A new Idea of India


“solid structure of mutual amity and understanding cannot be built on the quicksands of false history and political expediency,” -RC Mjumadar

…While the lands of the aliens existed, there also existed the indigenous country. Otherwise, in the midst of all turbulence, who gave birth to the likes of Kabir, Nanak, Chaitanya, and Tukaram? It was not only Delhi and Agra that existed then, there were also Kasi and Navadvipa.

By Anirban Ganguly on September 25, 2013
http://www.niticentral.com/2013/09/25/a-new-idea-of-india-137542.html

A new Idea of India

Lord Meghnad Desai has at last come round. It is interesting to see him discuss and endorse the need to offer space to an alternate idea of India. In fact, he is getting around to the view that there are other ideas of India and a challenge to the homogeneity inducing Nehruvian idea of India is a legitimate aspiration that requires expression.

Contrary to what is usually portrayed about the so-called Hindu Right, the idea of India that triumphed through patronage, discourse-control and academic and cultural hegemony was the Nehruvian idea of India, an idea that was sought to be imposed by its proponents allowing no other idea space or recognition.

It was not the Hindu idea of India that pictured India as a perennially monolithic state. It was rather the Nehruvian idea that tolerated no other ideas and expressions of India.

Any alternate vision of India was regarded with deep disdain and suspicion. The easiest thing was to label these as reactionary, subversive, anti-modern and anti-people.

It is also heartening to read of the alternate history of India being at last discussed. KM Munshi’s efforts at producing a multi-volume history of the Indian people was the result of a long-felt nationalist need for writing India’s history from the Indian point of view.

Before Munshi, Tagore, whom the Left-Liberal, secular and Marxists have turned into an opponent of nationalism and a proponent of globalism, strongly felt for the need to write a history of India from a fresh perspective.

Writing sometime in early 1903, Tagore observed in one of his lesser discussed pieces, ‘History of Bharatvarsha’, that the narratives of India – in today’s parlance the ideas of India being dished out did not allow the ‘real Bharatvarsha’ to be glimpsed. ‘Those histories’, argued Tagore, “make you feel that at that time Bharatvarsha did not exist at all; as though only the howling whirlwind of Pathans and the Mughals holding aloft the banner of dry leaves had been moving round and round across the country.”

India’s civilisational essence that survived all conflict and invasion, Tagore contended, was neglected or suppressed in these portrayals or ideas of India. “

…While the lands of the aliens existed, there also existed the indigenous country. Otherwise, in the midst of all turbulence, who gave birth to the likes of Kabir, Nanak, Chaitanya, and Tukaram? It was not only Delhi and Agra that existed then, there were also Kasi and Navadvipa.

The current of life was flowing then in the real Bharatvarsha, the ripples of efforts rising there and the social changes that were taking place – none of these find an account in our history textbooks.” This aspect of Tagore never found space in the idea of India that dominated national life for the last six odd decades.

There were others as well, champions of an alternate discourse which sought to draw, tabulate and record alternate ideas of India. Nearly all of them had to face persistent intellectual boycott by the raucous standard bearers of the Nehruvian idea. When the doyen of nationalist historiography RC Majumdar insisted on taking an alternate route for writing the history of India’s freedom movement by saying, “I have not hesitated to speak out the truth, even if it is in conflict with views cherished and propagated by distinguished political leaders for whom I have the greatest respect” and that a “solid structure of mutual amity and understanding cannot be built on the quicksands of false history and political expediency,” he had the entire Nehruvian establishment up against him. Majumdar was completely sidelined the acolytes of Nehru’s India.

The idea of India, which has hitherto dominated the national discourse and which has gained legitimacy in the confines of the Left-dominated Indian and Western academia and has gone on to adversely influence a large section of our decision makers and therefore our national direction, is a direct creation of ‘Macaulayism’ – a mindset which has refused to recognise the essential civilisational identity of India and which has persistently worked to corrode it. Macaulayism “corrodes the soul of a culture and corrupts a social system in slow stages.” Ironically it is the de-culturised Hindu who has been one of the most unswerving proponents of this ism and has been at the forefront of propagating the idea of India that it generated.

These ‘Macaulayists’ who have institutionalised a certain idea and perception of India have themselves the following dominant characteristics which have influenced their worldview and actions in India:

» A sceptical, negative attitude towards Hindu ‘spirituality, cultural creations and social institutions.’ Nothing in Hindu India, ‘past or present’ could be approved unless recommended by Western authorities.

» A positive and ‘worshipful attitude towards everything in Western society and culture, past and present.’

» An intellectual habit to judge, ‘interpret and evaluate Hindu culture, history, society and spirituality with the help of concepts and tools of analysis evolved by Western scholarship.’ The Nehruvian idea of India was essentially fashioned by these types who thrived and multiplied post independence when the one idea of India began to dominate.

However, the growth of a multitude of alternate ideas of India now, especially one which is non-Nehruvian, non-Congress and non-Left shall usher in the end of their era. Lord Desai has rightly recognised the unmistakable wave of the age, hope some more of his stock follow suit!

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s