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Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The 66th anniversary

Today perhaps for the first time one feels the total absence of patriotic fervor on the streets of the capital that till a few years ago reverberated with the same on the eve of independence day. The eve of the sixty sixth independence day is indeed a moment of deep introspection, where have we gone wrong and is redemption possible?

Yes it is true that India has over time emerged as a member of both the atomic and space clubs and that gives us something to be proud of. The rapidly growing middle class and the proliferation of consumer goods is also a positive sign, yet one wonders whether these limited achievements can offset the failures and the acts of shame that the nation has been enduring with amazing regularity in recent times. Even the latest round of skirmish with our neighbour gives us a feeling of belonging to a soft state devoid of national pride.

Mere rhetoric that the nation is showered with on such occasions is not enough. We have to act and grow in the right direction. We have to bring back the spirituality and love for all creations of God that form an essential part of the philosophy of all religions. We have to revitalize the nation and once again aspire for the glory that the nation once had. .  

There have been many occasions in recent years when we as a society had to hang our heads in shame, but the one single incident that recently shook the collective conscience of the nation was the blatant suspension and harassment of Durga Shakti for an act that should otherwise have commanded admiration and appreciation of the nation. The triumph of evil over righteousness that we had sadly and silently been witness to suddenly acquired a new dimension with the governance machinery brazenly conniving with those who loot and plunder. The uproar has died down and the brazenness continues.

Notwithstanding the rapid downslide of moral values in the fabric of the society, it remains  the duty of the governments to abide by raj dharma, yet it is obvious that self gratification by the powers that be has taken the upper hand over principles of justice and equality.

A recent news item about the prime minister of Norway driving a taxi to assess the pulse of his constituents should indeed be an eye opener for the mandarins of this forever developing nation, the constituents of the sarkari machinery of which regard themselves as rulers and not servants of the society that they actually are. This distorted mindset has to change much before the nation starts changing for the better.

Abject poverty, failed governance, rotting infrastructure, rampant corruption, delayed justice and a rapid downslide of moral values fills the heart with anguish on this eve of the sixty sixth anniversary of the independence day.

The India of today is a nation far removed from the ideals that it held close to its heart while striving for self rule. It is obvious that the system of checks and balances instituted by the british and unfortunately perpetuated even during self rule led to the inspector raj that successfully brought the nation to its knees. The social structure that ultimately emerged is bereft of values of any kind and service, despite the piety it evokes has degenerated to service of the self cutting across the bureaucratic and political spectrum throughout the length and breadth of the nation.

Durga Shakti therefore faced the consequences of her action, an action that would have placed her on a very high pedestal had it taken place in a society that places righteousness above evil. Unfortunately the degeneration that picked pace in the early nineties now runs so deep that far from being considered laudable, such actions are punishable. Yet the inherent strength of her name and the radiance that she exudes gives hope that her resolve to take on illegal activities regardless of the strength of the powers that (mis)rule would indeed get strengthened with time. This case spurred by the media has caught the imagination of the nation, yet there would be many more where honesty is being brutalized. 

My recent participation in a course on Indian art was an eye opener. That till the 5th or 6th century Indian art was inspired by love for the divine and all his creations after which it started withering in favor of the sponsors and the rulers was indeed the most powerful message that emanated from the course. The various art forms of ancient times inspired by the divine were true creations of love with every single creation being a masterpiece. This is in stark contrast to the art of the present times that is driven by crass commercial interests and is therefore generally ordinary with only a rare few clearing the masterpiece criterion.

It was also inspiring to learn that the art of ancient times did not permit or promote portraits and the artist remained almost under cover as art was only for the joy it gave to the artist and the masses. The practice of self perpetuation through portraits and projection of the artist however started around the mugal era and has perpetuated ever since then. In the present times, the contemporary Indian art as they call it is chiefly inspired by the love of the moolah and the desire to be known, and therein lies the major difference in the quality of the art.

Perhaps it is the same in all fields. A work performed with crass commercial interests or for the sake of self perpetuation is bound to be inferior to the one inspired by the love and the joy of creation. Be it a teacher imparting education to children, a musician stringing his guitar or even a chief executive of an organization performing his role, a performance inspired by the good of the society and the joy of creation is always far superior.

What a fall, not only in the field of art is a striking thought that comes to mind. Another realization that dawns is the greatness of the Indian nation in ancient times, a nation so developed economically and spiritually that it is a striking contrast with the present day society smug even with depravity and self aggrandizement. Yet this day we all hope and pray that the nation would rise from the ashes and acquire her rightful place in the comity of nations.

Jai Hind!

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