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Knowing India: Understanding The Right History

knowing

For how many years did British really rule all of India? What seminal events post 1947 shaped India as a country? How did India go to war with China so close to the Panchsheel declaration? How did Congress evolve from being a broad national platform to a party which ruled India for many years?

The modern Indian education system, famously designed after the British passed the Government of India Act in 1833 by Lord Macaulay, tends to be very Eurocentric in terms of recognizing events, milestones and personal contributions. The tendency to define reference points in terms of industrial revolutions or world wars and then evaluating the relative weight of events and individuals in India has continued post 1947. A class of academics and historians who based their learning and style on the British predecessors has continued this tradition. Barring a few historians, the documentation of contemporary history post our independence has been meager and not well circulated.

So if one were to live our history without referring to the history textbooks taught in the CBSE school curriculum or going beyond the NCERT approved versions of events and individuals, where does one turn to?

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Hindus And The Restoration Of Cultural Diversity

HINDUS

If we turn back the clock 2000 years we would see a world full of diverse societies and cultures. Though there were indeed clearly identifiable markers that represented distinct civilizations, be they Chinese, Indian, American Indian, African, Persian, Greco-Roman, Egyptian etc a plurality of diverse cultural expressions always existed within each civilization.

As the Europeans began their colonization of the Americas, initiated by the voyages of Christopher Columbus, they came across thousands of diverse communities with different languages, customs, beliefs and lifestyles. Yet at their core, each of these peoples overwhelmingly shared a common civilizational ethos and functionality. The same patterns had in fact existed in Europe as well and this is still evident in the multiplicity of languages to be found on the continent. However by the time of Columbus an enforced cultural homogeneity had created a common identity based upon religion. Despite the various sectarian rifts such as Protestantism, the entire region from Russia to Iceland was clearly Christian and was often referred to as Christendom.

The spread of Islam from Arabia, North Africa, Persia to Indonesia soon led to the homogenization of that entire arc of Planet Earth. Yet again we see that the development of various sects and the diversity of languages remains. Regardless of these differences Islamic civilization remains clearly identifiable.

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Brand Bharat

brand bharat

Bharatha – A land of people who relish knowledge

India had a pride of place in the ancient and medieval world. This land was called Bharatha, Bha meaning light andRatha meaning ‘to relish’. Bharatha was the land of people who relished knowledge.

Indian Prosperity

The Indian literature, right from the Veda, to the Tamil Sangam literature, speak of India as a land of prosperity. These bodies of literature describe a civilization that was prosperous. They present a picture of a society that was rich in material, cultural and spiritual wealth. The economy of the land was thriving. There was wide spread trade. Arts and culture were patronized and well established.     The testimony to this prosperity is given by Marco Polo, a Venetian visitor to India in 1290 CE. He describes India in his writings as “the most prosperous of all, in the world he had seen.”

What gave India such a Brand Image of the most prosperous land, a sone ki chidiya?

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Effects Of Colonization On Indian Thought

effects of

Having suffered the burden of two centuries of British occupation, India has, since Independence, tried to come to terms with the impact of that exotic presence perhaps diametrically opposed to her own temperament, culture and genius. If anything, this introspection has only intensified in recent years, as Western culture (if it deserves this noble name) aggressively spreads around the globe. But it stands to reason that for an effective “decolonization” to take place—even in order to find out whether and how far it is desirable—we should first take a hard look at the effects of this colonization, what traces it has left on the Indian mind and psyche, and how deep.

Historical Background

But first, an aside. I have only referred to the British occupation, not to the Muslim invasions, though they stretched over a much longer span of time and collided violently with Indian civilization. Yet, strangely, in spite of their ruthlessness, their proud and sustained use of violence to coerce or convert, India’s Muslim rulers never attempted to take possession of the Indian mind : in faithful obedience to Koranic injunctions, they simply tried to stamp it out. That they did not succeed is another story.

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The Indian Media: An Hostile Force

the indian

Indian journalists must be held responsible in some degree for the slow progresses India has made in regaining her self-confidence, shattered by centuries of colonization. For Indian journalists are often the worst enemies of India and Indian culture, constantly harping at the negative sides of India, constantly ignoring the greatness of this country. They must also be the biggest Hindu-bashers in a nation where there are already so many Hindu bashers (Marxists, Muslims, Christians, politicians), having since Independence, made fun in the most belittling manner of Hindu culture. Finally, they must also be held to some extent responsible for the negative attitude that the western press has had since towards India. For towards whom but the Indian journalists will the newly arrived correspondent turn to understand this vast and difficult continent ?

INDIAN JOURNALISTS

Do Indian journalists suffer from an inferiority complex vis à vis the West ? Do they think theirs is a lesser democracy, afflicted with all the world's ills ? Does India's media look down upon its own country ? To a Westerner, it seems very much so. Indian journalists appear to enjoy India-bashing; nothing seems to find grace in their eyes: everything is rotten, the system, the government, the politicians, the bureaucracy. Nothing works, nothing is possible, everything is bleak, worthless, hopeless.

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Indianize Education

indianize education

As a lover of Indian culture and spirtuality, I am sometimes appalled at how westernized education is in India. I can only hope that a future Human Ressources Minister will take-up the job to « Indianise, nationalise and spiritualise » education in India. Of course, he or she will be criticized by the secular media and intellectuals who will call it « a hidden Hindu agenda ». So What ?

With 800 millions souls, Hindus constitute the majority of this country. Why should Hindus then be ashamed of a « Hindu » education ? Traditionally and historically, Hinduism has always been the most tolerant of all religions, allowing persecuted minorities from all over the world, whether the Jerusalem Jews, the Parsis from Persia, Christians from Syria, or even Arab merchants, to settle in India over the centuries and practice their religion in peace. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of India's invaders, be it the Muslims, who ruthlessly tried for ten centuries to stamp out this most peaceful of all religions; or the Christians missionaries, who used every means at their disposal to convert Hindus to the « true » religion (and are still trying today).

But Hinduism, never tried to convert anybody, never sent its armies or missionaries to neighbouring countries,

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Delhi Government Not A Political Problem

 Delhi Government is Not a Political Problem

Arvind Kejriwal is an ‘anarchist’. He was prepared for this role by powers that have perfected the art of influencing the politics of a target country by using the vectors of corruption, RTI, environment and activism.

The link between Kejriwal’s Kabir Foundation/Sampoorna Parivartan and the $80,000 that he received in the year 2002 to start his project. What makes this funding to Kejriwal a criminal activity is the fact that he in 2002 was still a government servant and therefore not entitled to receive it. Government servants are not permitted to float NGOs without due permission. The amount of $80,000 was equivalent to Kejriwal’s 20-year salary at that point of time. He therefore not only indulged in corruption but was also disloyal to his service and nation. It is the same Kejriwal who accuses other bureaucrats of being corrupt.

This Chief Minister has no respect for social and national institutions. His humility is tailored only for vote-banks. Otherwise he does not hesitate to sully the police and the bureaucrats, who too are associated with law and order and governance, irrespective of their chain of command. In case of any crime,

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