise, and it is also said one of the world’s oldest civilizations, but slowly and slowly which is vanishing due to great secularism and social justice but which has been severely hit by a new dis-order, politically as lethal as the cancer virus: the absence of space for a civilized, nationalist and patriotic dialogue.
The signs of this malady are simple to detect: complete intolerance for another’s point of view, the belief by every section and individual that they are only right and all others are wrong, complete denial of other’s every issue leading to the complete non-acceptance of evaluation of merit or refusal for any healthy debate, an ambiance of unvarying hate and hostility, the regular use of foul language and lumpenization of almost all processes of dialogue and debate.
What are the main reasons behind this malaise? The first is a new form of ‘half-informed’ intellectual superficiality. Everybody claims to know the answer to every question but actually know nothing. They don’t doubt their intellectual hollowness. They denounce the opponent vehemently. This ambiance of shallow belief is in straight infringement of the intellectual elegance, based on ‘moulik soch’ or original thought, which is based of thousands of year’s journey of great civilization. Indian campuses are full of such half baked intellectuals who claim themselves as modern, liberal, secular and democratic but actually they are most intolerant to others. Recently nation saw intolerant behavior from such intellectuals and many a campuses witnessed politics of obstruction and disruption.
We Indians have dozens of such historical legacies which made us supreme humans.
Even when there was neither Christianity nor Islam, some six centuries before the birth of Christ and some ten centuries before the birth of Muhammad, great Bharat wrote a great treatise, ‘Natya Shastra.’ In 6,000 Sanskrit ‘shlokas’ entire essence of the aesthetic experience of ‘Rasa’ theory was written and discussed.
India had ‘Nalanda’ university even centuries before Christ, Christianity, Muhammad and Islam came into existence which taught students from as far as Japan and West Asia. Hieum Tsang has given a very evocative and touching account of this great university. This was the time when humans were roaming naked in other parts of world. India has oldest seats of learning and civilization like Kashi, Takshila, Patliputra etc..
Hug and kiss, beef eating, burning of Ramayana and Manu smiriti, eulogize caste and Islamic icon like Babur and Akbar, vulgar fashion show in campuses, seminar on Hindu hates and MF Hussain, transgender etc., are treated as sign of secularism, freedom of expression, liberalism, tolerance etc.. Now one can see dramas on hate Ram but love Ravan, mock Ma Durga but love Mahisasur, finance mosques and madarsas but obstruct Ram Temple etc…, Geeta, Cow, Sanskrit, Yoga, Rakshabandhan etc., are also under attack by the champions of secularism and expressionists.
The Vedas have all about the diverse marvel at the wonder of making of this universe. The Upanishads discover the critical spirit of continuation not by reappearance of creed but by scholarly enquiry. Our sages, thousands of years ago, explored that truth can have many aspects, ekam satya, bipraha bahuda vedanti: The truth is one, but the world call it by different names. But our liberal and secularist are not ready to study these great creations of all times.
Sankaracharya, who revived and rejuvenated Hinduism in the 8th century CE, created his theory of ‘advaitavad’, not by force or fear like Muslims or Christians or Communists but through dialogue, debate and learned argumentation, called ‘shastrarth’, for which he travelled entire south Asia, across the length and breadth of Bharat. He propounded the methodology of dialogue, discussion, debate and argument which is nowhere found in world history. In ‘Bhagwat’, Narayan or God-Himself narrated the creation of this universe.
Hindu metaphysics have six structures of philosophy. Apart from these systems Hinduism also has the iconoclastic Tantric institution and the Charvaka School which even questions the very presence of God. In his treatise the ‘Arthashastra’ even Chanakya (4th century BCE), a man of strong views, pondered over all the points of view, before he presented his views, to the world.
Tulsidas, Surdas, Maharshi Valmiki, Kabir, Mira, Kabir etc., great poets of Bhakti period, during the medieval period tried to went beyond religious boundaries and tried to dump intolerance practiced by Muslims. These great poets cum saints tried to open dialogue with God as their lover, seeking the path of truth leaving bigotry and fanaticism.
Appreciably, during freedom struggle, this dialogue culture was followed as well. The written material and letters between Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru and Sardar Patel are stuffed with open statements of differences, both on strategy and principles, but always within the self-control of civilized language and a space for others. Even BJP’s founding fathers also followed debate and discussions, as part of the process of ‘atma chintan’ and nationalism.
Now India democracy rotates around caste quotas and minority communalism and promoting barren minds. People speak but rarely listen to others. The media world is full of fixed, biased, flawed, and uncivilized lexis of hate and lies.
Debates and discussions in Parliament and assemblies have mostly worsened to unrestrained abusing matches where riot like situation regularly engulfs the grace and essence of argument. Party leaders are always followed by hypocrites and ‘chamchas’. The high command is controlled and commanded from some ‘Supreme Address.’ Leaders love sycophancy. Those in opposition are considered foes.
Recent logjam in Parliament is the latest example of intolerance. It is said that External Affairs Minister Mrs.Sushma Swaraj wrote a letter requesting passport to the ailing wife of controversial business man Lalit Modi. Entire opposition started treating Mrs.Swaraj like a criminal. If a letter written by a minister on humanitarian ground can make her a criminal, then what about those who wrote a letter showing kindness to dreaded terrorists Yakub Menon.
Similarly during seventies left parties coined a slogan ‘halla bol’ means attack the opponent. Dalits coined a slogan against upper castes ‘tilak, taraju aur talwar, inke maro jute char.’ Similarly some caste and communal groups formed a group ‘AJGAR’ against some castes.
Recently dreaded terrorist Yakub Menon, responsible of serial bomb blast in Mumbai, was hanged. Indian judiciary gave him twenty two long years to prove his innocence. But when he failed to prove his innocence, he was hanged. But so many so called individuals and right groups objected to his hanging and created a riot like situation in the country, while opposing his hanging.
Now nation is tired of seculars and liberals dividing this country and society up into hundreds of little groups: caste, religion, ethnic, regional, linguistic etc., etc., setting them upon each other, breeding hatred, spite and envy, and then having the thick and strong nerve to accuse others. This is a new kind of intolerance but treated as modern and liberal. However, all this can cause tremendous discomfort if we Indians don’t change our mentality about what is my space and what isn’t.
The Mahabharat, the greatest and biggest of all the epics ever written on the earth, having about two lakhs slokas, is the most suitable example showing the consequences when ‘Kauravas’ perished completely due to intolerance. Similarly intolerant Ravan has to see the deaths of all his near and dear ones in another great epic The Ramayan. Do we want the same fate to be repeated? The country is ours. We obviously have to think today.