When India became free, people thought a new India, a resurgent Bharat Mata would rise like a phoenix from the ashes of the Colonial Raj and the burning inferno of her vivisection and would proceed to assure her rightful position in the comity of nations. But that did not happen. After independence we got an educational and administrative set up, and other institutions designed to serve the interests of the colonial masters, as a legacy of the British rule. Englishmen left a set of administrators and scholars who saw India through the British prism and remained alienated from the people, culture, history and tradition of their own country. The irony is that the situation did not change even after the Independence. Bharat continued to follow the Western models, sometime socialism and now the IMF, W.B. model for development and even governance.
No nation can survive without having a clear understanding about its history and its identity. Without knowing who ?we? are it is not possible to define our relationship with ?others?. All domestic and foreign policy issues are hinged along the national identity. The policy makers and administrators in India were and are still confused about the ingredients of our nationhood. Do they know who are ?we?. Some had argued that India was a nation in the making, others have been advocating that India was never a nation and at best it is a federation of States according to some, India is a subcontinent and is composed of different nationalities, who came as invaders and settled here after destroying the Harappan civilization and so on. They all are trying to define Indian nationalism on Western theories where nation-states are political constructions and not naturally evolving cultural entities. Indian political leadership, after Independence, did not care to define the basic components of Indian identity and that is one of the root causes of adopting flawed developmental models. Without understanding the Bharatiya socio-political, techno-economic, and religio-spiritual institutions which sustained this nation for aeons, it was not possible to evolve any model for India'seconomic development, its governance, its judicial system, education and culture, trade and commerce, agriculture, science and technology, security, international affairs and so on. The situation persists even today.
It is not necessary to describe India'sglobal position on various parameters of human development. Various reports and in particular the recently published Arjun Sen Gupta'sreport on Indian scene amplifies the failures of the developmental model adopted in India. The poorest have an income Rs. 9 per day per capita and about 77 per cent population which comes under the category of Aam Adami has not received the benefits of the 9-10 per cent economic grown tom-tommed by the government. A very large section of this category depends upon Rs. 20/- per capita per day. The disparity in India is almost of the same order as highlighted by Wolfensohn in his speech.
The situation in various political parties regarding policy formulations deserves a serious thought. A study of various policy documents and laws enacted need to be thoroughly scrutinised about their actual suitability to Indian Society. Recently Shri Subhash Goel of Zee TV had made a scathing attack on the inadequacy of several enactments, injuring the social fabric of Hindu society. According to Shri Goel many policy measures will result in a fractured society and destruction of family system. Sometimes it appears that this lack of understanding about Bharatiya Chitta, Manas and Kala, has taken the political leadership far away from the people and the contribution of India to the march of civilization. India is today at a cross-road and is passing through a crucial phase of her history.
CAN INDIA OFFER AN ALTERNATIVE?
What then is the solution? Can India provide any alternative to the failed models of today? Is it possible to build a self consistent approach based on sound philosophical foundation? India, in the past, had shown the path, will those principles have a relevance in the present context?
It has been well recognised that no valid socio-economic paradigm can be built unless man'srelationship with the ecosystem and Universe is properly understood. Since, the very dawn of human civilization, the Indian mind has reflected on the true nature of Universe and Man and their interrelationship. The depth and profundity of their enquiry in this regard is revealed in various schools of philosophy developed in India. The ancient Indian genius had discovered the fundamental unity of all Cosmic phenomena and the earliest clear and unequivocal enunciation of the holistic world-view is found in Upanishads. Researches in modern physics are also establishing the holistic nature of universe. Newtonian or reductionist approach is now being increasingly replaced by an integral approach.
The quintessence of the Upanisadic thought is given by the following:
Brahman alone exists without a second.
Atma itself is Brahman.
All this is Brahman, I am Brahman, So art thou, and
That which is in microcosm is also in the macrocosm.
Brahman is all pervading, it is subtler than the subtlest and larger than the largest.
Aurobindo described man as a transitional being; he has to evolve to a higher level of consciousness. It is the property of life to seek higher levels of consciousness. There is an urge towards perfection. Of all life forms human beings alone are capable of distinguishing between what ?is? and what ?should be?. The evolutionary nature of human beings also permits human mind to discriminate between what is pleasurable and what is desirable. It is Dharma which strikes a happy balance between the two. The holistic view, therefore, motivates people to continue their evolutionary journey towards a better understanding of the Ultimate Reality.
Integral Humanism?a concept which was enunciated by Pt. Deen Dayal Upadhyaya takes into account the single ?unbroken wholeness? underlying man, the ecosystem and the Supreme Being. This approach is in full consonance with Indian ethos and conforms to the basic Indian understanding of reality. Integral Humanism can provide the basis of building up a socio-economic order capable of resolving the conflicts which India is facing today. Pandit Ji had shown how the linkages between the individual and the society can be established through various institutions and functions fulfilling the material needs, inspiring for higher goals through various creative and productive activity regulated by Dharma.
India at the moment, is at a crucial juncture of her history. It cannot remain unaffected by the multidimensional global crisis which mankind faces today. It is that moment in its history when self-evaluation has become necessary. There are moments when the direction which a society should take for its development gets lost. India has to rediscover its world-view and redefine its path for its future. As Dharmpal has rightly said, ?Once we seriously get down to the task, it may not turn out to be too difficult to find a new direction for the Indian civilization. For every civilization there comes a time when the people of that civilization have to remind themselves of their fundamental civilisational consciousness and their understanding of the universe and time. From that recollection of the past, they then define the path for their future. We need to undertake such an exploration into ourselves once again?.
India'sunderstanding of the universe and time has been well defined by its seers and philosophers. Only on this recognition of its past it can chart out its path for reconstruction and future progress. When India rediscovers its holistic world-view, it will recognise its original self. It will be the awakening of India which will not only resolve its civilisational crisis but will also show new light to mankind. Pt. Deen Dayal Upadhyaya'sworks are a great help in rediscovering ourselves.