By Chinmay Bajekal
As India enters its 57th year of Independence, we ought to analyse as to how far India has been successful in breaking itself free from the shackles of slavery. No doubt, India has made progress in some fields, we have been producing some of the finest professionals who are employed in various countries around the world. But upon analysis we find that India in 1947 attained mere ‘political’ Independence and not ‘intellectual’, ‘ideological’ and ‘cultural’ freedom. The soul of India yet remains suppressed by those forces that are influenced by colonial perceptions and thoughts.
The policy of ‘Divide-and-Rule’, which was used by the British to instigate one community against the other, has been carried on by the pseudo-secularist brigade under the garb of ‘secularism’. By offering special rights, privileges, tax-benefits, reservations to the minority they further increase the divide between the majority and the minorities. The special treatment given to the minorities encourages them to hold on tight to their non-Hindu status and makes them go to unimaginable heights to prove that they are different from the majority Hindus. This only harbours a separatist feeling among the minorities, which is the root cause of communal division. Just like the British, the pseudo-secularists have made use of the policy of appeasement of the minorities under the garb of ‘secularism’ to perpetuate their rule over India. Using the term ‘secularism’ as a mask to implement their unjust policies of minority appeasement makes it sound appealing to the majority Hindus while the opportunist leaders of the minorities welcome them.
What India now witnesses with the rise of the Hindutva movement is the 3rd freedom struggle of India. But this freedom struggle is quiet different from the other two. Unlike India’s first war of independence of 1857, this shall not be fought on any battlefield but in the hearts and minds of the people. Unlike the 2nd freedom movement, this is not aimed at ousting any group of people from the country, but to free the people from the influence of colonial perceptions and beliefs about our own nation.
The influence of colonial thoughts on the minds of Indians has made them victims to several misconceptions about their own history. The myth that India was never one country before the invaders arrived and united it as a whole is now being exposed. There are several literary evidences from our ancient literature that prove the falsehood of this myth.
Another popular myth is that the British invasion of India actually brought about development in the country and examples to back up this argument are given such as the railway system started by the British. But the fact that British closed down India’s indigenous industries and started exporting India’s raw materials to Britain and after processing them into finished goods brought it back to India to sell in the Indian market, and thus the requirement to have proper transport facilities, which led to the establishment of railway systems is not being taught to Indians.
“Uttaram yat samudrasya himatres chiva dakshinam varsham tat bhartam nama bharati yatra santati” (Vishnu Purana) (The country north of samudra and south of Himalayas is called Bharatam; her people are called Bharatiya.)
Another popular myth is that the British invasion of India actually brought about development in the country and examples to back up this argument are given such as the railway system started by the British. But the fact that British closed down India’s indigenous industries and started exporting India’s raw materials to Britain and after processing them into finished goods brought it back to India to sell in the Indian market, and thus the requirement to have proper transport facilities, which led to the establishment of railway systems is not being taught to Indians. Another benefit that the railway systems gave to the British was the efficiency in mobilising their troops from one region of the country to the other, which would help them suppress revolts quickly and swiftly.
But one of the biggest myths that has caused immense damage to the psyche of India has been the ‘Aryan invasion theory’, which, if believed, compels an Indian to view his ancient ancestral heritage as nothing but the culture of invading nomads called ‘Aryans’.
But through the rise of Hindutva movement, which is best described as a movement of ‘national renaissance’, our people are being freed from the shackles of such slavish misconcep-tions about our own history and culture.
The Hindutva concept of national unity is a practical one. It does not believe in the approach of appeasement of minorities to bring about communal harmony. Instead it aims at assimilating the minorities within the majority not through change of faith or not through change in the method of worship but by making the people realise that minorities and the majority in India indeed share a common ancestral heritage and culture. And neither do the majority and minority differ racially.
It was said by a great philosopher, “The country whose young men are inspired by the glory of the past, pain of the present and dreams of the future always moves on the path of progress.”
Indeed, Hindutva is a progressive ideology and its movement of ‘national renaissance’ is and has always been the need of the hour for India and also for its 3rd freedom struggle.