One of the attitudes which in fast has become a sort of sacred belief with most of us, is our total mental and spiritual dependence on the world outside India, especially on the Capitalist, Social-Democratic and Marxist world of the West. This dependence is not only restricted to gifted or technically competent men and financial resources but even more so on external theoretical and intellectual formulations in every sphere pertaining to our state, our society and our individual activity. The way we have willingly, even enthusiastically bound ourselves to the words and catch-phrases of the West, is a sad commentary on our civilization. I do not think that there was any time in our long history when we, as a people, had bound ourselves so completely even to the words of the Vedas, or of the Bhagavad Gita, or of the Upanishads, or to the Manusamhita, or even to the words of the great Gautama Buddha, or Adi Sankara.

It is not only our politicians, scientists, engineers, philosophers, political-scientists, economists, sociologists, leaders of social movements, or even dissident movements for whom the words of the Capitalist, or Social Democratic or Marxist West are like words from the ancient scriptures, even to the followers of Mahatma Gandhi the West has become a great beacon. It is not only that we believe that we have begun to comprehend Gandhi through Richard at ten borough's film "Gandhi". We also seem to require a Eric Schumacher to appreciate the concept of appropriate technology, and a Masanobu Fukuoka to appreciate agriculture as a way of life and to be carried on without chemical fertilizers and with minimum disturbance of the soil.

One of the consequences is that the present day Khadi and village Industries network is walking the streets of the West in search of markets, and the production of sugar from the palm tree is being accelerated so that it can be spread to the discerning in Europe and the U.S.A., while it is mill-sugar, mill-flour, milied-rice, cloth made of synthetic fibre, chemical fertilizers in agricultural fields, and even the occasional ploughing by tractors which has become the routine even in the Gandhian Ashrams. The prevalence of such a situation In other Indian institutions and the Indian homes, even the homes of the elite, needs no elaboration.

In retrospect, the period from about 1919 (or perhaps from 1916 itself, when Gandhl is speech at the Inaugural of the Benares Hindu University made the great Mahara as, the ruling elite, and Mrs. Annie Besant walk out of the meeting-place as a protest against what he had said) to about 1945, or perhaps even till 1947, may possibly be treated (n today's environment as a period of the great Illusion, and a period of Indian Innocence, when large sections of Indian people began to believe that they could at least build a world of their own, a world constructed according to their own concepts and Ideas, and that perhaps they may then even be able to help the rest of the world to return to sanity. Even skeptics Uke awahartal Nehru at certain moments seem to have fallen under such an Illusion, and it Is possible that many in the West, especially of the more reflective and Imaginative type, also at times felt that India may have a relevant message and may perhaps serve as a World model.

A similar belief about the possibility of an altogether new beginning, in continuity with the 1919 to 1945 period, seemed to have opened up, though only during a brief few days, at the end of March 1977, after the" defeat of Srfmati Indira Gandhi and the victory of the anata combine under the inspiration of Shri ayaprakash Narayan. But the habits and the assumptions of the past, built over several generations during 1800 to 1919 and again during 1947 to' 1977 asserted themselves and India reverted to its unthinking imitative role which benefrts'not even half a percent of the Indian people (in European Idiom, the officer class of India) [and maintains their privileges, but is certainly ruinous to the social as well as private lives of at least 80% of the Indian people. The Initiative which seems to have reverted to the' majority of the Indian people, during 1919 to 1945, when, as early as 1926, 1929 or 1930, the people of India are said to have become virtually free, was again largely snatched away from them after 1947, and what remained was allowed to erode with the flow of time.


It Is possible that an indigenous initiative even in borrowing, appropriating, internalizing, and thus transforming the borrowed to fit the Indian frame, has not been sustained in India in recent I history. It is true that much damage was done to India by aggression of people professing Islam, especially during the period A.D. 1100 to A.D. 1700. It certainly split Indian State and Society apart In most of Northern India and the shock waves of it were felt in distant areas. Still, by the beginning of the 18th century rt is not the aggressors professing Islam who exercised effective political power in India, but such power was exercised by the Marathas over large areas of India and by the various Hindu Ra as in targe parts of Kamataka,'the Tamil and Malayalam areas, in coastal Andhra, in Orissa, in large tracts of Madhya Pradesh and in parts of Bengal. But the Marathas as well as the other Ra as failed to consolidate their power, were unable to reforge adequate links between state and society and thus speedily lost to the Western onslaught. But It Is not only In the 18th century that such a failure occurred. Even the Vi ayanagara Ra ya, or Shlva f do not seem to have done too well.

Still, either because most of the polities of India continued to share at least a minimum conceptual framework and retained similar social and cultural priorities, or because the political and organizational framework which the alien conquerors, prior to the European entry into India, brought with them was much more elementary, and in no sense could become as stable or deep rooted as what had existed in India, the society and polity of India was In a fairly flourishing state even as late as the 1750's and In many areas tO around 1800. The living standard of the people (or In 18th - 19th century British parlance, of the lower orders) seems to have been adequate and appreciably higher than that of similar classes (n Britain around 1800; productivity In agriculture was much higher than In British agriculture; agricultural tools, implements and practices were diverse and sophisticated; crafts not only of the celebrated textiles, but also production of Iron and steel, of various chemicals and dyes, of gur and sugar, the construction of ships, the art of building, or the craft of the digging of tanks as well as river and road transportation compared and perhaps with advantage, to that which prevailed elsewhere In these spheres. And the society and polity were highly organized and had an incomparable sophistication in its various arrangements.

As we well know, Gandhi i in most of his writings, and even more so In Hind Swaraj which he wrote in 1909, tried to give a fairly integrated picture of Indian society and polity as he understood ft to have functioned during its long past. While writing in Hind Swaraj on passive resistance, he had also then given an illustration of it. It Is my belief that ft Is such an understanding of the working of the Indian mind and society which enabled Gandhi i to commune with It with such great ease, and pave the way, for the adoption of much of what he suggested, by the Indian people. As he said in 1944, what he did when he returned to India was to provide a voice to what the people themselves felt and basically already knew. It is true that it was not only this communion between the people and Gandhi i but also his organizational and related skills which could bring about what India was able to do and achieve under his leadership.

Yet, despite what Gandhi i said in Hind Swaraj and what was written by many in Young India, and elsewhere, about the earlier Indian society and polity, little of it seems to have got internalized and expressed in the institutions which have been managing India since the regaining of freedom. That what continues In the Governmental as well as the non-Governmental sphere Is In a great measure that which the British created during the period of the demolition of Indian Institutions and structures between 1.760 to 1830, or is modelled on what they structured in India for the consolidation of their rule, Is quite obvious.

Now it could be said that by 1920 a fairly substantial section of the elite In India had become aliienated from their society, had taken up the manner and idiom of the British and had begun to mould their personal and public life according to British concepts and modalities. Also, that the period of 25 years when Mahatma Gandhi had the supreme leadership of India was too short for battling on several fronts. It may also be true that the elite which joined him - and which thereby inherited political power - did not take him seriously as regards his understanding of Indian society, and could not conceive that such a society could be viable in the modern world. As one of the more enlightened of this elite, and someone who was quite dear to Gandhi i, said, how can one accept that the village people have any virtue, they are so ignorant.

However, even if this substantial elite could not internalise the Indian past and shape its future accordingly?" if it had creative capacity, it could have certainly internalised what it had learnt from the West, and used this learning, by recasting it into an Indian idiom, for India's benefit. But even in this it has failed dismally so far.

It is possible that most civilizations have such Intervals when the links between society and polity get shattered, or vitiated, or they remain In a state of hibernation. It may be that for several centuries we have been passing through such a phase, and that a time will soon come when India's polity will begin to reflect not only the aspirations and urges of bur society but also Its manner and idiom: It Is also probable that such processes are already on, which in due time will make the present split between our society and polity a matter of little1 consequence. About the time we regained freedom, Gandhi i had written to someone that no quick results should be expected, and that the situation created by an enslavement of 150 years will take at least half that much time to restore India to health. Yet, I have somehow a feeling that perhaps the rather separate worlds In which our society on the" one hand and our polity on the other hand have tended to move, is due to some deeper and more philosophical causes. Perhaps, the Indian psyche, and the private universe of the Indian individual, are averse to existing in a world in which hostility between groups and areas is a permanent feature. As you will realise, I am putting this before you merely as a layman. But it is my hope that if my disquiet Is In any way shared, the learned and the wise amongst us wilt try to look into this question.

By 1800, though many areas were still directly unaffected by British power, the mind and Intellect of India seems to have bowed down to British power and accepted Its superiority. That the British were devilishly crafty and clever had been noted in India from much earlier. Aliverdikhan of Bengal expressed such a view in the 1750's, and Ran it Singh, after being shown a political map of India, is said to have observed that the whole of the map will become red. Red was the colour of the areas under British Rule.

Warren Hastings had seen this decline of Indian confidence and Intellect by 1780, if not earlier, and by 1790, William ones, the British udge at Calcutta and known as the founder of Indology, had begun to claim that he knew the Sastras better than even the great Pandits [of Varanasi. On the decision of the. Varanasi Pandits that the utmost punishment for a Brahmin was a black mark on the forehead and exile from his home region, William' ones stated that the Sastras prescribed that the mark on the forehead was to be made by hot iron. Incidentally marking by hot iron was a British judicial practice till the mid-18th century. And if branding by hot iron was right and legitimate in Britain, it had to be right and legitimate in India too. Following such logic, as the British tenant' cultivator had no right over the land, he cultivated and could be ejected at the wilt of the British landlord it followed that the Indian peasant, who from time immemorial had inalienable hereditary possession of the land under his cultivation, could also similarly be . ejected from his land at the will of the British-created landlord, or at the whim of the British Indian state. The Indian peasant, according to British rationale, could enjoy no higher rights than his counterpart In Britain.

The erosion of self confidence and the defeat of the intellect, and the splitting of the elite from Its own people who alone could have given it any sort of spiritual or intellectual sustenance, naturally led to the imitation and adoption of British ideas and preferences. If William Wilberforce, the greatest Englishman of the 19th century and known as. "Father of the Victorians" thought that the Indians could only be leading ignorant and wretched lives "without the blessings of Christian light and moral improvements", it had to be treated as true. Thus a completely new imagery developed about India, and this imagery was given powerful literary garb by men like James Milt, one of the chief executives In the British Governance of India and the author of the voluminous "History of British India". The black Englishman of Macaulay was already on the scene, and speedily being duplicated, much before Macaulay had anything to do with India.

Some years before Macaulay's arrival in India the 8ritish Governor General Bentinck expressed satisfaction that prosperous and leading Indians were giving up the feeding of Brahmins and beggars and instead had taken 'to the ostentatious entertainment of Europeans". Not that alt resistance to the British had ceased but the resistance of the elite was no longer against British ways and preferences but rather against the British habit of not allowing the Indian to have any share In the exercise of power. The Indian elite, of the 19th and the 20th century, by and large, merely desired that the British would function as the Mughals had done earlier on, when men like Ra a Man Singh, or Ra a Todarmai were treated like Mughal nobles and governors and were given important rotes in the maintenance of Imperial Mughal rule over the people of northern and western India. This attitude of the Indian elite, even of many of those who called themselves "sipahis" of Mahatma Gandhi, continued more or less without interruption till the time when Britain decided, or was persuaded, to transfer power to Indian hands.

It Is In such a context that, as time passed, the Indian elite began to look at India through British eyes. Indians began tc be seen as wretched and ignorant the way they had appeared to William Wilberforce, or to james Mill, or to Macaulay, or to Karl Marx. To Karl Marx the commencement of Indian misery lay "in an epoch even more remote than the Christian creation of the world" and he stated that insprte of 'whatever may have been the crimes of England" in India, England "was the unconscious tool of History" in bringing about what Marx so anxiously looked forward to, India's Westernisation.

Even Indian scriptures, the Smritis, the texts on law and the scholarly works had to pass through the intellectual and spiritual sieves of Europe and what received approbation or approval had to be accompanied with suitably selected commentaries and newer Interpretations. It was not only the ostentatious entertainment of Europeans which henceforth became the aspiration of the Indian elite but the reading of the approved and acclaimed Indian texts, and even more so an uncritical attachment to the philosophies, theories and literature of Great Britain became their new opium. That this is no exaggeration is evident from continuous Indian fascination not only with Plato and Aristotle, or the Roman historians, but even with Francis Bacon, Thomas Hobbes, Bishop Berkeley, john Stuart Mt, or men like Bertrand Russell.

Naturally, all this had to result in, movements like the Brahmo Sama and Its various other versions in different parts of India, the long lasting fascination of the Indian elite with theosophy (a new variant of the ancient Masonic orders of Western Europe), and with the various ideologies which have come out of Europe in the past century and a half. Even when we wished to be patriotic, or wished to hark back to the past, the medium and the guide had to be the discipline of Indotogy or Orientalism, or some foreign traveller from the West or the East, who had happened to live in or pass through India since the time of the Greek adventurer Alexander.

In such a situation, the Indian elite's response to the loss of freedom began to be couched In a Western Idiom. Hence the Westernised pronouncements of patriots like .. Rammohan Roy (Monstuart Elphlnstone regretted that Rammohan ROy was presenting himself as too much of a Firangi), of Kesab Chandra Sen, of the illustrious Banfdm Chandra Chattopadhyaya, of tswara Chandra VTdyasagar, or of the indologist Ra endralal Mitra. To each one of them the European and British intervention In India seemed a divine boon, it is possible that in comparison to what they had learnt about the oppressions of the Muslim rulers, mostly either through hear-say, or through European compiled accounts, the British rule looked like the rule of angels where tranquility and order prevailed and the men of property felt secure from one generation to another.

Such men perhaps had also begun to believe In the theory of the common origin of the Indo-European peoples, and in their own way, even before Frederick William Max Muller, had begun to look forward to the day when these long parted cousins could join hands in some shared common enterprise. Explaining his works, Max Muller had mentioned to Gladstone, many times Prime Minister of Great Britain, that what he was trying to do was to bring together some 1800 years after esus of Nazareth, those who had got separated, around 1800 years before jesus's birth.

It was not only those given to social reform or to the spread of education, or dedicated to what is called an" Indian renaissance (based ironically on Western and British guidelines) who became the' promoters of European knowledge (sacred or profane) in India and dependent on Western goodwill. Those attracted by Western science and technology (not of the time of nuclear power, or offlights to the moon etc., but of a time when steam power ruled and children of 1G or less worked long hours in British industry, and electricity and the internal combustion engine had yet to make an appearance) also began to think of promoting and extending Western science and technology in India. The British however, 'seem to have looked at this promotion differently. The Governor of Bengal, Richard Temple, felt that the diversion to science from law, public administration, prose literature etc., required to be welcomed, as, in the field of practical science the Indians "must feel their utter inferiority to us".

One of the wellknown Indian of the 19th century who seems to stand apart from his contemporaries Is Swami vlvekanand. Though a product of the same 19th century Bengal Bhadralok environment, VTvekanand Is In many respects very different to the older and well known men'of the Bengal renaissance. We see Intense patriotism In every facet of Vtvekanand's life and works. He seems to Itave had a deep grounding in the Sastras. He also seems to have been much superior in intellectual vigour and In sensitivity to India's problems, with a natural empathy, with the poor, the down-trodden, and the oppressed in India.

Sri Ramaknshna Paramahamsa passed away on 15 August 1886. Four years later on 26th May 1890, Vivekanand wrote a long letter to Sri Pramadadas Mltra, an elder, wealthy and respected devotee of Sri Ramakrishna who had been living In Vara nasi. In it he said:

"For various reasons, the body of Bhagavan Ramakrishna had to be consigned to fire. There Is no doubt that this act was very Wamabie. The remains of his ashes are now preserved, and if they be now property enshrined somewhere on the banks of the Ganga, I presume we shall be able in some measure to expiate the sin tying on our heads.
'What greater regret can there be than this that no memorial could yet be raised In this land of Bengal in the very neighbourhood of the place where he lived his life of Sadhana (spiritual struggle) - he by whose birth the race of Bengalis has been sanctified, the land of Bengal has become hallowed, he who came on earth to save the Indians from the spell of the wordly glamour of Western culture and who therefore chose most of his all-renouncing disciples from university men? .... You remain now the only friend and patron of Shri Rarriakrishna's disciples. In the North-Westem province, (i.e. Uttar Pradesh), great indeed is your fame, your position and your circle of acquaintance. I request you to consider rf you feel like It, the propriety of your getting the affair through by raising subscriptions from well to do pious men known to you in your province, if you deem it proper to have some shelter erected on the banks of the Ganga in Bengal for Bhagavan Ramakrlshna's sacred remains and for his disciples, ! shall with your leave report myself to you, and t have not the slightest qualm to beg from door to door for this noble cause, for the sake of my Lord and his children. Please give this proposal your best thoughts with prayers to Vishvanatha. To my mind, if all these sincere, educated, youthful Sanyasins of good birth fail to live up to the ideals of Shri Ramakrishna owing to want of an abode and help, then alas for our country....."

It seems that Sri Pramadadas Mitra did not send an encouraging reply. This seems to have caused profound unhappiness to Vivekanand. The issue was Indeed painful. No doubt that by then Bengal had been rendered impoverished and destitute for a considerable time. But the fact that no resources could be raised for erecting a memorial for a person, whom many influential persons such as Kesab Chandra Sen, Girish Chandra Ghosh, Isan Chard ra Mukhopadhyaya, Balaram Bose, Shambhunath Mallick, Man Mohan Mallick and many others, used to frequently visit, is clearly an Instance not of material impoverishment but mental and spiritual impoverishment of society. It may perhaps be claimed that In reality Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa in his own lifetime was not all that famous a person in Bengal and his following, except for a dozen or a score of young men, was hardly worth counting. But it is more reasonable to grant that the extent of our mental and spiritual impoverishment was such that really no substantial resources could then be raised, even for Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa's memorial.

This response obviously shook Vivekanand. To know the cause of such a state and to know his country better he set about travelling through India. From then on, he was on the move continuously. Wherever he went, he received love and respect. But he did not receive, perhaps he did not even seek, any substantial financial help. Then he reached Kanyakumari and meditated on the now celebrated Vivekanand Rock. After some weeks

he dreamt that Sri Ramakrishna was beckoning to him from amidst the ocean. Tnte , became the signal for his foreign travel.

Actually the World Congress of Religions at Chicago was not the reason why Swarrri Vivekanand set-forth abroad. The reason was very different much larger and serious. He 'wanted to acquaint himself with the functioning of other societies. He saw the prosperity of Europe and America, their power and organisation. He saw their vigour and was very much Impressed. His numerous letters give detailed and poet descriptions of his .Impressions. These letters also reveal his Intense love for India, his understanding of India and of the World, and his sorrow at India's material and spiritual Impoverishment. From his personal | experiences he seems to have arrived at the conclusion that India's regeneration is possible only when we can muster outside help, both material and human, for the cause! It is thus that the initial growth of the Ramakrishna Mission took place with foreign financial resources.

In his letter of 6th April 1897 to the scholarly editor of "Bharatl", Shrimati Sarala Ghosal, Vivekanand wrote, "It has been for the good of India that religious preaching in the West has been and will be done. It has ever been my conviction that we shall not be able to rise unless the Western people come to our help. In this country, no appreciation of merit can yet be found, no financial strength, and what is most lamentable of all, there is not a bit of practicality... I have experienced even in my insignificant life that good motives, sincerity, and infinite love can conquer the world. One single soul possessed of these virtues can destroy the dark designs of millions of hypocrites and brutes.... I only want to show that our well-being is impossible without men and money coming from the West".

In this way Swami Vivekanand brought money and inspired men and women to come from abroad. Mrs Margret Noble, or Bhagini Nivedita was one of those. We find that Bhagini Nivedita later helped th'e eminent scientist jagdish Chandra Bose in editing his works; she also helped, and translated some-of the'works of, Braendranath Seal. The conclusion from all this is that bur Bhadralok had totally lost the capacity to identify the capacities and talents of this society and take them forward. No healthy society ir. the world would dream of achieving functionality and regenerating its creativity with foreign help. Vivekanand had a great deal of confidence in the Indian men and women. However, even he could not escape from being seriously affected, by whatever Image and model, that the newly educated class had already built, of our society, of the age long deprivation, wretchedness and ignorance of our ordinary people.


This image of India was not its own traditional self-image, nor had ft any relation with historical facts. However, such an image was deliberately built up during the 19th century by the efforts and encouragement of the British and of the theoreticians of the West and through the' policies and institutions Initiated by the British Indian state. The newly emergent elite in Bengal as also many others were instrumental in taking this Image forward. For instance, Rammohan Roy was opposed tooth and nail t6 the idea that modem learning and science be learnt through the medium of Sanskrit and other Indian languages. He somehow had been convinced that these Indian languages can be the Vehicle only of ancient codes and speculations on the world beyond; and that Western knowledge cc ld only be learnt through languages of the West.

This was Inde id a peculiar position. The Westerners themselves obtained knowledge of the East only through the language of the West. Surely, behind such a view, was a feeling of deep contempt for the Indian languages, the Indian Intellect and the Indian people. Of course this is not to imply that men like Rammohan Roy had any hatred for the Indian people, or lacked patriotism. Quite possibly they had been lured by the power of the West and felt that India's salvation lay in becoming ilke the West. Onty their understanding of the West lacked any depth.

Around 1880, Keshav Chandra Sen declared in England that "If you look at India today you will no doubt find wide-spread idolatry, a system of caste such as cannot be witnessed elsewhere, social and domestic institutions of an in urious character, and pre udices, error, superstition and ignorance prevailing to a most appalling extent1. Around 1900, Rablndranath Tagore wrote that "Our country having lost its links with the Inmost truths of Its being, struggled under a crushing load of unreason, in abject slavery to circumstances. In social usage, in politics, In the realm of religion and arts, we had entered the zone of uncreative habit a decadent tradition, and ceased to exercise our humanity".

White our newly emergent elite responded to loss of freedom by seeking much deeper enslavement as the sole means of liberation, the larger Indian society reacted in the opposite way. The larger Indian society tried to keep its cultural symbols and ideals as its beacon and tried to organise itself repeatedly. The 1857 resistance to British rule was one effort of this sort. Between 1830 and 1894, there was a ma or cow-protection movement In India, especially in the northern and central regions. A wide-spread network of cow-protection sabhas were established in which Hindus, Muslims as well as Christians, the wealthy as well as the poor, men as well as women, young and old, all were actively involved. The movement was described by the British Viceroy as being as dangerous as the events of 1857-1859. The British Queen was of the opinion that the movement was aimed against the British and not against the Muslims.

The larger Indian society had been relentlessly striving to express Itself using forms and symbols which were linked to Its own civilization and consciousness. In these efforts of the larger Indian society, one does not see any trace of a feeling of contempt for, or de ection with Indian way of life, or Indian Ideas.

As we are well aware, In Mahatma Gandhi, there was no trace of any contempt of re ection for things Indian and so the whole of India arose as one man under his leadership. The views of Mahatma Gandhi on India were fundamentally different from - those of the modem educated Indians. Gandhlji's view was that the larger Indian society had great merit and Inspite of there being several evil tendencies and distortions. It had great internal strength and capacity. If ordinary people could be provided with necessary and adequate resources for organising themselves and gMng expression to their own priorities, they can then once again build a great civilization, as they had been doing for thousands of years.

Mahatma Gandhi agreed that there may still be some quarrels and disturbances periodically, some ups and downs, some Internal conflicts and animosities, and some amount of in ustice - but all this would be considered improper {adharma) and as violating accepted norms and will, by the people themselves, be severely condemned and restrained. It therefore seemed to him necessary that the larger Indian society should again be put in possession of adequate resources, resources which at least partially ft had retained even during Islamic rule where such rule prevailed, but of which it was totally deprived of during British rule. The point to note Is that Gandhi i had full confidence in the capacity of the' Indian people and the Indian resources, and based on this perspective as well as his own unparalleled organisational skill, he was able to mobilise a nation-wide -movement.


We thus see that during the time of British rule there had been two different responses to the loss of freedom and enslavement of our society. One was the response of the larger Indian society of which Gandhi i was the exemplary leader. The other response was from the powerful and elite classes who Inspite of the call, exhortations, and charisma of someone like Swami Vivekanand were getting more and more estranged from the wider Indian society and who became the carriers of a prolonged habit of total surrender and subservience to most conquerors, it is clear that the clash of the larger Indian society which sought freedom (Swara ) was not with this elite; it was with the conquering Western civilisation.

It is considered by some scholars who have tried to reflect on the past that Rammohan Roy with his enthusiasm for westernisation, (what Elphinstone called his FIrangeeness) was In fact coining a strategy of countering the dominance of the West. As far as he was concerned, it may well be so, and the thought needs deeper examination. But as events unfolded themselves, what he may have meant got wholly ignored and those who drew Inspiration from him or his written words were led, leaving their own idols, to the worship of the varied idols of the West. Even such worship done with understanding may have been to the good of India and thus humanity. But they lacked understanding, they were caught in the softer phraseology end idiom of the West, and did not get an inkling of the West's hard core, a core which had lasted for over two thousand years, and had acquired great sophistication during the period.

As for Vivekanand, coming as he did from late 19th century Bengal and nurtured and educated in urban Bengal's environment, it was natural that he was often unable to link the strength and generosity of the ordinary people with their potential capacities. Not that he did not meet with great generosity In different parts of India from even the poorest Indian. Many such incidents in Ra asthan, in South India, etc., are graphically described in the various biographies of Vivekanand. Fired with a sense of great mission, and perhaps aware from an early age that he was not to live long, he naturally was in a great hurry. And hence his' conclusion that in India "no appreciation of merit can yet be found, no financial strength and what Is most lamentable of all. not a bit of practicality. And this logically led to the belief that "our well-being ts Impossible without men and money coming from the West". ,

If he had lived longer, say as long as Gandhi i lived, Swaml Vivekanand would have realised that It Is not only the educated and the prosperous to whom one has to address oneself. Given a certain sense of communion and an ability to communicate. In words or even In silence, with the poor and down-trodden, It was possible to generate courage, strength, practicality as well as resources, also from the deprived and down-trodden. Such communication with the deprived and the down-trodden, as a consequence, would have brought many of the educated and the prosperous to become participants In the new Yagna.

It was left to Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi to take up this new task. Coming as he did from the rugged and more enterprising people of Kathiawad, his links with the relatively uncorrupted past of his people was obviously stronger. Grounded in such past he naturally at his more confident youthful age, could see through the life of the West more clearly and with fewer blinkers. If he had decided to continue living In Britain, or taken to a legal practice in Bombay, it is quite possible that even his judgement of the West would have become blurred as time passed. But life in White-dominated South Africa made his previous impressions of the West sharper and his earlier conclusions were confirmed. It Is possible that this acquaintance with the West in England and then in- South Africa also made him understand the real nature of the working of Western authoritarianism, whether In one garb or another, and helped him to appreciate the plight and sub ugation of the ordinary Western man of the late 19th century and early 20th century. It is such experience and reflection on it, as well as his long close contact with the ordinary and poor Indians settled in South Africa, which helped him to forge the close links he had from about 1916 onwards with deprived and down-trodden In practically every nook and comer of this vast land of ours.


The emergence of Mahatma Gandhi, and the struggles he launched In India during 1916-1919, transformed India altogether. Even the elite club, known as the Indian National Congress, from being 'His Britannic Majesty's most loyal opposition', more or less overnight became a movement of the Indian people, with branches in most villages and towns and a membership of 50 lakhs in mid-1921. How this movement grew, how ft .became a unique challenge not only to a worldwide empire but also to the dominant civilisation of the West is too well known to repeat here. As well put by Louis Fischer, by 1928, 1929 and 1930 the Indians had in fact become a free people, i.e. even when they formally stayed under British domination, they had, during this decade, at least psychologically began to feel free and had re-acquired their dignity.

As early as 1920, the Viceroy Chelmsford suggested to the British Secretary of State for India that the British had to begin cultivating the Indian intelligentsia and could no longer depend merely on the support of the landed interests. An adequate documentary search in the British records would amply Illustrate the steps which would have followed during the next 20 years to translate such a system Into a working plan. In 1942 even F.D. Roosevelt, the President of USA, was advising the British that whatever steps they took In India, the main purpose should be that India stayed In the Western sphere. Quite possibly, what Roosevelt had more In view was that India did not oin up wfth the Communists, or japan. But a [reading of the more detailed record, even of the correspondence between Lord Lothian and Jawaharial Nehru during 1934-35 does Indicate that the enemy was not only Communism and Japan, but even more so Mahatma Gandhi himself.

True, Mahatma Gandhi was greatly admired by the world; to the American- ohn Heynes Holmes in 1921 he was the 'New Christ on Earth'. In a way Gilbert Murray had found this quality In Gandhi even a few years earlier In 1918, when he described the battle with Mahatma Gandhi In the following terms:

"The story forms an extraordinary illustration of e contest which was won, or practically won, by a policy of doing no wrong, committing no violence but simply enduring ail the punishment the other side would Inflict until they became weary and ashamed of punishing. A battle of the unaided human soul against overwhelming material force, and it ends by the] units of material force gradually deserting their own banners and coming round to the side of the soull

Persons In power should be very careful how they deal with a man who cares nothing for sensual pleasure, nothing for riches, nothing for comfort or praise or promotion, but is simply determined to do what he believes to be right. He is dangerous and uncomfortable1 enemy - because his body, which you can always conquer, gives you so litHe purchase upon his soul .

Though Gandhi the man could be admired and was even helped, his ideas, thinking and techniques were seen as wholly antagonistic to modem Western civilization.But even If Chelmsford and his masters In London and his successors had not started deliberately cultivating the Indian Intelligentsia, over a hundred years of angliclsatlon had paid ample dividends, British theories had their effect and most Westernised or wealthy Indians of the late 19th and early 20th centuries had begun to subscribe to 19th century British hierarchic norms. Whether It were Phirozeshah Merita, or Srinrvasa Sastri, or Gopala Krishna Gokhale, or even the Bala Gangadhar Tllak of his last years, they had all been Infected by 'British elitism and had been carried away by the theory of Indo-European couslnship.

It Is therefore little wonder that Jawaharial Nehru (wholly a product of British upbringing and education),1 even In his most youthful days of the 1920's, while he fell for Gandhi's charisma and charm yet could not appreciate his Ideas and world view either men, or later. That others like Nehru (whether socialists, or marxlsts, or even some of those who embraced Gandhiji's Ashram life and assisted him In executing soma of his Ideas but had been brought up on a diet of Western thought and rationality) could appreciate Gandhi i even less Is therefore of little wonder. That they fell under his spell and for years did as he wished is what Is to be wondered at. With the entrance of the Soviet Union in 1941 In the European war and becoming an ally of Britain, etc., the parting of ways had arrived In the Gandhlan national movement True, Gandhi i was still able for a time to keep his restless, so called 'progressive', followers In check and even led them to support the quit India movement. But as the documents reveal, Including the Ahmednagar prison diary of Jawaharial nehru, as far as he and many like him were concerned, the day of their parting from Gandhi i had arrived. In a sense most of them had reached the end of their road, their bastions had eroded, and what remained was a wish to aspire for a share In freedom In their life times

Despite the fact that Franklin D.Roosevelt, In 1942, had wanted India to stay in the Western sphere of influence, or Clement Attlee, again in 1942, had thought that inspite of any exploitation etc., which Britain might have practised in India the British on the whole could be proud of their moral mission in India, and despite the admiration of many Indians, including Jawaharial Nehru, for British institutions and civilisation, It was still possible till about May 1946 for India to have opted for a wholly different path. During the Indo-British negotiations, of April- une 1946, the British at the highest level, had come out with a plan of wholly evacuating what they called 'Hindu India' (i.e. India South of the Vindhyas, Ra asthan, most of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Orissa etc.) and leaving this 'Hindu India' to its own devices and moving British personnel and authority to the Muslim dominated areas of the Pun ab, Sindh, etc. in the West, and to Muslim areas of Bengal In the East. But the plans became unnecessary because Indian nationalism felt too exhausted, and crumbled, and accepted the slightly amended British offer of eventual peaceful transfer. Of course, Indian nationalism, and perhaps even the British Viceroy in India, had no inkling of the emergency British plan which was prepared by the British Chiefs of Staff Committee for the British Prime Minister and the British Cabinet Committee on India.

After the June 1946 compromise, or rather surrender, by the Congress, It was more or less smooth sailing in Indo-British relationship. Still Indian ideas and long term objectives could, to an extent, have been salvaged if the British, through Louis Mount batten or at his suggestion, had not decided to rush the transfer of power. The plan seems to have been to take the Indians unawares, more or less in the same way as Gandhi i had taken the British unawares during 1919 and thereafter, to sweep them off their feet, and leave them no time for reflection. Though earlier beaten by Gandhi i, the British knew the Indians well. They were well acquainted with the Indian slowness in matters where each moment Courted, their inexperience of statecraft, their habit of opting for painless solutions, and their never refusing whatever was offered to them, even if the gift was of no earthly use to them ever.

Incidentally, that Louis Mountbatten was the man to sort out the Indian situation, was mentioned to the British Government by Lady Willingdon, with 15 years of Indian experience, as early as 1943. The role of Louis Mountbatten. the last British pro-consul in India, is. comparable to the role of Robert Olive, the first British pro-consul here. Both applied similar strategies and saw to it that the Indians had no time to deliberate or reflect on what needed to be done either in the 1750's or in the late 1940's.


It is natural that the question of the organisation, structure, institution and economy of India when It regained Its freedom and Initiative must have been discussed In various forums, and by various individuals, from the early years of the present century. How extensive and deep such discussions were, and what were the various values and concepts on which the future structures were to be erected, can only be known through an Intensive research in the thought of this period, and of the thought and experiences of the 19th century which preceded ft. Like untold number of other crucial tasks, such a task also has yet to be initiated.

Though most of our ma or historical personalities of the 19th century and even of the early 20th century, seem to have had little Inkling of the functioning of our society prior to British rule, Mahatma Gandhi did seem to have some acquaintance with Its general functioning. Much of It is indicated in the Hind Swara though ft is true that the picture which the Hind Swara provides is rather too idealised and Utopian. But then Hind Swara is essentially a polemical document and was aimed at contrasting the civilization of India with the civilization of the modern West.

However, when ft came to concertizing the basic frame of this earlier Indian model, Gandhi i did try to convey it through various means. One of the earliest, and perhaps the most ma or, way of concretising the earlier Indian structural arrangement was in the constitution of, the Indian National Congress in which the Congress was given a popular base, and its (units were organised on the basis of locality, linguistic region, and the country as a whole. When asked in 1931, in London, how a free India would be organised, Gandhi i had said that this had already been Indicated in the 1920 constitution of the Congress. In anuary 1930, Gandhi i spelled out, in the independence pledge, the great damage done to India by British rule; the pledge stated that India had been ruined by the British not only politically and economically but also culturally and spiritually. A year later, In March 1931, the Congress adopted the resolution on the national ob ectives of the freedom movement, spelling out what India will do when ft became free.

By 1938, freedom seemed to be not too distant and the more Western minded leaders of India - political, academic, industrial - began to contemplate planning for the future. One of the results [of this was the National Planning Committee of the National Congress, appointed by the then Congress President, Subash Chandra Bose, and presided over by jawaharlal Nehru. The main Committee had 15-20 members including academics and leaders of Indian industry. It constituted about 30 sub-committees which dealt with a variety of subjects, and in all over 200 persons, a few of them still prominent in today's Indian public life, were associated with the work of the National Planning Committee. The reports of the] main committee, as also of the sub-committees were published around 1947 and consist of some 30-35 volumes. Today, we can clearly see that the main stress In these reports is on economics, the direction western-modern, the approach largely mechanical and cliche hidden, and on the whole, the product is largely shoddy. We must however also remember that most of the work was done at a rather difficult period, with the president and many of the members of the committee being in prison most of the time during 1940-1945.

During some particular deliberations of the Cottage Industries Sub-committee of the main body, held at Wardha, around September 1939, Gandhi i is said to have consented to a programme of modem industrialisation provided that the promotion and extension of cottage industry went hand in hand with modern industrial development, and that "India was definitely not to depend on foreign loans for development", that all money, private as well as public, was mobilised for this purpose, and that "a certain standard of living had to be defined as the objective" and both the modem industrial plan as well as the plan of cottage industry "approximated to each other within a comparable measure of time".

Earlier on, in 1934, while initiating the village industries movement, he had written, "If the villagers had enough to eat and clothe themselves with, there would be no cause for home-grinding or home-husking, assuming that the question of health was not of any Importance, or if ft was, there was no difference between home-ground flour and mill-ground, or home-husked rice and mill-husked". Even still earlier in 1925, he told someone from the Pun ab, that "in the present state of India, anything like a universal introduction of electric power in our villages, is an utterly impracticable proposition" but he had added, 'that time may come". Incidentally, during 1922-23, Young India, Gandhi l's weekly, but at the time when he was in prison, had envisaged a militia of one crore of men when India was wholly free. There can be little doubt that this had been written in accordance with Gandhiji's general ideas on the practical and the feasible.

In 1945, the Congress In its Working Committee (i.e. its chief executive body though perhaps not its brain-trust or think-tank) seems to have deliberated on the shape of things In the free India. Though no records of the discussions seem to be yet available, ft seems that ft was somewhat heated and perhaps even acrimonious. An idea of it comes through a letter of Gandhi i to Jawaharial Nehru. In this letter of Oct. 2nd, 1945, Gandhi i said "I take first the sharp difference of opinion that has arisen between us. if such a difference really exists, people should also know about it, for the work of Swaraj will suffer If they are kept in the dark".

Gandhi wanted a public discussion on this point, perhaps not only in the All India Congress Committee (the general body of the Congress) but also in the country at large. Such a discussion did not seem to suit Jawaharial Nehru and perhaps many others who had cast their lot with western modernism and the British created structures and institutions which had existed and had been running India for nearly two centuries. He therefore wrote to Gandhi i, "How far ft is desirable for the Congress to consider these fundamental questions, involving varying philosophies of life, ft is for you to judge. I would imagine that a body like the Congress should not loose Itself in arguments on such matters which can only produce great confusion in people's minds resulting in inability to act in the present", and he added, as a sort of warning, that, 'This may also result In creating barriers between the Congress and -others in the Country". But In his normal equivocal manner he tried to retract by adding that, "ultimately of course this and other questions wilt have to be decided by representatives of free India".


From 1946 to 1949, the representatives of free India did meet In a Constituent Assembly.
i But practically on every point they were faced with a fan-accompli Various expert committees of course had been set up to help draft the constitution, but most members of these were | occupied otherwise and therefore, the draft of the constitution was a mish-mash of the existing British frame-work of Indian governance and of bits and pieces h picked up and joined to it from the countries of Europe and the United States of America. Heated debates took piace on various aspects of the draft prepared by the Law Minister and the Constitutional Adviser both mentally Westernised to an extreme degree, but nothing much could be altered as regards the basic frame, because doing so would have delayed the adoption of a new Constitution by a previously decided date.

The constrant of the date was in fact brought to the notice of the President of the Constituent Assembly by the Constitutional Adviser when a heated debate took place on the basic unit of the new polity - whether ft should be a locality or a habitat as was the historical Indian practice, or it should be the adult individual as obtained in the Western world. With]such a sacred constraint, mOch like the still current constraint of the astrologically forecast auspicious moment for this and that, no basic alteration could be made in the draft. Additions etc., of course, did take piace but these perhaps only added to the bulk of the Articles and the paper on which these were printed, and made the Constitution fool-proof, i.e., completely irrelevant with regard to any ma or transformation in the Indian' polity by constitutional means, and inadvertently made the Indian political system even "more frozen and unworkable than it already was during British Rule.

The assurance of jawaharial Nehru that "ultimately of course this and other questions will have to be decided by representatives of free India", thus turned out to be a mere eye-wash. Perhaps it was so intended. But whatever the intention, the consequences were the take-over of India by the westernised elite, and initially an elite whose familiarity of the West was merely limited to the 19th century West - a West for which Nature was an enemy, rationalism its God, and never-ending exploitation of physical resources the supreme goal. Further, even this acquaintance was largely superficial and couched in the rhetoric and cliches of the 19th century with the result that the political and administrative institutions of India and its basic scientific and technological concepts and knowledge, or its over-riding philosophical, political and economic Ideas seldom moved beyond the European ideas of the early 20th century, and would today be wholly incomprehensible to most of the | present-day young men and women of Britain from whose immediate ancestors these Ideas were derived.

The results in most fields, as we well know, have been wholly disastrous. The Education Ministry of the Government of India did in fact do a great service to India, the only service which It perhaps has ever done, when ft produced the 1985 document 'Challenge of Education" reviewing the state of Indian Education. I have little doubt that if such reviews were done for other departments of government also, whether at the national or state levels, the findings will be similar to those of the education review.

It is only because of the Ingenuity, the relative perseverance, and the robustness of our ordinary people, many of whom somehow make-do without adequate shelter, or clothing, or even water, that we still survive as a people and as a civilisation. Though we do not seem to much like whatever they do, the festivals and the fire-walking that they celebrate, the occasional unclad trance-dancing they resort to despite all the obstacles we the elite put In their way, and the various other things which unknown to us are intimate parts of their lives, only shows that they still are grounded in the soil of India, and can be expected to see ft emerge into a more worthwhile future not-withstanding our own alienation, indifference, and high-handedness.

But it is not only those who are directly tied to the Indian state system - the number of such persons adds up to more than one crore, though only less than two lakhs of them, have any say in decision-making or are in actual control of others - the many lakhs who work in the social and cultural fields in non-governmental capacities, seem to have done little better. Many such persons are my friends, and in fact I am myself no different from them. In a larger sense we have become peripheral to the needs of Indian civilisation and society; unwittingly we have become the instruments of the erosion of Indian values and institutions; in fact, we have become even more tied, than those serving the state, to alien Ideas and practices of all types and though we may perform many tasks more economically and even with greater compassion, the psychological, mental and material chasm between us and our people is no less wide than ft was say before 1920, or as described by Swami Vivekanand nearly a century ago.

Our surrounding climate has been allowed to become such, or perhaps our senses have become so blunted that even many patriotic and sacred institutions have tied themselves up to the exclusive use of English. It is little wonder that even villages or small towns which lie on the side of motor roads are proudly displaying that these villages possess one or more English-medium schools.

Personally, i have nothing against English, even to its becoming the lingua-franca of India ff such is the considered national decision. Nor have I in a similar situation anything against the total westernisation of India in the western idiom of the present, not of course In the idiom of 19th century West, or in the idiom of Plato or Aristotle. But do we have the vigour, perseverance and capacity to devote ourselves deliberately and persistently to transform India into a functioning Western state and society? So far there are no such signs. We do not even actually aspire to do so, not even those who daily moan about the rise of superstition and fundamentalism in India, and about the decline of the scientific temper, rationality, and the Indian brand of secularism. Their disorientation and alienation has become such or the dazzle of the West is so attractive, that quite possibly, ff pushed a little harder, most of this gentry will start queing at United States consulates and similar other foreign sanctuaries, to represent that Westernised Indians have become victims of political discrimination and that they should be given refuge. If there were opportunities many of them may ask for similar facilities from the USSR, or from the Arab emirates, or from the other softer areas of the Arab World. One can only hope that their own efforts as well as time will cure them and bring them back to a state of IndEanness. It is not that many of them do not have talent, or do not have conviction. But their talent and conviction for their own good and for the good of India has to be expressed in an Indian context, and not in a supposedly empty void.


It is possible that if we had taken the harder option and had not devalued national and local self-reliance in every shape and form, which we began to do from around 1947-48, even the broken-down India which was transferred back to us by the British, with Its tottering and inhibiting administrative and legal frame, would have within a few years come into its own and forged ahead in many directions. The harder option of course would have deprived the elite of its soft life and the glitter which has been created In the metropolises during the past four decades. There perhaps would then have been no Vlgyan Bhavans, no new administrative complexes, no gigantic dams, no five star hotels, no new state guest houses and circuit houses, etc., no huge building programme En the capital cities, and perhaps not even the fly-overs and the superiast trains.

Instead we would have taken up the task of cleaning up the large cities, a proper looking after of the small towns and the provision of necessary amenities in them, and concentrated on the much needed attention to the villages, of which they had been deprived for nearly two centuries. :The resources we possessed and the knowledge at our disposal (whether indigenous or of western origin) could then have been equitably applied to improve the' daily life of all our people. And if that had been initiated, ft would have brought forth the dormant knowledge and skills of our people to take the process much further and may have even encouraged them to adapt aspects of western knowledge and technological ideas to serve their own priorities. Such a process of salvage and regeneration once started could [have taken care of the decrepit administrative legal apparatus and in time moulded it to serve Indian societal purposes.

Instead, because of our faint-heartedness, our lack of confidence not only in our people but also in ourselves, and the fact that we had been hypnotised by Western power and its twentieth century glitter, we laid India wide open to the sermons, advice, methodology, and the knowledge-systems of the West. The advice, technology, etc., which we received was what the West decided we should have. It was accompanied by advisers, consultants, political theorists, scientists, technologists, developers, etc., as well as In most cases with financial support In the form of grants or loans. Most of the financial support was to* pay for the specified technologies, imported products, etc., or to pay for the services of the advisers, consultants, and technologists. What we actually received of this financial support and which could be used for the cost of Indian material, salaries and wages has till today, seldom been more than a quarter of the total financial grants, loans, etc., which were written against our account.
While the total external financial support never amounted to more than 5 to 10 per cent of the resources available to the governing structures (i.e. the central and state governments and the local bodies in India) Its consequences have been that this marginal external contribution has more and more determined the manner and direction In which the Indian resources themselves were to be used.

In 1780 Warren Hastings had said that the British military training and arms, given through one treaty or another, to an Indian Ra ya would only make that Ra ya and its army weaker and much less mobile and not a bit stronger as was feared by his commander-in-chief. In the then Indian context ft was a very sound judgement, and as the erosion in the circumstances and morale of India has mainly increased since then, this logic has even more validity today than it had at that time.

The major culprit in this whole sorry business has been the Indian State, especially those who have determined its policies since independence. Many of them of course had openly or privately advocated such association and dependent relationship on the modern West, including the Soviet Union, from before independence. Mahatma Gandhi had been wholly opposed to ft under all circumstances. His opposition to such dependence is said to have been even more categorical than his opposition to Western technology and Western-type industrialisation. If Western know-how (technology knowledge-systems, Western personnel) was in certain situations needed in India, it had to be duly subordinated to Indian priorities and bought; all such Western knowledge etc. being saleable commodities.

It is true that when freedom came, the people of India were in very bad economic shape, and their social frame was in ruins. The depletion of resources and the havoc caused to India's natural and man-made assets during British rule was colossal. If India's victory over British imperialism had been like any other military victory India would have been rightly entitled to reparations from the British and the West, for the willful destruction and damage done to fts society and economy. Or, if India had been able to convert others to Its view of a World brotherhood it should have led to a worldwide sharing of the World's resources. As none of these came to happen the only honourable option India had was to chart fts own path, however hard was the going. It could not have been any harder than the 200 years which had preceded independence had been and certainly ft could have been far more exhilarating and exciting. But we seem to have deliberately destroyed what .would have seemed the right path to take. Whether it was done because we the elite were too exhausted, or had become too soft, or too alienated from the Indian people, or in fact had become black Westerners in lesser or greater degree on whom the mantle of the alien rulers of Delhi had descended, is something worthy of serious investigation. The findings of such investigation may also suggest a reversion of this process.

Not having this dependent relationship with the West or others does not however imply opting out of the world fraternity. If our condition so requires, as is often required for a convalescence, we shall of course have to ask others and so arrange matters that we are left to ourselves for a time. But we have always believed in the brotherhood of man, of the possibility, in fact the imperativeness of such a sense of brotherhood amongst peoples of different civilisations and cultures, that for us a continuing relationship and empathy with others is something good in itself. But any civilisation being dependent on others or made to shape itself in the other's mould Is not something which accords with our values, or which we have historically attempted to impose on others. For us ail societal expressions have had their own particular relevance and significance.

To gain some perspective and to understand our dilemma, we perhaps need to look at other countries, and what happened in some of them when they were faced with somewhat similar Issues. One can of course examine 19th century North America where violence, stark individualism, cut-throat competition for increasingly acquired or discovered resources, and indifference" to those who lost the race must have been rampant. But then white North America commanded vast resources especially after it had virtually exterminated the indigenous peoples, who for the whole of the Americas are currently estimated at 90 to 112 millions; at the time of Columbus (AD 1492) they were a larger number than the total population of Europe at that time. We can also look at 19th century Great] Britain, whose physical resources were vastly poorer, but then Britain dominated most of the world in the 19th century. The other country we can look at, is one which has been admired by many of us for nearly a century, even by Swami Vivekanand when he had a brief halt there in his first trip to the USA in 1893. That country Is Jpan.
s After the conversion of half a million of its people to Christianity by the esuits in the late 16th and early 17th centuries, Japan closed its frontiers to people from Europe for over two centuries, it is only around 1860 that ft reopened itself to the Western world. It is said that in the intervening 200 years, ' Japan kept a very limited contact with the Dutch, which served as a sort of photographic camera aperture, through which Japan could concentratedly take note of what interested it.

Soon after Japan resumed links with the West, it sent some of its young men to the countries of the West. One of them, Maeda Masana, who went to France in 1869 felt very depressed for many months and seeing the splendour of Paris felt that Japan would never be able to match it. But soon after the France-German War, France seemed to be in shambles and had to rebuild itself again. While the happening itself must have made him sad, somehow his spirits picked up from then on and he could write that "I felt confidence In our ability to achieve what the West achieved".

He returned to Japan in 1878, and became one of the chief architects of Kogyo Iken, Japan's ten-year plan, completed in 1884 in thirty volumes. Discussing the various constituents which were required to make such plan functional, the plan stated:

'Which requirement should be considered as most important in the present efforts of the government in building Japanese industries? It can be neither capital nor laws and regulations, because both are dead things in themselves and totally ineffective. The spirit willingness sets both capital and regulations in motion... If we assign weights to * these three factors with respect to their effectiveness, spirit willingness should be assigned five parts, laws and regulations four, and capital no more than one part'.

With this spirit and willingness Japan made rapid strides In science and technology and emerged as a'powerful nation. It may be worthwhile to recapitulate the impressions Japan made less than 40 years after the launching of the ten year plan, on an eminent American inventor and engineer, Elmer Sperry, In 1922. The following sums up what Sperry thought:


"Sperry left Japan In November with strong impressions of the country's rapid strides In technology. At a time when many Americans thought of Japan as imitative and second rate, Sperry's keen and experienced eye saw the unmistakable signs of technological excellence and maturity. Later, he earned this message to the world-wide engineering fraternity, which was also ill-informed about Japanese technology. Sperry had been especially impressed by two large dockyards, one of which he judged to be four times larger than any in America, he admired the systematic layout and operation of the yard, where they take in Swedish pig iron at one end of the place (only it happens to be the middle) and put out a 33,000 ton battle-ship at the other end. He observed that America had only two model ship bases for scientific experiments but that Japan had four. In Japan he also saw superior machine tools which were, he knew, the essence of precision manufacture and represented a heavy capital investment. He judged e japanese-built, horizontal milling machine and a forging press to be larger than any in America. In a decade when the constructioin of high-voltage electrical transmission networks, or grids, was a sign of advance! technology, Sperry found the Japanese construction of the finest kind, better than thai he had seen America. He also heard that the Japanese had three times more high tension transmission lines per capita than the United States. The Japanese were no longer dependent upon the import of complex materials and machines such as generators, turbines and armor plate".

What spirit willingness can do is even more apparent when we see today's Japan. This seems to be a universal law. It had been recognized in India also. According to our traditional wisdom also, spirit is the deciding factor in the fulfillment of a goal, not the tools. The goals are of course determined by the basic character of a civilisation. The emergence of European dominance must have also arisen from this factor of spirit willingness. When Europe started fts outward Journey, it was not particularly advanced in education, science,. technology, agriculture, etc., in comparison to other societies. But it was able in time to dominate the whole world, in keeping with fts basic character, due to its spirit and will-power. It developed its institutions to .fulfil this goal and could consolidate the necessary resources later.

A similar spirit and will-power seemed to be present when Mahatma Gandhi started to harness the energies of our society. At that time our self-image was at fts lowest ebb and all our resources had been confiscated, resulting in widespread deprivation and helplessness. He created the necessary organisational framework, so that society could move towards the goals of swaraj of self-governance.


The question now is how do we get out of the present mess, how do we salvage whatever can be salvaged from our past, how do we undo the neglect and deliberate damage of the past 200 years, and what is the conceptual framework and value system on which our long-term future has to be grounded? A century ago this task would naturally have been * easier, as a similar task must have been for Japan. Even In the 1940's, when a large section of our people were mobilized for a promising future, the task would have been less difficult. Today, with our extensive dispiritedness. and far greater alienation and disorientation, the task is no longer so simple. Today It requires a far greater Ingenuity 'along with prolonged perseverance.

Still, India today has certain advantages. Firstly, British oppression as well as the struggle against It are matters of history and harping on them Is no longer the preoccupation of most Indians. Secondly, the experience of the past 40 years and the compulsion to look after our own affairs, however badly they may have been locked after till now, has made us understand state-craft better, has brought us relatively down to earth, and to an extent made us more familiar with the ways of the world at large. We have also in the meanwhile produced and | trained a fairly large number of young men and women In the various disciplines and professions whose competence is comparable to those in other lands. A proportion of them are also questioning the usefulness of what they do with regard to India's present as well as future and raising basic issues about the applicability of the fundamental premises of the theories and practices of their know-how and its relevance to India's needs.

On the other hand, self-confidence, and the sense of national and personal dignity has yet to emerge in India. There is no doubt much personal ambition amongst a large number and also the capacity and tenacity to individually make good In the Western sense. There are others, and their number is not too small, whose dedication is to serve the nation, or the deprived, or some cause, or the other despite personal discomfort. Yet what all of us seem to lack is an overview, and a sense of discrimination. Even personal ambition, not to mention devotion to the nation, the deprived etc., could, have served far larger social as well as personal ends if we had achieved a sense of direction in terms of our complex totality and in world context.

relation to what could be feasible given our situation and the present-day Three years ago we did begin to talk of salvaging our heritage by taking steps like the cleaning of the Ganga, or of helping 80% or more of our people in terms of fuel and fodder by undertaking a plan of annually bringing 50 lakh hectares of waste land under fuel and fodder trees, or of starting educational institutions of excellence, at least one in each district of India. But Like other older Indian resolves, like the creation of neighbourhood schools in every habitat of India, or the provision of clean drinking water to each and every family, or the eradication of deprivation and poverty, the new resolves seem to have met a similar fate. It is possible that the present Prime Minister who publicly promised the fast implementation of the three programmes really meant to carry out these plans. But instead, our rivers are drying up and being converted into sewage, our forests are not only greatly denuded but the new ones are being mainly planted to produce wood, bamboos and pulp for industries like paper, etc. or even to supply foreign markets. There is little sign either of the'schools of excellence where even the children of the deprived were to be admitted or any talk what-so-ever of the neighbourhood schools.

It is possible that all this has resulted from unthinking planning or the indifference or inability of governmental authority to provide proper direction in such matters. But ft can be that what has happened is the result of deliberate decision as well as of neglect so that the vocal as well as not so vocal people can be dulled into a state of somnolence, or Into utter helplessness, and thus allow a non-functioning crumbling state to keep postponing
the necessary surgery to Itself, a surgery, which It has been In need of not only since 1947, but even during the latter part of British rule.

It must be admitted that today we have been split into two societies which, except that they live on the same land, have little else in common. The split is not recent. In northern India ft may date back to the days of Mughal dominance. But It Is far more pronounced today. The two societies seem to now live in almost separate worlds and seem to share almost nothing In common. If we are not aiming at a society of a small number of citizens dominating a far larger number of slaves as in ancient Greece, or of serfs as In pre-modern Europe, or of whatever such sub ugated persons may be called In countries of today's South America, we have to take steps to bridge this gap fast. The only way In which' the task of bridging can be begun effectively is to have the two societies share the same common facilities in the field of school education, health services, water and energy supply, sanitation, and cultural activities and sports. This may initially imply a lowering of standards, or a decline in sophistication. That has to be tolerated.

The present standards and sophistication of which we are so proud and cling to are just a surface phenomena standing on a foundation of sand, without any roots or vitality. When the two societies have come nearer, have achieved communication and a meaningful dialogue, It is only then that standards of our choice can be created and sophistication will have a chance to be rooted in the Indian milieu. Sharing the standards of Mr. Ronald Reagan, or the President of Harvard University or of Mr.Mikhail Gorbachov or of the French and Scandanavian elite, or even of the relatively depressed British elite can only bring ruin to India.

The primary cause of the increasing distance in Indian society between the elite (around some two lakh families and certainly not more than 1/2% of India's population) and the rest of the Indian people is the dependence, sought and welcomed by us, on foreign resources and foreign models in practically every field. Alt this has to be abandoned, the sooner the better. This dependence has not only made the elite and the institutions they control wholly irresponsible and unaccountable, but much more, ft has begun to determine and shape the use of Indian internal resources themselves.

The same applies to the Indian ruling class craze, ft is not really a new craze, even In the 1920s and 1930s the elite Indians used to go to Vienna etc., for eye operations and the like, to transport themselves at the slightest pretext to the medical centres of the USA or the USSR, or some other medically advanced land. It Is a disgraceful act not only for those.who Indulge in it, but.also for the Indian medical system. No harm will come to India, «or even to such persons if they decided to live with their various ailments, as Is done by the ma ority of India's citizens.

Though one has to be careful in the expenditure of public resources, even to an extent in the spending of resources of one's own, the point that this practice of rushing abroad for medical or any such treatment must have a stop is to serve much larger Indian norms, and to prove one's commiitment to things Indian. That even a peasent leader like the new Chief Minister of Haryana, lacks this sense is Indeed sad.

The comment of our Prime Minister that even tf one crore rupees have been spent on the recently concluded ten day International trip, 'the benefits from the trip are well beyond Its cost, many hundred folds perhaps", is indeed comic. In the context of the pattern of other state expenditure, tt does not matter very much rtiat one crore Is spent on this trip. But the assurance .that this expense has to result In a many hundred-fold multiplication Is what Is symptomatic of the decay and disorieniation of the mind of the Indian ruling elite.

The vitiated atmosphere this dependence has produced has affected even the serious efforts of those who feel committed to indigenous excellence. Even our illustrious Sthapatis seem to have become Its prey. Instead of focussing attention on the question that all new structures which are now being built In India, especially India's vastly increasing temples and other places of culture and learning, are basically founded on Indian concepts of design, beauty and the use of Indian materials, their role has gotten restricted mainly to advising and guiding the building of Indian type of temples, etc., in the localities of the Western World. It is true that such outside association brings them and also many others who In one way or the other are devoted to indigenousness, greater applause, even greater appreciation within India, than work done in India itself. But they have to realise that such applause and appreciation cuts the very roots of what they stand for. The excellence they create is thus reduced to use museum-pieces or curiosities white the vast landscape of India gets enshrouded with ugliness and structures which not even conduce to physical comfort and convenience.


Many steps have to be taken to enable us to pass over from the disoriented present into a future when the disorientation will have disappeared and society as such will have achieved a certain coherence. The steps to bridge this interim period have to be in the political, social as well as the technological fields. While a smell section of our people have been operating according to the modem western idiom In most public functioning, the maority still function, to the extent that circumstances allow them, according to their old idiom, technological skills and social norms. As the westernised control most of the „ resources, the skills and tools of the majority are in a ramshackle and blunted state, yet we know that within the present arrangement neither the westernised nor the ma ority have the opportunity or the possibility of doing anything which can take us out of the present stalemate. The two unwittingly seem to be engaged in a game where one cancels out what the other attempts. It will be better in many spheres to separate the two in some Ingenious manner where the talents of both have the opportunity to find unobstructed expression and! some of what they do lias the possibility of opening new avenues In various spheres.

The best will be that the centralised authority in Delhi as well as in the states of India withdraws most "of its functioning from the localities allows the localities to organise their Iffe, as they will,.within a broad civilizationat frame, which enables the centralised authority to shed away most of its unnecessary load and to perform the tasks which it alone can perform. This problem of course needs much reflection and working out and the solutions of it may vary from area to area.

The other Is to somehow enable the talents of the ordinary men and women to help In the building of the New India. Today our professionals are drawn from hardly 2% of our population. Steps need to be taken so that this base of professional recruitment could be broadened at least 30-40 times, and In due course to 100% of India's people. It Is only then that we will acquire the necessary Innovative skills not only In matters of science and technology, In health care. In sanitary arrangements. In more efficient and worthwhile use of resources, but also In the field of social and political organisation. An India In which all of Its citizens, men as well as women, are unable to participate In the running of Its public and social life will always be a weak and unhappy India and a prey to alien power or Ideology.

Our task essentially Is to bring the innovative and technological skills of our people, those who professed them for mllllneas and till at least 1900, back to the rebuilding of our primary economy and our industry. This we have Ignored so far and Instead have tried to create a new economy and industry to which the primary economy has been subordinated. There would be little serious complaint, at least in the short run, H this latter effort had succeeded and created some ferment at the primary levels, or at least seemed to be moving towards success. But the whole effort seems bogged down and even the Initiators of it seem to have given up hope.

The point however is how do we enable our ordinary people, and especially those who have some familiarity and instinctive understanding of the industrial and production process to contribute whatever they can to the national effort, it cannot at all be done by making them Into mere labourers where only their muscular power can make any contribution. Admitting a sufficient number of them to institutions like the IIT's if such Institutions and their courses are so altered that these institutions don't overwhelm them and scope Is provided for interchange between men of mere theory and others who judge a technical situation through their experience and Instinct, can be another way of making their talents and innovative capacities contribute to a regeneration of Indian technology and Industry.

As an example, I think, we should do whatever we can in the way of resource allocation, supporting structures and laws, subsidies at necessary points, and market support, to bring back to life the old Indian method of smelting Iron ore and the manufacture of iron and steel. Such an attempt however need not interfere with the great steel plants. Around 1800, a movable furnace of that time could on an average produce about 20 tons of fine-grade steel ff worked for some 35-40 weeks In the year. I had roughly estimated on the basts of available data for various areas that the number of such furnaces around 1800 might have been around 10,000. it is quite possible that the number was far larger but that most of them only worked for 10-20 weeks In the year. It Is probable that In today's circumstances these furnaces may be found highly wasteful of both ore and fuel, and to start with, the steel that they will produce may be of relatively poor quality. To some an attempt of this kind may seem a great waste. But to the same people a loss of a few hundred crores here and there because of hasty decisions, or defective technology, etc., may look like ordinary hazards of modem economy and industry, and a loss of 10-20 or 50 crores on a pro ect of this type may seem unpardonable.

By restoring the old smelting furnaces, say In about a hundred selected localities where good raw material is readily available and where there is still some memory of the old method in those who used to be engaged In it decades ago or had observed ft working when young we quite posslbly will help the old technical and Innovative skills to come alive. Any superior guidance, etc., by modem experts, or administrative busybodies, till ft was actually sought as man to man will have to be strictly avoided in such an attempt. It is possible that success may not be achieved In every instance, but say only in a half or quarter of them. But even such" partial success would provide us a starting point where the successful smelter will be able to look the qualified metallurgist straif ht In the face and the two can then have a useful technical interchange. The old smelting furnace ultimately may have to be discarded its old form or modified in many ways In today's circumstances. But its recreation in hundreds of localities and the taking of tt through the production process would have taught a variety of lessons not only to our high-sciences and high-tech men but also to those who had for generations been engaged in this particular technology. That smelting furnaces like these were tried in China in the 1950s is ,well-known. Why they were initiated, what happened to them afterward, and what lessons were drawn from their reworking is not known however. Even if our attempt turns out to be on similar lines as that of China it need cause no mental disturbance. Every civilization has to do its own learning and in its own way. The knowledge of what others did can only serve as one pointer amongst many.

Similar understanding can be Initiated in many other long neglected technologies and industries, and it may not be surprising if at least some of them with minor modifications here and there prove to be as productive and cost-efficient as the new technologies which we have borrowed from modem world industry, and technology. In fact, given the historical background of prosperous agriculture and a vast industrial infrastructure, it may be right as well as feasible despite the decline, .destruction and depression of the past two hundred years that India, by stages, reverts to its earlier productive and economic arrangements at least in the spheres of articles of staple consumption. This would imply the deliberate elimination of socially as well as ecologically and technologically harmful practices of production as well as of seeds, plants and materials which have been forced upon India in the past century and a half and more so in the past few decades. Production will again have to be geared to the requirements of the inhabitants of India, living in the countryside as well as in the urban conglomerations and not governed and controlled by sheer market forces, or the requirements of international trade. Not that , India need stop international trading altogether or neglect those who live in its growing metropolises"and large cities,

Besides the change in the production techniques, etc., the other change will have to be a change in the priority of supply" The locality where production takes place will, as earlier on, have to have the first claim on the produce instead of the increasing trend ol being determined and controlled by market forces, whereby all produce becomes marketable and thus the producing locality Is actually starved of what it produces, and the nature of the produce] is so changed that only such things which are marketable get produced at alt. Arrangements naturally will be made that the non-producing areas receive a proportionate share of all produce either from within the region where they are situated or from a national or some other larger pool. A densely populated country like India cannot be considered as the supplier of food and other primary products to other countries except In a very marginal sense. It would be foolish for it, or its political managers, even to contemplate such a step. Any marginal supply to other countries, say for instance, of tea, or cotton, or iron ore, or coal could be considered only when there are real surpluses, as of dairy produce In today's Western Europe, or when the amount of the primary products like iron ore or coal is in such quantities that it is believed that it will never get exhausted.

Articles of food, clothing, building material for houses and other public structures, forest produce and herbs, and such articles which In a participative way enliven and enrich India's cultural and civilization expressions will be the exclusive preserve of the indigenous productive and economic arrangements. Even if such arrangements mean some reduction of production in certain fields it would be more than compensated by the improvement in the quality of the product and of the encouragement to aesthetic sensibility so characteristic of the older India but lost in recent times.

This move however need not imply a rigid adherence to. old forms. What is basic to the old forms is the conceptual frame from which these forms were derived, and the inter-relationship which existed earlier on, between the individual and the group on the one hand, and amongst groups n the other. It is such relationship which constituted the core of India's polity and guided and directed India's institutional and structural arrangements. Assuming that such inter-relationship is considered, after due deliberation, as precious by India's people, and not ust by its elite, even today, and once such inter-relationship is restructured or restored and the conceptual frame which determined what Indians considered as desirable became functional again, any selective borrowings from the present-day world or other civilizations will do little injury. They may in fact be beneficial in the same way as the Introduction of the mariner's compass, paper printing, etc., were beneficial to Europe some 600-700 years ago.


All that has been done In India in the last 40 years needs comprehensive reviews. The review of education by the Government of India can in fact serve as a model for all reviews which are undertaken. The review should relate both to internal areas of activity as well as of our relations with the world attacker. In the internal sphere, the reviews should deal with all aspects of agriculture, irrigation plans (including big dams, etc.,); the field of animal husbandry, horticulture, forests, (including the controversial social forestry); the production of various types of energy and the uses to which such energy Is put; the problem of soil erosion and its causes and the steps that have been taken regarding ft; the ma or causes of water scarcity over vast areas of India and the increasing drought conditions; the state of our textiles, steel and other consumer goods, and processed food product industries (produced according to indigenous technology as well as according to the modem Western); our medicare and health services; the sanitation system; the municipal services of our cities, towns and rural habitats; the design, aesthetics, and utility of our houses and public buildings; the state and usefulness of our public transport (road, rail or air) and the state of our physical, and cultural environment.

Similar review has to be undertaken of our relations with the world at large, of our- relative indifference to people In countries with whom we have long and historically shared close improvisational and economic links, and how best we can get re-oriented in our relations with other people and areas both nearer to us, as well as distant. Blind Imitation, and the sort of links we have had till now, have rather separated us from the community of nations instead of taking us nearer them. And our influence on them has been minimal.

A lt new programmes, especially in terms of new construction or purchase of expensive equipment, need to be suspended till such reviews are complete and the nation has considered them and arrived at specific conclusions with regard to each review. Organisation and working of the law and order machinery, the udicial system from the Tahsil court to the Supreme Court, and of our defence systems have also to be reviewed similarly. That a state system which employs over one crore people, excluding the lakhs of those treated as casual labour, serves such little purpose, and Is no earthly use to the vast ma ority of Indians, shoutd shake us out of our lethargy and complacency.

Education in India has to be structured anew. What we have inherited from the British needs to be scrapped, at least as a system, altogether. Education during the first 6-8 years must be the concern of the neighbourhood schools, except for such few children who have to be given well-defined special education for one professional specialization or the other In residential institutions. The content of what Is taught at every level has to have a review and wholly new text books, relevant to each and every linguistic or cultural area, must replace the text books which are used today. Most education, at least till we have fully come into'our own, should terminate by the age of 16 to 18, after which it is only vocational or professional training which must be the-rule. The present universities or colleges, in which the failure rate at B.A. and B.Sc. level is 50% and even many of those who pass are said to do so through questionable means, have really no Imaginable role in today's India, it is not that the academics in them or their other supporting staff, have to be made unemployed. They can all be absorbed in other more useful tasks in various fields of Indian endeavour.

The current medical system must also be reorganised similarly. If the state wishes to have a ma or role in looking after the medical needs of its citizens, we have to go for something like the post-1945 British National Health Service Plan. All medical practitioners must be absorbed in such a plan, and the expense of both treatment and medicine must be wholly borne by the State. The grandiose of course must go, and in a reasonable period of one or two decades, Indian medical practice must more and more rely on indigenous theory, methods, and medicinal raw-materials. Kidney replacement, or by-pass heart surgery are not the urgent need of India, and for most of such ailments there must be old Indian cures In the Siddha. the Ayurveda, or the folk systems, which only need to be resurrected through appropriate research in ancient methods.

Our water supply systems, the sanitation systems, the plumbing in houses, the other western gadgetary are. in the context of our resources, as well as our physical environment, a" vast waste. The same is true even of the few more aesthetically and lavishly built five-star type of buildings. We certainly do not require them, and most of the foreigners who' visit us have no use for them either. If there are a few foreigners, like heads of foreign states etc., they could have been accommodated in places like the Viceregal palace (now called as Rashtrapati Bhavan), the innumerable governor's houses, etc.

One of these Governor's houses built In the Himalayas occupfes over 200 acres of sparse and precious Himalayan land, and the house itself, built in the style of a ma or British manor, about 100 years ago, has around 300 rooms counting the large bathrooms and the separate covered and partitioned verandahs. In the last 40 years, fts annual occupation does not seem to have averaged more than 2-3 weeks. The sooner such buildings including the five-star types, and the circuit houses, etc., get demolished or are put to some more plebian uses, for tying cattle, or using them as weaving sheds, etc., the better for our social health. It is distasteful that we are planning to construct yet another such building as a National Centre for Arts, In the name of Shrimati Indira Gandhi. If the arts did require a piace in Delhi, the British Viceroy's house was the obvious place for them.


We must also apply our minds to the longer term problems of the restructuring of the future India - say an India which would have completely come Into its own by the year 2020, and would by then be based on deep and sound foundations. For that we have to acquire a thorough understanding of our past, whether ft is reflected through myths or through historically verifiable facts and equally acquire an adequate comprehension, from an Indian perspective, of other civilisations of the world. We have not only to adequately comprehend the modern world, i.e. the world of the past 300-400 years but even more we have to have an understanding of its sources by, getting to the roots of what Plato, Aristotle, Moses, Confucius, Lao Tse meant; or understanding the assumptions, of Hebrew civilization which forms the basis of udaism, Christianity and Islam, and of the more ancient civilisations and people of Africa and the America. It is perhaps the ancient world-view of the people of Africa and the Americas, and of those of East and South East Asia which is more akin to our own and has an immediate relevance to the problems of the violent world created since about the time of Columbus and Vasco da Gama. Such an effort would provide us appropriate values (which to some degree may be somewhat different to the ancient values of India), theories, frameworks, etc., and help us structure a more lasting polity, and its various appurtenances, like aesthetics, science and technology, production methods and new economic arrangements.

For knowing our past alone we need to gather all our inscriptional and epigraphical, manuscript, and other material on our heritage in suitable places of scholarship and decipher, classify and take steps to make all such materials available for study and reflection. A high Delhi authority estimates our stock of manuscripts at one crore to thirty crores. The manuscripts which are so far known, and are scattered over the world, are saki to be listed in over 500 catalogues. We do not yet even know the total number so listed and are awaiting the arrival of appropriate computers when the number of manuscripts listed in these catalogues will be provided. It is understood however that this number will be somewhere between 5-10 lakhs.

It is quite probable that when we actually look at each of these listed manuscripts perhaps half of them (may no longer be in any state that any one could decipher anything substantial from them. That we have such manuscript wealth, even that it may number 30 crores, has been talked of, for many many years; and that with all the resources and talent Delhi has, it does not even'know the number or condition of the insignificantly small proportion which has been listed in the catalogues is indicative of either indifference or of Delhi's utter usetessness to India and India's current or civilisational needs.

But despite such Indifference, neglect and waste we have to begin doing something now. This task cannot be performed by Delhi alone. It has to become the responsibility of duly constituted qualified, well-endowed, -and appropriate institutions in the various linguistic and cultural regions of India, one Institution for each region, These institutions should serve as repositories of all manuscript wealth of the region, or of copies or microfilms of what Is not obtainable in the original. In the same places we must also create centres of inscriptional and epigraphlcal material, as well as libraries which .contain every printed and published item of the particular region, and the more important material in Sanskrit, or any other Indian or foreign language, regarding India's past and civilization. Such libraries should also have a selection of the more serious material on the world at large, particularly that which helps us to understand how other areas and civilizations tick. A country as vast as India does certainly require 10-20 such places like the British Library, or the Bodleian in Oxford, or the Bibiiotheque National In Paris, or the Library of Congress In the USA, or"similar repositories in Japan, China, USSR, Germany, Rome etc.

Besides epigraphlcal, manuscript and printed resources we need to pay attention to our ancient artifacts, the multiple tools and designs of our civilization. For this we need museums of such artifacts in every district of India which can also serve as places which help in acquainting the people of the locality, including the school and other students, with their heritage, and how we: functioned in the past. Besides, of course we need to recognize and strengthen our existing regional and national museums, discard a large part of the 17th, 18th, 19th century European knick-knacks which clutter some of them, and if need be, create a few special, well-planned museums pertaining to the artifacts cf other civilizations.


The regaining of freedom, as we well know, has given rise to many dormant issues and .conflicts In our society. It has also brought forth the manifestation of a variety ot individual and social observances which we had assumed were gone for ever. That we were wrong In such assumptions should now be clear, that freedom, or the relaxation of long-imposed control, leads to the gradual relaxation and flowering of the body as well as the mind, has been long-known to the wise, not only in India, but also elsewhere. The assertion of Welsh and Scottish cultural nationalism In Britain, of the French language culture in Canada, the assertions of the various linguistic and cultural regions even In the USSR, and the nuire recent assertion of the residual Indigenous Americans and the Blacks in the USA should have made u's understand that the relaxation in control and oppression result in mo re manifestation of suppressed emotions and practices As the suppression was far greater and prolonged in northern India, such reassertion has also been more pronounced there.

One manifestation of this reassertlon has been the demand for the restoration of the honour and sanctity of the ancient sacred places, and the rebuilding of temples and other structures destroyed or decayed during the period of foreign dominance. Unless freedom Is to be snatched away again, there Is no stoppage of such reassertlon. The only thing that could be tried Is that ft happens In as reasonable and painless a manner as possible and that most of those who have somehow become worshipers of the status-quo are helped to appreciate the social necessity of the restoration of such honour and sense of sanctity.
it is possible that percolating of the sense of freedom amongst the peasantry and ether rural folk may also in time lead to the re ection of most of the hideous and oppressive structures built by the British. Well, there is no way of ignoring such demands, and the India Gates, etc., may be the first casualty when such demands arise. The need is that we the elite give up our rigid and frozen postures, achieve some appreciation of social urges, and get prepared for change. The change, of which we have been such loud vocal worshipers, when It conies will have, its own logic and not be governed by our preconceived notions of it.

Author: Dharampal

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