By Feroze Varun Gandhi
If your ideological perspective is an Indian one, and you view India from India'scultural perspective, then you would conclude that India has always been a nation, it was never born and it shall never die. It is an eternal, anaadi, and sanatan rashtra.
Ideology is like a potter'shand that bestows structure to amorphous clay. It is the skilled sculptor'schisel that converts a block of hard stone into a beautiful shape. Perhaps the shape was already present, hidden by the unwanted debris covering it. Nonetheless, it was the sculptor who chiseled away the unwanted edges. Similarly, ideology chisels away at the various events influencing a society and brings about an interpretation that is in tune with its world perspective. Ideology becomes the fundamental margdarshak that helps define the way we look at the world.
Take for example, the intriguing task of understanding India. If your ideology is Macaulian with its standpoint 19th century Europe, when Garibaldi was uniting Italy, the Prussians were in the process of forming a nation, or the Balkans being amalgamated then you would view India from that perspective. You would infer that India too, as a nation, took birth in 1947 and is ?a nation in the making.?
However, if your ideological perceptive is Left-oriented, then your standpoint would be the early 20th century Russia, the coagulation of the different republics into the USSR. India, therefore, would appear to you as a similar collection of different small kingdoms, and princely states?a dominion of different republics forming a new one. But, if your ideological perspective is an Indian one, and you view India from India'scultural perspective, then you would conclude that India has always been a nation, it was never born and it shall never die. It is an eternal, anaadi, and sanatan rashtra. Present day India'svarious political outfits have spawned primarily from these three basic ideological perspectives.
A philanthropist can make a difference in a village or a district or even a city, by building educational institutions, or hospitals. A sadhu can perhaps have a larger influence through his teachings, but only the presence of a strong political party sustained by its ideological marrow can sculpt a nation'sfuture generations, and define the way it views the world, and impacts it. We see the results in our neighbourhood. The extremist Wahabi ideology of the Saudis has resulted in a generation with hardline views that has given rise to global terrorism, whereas Indian Islam influenced by Indian culture has evolved into a relatively accommodative version like the Sufi sect.
Similarly, under the Shah, Iran progressed, whereas under the ideology promoted by the Ayatollahs, Iran finds itself increasingly isolated in the world community.
It is the young who are morally strong, and are developing a vision for the future based on India'seternal ideology. This question is not difficult to be answered, but it is important to answer it now. A new generation of ideologically correct young Indians has already entered the arena.
On the one hand, India is democratic and is progressing economically, whereas on the other hand Pakistan bred and fed solely on its anti-Indian ideology has become a global menace, not only being the world'slargest producer of jehadis, but also the world'snemesis when its comes to the nuclear black market.
Pakistan, inspite of being extremely poor and backward, spends nearly six per cent of its Gross Domestic Product(GDP) on Defence, depriving millions of poor Pakistanis of the money that otherwise could have been used for their upliftment. There is no justification for this spending. There is no threat of invasion from India. It is the cost that Pakistan pays only to keep alive its anti-India agenda and enrich its huge cartel of Generals. The Pakistani Army it seems has the highest number of Generals in the world.
This stark difference between the polity of the two countries i.e, India and Pakistan is due to their vastly different ideologies. A similar comparison between the Judaic, Islamic and Christian countries yields an interesting facet. Both Israel and the Islamic world have derived their ideology from the Old Testament of the Semitic religions that espouse ?an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.? It is a theory of retribution and vengeance. Hence, we see that Israel will retaliate for every attack on it, and so is the case of the Islamic countries.
However, the Christian countries in a way derive their basic ideology from the New Testament that preaches, ?If an eye for an eye were the rule of the world, then soon the world would become toothless and blind. Hence show the other cheek.?
We thus see that even though America suffered the brutal 9/11 terrorist attacks, yet Americans were divided on the steps taken by President Bush to wipe out the terrorists bases in Afghanistan and its subsequent invasion of Iraq. If the 9/11 like attacks had taken place on Israel or an Islamic country, public opinion would have been in favour of retribution.
Leaders have a great influencing power on the masses. They are the torch-bearers of any ideology. If Michael Jackson?an American pop-star?wears half-torn jeans, then tearing of jeans before wearing them becomes an oxymoronic fashion statement. Society is thus what its leaders are. It is due to the leaders of various aspects of Indian life that our ideology has survived.
I feel as far as India'sstrategic interests are concerned, India must adopt Old Testament, rather than continue to show the other cheek!
Just as nature gets sub-atomic particles arrayed through magnetic and electrical fields, human society is arrayed into the various ideological settings by its leaders. Ideology can thus be defined as the arraying mechanism that gives direction and purpose to human society, providing an insight into its future.
The Incas, the Egyptians, and other great empires of the past rose and fell. Great religions too formed and subsequently lost into oblivion. They all had their own ideologies with their own world views, whether it was for world conquest or world conversion. But they disappeared with the passage of time. Time is the ultimate test for any ideology. Is the ideology going to survive, or disappear in its first battle? India'ssocio-religio-economic ideology has always been of accommodation, of living in tune with nature, not exploitation but mutual cohabitation, and symbiosis. This basic tenet has come to define India'sperspective towards non-interference, non-alignment, non-violence and neutrality. How come India'sbasic ideology has survived for thousands of year, when others have disappeared?
Standing amidst the two great armies on the Kurukshetra battlefield, Sri Krishna says to Arjun, ?Yad yad acharati shreshtah, tat tad evetaro janah, sa yat pramaanam kurute, lokas tad anuvartate? (Whatever action a great man performs, common men follow. And whatever standards he sets by exemplary acts, all the world pursues.) Leaders have a great influencing power on the masses. They are the torch-bearers of any ideology. If Michael Jackson?an American pop-star, wears half-torn jeans, then tearing of jeans before wearing them becomes an oxymoronic fashion statement. Society is thus what its leaders are. It is due to the leaders of various aspects of Indian life that our ideology has survived.
Thus, it is imperative now more than ever that the leaders of modern India be focussed towards this common ideology that has come to define India since thousands of years, and chart the future path for this great nation. We must question, what do we want India to be like in the next 20 or 50 years? What sort of young people do we want leading India'smarch into the future? It is the young who are morally strong, and are developing a vision for the future based on India'seternal ideology. This question is not difficult to be answered, but it is important to answer it now. A new generation of ideologically correct young Indians has already entered the arena, and is ready to be tested.