A nation is usually defined as cohort of people, group or society bound by some construct like geography, land, culture, religion, civilisation or some shared story or history. The civilisation has few specific traits like core ideological values the West defined later on as religion, social structure, governance, administration, education, script, art, culture, architecture & language.
When nuances start getting diversified the subject starts getting complex. These nuances with more than 50 shades of grey gets least attention sadly. Some ignore it naively, some deliberately and some actually distort it so grossly that sometimes it takes millenniums to correct some of the very basic fundamentally small errors, like a projectile fired in space missing the expected destination by lightyears if firing is overshot by a margin of error of a fraction of milliseconds/millimetre.
To fix something actually we need to know what’s exactly broken. Some of the issues are congenital which we inherit by birth, some developmental and rest we acquire during our journey. It’s important to identify what went wrong in our diagnostic quest. We want to treat our wounds primarily and not pursuing our journey to blame anyone. No one from the current generation is directly responsible for what we all went through but all of us can be the part of solution for generations to come. We are not seeking justice as Western concept which is more about retribution. But for ‘Nyay’ which is more about healing and build memory like our immunity to protect us in future too. We can never ever get what we lost and justice for us is impossible. Even the materialistic loss is unaffordable for our aggressors to sort reparations.
Justice is Western concept with long process which is more favourable to criminals & Nyay of Bharat is victim focussed and helps more in healing of wound.
We are nursing our deep civilisational wounds which are still poked (naively or deliberately). When we moan, groan or cry in pain from these wounds even our writhing is distorted as intolerant shrieks and screams by apathic ecosystem. Sadly, some of our own ‘Children of Civilisation’ have amnesia, delusional or are in denial about their own wounds. We want to heal our wounds and don’t want anyone to poke them ever even if they belong to our own civilisational ilk.
We Easterners are emotional, passionate and when in pain we lose rationality making it easier for our conniving aggressors to manipulate and distort our story even more. The mannerism is specific to culture, cohort and societies and it varies from one to other. Western mannerism is considered as universal globally which is fundamentally wrong but we all have normalised this so much that we don’t even question it. When Easterners behave differently to Western standards even our own flog us sometimes making us more sensitive when in pain or passionate to correct.
Let’s start our journey from when it all began.
Bharat vs India
Bharat an ideology
We call, speak, hear, refer and talk of Bharat millions of times and did we think what do we mean by Bharat. Since our narrative is Western constructed, it creates disconnect with our Eastern view point and understanding causing confusion. The way we define nation, culture and religion differs significantly from West and modern vanguards of diversity don’t acknowledge this diversity.
We all have heard this multiple times, so frequently especially by English speakers that we don’t question when they project our identity as an ‘Idea’ of India. The ‘idea’ is defined as thought, conception, notion, impression, opinion, view, belief, fantasy, a concept developed by mind or mental image. I want you to pause here for a moment and ask- if you actually think that India is just an ‘idea’ generated in mind. Please question this idea of ‘Idea of India.’ If you also think that India is more than idea please educate and enlighten them what we would discuss shortly.
The political, philosophical and ideological discourse has been dominated for long by this imaginary, artificial, hypothetical and subjective ‘idea’ of India. It makes it so easy for anyone to interpret or distort it as they like and call it their ‘idea’ of India. We have not seen this ‘idea’ anywhere else. If we are discussing 50 shades of an ‘idea’ anyone can call white or green as theirs shade of grey and their idea of India. It’s ironic, albeit sad when people familiar with India call it an idea.
India isn’t just an ‘idea’ but Bharat is an ‘ideology’
We are lot more than just an idea. We are a continuum of the oldest and the only surviving civilisation on the planet. We are undermining our own glory and proud legacy of our defiant ancestors who defended our civilisation with their sweat and blood. The only one ever to survive cruel barbaric inhuman invaders, crusaders and colonisers. Many Indians themselves are unaware of this biggest foundational and fundamental fact of our glorious nation. This was kept away from our own story which still has bias of our aggressors from millenniums. History is written by victors and looking at our narrative it does not look like we have won yet. On the contrary our narrative criminalises us for being innocent and punishes us despite us being defenders.
Bharat is continuum of millenniums old civilisation which has universal acceptance and humane values. It believes that multiple and diverse path leads to truth. Bharat believes truth is about perspective and respected different views rather than focussing too much about ‘The Truth’. The Truth may be the one but can have multiple perspective and it acknowledges different truths too. It actively respected, empowered and promoted diversity. The diversity was inherently inbuilt not a late add on.
Uniquely diverse diversity of Bharat
Bharat had unique concept of diversity on planet, the ‘diversity of thought’. The only meaningful diversity is ‘diversity of thought’. The ‘diversity of thought’ encompasses every other diversity. Any other diversity is superficial and undermines the concept of diversity.
When ‘diversity of thought’ is inherent it automatically encourages so much diversity and bestows collateral advantages. The dissent, criticism was taken as diversity of thought and was encouraged, not attracting any punishment unlike many other cultures. The dhobi of Ram Rajya wasn’t ridiculed or punished for his dissent to the ideal Raja and Rajya. The non-believers, atheism, blasphemy was again regarded as diversity of thought and wasn’t even frowned upon let alone attracting penalty or punishment. There are multiple instances in folk tales, stories and history supporting this.
This diversity led to actual freedom of thought nurtured ande nourished an environment for scientific, literature, art, musical and philosophical advancements for the civilisation.
This diversity encouraged multiple beliefs, sects and diverse values/beliefs system, mandated people to have freedom to practise their beliefs. The same diversity insulated public from the beliefs/value system of kings/rulers and Bharat never accepted as beliefs of their king/rulers as commoner’s belief. The commoners were free from any interference even from their own rulers. The faiths and beliefs were considered as personal affair with no official or royal directives. The diversity has become a popular word in West where it was late add-on and not inherently built in.
The first & second world war happened in quick succession and with changing geopolitics it made West introspect. That’s when they realised that they didn’t have diversity leading to many wars and also with colonisers shame and guilt they allowed diversity. It first allowed diversity as people who looked different allowing some immigrants to come in and then allowing diversity of choice and then sexual orientation. They still haven’t reached the stage of diversity of thought which we had it long ago.
It’s also important to understand why we do care and what diversity means in day-to-day context. The diversity encourages humane values, respect towards others and also help humanity to adapt and evolve. Different people with different perspective see and think differently. Diversity leads to better solutions. Hence diverse teams reach bigger potentials.
Bharat had beautiful and incredible diversity unlike any other place on planet. Most western countries have homogenous population. India has more population of many countries put together-extremely dense teeming with diversity and heterogeneity.
For millenniums, Bharat lived happily building as an great durable, defiant, incredibly glorious civilisation.
We were neighbours’ envy and owners’ pride. We were prosperous and poverty was unknown to us. We built grand temples, forts, architects, observatories and many wonders. Bharat never built dungeons as we see in foreign castles which were used to inflict inhuman and barbaric punishment,
Bharat encouraged many different thought processes that evolved spontaneously along with evolutionary model.
Hindu values kept adapting and evolving with many visionaries pre-empting, adapting and reacting to changing circumstances. The tolerant and liberal society welcomed it as diversity of thoughts.
We then had division of labour in occupational classes warriors/scholars/business/unskilled workers as even now most modern world have class 1-4 employees or skilled/unskilled.
The geographical Bharat had many janapada working under grand umbrella of Bharat. This was the first example of democracy on the planet, an inclusive, federal and respectful democracy.
Bharat Varsha premised a geographical uniformity extended from Afghanistan to Burma and Kashmir to Kanyakumari. The transitional point was between Afghanistan and Iran on Eastern side, at Burma on Western side, Himalaya on North and Indian Ocean to the South. This is similar to Pan-America which means only North America not South America.
Bharat was mutually respectful of small kingdoms around it who not only flourished but were nurtured and nourished in mutually respectful way, not in patronising humiliating way.
Indigenous Beliefs and Evolution
Bharat birthed many values systems; in fact, the most in any part of the world.
Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, Sikhism and many more sects came into being. West defines religion in totally different way and defining Indian values systems by Western terms created big chaos and confusion which is still so evident. Bharat believed in universal and humane values-based systems. Some even called it way of life. But some experts, scholars, legal luminaries still struggle to define it as we are still using limited myopic Western definitions. It’s like finding the units to measure the vastness of universe. By the time we measure, the universe expands even more. The dharma in India means righteousness and duty not the Western definition of religion.
Bharat believed in mutual respect with ‘diversity of thought’ as default. The concept of ‘tolerance’ comes from arrogant and supremacist societies who doesn’t respect ‘diversity of thought’. The supremacist see diversity as something they tolerate and see others they are tolerating as sub-servient. It’s also self-servient to them as ‘look how great we are’ after they started nourishing their colonial guilt and while the tolerated one is at mercy of the tolerant level. Bharat believed in mutual respect.
Bharat believed everything is dynamic, evolving and the only constant is change. It inherently believed in the beginning of universe, evolution and even predicted that life has inception, propagation and then destruction. Now we all know Sun as the ultimate source of energy as big ball of gaseous plasma burning fuel and 5 billion years it’ll run out of fuel leading to decimation of all planets. Bharat saw life as energy and was never at odds with science, in fact it was scientific itself and actively discovered and invented many things as it believed in multiple perspectives.
Bharat’s diversity diversified by geography
The diversity of climate and geography also led to more diversity with people adapting and acclimatising to environment around them.
People in India synchronised their life style with nature. They never destroyed nature for development or monetary gains. They worshipped nature- in every form- vanspati, vegetations, nature, planet, rivers, sea and prayed for peace in whole universe. The prayers are for entire humanity including believers and non-believers.
Unity in Diversity
In modern context, India campaigned about ‘Unity in Diversity’. India celebrates incredible diversity. But the ‘Unity’ was never defined rather it was distorted. Confused Indian state occasionally mentions unity as being Indian. India isn’t just a landmass or nation which got freedom in 1947 or is it anyone’s subjective ‘idea’ of India. It’s sad that not many mention the grand unity of ‘Civilisation’. Unity in Diversity turns trite motto unless we define what unity is, it’s civilisational unity.
Wish we had defined our civilisational unity and India could have had been more stable than the turbulent times it faced in last millennium.
Ancient Bharat celebrated diversity and had clarity about what united Bharat, the civilisational unity
(To be continued…)