Towards A Language of Indian Nationalism
CHAPTER 8 - Towards a Language of Indian Nationalism
We have seen in the foregoing chapters, that India’s prevalent political parlance - Right and Left, Reactionary and Progressive Revivalist and Revolutionary, Fascist and Democratic, Communal and Secular, Capitalist and Socialist,, etc. – is an alien imposition imported mostly from Soviet Russia by a fifth-column of Communist imperialism. We have also seen how this language shares its basic characteristic with the languages of Islamic, Christian and British imperialism.
The salient features of the role which this parlance has played in the past have also been discussed. The details can be filled up by anyone who follows the lead. This parlance played its most perfidious role when it blackened Indian nationalism as “Hindu communalism” and aided and abetted Islamic imperialism to consolidate on the soil of India an aggression spread over more than thirteen hundred years.
The discussion about the role of this political parlance could have been extended to the post-independence period - how this parlance has continued its campaign against Indian nationalism and has thrown the national society increasingly on the defensive; how it has converted the residues of Islamic imperialism into a poor and persecuted minority; how it has blamed the brute majority for aggression and violence to which the minority has resorted more and more often; how it has pressed for a socialist pattern of society till we have landed with a listless leviathan sitting on top of an atomised, impoverished and helpless mass of citizens; how it has provided protection to a Communist fifth-columan which has brutalised public life with its coarse language and repeated rounds of hooliganism; how it has given rise to a corrupt politics in which personal ambition for power and pelf and not commitment to the community or the country has become the guiding principle; and how it has distorted our foreign policy till all our options have been closed and we have become a client state of the Soviet Union for all practical purposes and a loyal champion of Arab causes. But that is too vast a canvas to be covered in a small booklet.
Need for a Language of Nationalism
The conclusion becomes irresistible that this perverse parlance will paralyse this country completely unless it is soon replaced by a language of Indian nationalism. It has already transformed all sorts of traitors into patriots and all sorts of parasites into public servants. It provides a smoke-screen behind which several types of imperialism - Islamic, Christian, Communist and Consumerist - are stealing a march. The love of country and its tried and tested culture has been turned into a cardinal sin by the poisoned phraseology of this political parlance.
A language of Indian nationalism has not to be invented or synthesised from a floating mass of syllables. On the contrary, this country has known a language of nationalism since times immemorial. This language was evolved, developed and perfected in the past by a long line of seers, sages, saints and scholars. All our immortal literature - particularly the Mahabharata, the Puranas and the Dharmashastras - was written in this language. India had spoken in this language to the rest of the world in her days of greatness and glory. This language has sustained the spiritual, cultural, social and political life of India through many stormy centuries. In short, this language has flourished and functioned in this country for so long as to make it readily accessible to all her people in every nook and corner of the land. No other language in the world can claim such longevity combined with such creativity.
A decline in the national elan has led, in course of time, to a decline in the vigour and vitality of this language. But it has retained its essential flavour even during the darkest periods of national history. It was under the banner of this language that the princes and people of India waged and won a long-drawn-out war with Islamic imperialism. It was this language which had revived after an interval of lethargy and had led the battles against British imperialism. Bande Mataram, the quintessence of this language, was not coined by Bankim Chandra Chatterji. He had inherited it from his ancestry and passed it on to future generations. This language stirred the nation to its depths when it was spoken by Maharshi Dayananda, Swami Vivekananda, Lokamanya Tilak and Sri Aurobindo. Its last great spokeman was Mahatma Gandhi.
Basic Notes of Indian Nationalism
The Itihasa-Purana speaks of people who are members of the same family and who live in the land of Bharatavarsha bounded by the Himalaya and its ranges on the north and by the sea on the east, west and south. For the Dharmashastras, which are only commentaries on the Vedic Dharmasutras, Bharatavarsha is the field for the establishment of varna-ashrama-dharma. The ancient works on dandaniti regard Bharatavarsha as Cakravrtya-kshetra, that is a compact country which should be brought under one political sceptre without uprooting regional provincial and local traditions and intitutions. The basic notes of Indian nationalism were thus sounded at the very dawn of Indian civilisation. The symphony as a whole was worked out in a wealth of later literature.
The dominant note in this sympathy is that Bharatavarsha is the land of sanatana Dharma. The truths of Sanatana Dharma are not of the nature of a revelation received by a historical prophet from an extra-cosmic God or some other supernatural source. Nor are those truths contained in or confined to a Book or al-kitab. On the contrary the truths of Sanatana Dharma are secret in every human heart and have always been accessible to those who seek for them. Those truths are never in need of a crusade for their spread and propagation. On the contrary, those truths are self-propagating due to their own inner strength. The only defence they need is the dedication they inspire spontaneously in all those who invoke them.
The starting point of Sanatana Dharma is the human self which can be explored, which can be purified progressively and which can be transcended till it attains the highest heights of knowledge and creativity. At this summit, the Self becomes one with the Universe and sees all things, animate and inanimate, as its own symbols and sequences. In this vast vision, sanctity attaches not only to human life but to the whole of creation. This is the summum bonum of spiritual humanism which has always been India’s message to mankind.
A second and supplementary note in the symphony of Indian nationalism is the vast complex of a culture and civilisation created and sustained by the spiritual vision of Sanatana Dharma. The base is provided by an economic infrastructure drawing its strength from swadeshi, that is, use of local resources for local needs and limitation of human wants pari passu with the preservation of natural resources and the purity of environment. The middle is constituted by social and political institution informed by the spirit of swabhava, swadharma and swarajya, that is, autonomy of the family, the clan, the village and the region in accordance with the inner aspirations and the inherited tratitions of each. At the apex stands a wealth of art, architecture, music, dance, drama, language and literature, all of which experiment with a variety of forms without losing the inner sense of unity. In all these economic, social, political and cultural creations, there is no insistence on a dead uniformity. Instead, a living universality accomodates and keeps in accord any number of individualities without suffering any strain. This is the true and tested universalism which India has prescribed and practised throughout the ages.
Implications of Indian Nationalism
This being the character of Indian nationalism, certain implications can be clearly drawn.
The first implications is that Bharatavarsha is an indivisible whole and that its present division into Afganistan, Pakistan, Hindustan and Bangladesh, brought about by Islamic imperialism, must go. Islamic imperialism has alienated not only large areas from the national homeland but also significant segments of national population. Indian nationalism cannot and should not rest till this aggression gets vacated for good.
The second implication is that closed creeds like Islam and Christianity which are not in accord with the spirituality of Sanatana Dharma have no place in India. No quarter can be given to these creeds in the name of secularism which they are using in order to subvert India’s ancient spiritual heritage. An examination of the doctrines and histories of these creeds shows beyond a shadow of doubt that these are political ideologies of imperialism masquerading as religion. Their pretentions should be exposed and their designs of using foreign partonage and finances to alienate more members of tha national society and additional areas of the national homeland should be defeated.
The third implication is that the economic systems of capitalism and socialism, which are in fact variations on the same theme of centralisation, should not be permitted to pulverize Indian economy and that the Indian people should be saved from becoming helpless victims of a vast industrial and commercial complex. The spirit of swadeshi should be revived so that our people, particularly those in the countryside, have control over their local resources, can employ their talents and enterprise for their own benefit, and prevent their environment front being eroded or poisoned.
The fourth implication is that totalitarian tendencies inherent in Communism and Consumerism should be stopped from steamrollering India’s social political and cultural life into a dead uniformity. The national genius and tradition of experimenting with a variety of social and political institutions and cultural patterns should be preserved.
The fifth implication is that a strong structure of a central state should emerge in order to preserve the national heritage and protect the national homeland without inhibiting the multiple expression of regional, provincial and local autonomies. In fact, this is the most important implication because the absence of a strong central state has been the bane of India’s national life in the past providing as it did many opportunities to foreign invaders for playing havoc with national society and culture.
The basic notes and their implications being clear, it should not be difficult ot develop a language of Indian nationalism such as would not only enshrine India’s eternal aspirations but also challenge and defeat the several languages of imperialism which have been ruling the roost for some time. This language of nationalism will be in direct continuity with the language evolved during the fight for freedom against British imperialism. But at the same time it will have characteristics which were either not needed in the course of that struggle or did not get crystallized due to confusions in national perceptions.
Eclipse of the Language of Indian Nationalism
There can be several explanations of why the language of Indian nationalism suffered a steep decline after the passing away of Mahatma Gandhi. The explanation which sounds most satisfactory is that a language loses its inherent power when it fails to characterise in its own idiom the various forces operating in the fieds. This failure in its turn, is occasioned when a language wanders away from its own ideological moorings and starts wallowing in a shallow and sentimental liberalism.
The language of indian nationalism had become mature and self-confident by the time of the Swadeshi Movement. It was able to proclaim that the national struggle against British imperialism was a continuation of the earlier struggle against Islamic imperialism. But it failed to characterise Islam itself. Nor did it nail down the spokemen of Islam for what they were in essence. As a result, Islam could continue to masquerade as a religion and the residues of Islamic imperialism could continue to strut about as the scions of a conquering race.
Christianity was characterised more clearly by the language of Indian nationalism mainly because this creed was working hand in glove with British imperialism. But here also the true character of Christianity as an independent system of imperialism was neither recognised nor proclaimed. Consequently, Christianity also continued to masquerade as a religion.
Communism did not appear on the sense till two decades after the Swadeshi Movement. But the language of Indian nationalism failed once again to characterise correctly this new ideology from the West. Instead, Communism was hailed as good in terms of its goals but bad in terms of its means. This was a big failure which bore bitter fruits in subsequent years.
The language of Indian nationalism will have to overcome these shortcomings as it revives and surveys the national scene anew. It would have to come out with concrete characterisations, in its own ideom, of every alien and anti-national force in the field.
Sanatana Dharma views human life and the world drama as a deva-asura-sangrama, that is a battle between the forces of light and darkness. But the battle is not defined as a battle between different sections of human society on the basis of belief or disbelief in a particular dogma. Instead that battle is perceived as a perpetual struggle that takes place in the arena of human nature between animal appetites on the one hand and aspirations for a larger, deeper and divinized life on the other. It is in this perspective that Sanatana Dharma classifies different doctrines into two categories. There are doctrines which are mere rationalisations of the lower in human nature and behaviour. There are doctrines which are repositories of the higher in human consciousness and character. The Gita had a whole chapter, the deva-asura-sampadvibhaga-yoga, on this particular theme. This has been the starting point for the language of Indian nationalism.
A broad outline of the battle which is taking place at present in India’s spiritual, cultural, social and political life can be drawn as follows:
- The spiritual traditions which constitute the commonwealth of Sanatana Dharma are the forces of light. They are struggling against forces of darkness embodied in Islam, Christianity and Communism.
- The complex of culture created by the spiritual traditions of Sanatana Dharma is the national culture of India. The cultures brought in by Islam, Christianity and Communism are imperialist impositions. Those who talk about a composite culture are either ignorant of what culture really means or are trying to sabotage India’s national culture in the service of this or that imperialism.
- The society which cherishes the spiritual traditions of Sanatana Dharma and has inherited the national culture of India is the national society of India. It constitutes the nation in this country. On the other hand, communities which have been crystallised by Islamic, Christian and British imperialism are denationalised colonies left over by invaders who have departed. Those who regard the national society as only a majority vis-a-vis minority communities and who shout slogans of “Hindu Communalism” are enemies of the nation.
- A struggle is taking place in the political arena between the forces of nationalism and the forces of anti-nationalism. Leftism, even when it is not a part of the Communist movement is, by and large, the political expression of a self-alienated psyche. It serves as a smoke-screen for all anti-national forces. It has to be exposed and eliminated so tha anti-national forces can be seen clearly and fought decisively.
- It is the duty as well as the destiny of the national society in India as constituted at present to clean up all anti-national forces at home as a first step to cleaning them up from areas which have been alienated by Islamic imperialism. The national society in India at present should reclaim all its lost children so that it becomes once again the national soceity in its ancestral homeland of Bharatavarsha.
The details can be worked out till the language of Indian nationalism becomes an effective weapon for claiming what is its own and countering what has been smuggled in by foreign invasions.
Sanatana Dharma has a universal face. Only it has been developed more fully in India. Moreover, in Sanatana Dharma, nationalism and internationalism are not opposed; they are two necessary expressions of the same truth. Islam, Christianity and Communism are not only denationalising but also dehumanising; they represent truths about a man less than himself. That is why Indian nationalism rejects them.