Happy Republic Day 2022!
कुछ बात है कि हस्ती मिटती नहीं हमारी
सदियों रहा है दुश्मन दौर-ए-ज़माँ हमारा
Do you think that Iqbal just wrote this as creative liberty?
I don’t think, but this is the historical truth. If we study the world’s major cultures, be it Babylonia, Rome, Greek, Persian, etc., all were destroyed by one or the other reason, but why could we survive?
It is not that we were attacked so weakly; I think almost all significant intruders attacked us, and we faced the invasion of many cultures. They tried to destroy our temples, universities and knowledge, but we survived cultural imperialism.
Mahmud Ghazni invaded India almost 17 times, and when he returned, he wrote a poem and said, if you show sword to Indian people, they will surrender, they consider everything a ‘God’ blessing! They are cowardly people! Bakhtiyar Khalji destroyed Nalanda and tried to ‘erase’ the intellectual and cultural heritage.
There are so many invasions, and I guess it is highest in the world for any country; if you quickly list, here it is
1. (1500 BC) Aryan invasion
2. (518 BC) Achaemenid (Persian/Iranian) invasion
3. (326 BC) Greek invasion
4. (200 BC to 300 AD) Incursions of Indo-Greeks, Scythians,
5. (Late 5th and early 6th century AD) – Huna Invasion during the later phases of the Guptas. They were also a nomadic tribe from the Central Asian steppe.
6. Arab conquest of Sindh (712 AD) under Mohammad Bin Qasim. However, there was no Arab incursion into the mainland of India.
7. (Circa 1000 AD) Ghaznavid raids under Mahmud of Ghazni – main motive was plunder.
8. (1194 AD) Ghurid invasion
9. (1398) Invasion of Tamerlane
10. (1526) Mughal invasion
11. (16th century) Portuguese conflicts
12. 1739 Invasions of Nadir Shah of Persia and subsequent invasions from 1748 to 1767 by Ahmed Shah Abdali.
13. (1757–1857) British conquest of India.
So no one can argue that we are weak and hypocrites; we did survive all these invasions and still have our values intact. How?
If someone researches chronology, we will indeed find that during all these invasions, we continued our fight and always tried to re-established the destroyed culture but being such a large and complex country, the process took time!
The answer to the question is why we are still ‘Indian’? lies in the values we hold.
Dr. Radhakrishnan wrote that our ethics are not derived from any one book, and we don’t follow any book ‘religiously’ for ethical values. We kept changing our moral values as per the requirements keeping fundamental values the same.
Not many people know that India is not such a strong religious culture as a country. We have happily accepted atheism as a part of our philosophical systems, be it Charwak, Jainism or Buddhism. Perhaps, Bhagwat Geeta is the only religious (if you call so) book globally with the highest number of commentary on it. We never condemn, exile or beheaded anyone to write the commentary.
In Muslim culture, you cannot comment, and in Christianity, you can comment but only if you praise God! You would not find any Mansur in Indian culture who will be headed by saying Anal Haq; in fact, we believe we are all ‘brahman’!
When Alexandra killed Purus’s son, his (Prous’s) palace was celebrating with light. Alexandar’s girlfriend Rukshana/Roxana found that they were celebrating the sacrifice of a young son in battle as he met his Purpose in life, she was surprised and told Alexandra that go back. You would not be able to win this country!
Along with the ethical values, we also have a robust thought process, and we kept asking ourselves from the beginning, What is the Purpose of my life? We always believed we were not animals and had a particular purpose in life.
आहार निद्रा भय मैथुनं च
सामान्यमेतत् पशुभिर्नराणाम् ।
धर्मो हि तेषामधिको विशेष:
धर्मेण हीनाः पशुभिः समानाः ॥
We are far more inferior to animals in terms of food, sleep and sex; only our values and duties make us unique!
The thought process of finding’ Purpose of life’ is also not ‘fixed’; it keeps changing with the demand of time; whenever it was required, we went inside, and when we felt there was a danger, we came back outside and fought.
When we find that our fundamental values are being misinterpreted and exploited by greedy and power-hungry people, we have always ‘seeded’ a new thought to bring a new revolution to correct this.
When Vedic culture was being misinterpreted and exploited in the name of animal sacrifice and getting ‘irrelevant’ or out of context, there come Budha and Mahavir, who cultivates seed to eliminate this exploitation and establishes the values which give more emphasis on ‘Shraman’ over ‘Bhraman,’ and putting more emphasis on humanity and non-violence over the religion.
Later, we found that ‘Buddhism’ is being exploited to establish illogical and fabricated atheism and tantras rather than projecting new updated values. Some greedy people were trying to argue against every concept of Hinduism to destroy the values, Shankaracharya cultivates a new seed, and he rests everything once again!
Shankaracharya’s concepts and theories also started being exploited in escapism and cowardliness; people felt that renunciation and Moksha were the only Purposes of life.
At this time, a new seed is cultivated by Guru Nanak and brings back man to society and establishes bravery to take takes to stand against Babar.
After him, when Mughals continued exploitation of women and culture, a new kind of seed was implanted by Guru Govind Singh requesting his father for the ‘highest’ sacrifice to establish the root values. He sets Khalsa, a God army, to fight and save humanity and make some of history’s highest sacrifices.
The process of seeding a change and correction did not end, and when Britishers were exploiting us, there came Arvind, Tilak and Swami Vivekanand, Mahatma Gandhi, who tries to establish the ‘real’ meaning of Bhagwat Geeta and again infuses the courage in the society and reminds the true Purpose of Geeta मामनुस्मर युध्य च ।
Dr. Radhakrishnan wrote Bhagwat Geeta is a potent armory, and we kept finding new arms from it whenever we felt the need to fight!
Then you see a series of people again finding a new purpose in life, starting from the first martyr of freedom fighter Bankim Chandra Chatterji who sacrificed his life and held Bhagwad Geeta while he died. Especially, Tilak and Vivekand were the first to redefine Geeta to eliminate escapism from Geeta and infused new meaning and energy in the youth of India. Both of them bring the essences of Bhagwat Geeta back to प्रवृत्ति (Momentum/Activity) from निवृत्ती (Renunciation/escapism)!
The same book kept inspiring Bhagat Sing, Azad, Ramprasd Bismil, Udam sigh, who quoted Bhagwat Geeta to judge in court that, I would born again and you cannot kill my soul! Even Gandhiji socialism was also derived from Bhagwat Geeta, a robust framework of governments welfare work!
The seeding process continues; we find that our ‘borrowed’ (Not from Marx but Lenin) socialism is not working and not allowing us to grow; tatas and Dhirubhai Ambani implant a new seed to change the exploitation of socialism.
In recent history, we realized the need for a correction when we found that ‘secularism’ is not more working in favor of citizens and is being misused to gain political mileage and destroy our values; we corrected this situation!
Not only politically, but the correction continued in philosophy, society, culture, art, and even on economic font both at micro and macro levels. Dayananda Saraswati, Rabindranath Tagore, Raja Ram Mohan Roy, B. R. Ambedkar, and many other local level corrections that corrected some social and national issues, perhaps with butterfly effect!
We also kept correcting religion and philosophy from worshiping nature to God, atheism, monotheism, polytheism, unorganised religion etc.
As it happens in nature, any correction takes time to bring the entropy to a minimum level; it also took time for India at each stage of history.
Of course, any change was not quick, and it was often a bit late, but this is such a magnificent achievement in a country with diversified culture, language and large population; it takes time! देर आए दुरुस्त आए
‘यदा यदा हि धर्मस्य ग्लानिर्भवति!
keeps proving the worthiness in different forms!
© Chirag Ahmedabadi