Think it Over
India'stime has come
By M.S.N. Menon
THE world is going through a moral and spiritual crisis. ?If we are to survive it, (we need) a moral and spiritual revolution? says Dr S. Radhakrishnan.
But who can bring about this moral and spiritual revolution? Only India. Destiny has cast it in that role. And the time has now come. India is going to be a Permanent Member of the UN Security Council. It is to be a super power.
Look at its history? The Rig-veda exhorts the humanity: ?Walk together, speak in concord, let your mind comprehend alike, let your efforts be united, let your hearts be in agreement… that we all may be happy.?
India has a deep concern for the entire humanity. The Buddha gave up his throne at the sight of human misery. And Ashoka, the great Buddhist emperor, gave up war when he saw the devastation it brought. This is India'stradition. There is no parallel. And we have Gandhi?the man who inspired colonial peoples to be free from bondage.
What is it that inspired independent India'sforeign policy? Was it plunder, markets or hegemony? Not any of these things. Its objectives were civilisational. And that is how it will remain.
And its civilisation has conditioned India to be its brother'skeeper?a task few others are fit to take up. India has never drawn a line between the faithful and the faithless, the blessed and the damned. Nor has it divided mankind into children of God and of the Devil, as Christianity and Islam have done, or the world into two hostile camps?Dar-ul Islam and Dar-ul Harb.
Ashoka carried Buddha'smessage of peace and non-violence to the far corners of the world. But always through persuasion, never by force. And Buddhism never tried to wipe off the past of the people as Islam tries to do.
But propagation of Buddhism was not the only objective of Ashoka. The real obejctive was to serve mankind. He says: ?There is no higher service than the welfare of the whole world.?
Unlike the West, India concentrates its efforts on the creation of the perfect man, for without the perfect man there can be no ?just? republic. Which is why Gandhi'semphasis was on the perfect man. The ideal of the perfect man continues to inspire India.
Europe followed the path of manly vigour, public spirit and private virtue, but India followed the contemplative and reflective side of human nature. ?I suppose,? says Nehru, ?that Indians, by and large, are gentler than almost any people of the world. They dislike violence.?
In their own way, Indians do more good in a day than the rest of the world. They water the plants, they feed the ants. It is a daily prayer with them. All out of love for creation.
India has never been parochial. Its message is universal. And it continues to produce universal men?men like Gandhi, Nehru, Tagore, Vivekananda, Aurobindo and Dr S. Radhakrishnan. They were the men who shaped the thoughts of modern India.
Every being has within him/her a code of growth (it is called swadharma in Indian philosophy), a principle that guides his/her evolution. Similarly, such nation, says Vivekananda, has one principal note around which every other note comes to form a harmony. In India'scase, that principal note is its spiritual life.
Nationalism is an enemy of the universal spirit. Yet it is not an evil. The evil comes from its narrowness, selfishness, and exclusiveness, says Gandhiji. Hatred of other people, so often associated with nationalism, ethnicism and fundamentalism had no place in India'soutlook. Gandhi hated the British colonial system, but refused to hate the British people. This had a powerful influence on all colonial peoples. To a Japanese Member of Parliament, who sought a message from him for his party, founded on the motto of ?Asia for Asians?, Gandhi wrote back: ?I do not subscribe to the doctrine of ?Asia for Asians? if it is meant as an anti-European combination.?
India has always believed in a world order. Which is why it has been an ardent supporter of the UN. Nehru had warned: ?If there is going to be no world order, then there might be no order at all left in the world.?
Aurobindo used to say that there are only two alternative world orders before mankind: a world state founded on the principle of centralisation, uniformity and mechanical unity or a world union founded on the principle of liberty and diversity.
India has chosen liberty and diversity. Not now, but millennia ago?during the Vedic Age. And it has acquired a vast amount of experience in multicultural existence. The world needs that experience, so say the men who know. India is more than willing to share it with the world.