Independence or political slavery it has a telling effect physically as well as
materialistically. Wealth is looted. (Robert Clive became the richest man in the four
kingdoms of England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland after a single battle the Battle
of Plassey, 1757).
All productive areas and occupations of the
economy where wealth could be created or accumulated (plantations, mines, trade, commerce
and banking) went into the hands of the British even as East India Company spread across
the land. The earnings of the Indians while working in the civil and military
administration of the Mughal and successor Indian states ceased.
The senior jobs were no longer open to Indians
as the British monopoly reigned between 1757 and 1947.The effect was not only
destabilising but also humiliating. The thundee sadaks or mall roads (roads that were
lined with trees which were watered daily), were closed to the natives.
First class compartments in trains, first class
cabins in ships and exclusive clubs in district headquarters the Yatch Club or the
Bengal Club, the Madras Club, the Tolly and other such institutions were all
out of bounds for Indians. The Yatch Club in Bombay even sported the sign:
Indians and dogs not allowed.
All these manifest and patent vestiges and marks
of slavery disappeared albeit only gradually from August 15, 1947.What remains and
this is the area of real and lasting damage is the hurting and the distorting, the
twisting and the traumatic wounding of the Indian mind, spirit, soul and heart.
Today, the presidents of Tolly (and
so on) are all men with English attitudes and Indian names. The IAS are pale imitations of
the so-called steel frame of the ICS. They have no access to Indian ideals,
preoccupations or ethos. Their Convent or St Stephens and
Harvard/Cambridge education has rendered them un-Indian and failed to make
them Quite Anglo-Saxon Protestant.
This, alas, also applies to the RSS as can be
seen from the doings of Murli Manohar Joshi and Sushma Swaraj. The Calvinist ethic
prevents them from feeding the hungry with the personal or State charity which used to be
a bounden duty in Indian times be it the Maurya, Gupta Sultanate or
Mughal, Maratha or Tippu Sultan.Since we talked of hunger, we must not ignore sex.
To the British goes the great (not to say the
everlasting!) credit of giving India its first few and now endlessly continuing
generations of sex-starved Indians. But this is a topic we shall dwell upon in
future columns to come.Today, we concentrate on hunger. Even the Swedes have recognised
hunger in their bestowal of the Economic Nobel upon Amartya Sen.
Let us begin with the most blatant example of
injustice, deprivation and discrimination we see in India on the Indian roads and
pavements every day. There are hungry children, women and old men and cripples forced to
beg and to draw attention to their need based requirements at all crossings.
The presence of an all white face, rich stranger will allay their hunger and
provide succour (they hope!).
A large number of NGOs funded by the
West have sprung up and many professional do gooder Indians are making an
excellent living out of them. But the hungry children remain to infest road crossings.If
the ruling RSS today were Hindu or even Muslim in genuine terms, they would have returned
to the Indian tradition of feeding the hungry without being held back by the Calvinistic
idea that one must eat only what one has earned by the sweat of ones brow.
It is time to recall respect and reassert the
duties of the householder as laid down in the epics which enshrine the tradition.We quote
from the Mahabharata: There is no giving or bestowal (daana) which is greater than
that of food and water. This is because all of life and of existence and living of created
beings arise from food (unnaa) and are sustained by it.
Neh tusmaata puramam kinchida susiti
meya muneh, unnaat praanabhritaastaa pravutuney hee survasarvasaaha
Food (unna) itself takes birth and finds life
existence and sustenance from water. No life can exist or be sustained without food; food
which is born out of water.
Unna vaapi prabhaavati paaniyaata
kurusottamaa; neea jaayeyhi vinaa kinchida sumpruvurtatey
The sages and seers of yore have described food
(unna) as lifes breath (praana)
of living beings. And, O Lion amongst men! (the reference is to Yudhishtira) It is water
from which all the varieties of food (unna) take birth.
Therefore, there is no greater daana (giving, bestowal, charity) than water. The giving of
nothing else can compare with the giving of water.
praanaanaa-hurmaneesinah, tachcha sarvum naravyaagraha paaniyaata sampravartatey; tasmata
paaneeyadaanaada vai naa varam vidyatey kvachit
Perhaps a redefinition of Hindutva, one that
emphasises compassion, concern, mercy and charity to the underprivileged, the halt, the
lame and the blind will enable the RSS government to achieve grace and support.
In this world as well as in the hereafter.
Perhaps they will not then have to resort to assembling the already carved pillars and
brackets to construct the Ram temple in Ayodhya on December 6, 1998. Having failed to
provide governance, they have to provide for as honourable exit as they can manage.
They dont care for the consequences which
readers know could well be unprecedented violence and untold suffering for the poor and
the underprivileged in India.Time to change. To revert to original Hindutva!