The core of Indian society was that it was a duty-based society. The British imposed a rights-based system, said Dr. Krishan Gopal in a book launch in Delhi on Sunday (November 29).
Dharma is above everything, and our rights are implied in our duties, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) Sah Sarkaryawah said in a book launch programme in Delhi on Sunday (November 29).
When the British came to India, they imposed a system that was alien to our land, which led to massive conflicts in our society, he added.
“The core of the Indian society was it was duty-based and rights were implied in duties. Love and compassion for others and the well-being of all was implied in all our actions but the British gradually changed it,” Dr. Krishna Gopal said.
He elaborated that ‘Nyay’ and ‘Nirnay’ are two different things, and today’s system is passing ‘Nirnay’, not necessarily ‘Nyay’. Discussing the concept of ‘Dharma’ and ‘Satya’, Dr. Gopal said ‘Dharma’ is above everything, including ‘Satya’.
Beautifully elaborating his narrative, Dr. Gopal presented one scenario: a girl is chased by some hooligans and knocks on a door to save her life. If the elder of the family hides her in his house and when the hooligans come looking for her, he would say that no one came here.
If he speaks the truth, the girl will lose her life. The Dharma says to save her life first. Dr. Gopal emphasised that it is Bharatiya thought process.
Taking another example to explain the concept of Dharma and equality, Dr. Gopal said if a father has three sons and two go outside to earn money and establish a career, one is left behind to take care of the elderly parents.
The law says all three have equal rights over the family land, but the Dharma view is different.
The book ‘Reflections on Ancient Indian Jurisprudence in the Current Social & Judicial Set-up by Anupama Goel and Seema Singh’ was launched in the Indira Gandhi National Centre for Art (IGNCA) in Delhi on Sunday (November 28).
Speaking at the same event, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) Pracharak and National Convener of Prajna Pravah J Nandakumar said the fight in India is between two forces, one who always want to divide India, insult India and the other who always think how India could be strengthened further.
Commenting on the Ancient Indian Jurisprudence, Shri Nandakumar said, “If Ancient Indian Jurisprudence could be summed up in one word, it’s Dharma.”
“In the ancient times, law was not perceived as a separate entity in the Hindu scholastic institution due to the term being absent in the Sanskrit language. Instead, it was elaborated as a part of the broader notion of ‘dharma’ which means ‘the aggregate of all the rules which the Hindu person is bound to follow.’ The sources for Dharma are many Sanskrit texts that were composed by the scholars of jurisprudence over a period of two thousand years that include Dharmasutras, Dharmashastras, commentaries and nibandhas etc.” Dr. Risham Garg, associate professor at National Law University, Delhi, has written in the book.
Rabid materialism has changed people’s outlook on life. Commenting on how it has changed people’s attitude, Shri Nandakumar quoted Justice (Retd) K Kannan’s writing from the book, “For many centuries, Indian society cherished two basic values of life i.e., ‘Satya’ (truth) and ‘Ahimsa’ (non-violence). Mahavir, Gautam Buddha and Mahatma Gandhi guided the people to ingrain these values in their daily life. Truth constituted an integral part of the justice-delivery system which was in vogue in the pre-Independence era and the people used to feel proud to tell truth in the courts irrespective of the consequences. However, post-Independence period has seen drastic changes in our value system. The materialism has over shadowed the old ethos and the quest for personal gain has become so intense that those involved in litigation do not hesitate to take shelter of falsehood, mis-representation and suppression of facts in the court proceedings.”
Dr. Seema Singh, one of the book's editors, said that the fundamental shift in Indian society is moving from ‘collectivism’ to ‘individualism’.