Notes on Amish Tripathi’s Immortal India

Reading Amish’s Immortal India: Young country. Timeless civilisation.
” Religious liberals can alleviate many of India’s social problems. And it’s easy for us since we are a vast majority in our country. Unfortunately, we have abdicated public discourse to both secular and religious extremists. We must rise. We must speak loudly. We must bring out the liberal interpretations of our respective religions. It is our patriotic duty” ( – Amish Tripathi p. 14)
Praying that… We Rise! We speak a bit louder! We creatively reflect on our own faith. And that this tribe will increase!

Here’s another interesting idea from Immortal India

” Our past offers us valid interpretations that can be powerfully used to end the historical and religious justifications for the ill treatment of women today. And those of us who are aware of them, have a moral duty to speak up. The best way to bring about change in human beings is to tap into the very beliefs that are central to their being, instead of attacking those beliefs. By respectfully showcasing an alternative perspective as to who we are, we allow for the flow of natural transformation. It is an organic, non-destructive evolution in which lies the gentle essence of life”.             ( Unbridled Shakti, Immortal India, p. 24)

And those of us who are aware of have a moral duty to speak up.

  • Can we speak up? and if not, who or What stops us?

The best way to bring about change in human beings is to tap into the very beliefs that are central to their being, instead of attacking those beliefs.

  • Have our reactive readings limited us from engaging in imaginative reading of the text?
  • Can we creatively engage with religious text to offer alternate readings/ meanings that would be life affirming and life enhancing rather than life demeaning and life extinguishing?

Just wondering… the wheels inside my head are spinning!

Amish has an interesting take on Caste and Religious conversions.

 

” In my heart I feel that it’s spiritually advisable to celebrate our own faith and also to seek reform, from within, any corruptions that have crept in; rather than wasting our time and our lives engaging in attempts to prove other religions wrong. For this will lead us away from spiritual growth” – ‘On Religious Conversions’, Immortal India, p.71

“Caste discrimination must be actively opposed and fought against by all Indians; this must be done for the soul of our nation. Annihilating birth-based caste system is a battle we must all engage in at a societal level. We will honour our ancient culture with this fight. More importantly, we will end something that is just plain wrong” – Bane of casteism, Immortal India, p. 83

Anybody interested in Indian politics, if not the ones who want to change it must read the chapter on  ‘ Corruption faultlines’. I loved it absolutely. I may not agree with it fully and I do have questions. But, it is a interesting perspective. Here’s a short summary for those who don’t have the time or inclination to read beyond a few minutes!

Urban India is in the throes of obsessively examining the corrupt nature of polity and governance in our country. The verdict is clear. We are inherently corrupt people with little hope of change but for a massive revolution. Hold on a moment. Are we really a corrupt Nation?

We are an ancient civilisation but a young nation. Post Independent India is predominantly rural. The western world urbanised a few centuries before us. The moral order in an agrarian society differs from the urban. The former is based on kinship , loyalty and honour based codes.

It is routine these days to malign our politicians and dismiss them as reprehensible. Keep in mind, though that India is probably the first country in the world that democratised before it urbanised/modernised. We live in a rural country and many ( even in our cities) possess the impulses and moral code of a tribal society.

We lie, help our own to get jobs, accept bribes because we are true to the higher moral law of loyalty to the clan. The ancient ethics of loyalty to your own outweighs laws that are designed by an abstract society in the making.

Our politicians emerge and survive in this eco-system. They are elected by their own and their own people expect to be looked after. It is hypocritical for intellectual elites to want democracy on one hand and on the other hand expect politicians to be blind to the expectation of the masses who vote them to power.

Urban societies are based on abstract laws and formal institutions. It aims to generate alternative loyalties, along with a different code of ethics that transcends kinship commitments.

We are at that stage in the evolution in our democracy. We have one foot firmly planted in an ancient kinship culture. The other foot is extending towards the modern world.

There are many faults in my land. And we have a long way to go. But, I am still damn proud to be an Indian.

Corruption Fault Lines, Immortal India pp. 84- 87

Makes a lot of sense! Is this why corruption along politicians has never been an issue in India?  Is this why rural voters and urban voters vote differently. Just wondering!

 

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