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Home > India > News > Columnists > Francois Gautier

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India: A weakening civilisation

July 28, 2008

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Since time immemorial smaller nations without a strong soul, or which are on the decline, have copied -- - and often blindly aped -- the strong prevailing civilisations of that moment. In that manner, when Rome was at its peak satellite nations copied the Roman style of democracy, clothes, food, mannerisms... And so it was for Egypt, Greece, Mesopotamia when they dominated, or even for ancient India whose dances, temples, customs, martial arts, were replicated all the way to China on one side and down to Greece on the other (many Greek gods are derived from Hindu deities).

One cannot call today's India a declining civilisation, although it has suffered tremendously from invasions in the last 1,500 years. Indeed, India is one of the few civilisations today which has managed -- albeit in a diluted manner -- to retain intact much of her culture and spirituality from the Vedic ages. If you look at civilisations like Greece, Egypt or Italy [Images] (erstwhile Rome) today, not much has come down from their times of domination and greatness -- whereas in India the knowledge of karma, of yoga, of the avatars and the hidden realities behind life are still there in teachers, gurus, ashrams, individuals, for us to learn from.

Why is it, then, that at the moment India seems to be paralysed into inaction in the face of an all-out war against Indian liberties and values by Islamic terrorists? Why is it that Indians are aping so much the Western type of democracy without caring to adapt it to the Indian psyche and conditions, that anybody can twist the system, cheat and win in the end? Why is it that it appears at this very moment that there never has been so much corruption, debasement and selfishness in Indian politics?

Why it that the Indian government appears hell-bent to impose upon the nation a nuclear deal, which will neutralise India's weapons of nuclear deterrence in the face of China's and Pakistan's aggressive nuclear weaponisation and castrate India's independence in foreign policy, as well as bring with it immense Westernisation, not to mention a strong influx of Christian missionaries? Why is it that sections of Indian journalism seem to have touched a new low just to get more ratings?

Look how the United Progressive Alliance won the vote of confidence in Parliament, with the connivance of the press and Indian politicians, and the ways and means which were used to secure that vote.

Special: How the trust vote was won

Look at the role of Speaker Somnath Chatterjee [Images]? Should he not have satisfied himself about the veracity of allegations of bribery before undertaking further proceedings in Parliament? If votes were procured in a brazen manner, affecting a crucial outcome for the nation, should he not have deferred the trust vote?

Posterity will also judge him on the history museum he built in Parliament annex at a cost of Rs 100 crore from the taxpayer's money and which shows Indian history starting with Ashoka, continuing with Akbar, and more or less jumping to Subhas Chandra Bose and Nehru, without any mention of the great Hindu political and spiritual leaders from Kalidasa to Sri Aurobindo, from the great Sri Krishnadeva Raya, the last king of the last great Hindu empire of Vijayanagar, to Bal Gangadhar Tilak, a true nationalist. So much for the Communists' view of Indian history.

Look at the silence of the business community on the ethics of what has just happened in the last two weeks. One can understand the silence of an Anil Ambani who stands to benefit from the Amar Singh-UPA entente. But what about others like Ratan Tata, the Jindals, Hindujas, Birlas, who may be swayed by the prospect of doing big business with the Americans, or by the possibility of the government going in for last-minute liberalisation after it got rid of the Communists' hurdle?

Do any of these tycoons first think Indian and not of profit for themselves? Do they think for a minute of the price, or shall we say in a more Indian manner the karmic price that India, their country, will have to pay sooner or later for the manner in which the nuclear deal has been won and the low depths to which Indian politics and ethics have sunk to in the process?

Look at the inertia of the government and the press after the Bangalore blasts and then the horrible Ahmedabad blasts. Does the UPA think the common citizen of India is a nitwit and that he does not understand that on one hand, if the Government of India keeps pointing fingers at Pakistan's Inter Services Intelligence, or at some Bangladesh outfit, it is to deflect the fact that most of the recent terror attacks have been perpetrated by Indian Muslims, with or without Pakistani or Bangladeshi (or Al Qaeda [Images]) help?

It is not only a matter of vote banks in times of coming elections, but also a fact that politicians in India want to keep a blindfold on their citizens and pretend that nothing is happening. Does not the government, on the other hand, understand that we have all become cynical to its usual conduct on these occasions when it: a. condemns 'in the strongest terms' this 'barbarous act'; b. appeals for calm and 'communal harmony'; c. gives a few lakhs each to the families of the deceased or injured, so that they shut up; and d. never catches the culprits and goes on as before till the next terrorist act.

But look at America, the most hated and targeted country in the world: it has not suffered a single terrorist attack since September 11, 2001. Which Indian politician will have the courage to call a spade a spade and tackle terrorism with courage and determination?

Is it not time that India reminds itself that it is still a great civilisation with a composite society that has always accepted diversity? That it has entered another period of Renaissance and that it needs to think Indian, to protect its borders, its women and children, to retain, in the true Spirit of the Bhagavad Gita, the will to fight, physically if necessary, for the preservation of dharma and knowledge?

Yes, India can borrow what is good from the West in terms of technological advancement and ecological conservation, but it should not discard all the great things that come down from ancient India and make this country so unique, so wonderful.


Francois Gautier



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