Day-2 of the fest saw a spurt of thoughts about the Idea of India
Mumbai : “Indian bureaucracy with western thoughts looks at India from the lenses of outsiders. We have messed up our country for the last 65 years. I am an unabashed romantic with an eternal love for India. To understand ‘Bharat’ would be difficult and hence I will speak of ‘India’ here”, said Founder, Swami Vivekananda Youth Movement and author of ‘I, the citizen’, Dr. R. Balasubramaniam, while speaking at Day-2 of the VESIM Literati Fest at Chembur on Saturday in a session titled: Ideas from India: The real India, standing up.
Also present were film director Vivek Agnihotri and TV panellist, columnist and author Ratan Sharda (the moderator of the session).
Speaking about the much publicised Idea of India, Balasubramaniam emphasised that when most countries measure their economic growth by way of GDP (Gross Domestic Product), India never bothered about it for 1600 years when India was ahead of all countries of the world between 1 and 16 AD. We need to pinpoint that DNA of India and build our social capital which is the very idea of India- to ‘give’ to the rest of the world, according to him.
Sharda said that it was high time that we started speaking about Ideas ‘from’ India instead of Idea ‘of’ India, which was met with a rather huge round of applause. He regaled the audience with titbits of information and made sure that the session remained interesting throughout. He spoke about a study by Harvard and indigenous researchers on ancestral Indian populations which states that there is a genetic relationship between all Indians and more importantly, the hitherto believed “fact” that Aryans and Dravidians signify the ancestry of north and south Indians which might after all, be a myth, which shatters the very foundation of the ‘Idea of India’.
“The eyes cannot see what the mind doesn’t know”, spoke Agnihotri, “As a young boy growing up with no intellectual choices as compared to the ones offered to this generation of youngsters, I was taught that rich people and being happy were bad. Indian mindsets have been nurtured in such a way where we have constantly been reminded of poverty, unemployment and forced into a certain race and taught not to take pride of oneself in the process, he said. “After liberalisation, we live in a world full of choices but when it comes to intellectual thoughts, we have none!”
Speaking about the recent ‘intolerance’ chapter that seemed to inflame India, Agnihotri said, “We are not a system-driven country. If you question something, it is called intolerance. India’s biggest advantage is the joint family system which teaches one to co-exist with people whose views and thought processes differ from one’s own.” Also, “If you want to discover yourself and give wings to your creativity, India is the best place for it.”
The next revolution in India will be brought by housewives who can run a unit so efficiently and productively. In the next 25-30 years, this inherent strength in women would become the real power of India, predicted Agnihotri.
When it came to the topic of ‘award wapsi’, Balasubramaniam said that if they had returned awards, then one might as well applaud as they had returned something that they didn’t deserve. To which Agnihotri said, “It was a big scam. I have no sympathy for them. Those who made movies on government grants were also in that league. Defame them like a girl who would defame her molesters.”
An important takeaway was from the man who has spent the last 30 years of his life in the forests with the rural and tribal India – the real India- in spite of his family and friends calling him crazy. Balasubramaniam, who lives by Swami Vivekanand’s principles, said that all work goes through three stages- ridicule, opposition and acceptance. His work had reached the third stage, said he, as his words had found ears searching for them. “We must build on what we have, stay and grow with it. We need to have compassion, faith (that we are great and can make a difference), spirit of enquiry (who am I?), mindfulness, spirit of service. We need to learn to laugh not at others but with others. And then India of the future will be the India of its glorious past. What we want is Indians who make the world.”
The session did give voice to some ideas that could surely make India move in the right direction- of prosperity, peace and progress through purity, patience and perseverance.
The committee of student members of VESIM Literati Fest also arranged for a stall by PETA which promoted vegetarianism. The students had also installed a barren ‘resolution tree’ where the visitors could write the names of the books they intended to read this year, on leaves and stick it to the branches, thus bringing the tree back to ‘life’. The fest concluded with a band performance by Paradigm Shift.
(To receive our E-paper on whatsapp daily, please click here. We permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)