Friday, September 20, 2013

India Today

The India I see now is not the India I grey up in seven decades back. Of course, I've changed... from a child to a man to an old man. But some things remain pretty constant with ageing, for instance your cultural heritage, moral attitudes, instinctive feelings Etc. The Roman philosopher Cicero in his essay on Old Age said that as a man grew into old age he lost nothing of his memory or higher faculties, only he was given the privilege of "changing his opinions gracefully" !! Well, I haven't changed my opinions gracefully! I detest what is going on around us in India under the name of "dolopment". I simply LOATHE it. Much of the loathing is I suppose unjust because many of the gullible actors are plain uninformed, foolish, illiterate to realities.

In the past quarter century (1991 and Manmohan Singh's Finance Ministership) what had started as the post Rajiv Gandhi Liberalism rapidly became a world bank prescription for economic development. The country went fast-forward into industrializing the green zones of the nation and rampant extraction of minerals, vandalization of forests, and displacement of tibals... we havent forgotten the 740 villages of southern Chhatisgarh destroyed between June and December 2005. I would look at the scenery of land acquisition, GDP and the demand for national resources for increasing industrialization from a rather more rarefied psychological view-point. The problem increasingly lies in the high-jacking the mind of this nation and in particular its youth through our media, schooling, and job opportunities in the higher income sectors where toe youth are told to head.

Skewered television programmes, massive increase in sophisticated cellphones, advertisement marketing and Promises of a New Thing have given the vegetable woman down the road an inside view of everything and children able to use a mobile phone the opportunity to view pornography. That's some idea of development. I wonder what the Greeks of Athens let alone
Sparta would have said to all this ? The original genius of India like Greece and Rome after her lay in the combined evolved genius of milennia flowing freely through the poupulace. Today this genius and all it meant and still means is in the grip of a young post 1980s set of young corporates, bureaucrats and politicians. This first generation is out of our control and their offspring are the India of tomorrow who will not understand what we mean by "Indian Civilization". The medical profession calls such stage of a disease Terminal. The rural peoples of India which includes hundreds of tribes had with fortitude shared the self-produce of the national natural resources (lands, forests, rivers etc.) without any mucking-about in a thoroughly evolved EGALITARIAN democracy which nobody likes to talk about (it's an embarrassment to think we destroyed what Jawaharlal Nehru called 'The Discovery of India')-- the great so called mirage of the larger reality which Tagore and others have referred to as "the civilization of India". This was the civilizational wealth of five thousand years of steady religious, intellectual and cultural growth which Huen Tsang the Chinese pilgrim of the 6th cent. recounts with such poignancy in his 'Travels'. We replaced it immediately after 1947 with industrialism (and all that crap) whose burden like Prometheus' is increasing daily.

To go back to this civilizational heritage of India -- it was that residual cultural and experiential heritage of uncounted millennia going back to the stone-age when man first left his markings and drawings in rock caves, the spirit of self-dependence and altruism with which the nation as a body together rose in rags to face the wealth of British colonialism, its might of arms, and ruthlessness of exploitation of resources for industry. With Gandhi
India rose to a man, woman, child. The sheer MORAL strength of India was too much for British authority. They did not use the automatic gunfire which they used on Zulus in South Africa. After Jalianwala Bagh they accepted Tagore's return of his Knighthood (and which Knight would not ?). That civilization of India had moral bases and spiritual foundations deeper than the foundations of the island called England. Gandhi had challenged the industrial usage of our national resources to be exported to England for manufacture to be sold back to us and resulted in the Dandi March, Quit India, and the burning of British cloth from Lancashire and other mills. I don't think many 1980s born politico-bureaucrats or corporate sahibs of today can even digest these truths into their brains. For the brain too digests. Modern India won its freedom from colonialism on a MORAL premise. Where has that morality gone????

Today the selling of the Nation to the highest bidder is going on in the name of Development, GDP and Globalization. The ancient tillers of the soul are being hounded out of their lands being hastily sold to corporates by state governments without any form of local consent whatsoever, vast swathes of this Nation's land, forests, water resources and minerals have been exchanged on paper with big banks like the IMF and World Bank and the very meaning of Nationalism has been high-jacked into the discovery of a new India where the ownership will no longer be India's. Does this not amount to treason ?As industrialization increasingly enters the very innermost, least accessible heartlands of India, do we not feel a pain at what we are losing; have we lost the mental ability to DIGEST the enormity of abuse and suffering caused through heartless greed and selfish opportunism ? Is not the Conscience of the world at stake ? Do we not have brothers and sisters in every continent on this planet who understand our predicament of uncontrollable loss and would sympathize with us.

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