PUJANIYA MOHAN JI BHAGAWATH’S SPEECH AT MMRI, BI-DECENNIAL CELEBRATIONS
(24 July 2011, Satya Sai Nigamagam, HYDERABAD) – Translated into English by Sri Raka Sudhakar Rao
My speech today is about the youth. There are lots of youths here in this auditorium. Youth, by their very nature, are emotional. They are usually volatile and are naturally given to sloganeering. Indeed and in fact, that is how youth should actually be.
But, my subject is not about the josh (emotional), but about hosh (cool and collectedness). Youth should strive till the end and strain to the last of their nerves to achieve their aims. For this, not just youthful ebullience, but fair amount of patience too is needed. Jet black hair doesn’t merely make a youth. A lot of black-haired persons may actually be mentally old and a lot many white-haired could actually be youths in their mental make-up.
For instance, there was an RSS meeting in Assam recently and at the end of the meeting; a large number of our karyakarthas went on a trip to Parashuram Kund. Parashuram Kund is a place where the river Brahmaputra is nestled amid hills. Even at its slowest, the swirling river can sweep a person away off his feet. One has to climb 300 steps on a steep gradient to worship at the temple. The kund has freezing cool water. Some of the ‘black-haired oldies’ preferred to give the climbing up a miss and others refused to even sprinkle the water on their bodies due to excessive chill. But, 87-year-old Sudarshanji, who had recently emerged from surgeries, not just climbed up the 300 steps effortlessly, but also dared to venture into the freezing cold waters. In fact, he had a full-bath there. All this, after a grueling four-hour bus travel on a pot-holed road!
So, youthfulness is an aspect of mental attitude. We are fortunate to have a huge youth force in this country of ours, a force that is young both in age and mental character. While the rest of the world is ageing, India will remain a young nation for the coming 20 to 30 years. My speech is for those who are young in both body and mind.
This speech of mine is also directed towards those who feel that the challenges before the nation are his or her challenges and feel compelled to stand up to those challenges
Even after 64 years of independence, Bharat is besieged by a slew of problems and challenges. Challenges, indeed, will be the there and after all, what is life but for such challenges. Yet, no country in the world is facing as many challenges as Bharat. We have challenges so daunting that they make the weak quiver. We have a long list of problems and these problems have been dogging us for longer periods of time. The problems are indeed daunting. But, we must not allow ourselves to cower and cringe.
Our borders are un-demarcated, not well-defended and porous. There are known enemies like Pakistan, whose anti-Indian intentions are clear and unambiguous. Pakistan keeps up threatening postures so long as India doesn’t bare its fangs. Once India becomes assertive, Pakistan will cower. So, Pakistan is not really a problem for us.
But, what we should be worried about are the Chinese intentions. China is using overt and covert means to destabilize and challenge Bharat. The Chinese are worried about Bharat emerging as a future global leader and are shaken by the prospects of Bharat upstaging them in the race for supremacy. Everyone knows about the Chinese intentions. Even the Government keeps talking about it. But, our borders roads are awful and next to non-existent. On the Chinese side, there are exquisitely laid out roads, missiles are put in place and the supply lines are well-laid out. But, on the Indian side, even today, the essentials are ferried across through a three-day long back-breaking mule trek through searing cold and chilly winds.
Then, there is the problem of illegal influx from Bangladesh, where our borders are porous and are not fenced. We, as a nation are utterly unprepared politically and diplomatically to tackle these challenges.
So much for the borders. Now to the situation within the country. Within the country, there is this spectre of terrorism exported by our unfriendly neighbor. Terror here is orchestrated from across the border and instances are also not lacking of the locals who reach out to Pakistan to become willing partners in destabilizing Bharat.
Besides this aggression, there is an intellectual aggression through researches aimed at destabilizing and dividing Bharat. This research, mentored and manufactured abroad, is sought to be foisted on us. So, there is a sponsored terror as also a sponsored intellectual terror. This is a way to weaken Bharat and is an incipient war against us as physical war is both costly and diplomatically counter-productive.
Thus, we have all kinds of days like the mothers’ day and fathers‘ day as though the parents should be respected one day in an year and be left in the lurch for the rest of the days. If the same trend continues, we would soon be having a respiration day. There is no mention of Rakhi Bandhan, which fosters the spirit of friendship and camaraderie and Sankranti, which enjoins us to be polite. There is a concerted attempt to welcome everything Western and berate everything Bharatiya.
Those, who have a responsibility to set this right, are behaving in a strange manner. For instance, our journalists begin to support azadi when they go to Kashmir. Isn’t this strange? Kashmir is an inalienable part of India and there is a unanimous resolution of Parliament to this effect. Yet, there is such talk of azadi. The army is deployed where it should not be and is withdrawn from where it should be deployed. All this is vote politics for sure.
COMMUNAL VIOLENCE BILL
The politicians for their selfish ends are mortgaging national interests and are adopting divisive politics. The communal violence bill is a case in point. The NAC which has drafted the bill has no constitutional validity. Yet, the draft bill is already hosted on Government websites. This has made parliament, MPs and the constitution irrelevant. The committee members are of doubtful credentials and several of them have repeatedly been upbraided by the Supreme Court. The aim of the bill is to divide the country and set one community against other community in a state of perpetual war. The bill is made on the premise that the majority community alone is the aggressor, while the minority is always the one that has been wronged.
Bharat has been the only country in the world, where both refuge-seekers as well as aggressors have remained at peace and lived side by side with the indigenous people. Our culture is one of assimilation, not exclusion. An attempt is now being made to destroy this character.
LOOT OF BHARAT
The hard-earned money of our people is being robbed and is being stacked in safe havens abroad. When there is a hue and cry, some scapegoats are identified for punishment while the biggies go scot free. Sources say that the amounts illegally stacked abroad are just enough to pay all our national debts and ensure growth and development for the coming 40 years. This is truly shocking and mind-benumbing.
Are our fiscal policies doing well to the country? Are they ushering in growth? The aspirations are growing and there certainly some benefits and some growth. But, this is jobless growth, which implies that there is bound to be unemployment. The prices are rising as a result of our economic growth, which is essentially inflation-based.
Only 20 per cent of the population is able to reap the benefits of these policies, while the remaining 80 per cent is sliding down into poverty. The rich are becoming richer and the poor are becoming poorer. This is leading to disaffection, violence and large-scale corruption.
I had recently visited Bihar, where I asked the locals about their current situation. They said they were now happy that they did not have to migrate in search of livelihood. What did migration gift them? Hitherto unheard of diseases like the TB and the AIDS! They had lost both their swasthya (health) and swatva (identity) due to migration.
Agricultural lands are being gifted away for industrial units. It is not just hitting the farm sector and food productivity, but a host of farm-based industrial units too are being irreparably hit. Who will benefit if the farmers are alienated of their lands without being provided with a sustainable alternative? Further, the industrial units are polluting the environs, leading to major catastrophe.
All these are due to our blind aping of the West. Our ancestors had said ‘Aano Bhadra Kratavo Yantu Viswataha” (Let noble thoughts come from all sides). But we should also have an idea as to how to use them.
Education is becoming costlier and has turned into a lucrative business. While there is a spurt in the number of schools and colleges as also is there the rise in the aspiration levels for getting quality education, the access to education is being increasingly narrowed down. The current educational system is touting the toppers and their achievement, leaving behind the countless who could not even pursue their academic dreams.
For every topper, there are 1000s of those who dropped out at the primary level itself and 100s of those who could not make it beyond the matriculation and several who could not go beyond the graduation. Hardly five or six out of 10000 are making it to the final grade.
The ABVP has recently conducted an educational survey in the country. The survey threw up startling results. There was this case of a Chhattisgarh youth who had to leave his engineering course despite a meritorious record. The reason was that his father had already sold out everything to support his elder son’s education. Now, his younger brother too is aspiring for higher studies. His father, who could not afford the cost of education for both the sons, asked only one of them to continue studying. Consequently, the elder one had to opt out.
But, what is it that this educational system, churning out? There is no sense of pride about our nationhood. Nor is there an appreciation of our virtues. There are no opportunities for our students. For instance, a youth had a calculator prototype with him. But, could not mass produce and market them as there was a ban on importing one of the components. As a result, he had to give his prototype to a Singapore-based firm, which made them and earned huge profits.
Similarly, I visited a technology museum recently. There I found the bullock cart as an exhibit of technical innovation. I became curious. The organizers had told me that the bullock cart adopted 86 technological innovations. Unfortunately, we fail to see greatness in such indigenous things. The current system of education does not impart self-respect to the student. There is neither Swa (ownership) nor siksha (education) in our current system of learning.
CAPABLE, BUT BEREFT OF SENSE OF PURPOSE
Further, our society is bereft of a sense of unity and a sense of purpose. Former President Dr APJ Abdul Kalam has pointed out that the very Indians, who revel in breaking law and circumvent rules in the country, become paragons of good behavior and utmost discipline when they go abroad. Why this dichotomy? Though educated, most of us cause traffic jams due to our irresponsible behavior during rush hours. Why is this happening?
Then there are differences that are caste, community, region and language-based. We are divided on the basis of caste. I had recently met an Indian, who had settled in Brazil long time ago. He had shunned several things Indian. But, when I wanted to know about him, he said he belonged to such and such gotra. He had left many things behind, but caste consciousness continues to stay despite the fact that both scientifically as well as historically, the Bharatiyas have been one nation. Even the recent scientific studies have shown that the Bharatiyas have the same DNA since 40,000 years. Yet, we continue to believe in caste and class. Unfortunately, such differences persist even among the most discriminated castes.
Thus there are several internal, external as well as ethical challenges facing the country. We have the ability to overcome these. Our students are very capable. For instance, the students of the technology museum bagged second prize in technological innovations leaving behind Japan and Korea. This time they are aiming for the first prize. Such is the merit of our boys and girls.
We are also doing well in the realm of sports. The world has recognized Bharat as a great power. In a place like Chitrakoot, we have shown that with the cooperation from the locals, we could harvest three crops where we used to have one crop till the recent past. This has been happening in over 500 villages.
Similarly, we had a poor boy from an interior rural area in our Chhatravaas ( hostel). On seeing our highly qualified Pracharaks, he was inspired to work for the society and became one. He had spent close to 15 years as a full-timer. There is no dearth of such people in our country.
Ours is a young nation unlike the rest of the world, which is ageing fast. So long as we have people young in body and mind, we can achieve everything. The present era is the era of information. The era that would follow this is the era of knowledge and none but India is better placed to lead the world towards the knowledge society. There is no paucity of talent in our country. We keep hearing of management trainees successfully managing vegetable vending chains and making considerable profits. We are successful because we have the twin advantage of having a great knowledge base that we inherited from our great culture and also the benefits of modern education. We have traditional knowledge systems that handed over Vedas down the generations. We also have knowledge system in the realms of agriculture and technology. We have our own jugad technology that is both innovative as well as indigenous.
The pillar of our strength is the family. The family system offers us social security and is the driving force of our economy. For us, individual is never the basic socio-economic unit. We consider the family as the basic socio-economic unit. We save for our family. It is this saving for the family that has helped Bharat tide over the global economic crisis. Thus, we have several strengths, which need to be augmented.
Bharat is on the throes of a three-fold crisis. They are the crisis of Identity, the crisis of character and the crisis of credibility.
No other country in the world has such a confused and contrite view of one’s own self as Bharat. We have a long and continuous tradition of Dharma and identity. But, concerted efforts are on to prevent the future generations from knowing about this great dharma and identity. A society that has no knowledge of its past, will lack self-respect and a sense of purpose. The crisis of credibility is a natural corollary of the crisis of identity and character. There is utter loss of credibility. We do not know who we should believe in.
This three-fold crisis is the biggest challenge facing our country. Neither China nor Pak are our problems. Our problem is our loss of character and credibility and the crisis of identity.
I recall an anecdote. There was a rabbit that was mortally afraid of everything. Even when such an innocuous thing as a dry palm leaf comes down, the rabbit scampers back to its home in fear. Fed up with this, the rabbit asked the God to turn him into a big animal like the elephant. The God did accordingly. The elephant had one day tried to venture into waters of a lake. But, it was stalled by a crocodile. Unable to bear this, the animal wanted the God to make turn him into a tiger, which the God readily agreed and did accordingly. This tiger was attacked by a herd of oxen. The animal again approached the God. The God then said instead of asking for metamorphosis over and over again, he could very well have asked for instilling courage in him.
The problem lies within and we fail to notice this. We have problems that are seemingly insurmountable. But, before taking them on, we should address the inner struggle.
There is this story about Udayana. He is a great warrior and can single-handedly beat back 12000 enemies. At the end of his learning, his guru asked him: “how many people will you fight single-handedly.”
“12000 men,” Udayana replied
“Come again after six months “
Udayana returned a chastised man. The same question was posed again. Udayana said he could actually fight only the 27 people who form the inner core group.
“Come again after six months “
Udayana came back promptly after six months. Same query again. This time, Udayana said ”I can actually fight with only one person at a time.”
Six months later, Udayana came. He was a transformed man. He was asked the same question. This time Udayana said, “Why should I fight against anyone at all?”
The Guru then said. “Your learning is truly over now. You now know everyone is your friend.
KNOW YOUR STRENGTHS
The real strength lies in the concept of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam. India has always been democratic and non-violent. There is no place for violence in the society. We should be strong enough to protect ourselves, but should not become perpetrators of violence. Violence and undemocratic means can never become successful. This process should start from within.
One must overcome the crisis of identity and should go into the roots of Indian heritage and understand them. There should be pride about Bharateeya-ness and a sense of ownership about everything Bharatiya. One should rise above the narrow considerations of caste, language, sect, region, language and politics and feel a sense of pan-Indianness.
We should firmly believe that we shall be successful in this great mission where India will fulfill the needs of the world and will overcome all impediments. In fact, this is the only thing that is certain to happen. Bharatiyais the only hope for the battered world as it has Dharma. India is the only country where the body, mind and pleasures are leashed in a balanced manner and individual –society –nature continuum becomes one with God (Vyashti – Samashti –Srushti- Parameshti). All this is achieved through the practice of pursue Arth and Kaam that are firmly leashed in by Dharm and Moksh. The ultimate aim is attainment of complete and everlasting happiness for the whole world. This is the divinely ordained duty of India towards the world.
STAND UP FOR THE LOFTY AIM
We should stand up for this lofty aim with self-pride, belief and credibility. One should shun careerism. What is life it we cannot work for the society? Did not Savarkar say that all the great qualities are a mere unbearable wastage if they are not useful for the country? One should live by spending less and less resources while giving more and more for the country. We are here for the country and we are not here for name and fame. We should strive to do good, encourage the good and try to eliminate bad from the society. There will be crises, but we should overcome them and work actively for the betterment of the society.
Unfortunately, there seems to be a tendency to increasingly lose fighting spirit and dogged determination as we become more and more prosperous. We should shun this and work actively for the society. One should remember that our work should be both democratic as well as non-violent. Revolution is a myth. There is only an evolution. Even Mao Tse Tung’s revolution of 40 years was preceded by a 150-year-long struggle. We should be willing to work with all democratic and non-violent forces. More than my speech, it is the work that we do that will impact the society in a positive manner because actions speak louder.
There was a Bouddha Bhikku who had gone to China to spread the message of Lord Buddha. After preaching the message of Buddha for several years, he decided to bring out a book on the teachings of the master. He then set about collecting the money for publishing the book. Just as he was about to get the book published, the region suffered a massive earthquake and there was widespread destruction. The Bhikku spent all the savings to serve the needy. Later, he again pooled up money. But, again there was a calamity, this time in the form of a massive flood. The Bhikku had again spent the savings in serving the needy. Then he had again pooled up the money and eventually published the book. In the preface, he said this is the third edition of the book. The first two editions were dedicated to the service of the people and represented the teachings of the master in practice. Such should be our spirit when we set out for the work of rousing the national consciousness.
Let us remember Swami Vivekananda’s call to the nation asking it to stop worshiping all other Gods and pray only Bharat Matha. He had called upon the people to worship the Daridra Narayan (under-privileged, the impoverished and the dispossessed). Let us strive to protect Jan, Jal, Jameen, Janghal and Janvar of this country and service through the fullest strength of our Jeeva . The situation will surely change for the better. Let’s start working.