“We are inspired by the pride in our past, but we do not consider it the zenith of India's national life. We have a realistic approach towards the present. We have dreams for the future, but we are not in slumber. We are karmayogis determined to realise our dreams. We are devotees of the timeless-present, unstable-present and an eternal future that are a part of our culture… We have faith in our ultimate victory and we are prepared to make any sacrifices for it.”
— Pt Deendayal Upadhyaya, Presidential Address, Calicut Session, Jan Sangh, 1967
These days ‘victory’ is perceived to be just an electoral one or at the most a military triumph of one state over the other. Scoring brownie points against the political opponents or vitiating social and cultural atmosphere on petty divisive issues for short-term political gains has become a norm. At the social and familial levels also, success is defined in terms of competing and defeating others, resulting into stress and depression. While celebrating Vijayadashmi, essentially known as the festival of victory, it is the right time to recalibrate our perception about being victorious in tune with our civilisational ethos.
We keep saying that Vijayadashmi signifies victory of ‘Good’ over ‘Evil’ but fail to internalise it. This sense of victory has two connotations. As the Bhagavad Gita says, “We have to uplift ourselves through our own efforts by purifying our mind.” (Chapter 6, Verse 5) So eliminating evils within and inculcating righteousness is the only way of ensuring victory. For this process to happen, at both individual and collective levels, constructive criticism and introspection is a must.
On the one hand, when we are talking about growth and development, the questions we rarely address are development for whom and at what cost. We have to defeat the monsters of poverty and scarcity but will the Western parameters like the GDP growth be sufficient enough? We have entered the Information Age and talks of Artificial Intelligence are gaining momentum. But whether this will help us to overcome pulls and pressures in our daily life or would create more chaos are hardly dealt issues. A word of caution here is that this introspection process should not lead to destructive denial of self as done by some in the name of modernity and secularism.
There is another form of victory we need to ponder over, that is, victory over others. Since we successfully tested nuclear explosion in 1998, world has started taking us seriously. The recent events of Surgical Strike against terror camps in Pakistan occupied region, firm stand in Dokhlam and recent strikes on Naga insurgent camps on Bharat-Myanmar issue are clear signs of self-assertion. These are certainly signs of march towards victory. But equal and more important victories are acceptance of Bharat’s point of view on Yoga, sustainable development and terrorism by the world at large. When your opponents start giving respect and accept your point of view to be true and righteous and therefore imitable, that is the greatest victory. This is the meaning of Gandhari’s blessing to Duryodhana before the Mahabharata War Yato Dharma, Tato Jaya (“Where there is Dharma, let there be victory.”)
The classic manifestation of both these implications of victory, in thought and in action, can be seen in the form of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), that is celebrating its 93rd foundation day this Vijayadashmi. The RSS actions have been dynamic and open to corrections but the fundamentals rooted in the civilisational ethos and need to organise entire society on those values remained the same. Not to rule the world, but reconstructing national life to present it as a role model for the entire world is the goal that remains constant. On the other hand, while passing through the phases of neglect and rejection, the RSS is not only gaining wider acceptability but even the opponents are getting into the mode of accepting its point of view. This journey is a matter of indepth research and can certainly be a lighthouse for us in our personal and national life to be victorious.