Let's make a great India, Part 2/3
....continued from the last post.....
Blitz: Why did we fail?
LKA: One basic reason is we lost the national spirit. There was nothing to
inspire us to build India according to our understanding of greatness. I am
not dealing here merely with the errors of policy. Of course, India committed
a mistake when it devised its economic strategy under the Soviet influence,
adopting a model which failed to yield results. The capitalist model may have
created social tension and other injustices, which the Soviet model also has
not been able to avoid, but at least it contributed to greater economic growth.
So the kind of poverty we see today may not have been there had we rejected the
But apart from the adoption of the wrong policies, it is the gradual erosion
of idealism and the national spirit which has really caused the present
deformities in our society. Prior to 1947, the freedom movement itself was a
factor which strengthened nationalism and the patriotic urge in the common man,
investing in him a capacity for sacrifice and selfless action. After indepen-
dence, however, there has been no such inspiration for them. And with the
passage of time, as decadence set in the political system, values and ideals
started crumbling and Indian society lost its dynamism.
Blitz: Can that dynamism be recovered, and how?
LKA: Without recovering that dynamism we cannot really hope to achieve anything
And it can be recaptured. After all, even in that pre-1947 phase there had to
be leaders like Gandhiji, Aurobindo, Nehru and others to kindle that flame. In
fact, I would say that, if you contrast the performance of the Muslim League
and its leaders Md. Ali Jinnah, it was just a struggle for political power. I
am not saying this pejoratively, I am only contrasting this with the kind of
inspiration that the freedom movement, which was institutionalised by the
Congress, generated among the Indian people. Apart from the Congress, there
were also others like the Revolutionaries, Subhash Chandra Bose and Dr Ambedkar
who tried to impart a certain positive social content to the freedom movement.
All of them saw political freedom as a pre-condition for building a just strong
and self-confident India.
All this produced dynamism of an idealistic kind. And what we need today is
a similar dynamism of an idealistic kind which is determined to build India in
accordance with its potential and its own ideals of happiness, so that in the
21st century India becomes a country reckoned as great by the whole world on
Blitz: What can be the source of such inspiration in today's world?
LKA: Unfortunately these days the movement to which I belong has been subject
to calumny and disinformation of a very high intensity. As a result of which,
the moment you talk about Hindutva, the conception is that it is something
narrow and sectarian. Sectarianism cannot inspire, narrowness cannot inspire.
When the leaders of the freedom movement interpreted or tried to compress the
entire national movement in the chant of Vandemataram, there were critics who
decried that slogan as being unacceptable, as being idolatrous, etc., etc.
But it goes to the credit of our leaders of that time that they did not
buckle under such criticism. They explained that it is only the cult of
worshipping the motherland as Mother India which can raise the people to levels
of sacrifice which simply a political struggle cannot. Therefore Bharat Mata ki
Jai and Vande Mataram and all the associated ideas and symbols became very
soul of India's freedom movement. Unfortunately, if anyone tries to emphasise
these ideas as vital to the country to come out of the present degenerate
situation, it is supposed to be sectarian and communal.
Blitz: Does this point to a fundamental civilisational clash between Indian
ethos and an exclusivist Islamic civilisation which history brought India in
LKA: Not merely that. I would think that the Indian Constitution itself derived
the concept of secularism from Hindutva. After all, none of semitic religions
would accept that all religions are correct. It is only in India where it is
supposed to be ipso facto true. Thus, the concept of secularism itself is
rooted in the traditional beliefs and values of this country, which we today
emphasise by calling it Hindutva. There would not have been the need to
emphasise this subject had not the Hindu word been made a taboo by the
Blitz: But do you foresee that, in the near future, Hindutva will be understood
not as a sectarian concept, but as an essential and vital nationalistic concept
LKA: I am sure of it. And I would not blame only my adversaries for the miscon-
ception on this score. It is our failure also, though circumstances and deve-
lopments have made our task difficult to explain the concept of Hindutva in
such a manner as to make it acceptable to all. We should not always explain it
in a manner that it may be perceived to be a result only of criticism by our
adversaries. It is necessary to project Hindutva in a positive way, as a
concept that offers sound solutions to the many problems facing society. But
I am confident that in course of time, this will happen.
....to be continued...