A Moment of Civilisational Pride
I was born in 1955 in independent India. When I look back today, without hesitation, the best moment in public life I witnessed is the construction of a grand temple and the consecration of the idol of Shri Rama Lalla in Ayodhya on January 22, 2024. That it took nearly 76 years after Independence to build a temple that invaders destroyed is a disgrace to the civilisation of more than a billion people. However, some say it is a celebration of democracy where the majority waited with patience.
There have been devious designs to distort the history of India. First and foremost is the theory of Aryan invasion, declaring Vedic Civilization itself as an imported idea as if to justify the later invasions. The historical fact of magnificent temples in Tamil Nadu had been ignored. Which Aryan king made these temples? Germans created the Aryan theory to hide their barbarian past, but some Indian leaders bought it to disown their ancestors. In the modern era of DNA sequencing, would anybody bother to bust the myth of who came from where? It can be done quickly but won’t be done as certain myths matter more than facts.
Every civilisation is proud of its symbols of pride and identity, and who are these detractors to deny that while they themselves practise all forms of false consciousness? Powerful lobbies have, for decades, arrogated to themselves the right to define Hinduism as they deem fit and only as they deem fit. It has been fashionable to call Shri Ganesha an elephant god and Hanuman a monkey god, and Shri Rama was declared as fiction in an affidavit in the Supreme Court. These people seem oblivious to the mass awakening of a billion people.
Shri Rama and Shri Krishna are India’s identity. If some leaders and people do not understand this, their sensibilities are questioned. A little show of generosity would have done immense benefit to the spirit of secular India to have allowed the two temples of the birthplace of Shri Rama in Ayodhya and Shri Krishna in Mathura, free from later constructions, which were obviously carried out after the destruction of the temples that stood there. But a path of confrontation was chosen. Western Press has reminded readers in their headlines that a new temple has been created at the site of the razed mosque. The Indian Supreme Court has settled this issue, and every issue must be resolved at some point.
At every stage, hurdles are created, and malicious people vacillate the atmosphere. All sorts of people said all kinds of things. But the Ram Mandir finally happened and ensued so marvellously. Most appropriately, it was also decided that the Ram Mandir shouldn’t be built by the government or by any businessman like the Laxminarayan temple in New Delhi, known as the Birla temple. The construction of the Ram Mandir represented a grassroots movement, a democratic effort to resist dominant interpretations of a misrepresented history. People donated money, the best engineering companies got involved, and finally, a grand temple is now there. The city of Ayodhya will be the epicentre for Hindu pilgrims as the Vatican is for Christians and Mecca for Muslims. The airport and other infrastructure have been thoughtfully constructed with that in mind.
But now, not reflecting upon the reasons for the decadence of the Vedic Civilization would be a significant error. How come a few hundred invaders from Central Asian barren lands created such massive destruction and established their rule for such a vast land, manifold of their original territories? A false notion of societal stratification was at the root. With extraordinary efforts for social inclusion over the last few decades, Indian civilisation has naturally regained its vitality.
Let us not see Ram Mandir as a culmination but a beginning of a just society where all people are equally treated and provided with opportunities befitting their talents, including helping those who had been disadvantaged. Ironically, certain families continue to be beneficiaries of incentives meant for the poor sections of society even after gaining stature and affluence. It is a travesty of justice when the poor of the higher castes languish without support that is extended to the poor of the other sections.
In Shrimad Bhagavad Gita, Shri Krishna says He repeatedly intervenes to restore order. I see the emergence of democracy, the advent of the Internet, and finally, the coming of Artificial Intelligence as these interventions. One can see that no single individual, company, or government is using these powerful technologies. They exist beyond anyone’s control and define a new kind of world.
As I foresee, wealth is concentrated in a few hands – say, less than 100 technology companies will own most of the wealth. Now, these companies will have to circulate this money in the economy so that people can buy their products. So, people will be credited specific amounts in their accounts in whatever name, and everyone will thus have a basic income. The problem will not be about the livelihood; the problem will be to live purposefully.
It is time to start working in this direction, and honing soft skills would be crucial as machines will increase the number of routine jobs. Most of us need not go to a grocer’s shop anymore as whatever is needed is delivered to our doorstep. Even food is served piping hot at your doorstep, and you pay more if you go and sit in a restaurant. Schools will be more for socialising and playing together than lessons, available online on the TV screens. These screens can be community-owned or donor-provided in poor regions.
But what is most important is the emergence of a more humane society. The history of humanity is all about lies, fraud and exploitation. Sections of people created jargon and justifications to plunder the weak and ignorant people wherever they were. Patients were given dubious medicines, farmers had bad seeds, and spurious products were sold, exploiting people, especially the poor. Records were fudged, taxes were evaded, and falsehood prevailed as it was rewarded in every walk of life. Not anymore!
Anyone can now see the profiteering by the doctors when diagnostic tests are ordered, and medicines are prescribed. No wonder the medical fraternity lost the awe it enjoyed. YouTube videos make politicians chew their words. Crimes are caught, punished, and captured on mobile phone cameras. Next in line are Blockchains weeding out fraudulent land records and sales. Thus, I celebrate the Ram Mandir and the fact that major technology companies of the world – Microsoft, Google, IBM, Adobe, Micron Technology, to name a few – are headed by people of Indian origin.
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