Corruption is nothing new to India. Manusmriti is quite clear on the subject and the penalty that needs to be imposed on those indulging in it. In the past sixty odd years since independence there have been cases of rampant corruption but nothing is comparable to what has been witnessed in the second term of the United Peoples’ Alliance (UPA).
This calls for an explanation. Is this due to laxity in governance? A feeling within the UPA that it can get away with anything? After five continuous years in power, a weakening of resolve? An all-embracing desire on the part of the people to make money whichever way – and the law be damned? In sum, a negation of all values and a wanton and deliberate discarding of dharma? Who is to be blamed? A warped educational system that turns a blind eye to values? An overnight overgrowth, as it were of an economy where all that matters is corporate success?
A feeling among the young that to be considered successful, one must have quick access to riches? Can we blame secularism, as practised today in India, which deliberately turns its face from religion? Are we going through a social revolution, with its heavy emphasis on pleasure and profit, and not on service or sacrifice? The media recently reported that an IIM-Indore graduate has received a job offer of Rs 34 lakh per annum and the average salary offered at a placement cell was Rs 12 lakh per annum? What message does that convey to students in general?
We have reached a stage where the young protest if textbooks for students between standards V and VIII contain any material on Hindu dharma, describing it as ‘saffronisation’, to be strongly condemned. The charge was that the prescribed text books comprised “Hindutva ideology”, when they should have “a scientific approach and help children to nurture their creativity.” Indeed, early this year, the Forum Against Communalisation of Education planned to gherao officials of the Department of State Educational Research & Training (DESERT). It is not clear what was contained in the texts that smelt of ‘saffronisation’, especially since one hasn’t heard of any complaints from any parents’ organisation.
Can the education of dharma be damned as “unscientific?” Should the abhorrence of ancient values in their pristine form be upheld as defiling secularism? What are the values that one should teach the young to adhere? Will someone explain? If a young person grows from teenage to manhood with the sole aim of making it economically to the top – and values be blowed – what other mindset can we expect from the GenNext? And if parents too, are overtly supportive of this mindset, is it any wonder that we grow many Sreesanths in society, as has been noticeable in the past few weeks? Are science and dharma mutually incompatible?
Permit me to quote Albert Einstein, than whom a greater scientist would be difficult to imagine. Einstein called himself a ‘pantheist’- and never, never, an atheist. In his 1949 book The World As I See It, he wrote: “A knowledge of the existence of something we cannot penetrate, of the profoundest reason and the most radiant beauty- it is this knowledge and this emotion that constitutes the truly religious attitude. In this sense, and in this alone, I am a deeply religious man”. And he added: “The most important human endeavour is the striving of morality into our actions. Our inner balance, and even our very existence, depend on it. Only morality in our actions can give beauty and dignity to life. To make this a living force and bring it to clear conscience is perhaps the foremost task of education.” And further he said: “The proper guidance during the life of a man should be the weight he puts upon ethics and the amount of consideration he has for others…. My religiosity consists in a humble admiration of the infinitely superior spirit that reveals itself in the little that we, with our weak and transitory understanding, can comprehend reality. Morality is of the highest importance, but for us, not for God.”
Our intellectuals and what LK Advani called “pseudo secularists” have the wrong concept of religion. To teach a child “satyameva jayate nanrutam” or “asato ma sadgamaya, tamaso ma jyotirgamaya” or to advise a child to treat his mother, father, teacher or guest as ‘god’ is not attempting to “saffronising” children at a young age. As Major Archbishop Cyril Mar Basalios while serving as the Chairman of the Catholic Bishops Conference of India, once asserted: “Indian Christians are Indians by birth, Hindus by culture and Christians by faith.” Values should not be confused with religion. They stand apart. The saddest part of what we are witnessing today is the collapse of values in our day-to-day activities. And I lay the blame entirely on our secularists.
For centuries, India was known for its adherence to matters spiritual. “Secularism” as is preached and practised today has marginalised values. The stress is on one’s bank balance, one’s capacity to buy a costly car, live a life of luxury and attendant comforts. And we are paying for it. How else can one explain the involvement not just of one Sreesanth in the IPL matches but of practically scores of his ilk in cricket, once known as a gentleman’s game? How else can one explain the charges made against several UPA ministers, from A Raja to Pawan Kumar Bansal?
A pharmaceutical company in India has been charged with fraudulent behaviour resulting in damage to the collective credibility and reputation of the Indian industry are large. As Economic Times (24 May) put it, “India cannot be a major emerging country, leave alone become an economic power, if it cannot do ethical business. Can this stem from rotten politics?” We can’t blame “rotten politics”. What is to be blamed is the total collapse of a culture and the devaluation of dharma in the name of ‘secularism’. And is there is any other explanation, I will be only too happy to learn from it. The time has come for each concerned Indian to do some quiet self-examination to find out where we have all gone wrong – and how.