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Building the Indian Mind – Brick by Brick

26 October 2008 332 views 11 Comments

I received this email yesterday and could not stop before reading it right through to the end…It is a long read…quite a long read, in fact.  And it is seriously thought-provoking.  Below, excerpts from a speech delivered by Sh. Gurumurthy at IIT Chennai in 2003 which – although five years old – still retains its and relevance and punch.  This is a *must read*.

*** Excerpts from “The Intellectual Scene in Post-Independence India by Sh Gurumurthy ***

A critical review of strengths and weaknesses

… Defeat and anger go together. Abuse and defeat go together. So, it is in this norm and with this understanding of what an intellectual debate means, I would like to place before you some of my thoughts today. Some of may find it provocative. I am confident that the audience is competent enough to absorb this and think rather than get into the mood which all of us have got used to in the last 30-40 years abuse.

Background: India before Independence

Let us see the pre-independence background, the intellectual content of India. See the kind of personalities who led the Indian mind Swami Vivekananda, Sri Aurobindo, Gandhiji, Tilak- giants in their own way. Most of them were involved in politics, active politics, day-to-day politics, handling men, walking on the road, addressing meetings, solving problems between their followers. And, meeting the challenges posed by the enemy, the conspiracies hatched against them. They were handling everything, yet, they were maintaining an intellectual supremacy, and a record and an originality which history has recorded.

Let us look at the academic side. Whether it is a P. C. Ray who wrote on Indian Chemistry in 1905 or Sir C. V. Raman who wrote about mridangam, tabala, and violin, and saw the Physics in it (this was in 1913); whether it was R. C. Majumdar or Radhakumud Mukherjee who saw greatness in the Indian Civilization; trying to bring up points, instances, historical evidence to mirror the greatness of India, to the defeated Indian race, they were all building the Indian mind brick by brick. Sri Aurobindo spoke of Sanatana Dharma as the Nationalism of India. He didn”t rank it as a philosophy. He brought it down to the level of emotional consciousness. Swami Vivekananda spoke of spiritual nationalism; it was the same Swami who spoke of Universal brotherhood. For them philosophy was not removed from the ground reality. The nation was at the core of their philosophy. Swami Vivekananda was called the “patriot monk”.

Mahatma Gandhi spoke of Rama Rajya. Bankim Chandra wrote Bande Maataram. The song, the slogans in it, the mantra in it made hundreds of people kiss the gallows smilingly and many others went to jail. It transformed the life of the people; this was the intellectual scene, this was the content…This was the core of India, the soul of the Indian freedom movement.

The symptoms: India immediately after Independence

…Let us look at post Independence India. The persons who led post-Independence India were also trained in the same freedom movement. They went to jail, but they were not rooted in the intellectual content of the Freedom movement!

The first Prime Minister of India, he was in jail for 7 years. He was a great intellectual himself, purely in the sense of his capacity to reason, understand, read, and expound a thought. He told Galbrieth once, “I would be regarded as the last English Prime Minister of India. See the intellectual capability of the man, the enormously competent mind.

But intellectualism doesn”t exist in a vacuum. It has to be rooted in something concrete. Vivekananda”s universal brotherhood was rooted in India”s greatness as a civilization, which proclaimed it. The concept of “Vasudaiva Kutumbakam” cannot exist without a living form, a population which believes in it and believes in itself. You need to have a society, which believes in it.

That is why India could invite the Jews who were butchered, raped, all over the world. In 107 out of 108 countries, this race was butchered. At least they had the courtesy and the gratitude to publish a book, the Israeli govt. published a book that out of 108 countries that we sought refuge, the only civilization, the only country, the only people, the only ideology that gave us refuge was the Indian civilization. They published a book, which most Indians are unaware of.

And we invited the Muslims. The refugee Muslims first landed in Kutch. And they are called the Kutchy Memons even today but not the Memons who bomb Bombay. But the Memons who lived with us.

In the year 1917, many of you might be aware, a case went to the Preview Council, equivalent to the Supreme Court now. The Kutchy Memons went and told the Preview Council that we are Muslims in name, but we follow only the Hindu law. Please don”t impose the Shariyat on us. The Preview Council ruled that they are Muslims but the only sacred book they have is called “Dasaavathaara”, it is not Koran. In fact they knew no language other than the Kutchy language.

And in the “Dasaavathaara”, nine were common between Hindus and Kutchy Memons. We call the tenth avathaara “Kalki” and they call him “Ali”. The Preview Council ruled that the Shariyat law is not applicable to them. The All India Muslim League took up the case, went to the British and told them that this finding is dangerous to Islam and requested them to pass a law which will overrule this judgement; the British Govt. passed the law in 1923, called the “The Kutchy Memons Act” which declared, ” If a Kutchy Memon wants to follow the Shariyat, allow him to do so”. Please understand. It doesn”t mean a Muslim must follow the Shariyat. Between 1923-1937, before the All India Shariyat(AIS) Act was passed, not a single Kutchy Memon filed an affidavit with the plea that he wants to follow the Shariyat. That was the integration prevalent in India.

In 1937, when the AIS Act was passed, the preamble to the act mentioned that this was being passed by a demand made by the AIML leader Mohammed Ali Jinnah. Today, the Shariyat has become a part of Muslim consciousness.

The purpose behind making you aware of this background is that 99% of the people who speak about the constitutional rights of the minorities or the distinctiveness of Muslim life are unaware of the ground level facts. Till the year 1980, in Kuch Bihar district, the Shariyat law was not applicable. In 32 instances between 1923 and 1947 by legislation, the Shariyat law was not applicable to the Muslims. This is the extent of the intellectual gap in India.

Secularism: A Reversal and perversion of the Indian mind.

And now, coming to what the position is today. Everything that drove the freedom movement- everything that constituted the soul of the Freedom movement, whether it is the Raamaraajya of Gandhiji or Sanaatana Dharma as Nationalism of Sri Aurobindo or the spiritual patriotism of Vivekananda or the soul stirring Vande Maataram song, came to be regarded not only as unsecular but as sectarian, communal and even as something harmful to the country.

Thus, there was a reversal, a perversion of the Indian mind. How did it occur? Today, the intellectualism of India means to denigrate India. There are mobile citizens and there are non- citizens deriding India, go to the Indian Airlines counter, you will find people deriding India. Go to the post office, they will deride India. Go to the railway station, they will deride India. It is the English educated Indians” privilege to deride India.

When I was talking to an audience of Postal employees in Madras, in the GPO (a majority of them who heard me were women). I told them the basic facts about the Post Office. I said it is one of the most efficient postal systems in the world, one of the cheapest in the world, one of the most delivery perfect postal systems in the world. For one rupee, you are able to transport information from one end of the country to the other.

And you have a postman, no where in the world this happens the postman goes to the illiterate mother and reads out the letter, he is asked to sit there and shares a cup of coffee and comes away. M. O. s are delivered to the last paisa. It is an amazing system, one of the largest postal systems linking one of the most populous nations, one of the most complicated nations with so many languages.

Somebody writes the address in Tamil and it gets delivered in Patna! It gets delivered to the Jawaan at warfront! When I completed my speech many of the women were wiping their tears. I asked why are you crying, I have only praised you. They said, “Sir, this is the first time we”ve been praised, otherwise we”ve only been abused!”

You know how many people the Railway transports in India? A million people which is equivalent to the population of Australia! And we have only abuses for them!

Have we any ideas of what this country is? The best in India have compared our country with Singapore, Hong Kong?, Korea, Japan and Taiwan.

…The best politicians, intellectuals, sociologists in India have compared us with them, because, we have never understood what we are and unless you do that, you can never relate us with others.

Demonising India: Projecting a negative image.

This enormous intellectual failure, to the extent of being intellectually bankrupt, did not occur over night, it was no accident. There is a history behind this enormous erosion. And I told you about these mobile citizens, what they have done to us. Every country has problems. There is no country without any problem. Are you aware of what is one of the most pressing problems in America today? It is incurable according to the American sociologists; even American economists have begun to agree with them. American politicians are shaken, one third of the pregnant women are school going children. And mothers mix the anti-pregnancy pill in the food without her knowledge everyday.

But this is not the image of America. The image of America is a technologically advanced country etc. etc. Ours is the only country where the mobile citizens of India have transformed the problems of India into the image of India-its identity.

Go to any country and the same negative stereotype is echoed that India is suffering from poverty and malnutrition. India has no drinking water. Indian women are all burnt. If they are married, they are burnt, if they are widows, they are burnt. See the image that has been built about this country. Who did this? The English educated Indian.

And one Kaluraam Meena (have you ever heard of him? Asks the audience to raise their hands if they have), only a small fraction of this large audience has heard of him. When Clinton came to India, he went to a village called Nayla where the villagers interacted with him. And one of the Panchayat board members asked him, “Sir, I am told that in the West, all of you believe that this country is a rotten country, a backward country, a poor, hungry country. Do you also think like that?”

Clinton was shaken, because he might have thought that this person might be approaching him for some favour. This is the image of India.

I will relate my experience when I went to the Carter Centre in 1993. They were talking about dispute resolution and all that. I went there to meet somebody, if not Carter, somebody else at least. His Deputy, a lady, was very hesitant to receive me. “Mr. Gurumurthy”, she said, “Mr. Carter is not around, anyway, I can spare seven-eight minutes for you.” I said three or four minutes of your time would do. Even before I could start, she said, “Mr. Gurumurthy, we don”t have funds, we will not be able to help” (laughter from the audience). I replied, “Let us assume you have a hundred billion dollars, how much will you give me? One billion? One million?” She kept quiet, “I don”t need your money. I came here to discuss whether community living is an answer to disputes. I have come to discuss this because you have suggested electoral means to resolve problems in communities which have no damn idea of what an election is; whether community living is an answer because you don”t what that means. She sat and discussed this with me for two hours. This is the image we have projected that anybody, who comes from India, comes to beg. Ordinary Indians did not create this impression; educated Indians created it. This is the work of civil servants, NGOs. Christian missionaries during the freedom movement created this. Indians are filthy, rotten, dirty and unhealthy, advertising abroad these are the people who need to be saved. We have to Christianise them, enlighten them, and give us money. I can understand that because it is their business. But what did we do after 1947?

We repeated the same mistakes. We projected India as a country of unending problems. As I said, every country has problems. Only in India, problems become identities. How many dowry deaths take place in India in a year? Yet, India is projected as a country burning its own daughter-in-laws. And we also talk about it. Every damn newspaper will be writing about it. We believe in self-deprecation. And this goes on in the guise of intellectualism in India.

And one woman, she attempted to take a film of the widows. I wrote an article, asking her to go to Lijjat Paapad. A widow brought me up. Millions of widows have worked to bring up their children. It is a nation, which believes in Tapasya. You may not believe in it but you are an exception. Compare Deepa Mehta”s attitude with Sarada Maa”s who was the wife, who became a widow after Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa”s passing away. She went to the very same place where Deepa Mehta went and saw the widows She said, “These widows are so pure, they are an illustration and an example to me.” Deepa Mehta saw them as prostitutes. The widows have already been hurt once. Why are you sprinkling salt on their wounds?

…Catherine Mayo wrote a book and Mahatma Gandhi said about it, ” I have no time to read this filth. But I am under a compulsion, under pressure because this has been published abroad. The image of India has been rubbished and I have to counter it. With this introduction, he wrote about the book and said that this woman is a gutter inspector (laughs).

The intellectualism in India is gutter inspection…

Indian Politics: Weaknesses and Pitfalls

Let us look at the post independence scenario from the macro level. We installed a system of governance and it postulated all the important goals for the Indian society and polity, which was gulped by the Indian academia, by the Indian intellectuals. We will have a classless society through socialism. We will have a casteless society through equality. We will have a faithless society through secularism. We will have a modern society devoid of tradition.

Instead of politics restructuring caste, caste has restructured politics today. Political parties are talking only in terms of castes. Has any Indian intellectual come to terms with caste? You must understand caste if you want to handle the Indian society. You cannot say that I want to have a very different kind of society. You have to handle the Indian sentiment, the Indian tradition, Indian beliefs. You can’t clone a society of your choice in India. Social engineering has failed everywhere; the masters of social engineering have given up the communists- whether it is sociologists or economists you have to accept a society as it is…But, Indian leaders and intellectuals, till today, keep abusing caste. They don”t know how to handle caste.

Let me narrate to you how a community in Karaikudi handled this issue. The Chettiyar community assembled top businessmen, professionals from all over the world for 3 days to discuss their culinary act, how to construct houses, what languages they use, what old adages and stories their grand parents used to tell, what clothes they used to wear; not one word of politics, mind you. This was not even published in the newspapers. Intellectuals were not even aware of it. So, caste is a very important instrument in India, you may not like it. Unfortunately, every intellectual leads a caste life inside, but outside he is casteless! …There is no intellectual honesty at all.

And what happened in the case of secularism? In India, any one who is not a Hindu is per se secular. In the year 1957, just 10 years had passed after the Muslim League demanded and got the country partitioned, the leader who voted for the resolution for the partition of India was Quazi Millath Ismail, (who was leading the same Muslim League on the Indian side), the Congress certified that the Muslim League in Kerala is secular and hence it can associate with them. The Muslim League outside Kerala is communal with the same President! Three hundred and fifty crores are spent today for the Haj pilgrims out of the funds of secular India every year. No one can raise an objection.

At least I can understand why politicians don’t want to do that because they want the Muslim votes. But, what about the intelligentsia. What about newspaper editors and journalists? And academicians? None of them speak out. The reason is that we have produced a state dependent intellectualism in India. We don”t produce Nakkeerans anymore, our intellectualism is a derivative of the State and the State is a derivative of the polity. And in turn the polity is a derivative of the mind of Macaulay and Marx.

The Indian education system: A Legacy of Macaulay.

This Macaulayian system of education is a poison injected into our system. At least I had the opportunity of schooling in Tamil and hence could withstand the corruption that this English education brings with it. This corruption begins the moment the child steps out of the house. He is told to converse in English at home. This did not happen even in pre-Independence India, even when Macaulay wrote that notorious note sitting in Ooty. How many of you know Macaulay”s formulation? Just those two or three sentences at least which form the crux ” We require an education system in India which will produce a class of interpreters, who will be Indian in colour and Englishmen in taste, opinions and morals.”

This is the education system, which we have been continuing with, which was earlier conceived to produce clerks for the British empire. If you have to differ from an English educated person you have to differ only through the English language. If you have to abuse somebody, even that has to be done in English! If you abuse the Anglicised Indian, he will not find fault with the blame but with the grammar in your language!

This is the extent to which a foreign language has possessed us. But, we must master English, that is needed, but why do we have to become slaves of the English language? We must use that language as a tool, but why do we consider it as a status symbol? This is the influence of Macaulay.

If you want to understand the Macaulay/Marxist mix in India, you have to go a little back to see how Marxism grew out of the Christian civilisation. I recommend that you read the Nov 27, 1999 edition of the Newsweek, which describes how the Christian idea of the end of time called the “apocalypse”, influenced the entire history, art, music, prognosis, sociology, economics, and the entire attitude of the Christian civilisation towards the non-Christian civilisations.

A Christian scholar who describes how Communism grew out of Christianity has written it. In 1624, Anna Baptists, a group of Christians who believed in the basic tenets of Christianity seized power in a particular place, banned private property and use of any book other than the Bible. When Marxism came up later through the exposition of Das Capital, the Marxists began expounding their doctrine as an extension of Christianity.

The thesis, antithesis and synthesis of making Christianity acceptable to the age of enlightenment was the Hegelian way demanded rationalisation of Christianity in the days of the Protestant movement. Hegel began with a disagreement, then started interacting with Christianity and ultimately ended up accepting Christianity.

You can see the same phenomenon with Marxist postulates- “capitalism is my enemy, we have to deal with capitalism” and finally we have to find a synthesis with capitalism”.

Marx on India

In fact in the year 1857, Marx wrote about India, ” India was a prosperous civilisation. It had a very high standard of living. Their productivity was higher. India was an economic giant.” It was so. If you look at the statistics in 1820, India”s share of world production was 19%, and England”s share was 9%, please note that Britain was deep into the industrial revolution at that time. 18% of the world trade was in Indian hands at that time whereas 8% was the figure for Britain and 1% for US. When 80% of the American population was engaged in agriculture, India had 60% of the population engaged in non-agricultural occupations. This is supposed to be an index of development. All these statistics can be found in Paul S. Kennedy”s “Rise and fall of great powers”.

So, Marx says, “This was a great civilisation which had produced prosperous communities.” A prosperity which went deep into the villages. In the early stages, when the East India Company came and went to Murshidabad, an unknown name today in Bengal, a district level town, the Britishers were awe struck with its prosperity and wrote that it was more prosperous than London. This is no more disputed anyway, even by Indian intellectuals. Marx acknowledges the fact that this was a prosperous country and also had equality but unfortunately, he says for 2000 years the society did not change nor did it allow any revolutionary forces to enter! In his worldview human beings cannot progress without a revolution!

In the two articles on British rule in India and the East India Company- history and results written by Marx, quoted in the New York daily, Karl Marx does grant though somewhat in a grudging manner that “materially, India was fairly industrious and prosperous even before the onset of the British rule. He said that India was an exporting country till 1830. and started importing because it had opened its trade to the British.

Many of you may not be aware that the kings in India had no right to over the lands, which came under the jurisdiction of any panchayat. Whether it was Emperor Ashoka or Bhagavan Sri Ramachandra, the rule was the same. It was changed only during the British rule under the Ryotwari system, even the Mughals could not change it. It was also found that family communities were based on domestic industry, with the peculiar combination of hand-spinning, hand- weaving, agriculture etc. which gave them a supporting power.

The misery inflicted by the British on Hindusthan is of an entirely different kind and infinitely more intense than what it had to suffer before civil wars, invasions, revolutions, conquests, famines all these did not go deeper than the surface.

But, England broke the entire framework of Hindusthan, the symptoms of reconstitution are yet to emerge clearly. This loss of the Old World without the emergence of a new order imparts a particular melancholy to the present misery of Hindus and Hindusthan. Marx goes on to say that the British interference destroyed the union between agriculture and the manufacturing industry. Suddenly he remarks that the English interference dissolved this semi barbarian, semi-civilised community.

He concedes that they were prosperous, that they organised their affairs well, they have a measure of independence, they have a democracy at the lowest level, all this has been conceded. Then, how does he classify us as “semi-barbarian and semi-civilised communities”?

He notes that India”s social condition remained unaltered since remote antiquity. This is important, for him revolution is the core, the soul and centre of the society. This society never had a revolution; hence it cannot be modern! There is an underlying assumption, which considers revolution as a pre- requisite for being modern.

Hence, he feels that the destruction wrought by the British is the inevitable revolution needed for the development of the Indian society. England had vested interests, violent interests in bringing about this “revolution”. But, the question in focus is whether mankind can fulfill its destiny without a fundamental revolution in the social state?

Whatever might have been the crimes of England, she was the unconscious tool of history in bringing about a revolution, “whatever bitterness the spectacle of crumbling of an ancient world may evoke, from the point of history, we have to exclaim, “should this torture torment us?

…If you see Indian communism which was expounded by a man called Rajane Palme Dutt. Has anyone heard of his name? (two persons from the audience raised their hands). Two. He was born of a white woman and an Indian father in England. He was in charge of Indian communism for 25 years. He never came to India though. In his book, “India Today”, he laid down the framework, the policy for Indian communists, what must be done, what is the kind of revolution needed in India, the development model etc.

In those days, even good photographs of India were not available, yet this man spoke about India sitting in London. He came to India for the first time in 1946, ten years after he wrote this book and realised that he had to revise it. He stayed for 30 days! A visitor to India was the father of Indian Communism! And from that day till date, the Indian Communist has never been with India. Not only that, they took over the Indian mind in the post- independence period. It is these Marxist/Macaulayist intellectuals who will certify whether somebody is modern or traditional, backward or secular or communal, progressive or regressive. They were running an Open Air University issuing certificates every day through the press. They have branded me as a communal man.

Labels: Tools for stultifying important debates

Labels substituted debate in India. Simply a label- communal, that is enough. Four or five editorials will appear preaching that Gurumurthy is communal and the matter must end there. No one would even discuss what communalism is! Religious fundamentalism, RSS/Bajrang Dal fundamentalism! Anyone, who exposes the Hindu cause I India is a fundamentalist! We have seen this term being used so casually and superfluously and incessantly by politicians and newspapers. Has anyone bothered to understand the meaning of religious fundamentalism going beyond these slogans?

Secularism is an intra-Christian phenomenon. It has no application outside Christianity at all. Secularism resolved the fight between two powerful persons, the King and the Archbishop who were loyal to the same faith, to the same prophet, to the same book and to the same Church. It is not a multireligious virtue.

A multireligious idea, a multireligious living, a multireligious culture, a multireligious fabric or a multi religious structure was unknown outside India. There was usually only one faith and no place for any other, not even for a variation of the same faith.

Fifty six thousand Bahais were butchered in one hour in Tehran! They believed in the same Koran, in the same Muhammad, the only difference was that they said that Muhammad might come in another form again. That was their only fault and they were all butchered.

But we have no such problem. We can play with God, we can abuse God, and we can beat God!

If I say that monotheistic religions have had a violent history, and the reply will be “you are communal.” But this is exactly the same conclusion that a study in Chicago revealed, probably, the only study on fundamentalism conducted by anybody so far. This fundamentalism project brought out five volumes each volume about eight hundred to nine hundred pages. The conclusion they have reached is that, “Fundamentalism is a virtue of Abrahamic religions. It is not applicable to eastern faiths at all.

What about the Indian intellectuals? Day in and day out, they keep abusing us as fundamentalists, communalists, that we are anti-secular and it is being gulped down by everyone including those from the IITs and IIMs, lawyers and police officials, journalists and politicians. Look at this intellectual bankruptcy.

An inner revolution: The much needed change

We need a mental revolution, an inner revolution; we need to get rooted in our own soul. There is a missing element in India today and it is this. That element has to be restored otherwise Indian intellectualism will only be a carbon copy of Western intellectualism. We are borrowing not only their language and idiom but we trying to copy the very soul of the West.

So, all that we need to do is – it is impossible to share the entire depth of the subject in one evening”s lecture programme. I have only tried out point out in an incoherent way, how a completely fresh mindset has to be evolved. And unless it evolves, the Indian mind, which leads India, will be in a perpetual state of confusion, ordinary people are perfectly all right.

Consider for example how thirty years before there was a question whether Tamil Nadu will be a part of India or not. The Dravidian parties have taken over the mind of Tamil Nadu. It had virtually ceased to be a part of India. And their attack was aimed at Hinduism, the moment you attack Hinduism you attack India. This is a fact. Neither politicians nor intellectuals nor academicians realised this. But, the ordinary people did. Just three religious movements- the Ayyappa movement, the Kavadi movement and the Melmaruvatthur Adi Para Sakti movement- have finsihed the Dravidian ideology to a very great extent. It is only the outer shell of Dravidianism that remains today. Tamil Nadu has been brought back successfully by Ayyappa, Muruga and Para Sakti, not by the Congress or the BJP or any other political party.

How many people have intellectually assessed the depth and the reach, the deep influence of religion over the people? A paradigm shift in a study of India would be an intellectual approach to this subject. Or consider for example its influence on economics. Many of you by now would have studied economics in some detail. Take a look at the society in India and compare the figures for public expenditure for private purposes, which is called the social security system in the West. 30% of the GDP in America is spent for social security, 48% in England, 49% in France, 56% in Germany and 67% in Sweden. This private expenditure is nothing but what you and I do by taking care of parents, our wives and children, brothers and sisters and grandparents, widowed sisters and distant relatives. This expenditure is met by the society in India.

And there is no law in India that people should do this. We consider it as our dharma. A person went to a court and demanded a divorce from his father and mother. The American court granted it saying that the only relationship that exists between two persons of America is their citizenship. The law in America recognises no other relationship … In the year 1978, an interesting incident occurred in Manhattan. There was a power failure for six hours. Manhattan is in the heart of New York where you find the UN building, the World Trade Centre and the head quarters of many multi-national companies. One third of the world”s health is concentrated in Manhattan. Within six hours, hundreds of people were killed, robbed and assaulted. We don”t need electricity to behave in a civilised manner. How many intellectuals in India have ever articulated from such a sympathetic approach? We have only tarnished the image of this country. We must be ashamed of this.

Conclusion

I shall conclude my speech with this example. When Sri Aurobindo came to Pondicherry in search of a new light he used to get five rupees from a friend and four persons used to live on this. A cup of tea was one of the luxuries they used to have everyday in the morning, on the Pondicherry beach.

Sri Aurobindo used to always look at a mystic called Kullachamy (Subramanya Bharati has written a poem about him). He used to behave like a madman, wandering here and there, throwing stones … One, day he came near Sri Aurobindo, lifted his cup of tea and emptied it in front of him. Then he showed the empty cup to him, placed it on the table and went away. Sri Aurobindo”s friends were angry and wanted to chase him, Sri Aurobindo stopped them and said, “This is the kind of instruction I had been expecting from him. He wants me to empty my mind and start thinking afresh.”

That is my appeal to you.

*** Excerpts End ***

Read the speech in full here

11 Comments »

  • 1. Dirt Digger said:

    Great post, Shantanu. Quite often I get great perspective by reading your blog. I would seriously doubt there is a single blog which provides analysis in depth and perspective.
    Keep up the great work.

  • 2. Bengal Voice said:

    If you want to build the Indian Mind and India, Brick-By-Brick, here are my humble suggestions:

    Let us Positively Channelise Our Anger, Helplessness and Frustration into “Constructive Nation Building”.

    The 3M Axis (Mullahs-Missionaries-Marxists) brazenly seek to destroy our Hindu-ness, which is the soul of Mother India. Let’s do a little bit every day that will strengthen the spiritual and cultural coefficients of our Hindu civilisation. Just give 10 minutes of your time everyday for this noble mission. Contact your local representatives of:

    1) Ekal Vidyalaya ( http://www.ekalindia.org )
    Get involved with the largest mission to educate, empower, and energise rural and tribal India. Be a part of this grass-roots movement sweeping India that has brought Swami Vivekananda’s dream to nearly 1 million kids across India.

    2) AIM For Seva ( http://www.aimforseva.org )
    Dedicated to bridge the gap between mainstream society and people living in remote areas, under the dynamic leadership of Swami Dayananda Saraswati. Join the urban youth and adults as they endeavour to build Chatralayas (Student Homes) in each and every district of India.

    3) Samskrita Bharati ( http://www.samskrita-bharati.org )
    Learning to speak, yes, speak the ancient language of Sanskrit was never so easy and never so much fun. Over 6 million people have now learned to speak Sanskrit – the fun way. Are you one of them?

    4) Hinduism Today ( http://www.hinduismtoday.com )
    Spend a few minutes every day to read up more about the tremendous growth of Hinduism Around The World. You may know a lot already, but it pales in comparison to what is still out there. This digital magazine will be your friend, philosopher and guide during your journey.

    5) Do You Have It In You? ( http://joinindianarmy.nic.in )
    If you still have the urge to physically resist the onslaught on our beloved motherland…. If you are bored of your sedentary, boring career….. If you want to kick ass and pump some lead into the Jihadis who spill our blood, then this career is just right for you.

  • 4. Indian said:

    “Building The Indian Mind” Or I will say repairing the Indian mind.

    I was born and brought up in India. The most of my time after the age of 16, I remained diappointed and not so hopeful about India and its people(includes me). I was almost into the state of depression. I tried my best to remain out of touch with happenings around me by not touching newspapers and television. At one point of time I stopped reading and watching news, so I can focus on my family and home. The most disturbing news for me was of communal violence. Because the place, person and time is not determined, it happenes unpredictably. Very fearful sight. I always thought of place where humanity, mind and heart matters. And I was very sure, there is no place on this earth where I can find all these together.

    I dont know about present India, as I am no longer citizen of India. I haven’t visted India once after I have moved out to another country. I found all that solace in new country. I salute my new home country for upholding human values before anything else. But the truth is, physcically I am out of India but my heart lies in India. India has everything but the true spirit & attitude, fairness, empathy, and honesty is missing. And these are essential basic tenets of building the human and the nation.

    I have a plan to go back and not to come back till I do someting as little as I can for my beloved country India.
    At present I have no courage to see poverty, ailment, insecurity, imbalance, unawareness, unsafe and mindless surrounding of India. And it is the fact of daily part of life in India. Education on this fronts are lacking.

    I still get disturbed when I hear bus rammed and killed 2 to 3 people, small boy fell into tunnel, youth sucides,
    and death of parents because of lack of money, medicine and appropriate facility. We have solution for everything but it is not reaching to the public. Safety and security is the responsibilty of govt., and its not doing its part. So its time people change their attitudes and act more compassionately to build their mind as well as the nation.

    Jai Hind!

  • 5. Sanjay (author) said:

    Dharampal’s Five Volume Set on Indian History: These books were out of print – now they are available from http://www.Otherindiabookstore.com Cost is Rs 900+postage

    This is a classic about pre-British state of India based on travelogues of Europeans. It is a must read for every Indian since it was never part of our western education. Primarily it dispels the myths that we all have been trained to believe in – that India was always poor, uneducated and all the great institutions and concepts came from the west.

    See Gandhiji’s comments on Indian education – He was very much aware of history and current state of India.

    In October 1931 Mahatma Gandhi made a statement at Chatham House, London, that created a furore in the English press. He said, “Today India is more illiterate than it was fifty or a hundred years ago, and so is Burma, because the British administrators, when they came to India, instead of taking hold of things as they were, began to root them out. They scratched the soil and left the root exposed and the beautiful tree perished”. Mahatma Gandhi said, “The beautiful tree of education was cut down by you British. Therefore today India is far more illiterate than it was 100 years ago.”

    We now learn, with almost a sense of disbelief, that a large part of the country did have a sustainable education system, as late as even the early years of the 19th century, and that this was systematically demolished over the next 50 years or so. The present education system is, in effect, a legacy of the colonial rule. This system has perpetuated the notion that traditional societies were steeped in ignorance, superstition and rituals for thousands of years and lived a life of abject poverty, which was caused by an extreme form of social discrimination and exploitative socio-political systems.

    So deep has this notion seeped into our collective consciousness that, it colours the belief of both, providers of education as well as of recipients and aspiring recipients in our society.

  • 6. Patriot said:

    “I dont know about present India, as I am no longer citizen of India.”

    I am continuously amazed at the people who ran away from India and still feel that they have the right and the knowledge to comment about what is wrong with our nation and fully expect that the citizens of India should receive their advice with the utmost gratitude.

    And, of course, they are very *active* on blogs.

  • 7. Indian said:

    Patriot

    I will not be responding to your comment as I am going through very hard time. Recently something has happened in the community which is very hard to bear. I keep myself busy rightnow by just surfing on internet.

    Thanks

    Hope you are doing something for the nation as a citizen of India. All the best.

  • 8. Indian said:

    @patriot

    I understand Patriot will not be commenting anymore. Still calrification from my side as his words were meaningfully sharp. I am only interested in replying to his comment today also, because onwrads such dicouraging words should not be used against anyone and anywhere.

    I do have my parents, brothers, sisters and other immediate family members in india. Nobody has taken my rights over them. I want India a better place for them as well as for future generation. Some work can only be done from far rather than being too close. To do something, one also need to take a view from the top of the mountain not by being one of them from the ground. One can find many Indian after being the citizen of another country more sensitive and doing more for the Nation than those who were citizen of India for their whole life. They are still engaged in dirty politics with their countrymen.

    You are at your will to disregard my knowledge or advice. I dont need any rights atleast from you what should I do. Hope you become more sensitive in addressing citizen of other country and dont look at them as unwanted. Lets first improve our basics.

    Jai Hind!

  • 9. AAryan said:

    @Patriot: What a mind?
    Hope we not trying to build these type of minds.

  • 10. gajanan (author) said:

    Nobody has queried about Dr CV Raman , the first Asian Nobel Laureate in science when in Kolkata.

    Prof Raman , was an agnostic and his colleague Prof KS Krishnan was very devout person. The difference between both of them by those who have observed both in Kolkata, very senior persons ( now not living) was super smartness and naivity. [People say even Tesla was a very open man , due to which he lost lot of his discoveries and inventions to Edison]. Raman’s work was experimental which he demonstrated soon after he sent the paper for publication. It was only Rs 250.00 apparatus. Now this move was the smartest one. Probaby CV Raman apart from his intrinsic intellegence read the extrinsic qualities of the West. One must remember here that JC Bose lived before CV Raman and probably Prof Raman was aware of the goings on of the JC Bose saga. See the web site below.

    http://www.tuc.nrao.edu/~demerson/bose/bose.html

    Kolkata, Goettingen and Cambridge were cities of Physics that time. Raman kept all under wraps and did it all in a perfect demonstration and a submission as paper to journals. The confidenatiality maintained by CV Raman and KS Krishnan , speaks volume of their professional acumen in dealing with the West. Infact some elders ( not living now) say that Prof Raman even denied entry to Westerners to the labs until he perfected his expts. Now this type of ruthless professionalism exhibited by Prof CV Raman is defended by many whom I have personally discussed with. Many were offended also, but he did not care like the famous Richard Feynmann quote ” Why do you care , what other people say”.

    One unique thing about Prof CV Raman was he did not kow tow to Westerners and having read the Western mind well, kept the confidentiality and at the right time presented his work, to win accolades for a resident Indian in 1931.

    Even in 2009, I salute this great son of India, his ruthlessness excused.

  • 11. Stalin said:

    Dear Shathanu Ji,
    I was surfing your blog and got to read this brilliantly written blog.I have read this too late and its Amazing blog!!!Bharath needs people of your caliber and really you are standing as an inspirational icon for youngsters like us.Keep us posted with such inspiration writings.
    Best Regards,
    A.Stalin
    Jai Bharath.

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