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!
The movement from poverty to prosperity is a fascinating journey. The economic and social transformation is one of the themes of India Unbound.
Why did an Industrial Revolution elude us? Marx had predicted that the Railways would usher in an Industrial Revolution. Nehru, along with this planners, did attempt an Industrial Revolution. They did not encourage private enterprise. Instead they built public enterprise.
Gurcharan comments, “ they failed and India is still paying for their follies”. Interestingly, we had an agricultural Revolution, and we were not able to usher an Industrial Revolution. Gurcharan points to six things that have contributed to this failure.
- We have inherited an inward looking, import substituting path.
- We have set up a massive inefficient and monopolistic public sector
- We have over regulated private sector
- We have discouraged foreign capital and denied ourselves the benefit of technology
- We have over pampered organised labour
- We have ignored eduction, particularly girls/women who make up 50% of our population.
Gurucharan Das rightly contends, “ When Individuals blunder, it is unfortunate and their families go down. When rulers fail, it is a national tragedy”.
Hundreds of entrepreneurial successes have been born after reform. The new entrepreneurs have risen on the back of their talents, hard work and professional skills. This is reflective of the spirit of the age.
Liberalisation and Information economy work to India’s advantage and raise the hope that it may finally take off and transform the country.
Gurucharan Das contends, “India is like an elephant that has begun to lumber and move ahead. It will never have speed but it will have stamina. India might be more stable, peaceful and have a negotiated transition into the future. Although slower (than China), India is more likely to preserve its way of life and its civilisation of diversity, tolerance and spirituality against the onslaught of the global culture. If it does, then it is perhaps a wise elephant”.
In Chapter 6, Lance Price’s contends that Modi had the much sought after ‘Big MO’ – the momentum to carry him forward and upward.
Although the BJP had lost two elections, the prospects of winning 2014 appeared bight.
- Firstly, the Congress lead government looked vulnerable more than ever before. The disenchantment with it was that it was poor in delivering on the promises.
- Secondly, it was associated with corruption. In fact, the lists of scams and scandals was bewildering The 2G spectrum and Coalgate did a lot of damage to the image of the Congress party, and in particular Manmohan Singh.
- Thirdly, Anna Hazare’s tirade against corruption and Baba Ramdev’s protest against black money spread the spirit of dissent across the Nation.
To the growing fanbase both within and outside the BJP, Modi was not merely the favourite but the only candidate to lead the party into the general elections.
In August 2013, the RSS threw its support behind Modi. In 2013 the BJP parliamentary board formally announced Mod as thePrime Ministerial candidate.
Chapter 4 – Behind the Mask
In Chapter 4 ( Behind the Mask), Lance Price outlines how Narendra Modi used the 2012 Gujarat State Elections to push his bid for National power in 2014.
The first hint of his candidature was popped up in an unknown Facebook post in Oct 2010 under the heading “ Narendra Modi as Prime Minister? Why Not?”. A good number of New Age volunteers had initally helped Modi with the push through social media.
By 2012, Modi gathered a special team. Team Modi used the 2012 state elections to push his bid for the PM. The Gujarat campaign themes were very much a dry run for 2014. The positive appeal was a mixture of development and Modi’s strong approach to leadership.
Price contends that the dramatic success of Modi to win the Gujarat State Elections was due to
- His willingness to embrace new ideas. For example, the Modi Mask
- The recognition that his own image was a crucial selling point and therefore, the Media campaign to craft his image.
- Team Modi, which consisted of professionals, helped produceTV, support Social Media Campaigns and even set up private companies to push the Modi’s image. Efforts were taken to improve the image of the State of Gujarat and along with it, the image of its chief minister.
- Fortunate sequence of events [ a) the appearance of his picture in the cover page of Time ( 2012) ; b) Tata Motors moving its Nano project to Gujarat; c) ASSOCHAM’s report that Gujarat’s emergence as the preferred investment destination; d) The visit of Sir. James Bevan to Gujarat in Oct 2012
- His use of high tech campaigning methods [ a) Launch of his own State wide Television Channel Namo Gujarat; b) Name – Youtube Channel; c) Facebook and Twitter accounts; d) Google + Hangout discussion; e) The use of hologram technology.
Modi won a decisive mandate in the State elections in 2012. From then on, it was much easier to project himself as the PM candidate.
Chapter 4: Behind the Mask: This chapter describes How Narendra Modi used the 2012 Gujarat State Elections to push his bid for National power in 2014? For a brief summary of chapter 4 Click here
Chapter 5: Big Mo This describes how Modi had the much sought after ‘Big MO’ – the momentum to carry him forward and upward. For a brief summary of the chapter 5 Click Here