By Atul Sehgal
What constitutes nationalist India? Is it a set of people with distinct ideology, specific mindset and concomitant behaviour? Probably so, because in contemporary India, we observe two very distinct and contrasting popular forces—nationalistic forces and opportunistic forces. Our society’s bane has been selfishness and opportunism. These traits are the prime reasons for India’s moral, economic and political decadence for a long period of history.
Nationalist India is conceptualised and viewed as a group of people wedded to the ideals of secularism, tolerance, brotherhood and patriotism. It is very clear in its understanding of the Indian nation as a cultural entity. It views cultural renaissance as the basic underlying current for India’s resurgence as an economic and political superpower.
Let us examine the various challenges being faced by the nationalist India today. The first and the foremost challenge is the much needed reforms in our Constitution which we have inherited from our founding fathers as a set of defining and directive principles and a governing policy framework. These principles and framework are replete with provisions which are totally out of tune with our social and cultural ethos. It has failed to give truly representative governments through the democratic election process. It has failed to establish justice, equality and true socialism as has been amply proved over the past six decades. Our polity has delivered weak and indecisive coalition governments over the past twenty years. Whether in state or at the Centre, the terms of coalition governments have been marked by dilly-dallying and dithering on important tasks like enactment of Lokpal Bill and implementation of judicial reforms. On the contrary, the lawmakers have cleared speedily and unanimously Bills on the subject of extending reservation in educational institutions and jobs for SC/ST/OBC citizens, on substantial hikes of salaries and perquisites of MPs and MLAs and other Bills dealing with scores of populist measures.
Objective analysis suggests that many amendments and reforms are needed in India’s Constitution for providing stable governments and for establishing a system that will bring up governments focused on universal welfare rather than popular appeasement. Over the years, many prudent ideas have been expressed by eminent parliamentarians and political pundits in the nature of such constitutional reforms. Switchover to a two-party democratic system, presidential form of government on the USA model and multiparty national government are some of these. The idea of national government was first mooted by Vasant Sathe and was endorsed by LK Advani. India badly needs some other amendments in the Constitution to restrain, restrict and regulate expenditure of money in elections and to effect larger turnout of voters during election process for achieving truly representative elections. This is the only way to get lawmakers with competence, character and commitment.
The other bigger challenge before nationalist India is of shaping the mindset of our citizens. This challenge consists in inculcating nationalistic spirit and patriotic fervour. For this, it needs to be understood that a nation is a cultural entity. India’s pristine, native culture has to be identified correctly and resurrected. Language, customs, traditions, mores and behavioural patterns are the elements of this culture. The moral deficit visible in the Indian society is the result of deviation from the divine ideology enshrined in Vedas, the pillars of material and spiritual progress of ancient India. Let it be made clear that cultural currents which foster universal brotherhood, tolerance and other values drawn from the primordial scriptures – Vedas need to be re-established. India’s glorious past was due to the divine universalistic culture of Vedas. As long as Vedic ideology and culture was followed by the Indian society, India reigned supreme in the world. It remained leader in economy, defense, trade, agriculture, science, technology, medicine and what not. India’s decline was coterminous with the dilution and distortion of Vedic culture in all facets of life. Vedic ideology, Vedic precepts and Vedic knowledge are divine, rational and truly scientific. Therefore, Vedic cultural renaissance is the need of the hour. This culture made India the global economic and political superpower for a long period of history. This culture made India the moral and spiritual torch-bearer of the world for thousands of years. The revival of the same culture holds the key to the economic, political and moral resurgence of India.
Nationalistic forces in India are working as separate groups or organisations, some of them wrongly tarred by the communal brush. They need to stand out clearly and effectively to project themselves as selfless, altruistic and committed to the ideal of Indian nationalism. Indian nationalism needs to be defined clearly and elaborately once again to make it comprehensible to the man-in-the-street. Once the true concept of nationalistic India is clear to the common man, meeting the other major challenges to nationalistic India will be rendered that much easier and quick resurgence of India as the sole economic, political as well as moral superpower will become a reality rather than a pipe dream.