A culturally rich India! This is the India I want to promote!
What India we think of when we think of India? What is the genius of India? Ask a politician or leaders in any areas! Religion or industry. You will be disappointed!
They will have their own answers. As for the professional leaders they might think of their professions or they might speak from their point of view. Politicians we can dismiss! I don”t think we in India today have any political leader we can think of as role models. The members of the political class, those practising politics, are all selfcentered if not downright selfish. Luckily, the recent Assembly elections saw some hard lessons, the dynastic elements, the family members were all defeated or run for cover! Let us hope the Indian voters, the common people learn to do their democratic rights as seriously in the days to come. We are having a democracy and we have to defend it, explain it, make it more truly democratic a society and nation.
As for others I have a poorer view.Religious leaders? Thye are failing us. They are not tuned to the modern world, the secularisation of societies, the science and technological revolutions and the very “Enlightenment” of man, the march of reason, reasoning etc have to make us a modern nation, a modern people. As for industry leaders, the IT ones, in biotech, aviation and the new crop of “success stories” who make it big in quick time, yes they have made us proud of our inherent native skills. So we thank them. But they are now rich and that is all! They have no vision or a broad conceptualisation of other much more basic issues of the society, our history or our culture!
I see India in a more broader and all rounded way. India as a culturally rich and historically a creator and a contributor to the world civilizations and world heritages. India is a beautiful country. India’s arts and cultures, its languages and literatures are so richer than any other Western nations.
And yet our history has been one of conquest by others and our last 300 years of colonisation had destroyed our mental richness. Our education had also contributed to this mental deficiency. I am a man of culture, I am an educator and a thinker.I am shaped by Santiniketan and Oxford, Eastern values as well as those of the Western,European values.
As such I am able to see India in a , if I can use such an expression, renaissance perspective. Why not? Rabindranath Tagore gave us what we are capable of. His establishment, as the establishment founded by poets (like Vallathol Narayana Menon, the Kerala Kalamandalam) and other visionaries (there are quite a few of such nationalist and culturally rich institutions) and also some cultural traditions and forms sought to be preserved and perpetuated by dedicated individuals, some of whom I know personally. There is Venuji who is fighting single-handedly to preserve the world’s still live Sanskrit theatre form, Kutiyattam,there is my friend Mr.Visvanathan,the founder of Mitraniketan, near Trivandrum and also the Banasthali Ashram in Rajasthan and many other ashrams and institutions,run to propagate India’s rich cultural heritages,be it yoga or Sanskrit learnig or even such modern,innovative arts forms like Udaya Shakar dances or even the classical dances and the creative musical forms by men like L.Subramaniyam or Vishnumohan Bhatt and many others I can think of.Of course,I have to keep in mind the new film makers,starting from Satyajit Ray to my friend Adoor Gopalakrishnan.
There are then the literatry talents.My late lamented friend Dom Moraes made us all proud by showing we can beat Englishmen in their own games.
He won the Hawthorden Prize when he was just 17! Now,our sports talents. The latest is Narain Karthikeyan and Sania Mirza and Rathore…
I am so excited to see this India,this India of such variegated splendour,this India of creative talents is projected in all its vigour and thrust on the international stage. India can conquer this world.India can show a unique Indian genius to a war free,violence free and a bigotory-free political alternative to the international community.
In this endeavour, in this quest,I am confident it is our culture and arts, our spiritual strength and its mental broadness of vision and skills that can lift us to a higher plane of aspirations and achievements.