Rediscovery of India


Jawaharlal Nehru wrote in The Discovery of India that religion “played little part in Indian political conflicts, though the word (religion) is often enough used and exploited.” He went on to argue that it is not religion that created problems but “what is called communalism, a narrow group mentality basing itself on a religious community but in reality concerned with political power and patronage for the group concerned.”

What Nehru wrote 80 years ago is truer today than then. India now is ruled by a political party that is cynically ‘using and exploiting’ the Hindu religion for the sake of political power. Unfortunately a large number of Hindus have fallen prey to the sinister manoeuvres orchestrated by a handful of crafty men who have dictatorial ambitions and grandiose visions. A sizeable section of India’s population today stands poisoned in heart and mind by hatred of certain religious communities, thanks to the crafty manoeuvres of a few.

Nehru’s vision is crystal clear in The Discovery of India. India belongs to all Indians irrespective of caste and creed and other such differences. The “full development of every individual” Indian is the ultimate goal of the State, he wrote. But there was always a lingering fear among the minorities about their being overwhelmed by the majority. The economically weaker sections of all religious faiths were long exploited by the upper classes, Nehru observed. The State should help the weaker sections to overcome that exploitation.

Nehru mentioned the Muslims particularly. But he was of the opinion that the Muslim fear was misplaced because of three reasons. One, the Hindus were tolerant by nature and hence would not oppress any community in the name of religion. The caste system was more about economic oppression than religious. Two, the Muslims were too big a community to be exploited. Three, the Muslims were concentrated in certain parts where the Hindu power was insignificant. So the Muslim fear was misplaced, Nehru argued. “Fear is not reasonable,” he wrote.

But the Muslim fear has turned out to be justified now after Mr Modi became the country’s ruler.

Narendra Modi is the antithesis of Jawaharlal Nehru. Nehru was a scholar, thinker and visionary. He was guided by noble and humane ideals. He valued humanity more than divinity. In fact, gods had no place in his thinking. Science and technology replaced gods and temples in Nehru’s worldview. Modi is just the opposite of all that.

We need to rediscover India now. We need a leader with the visionary profundity of Nehru.

From 'The Discovery of India'

PS. This is written for Indispire Edition 408: we are to re-invent this country... your take..spin a tale, give it a deep thought... or even create a political agenda. #blogtoopposition

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