Nationalism in India has become a much debated upon issue these days. For someone who has dedicated his life to the Indian Army, the goose bumps he/she derives while seeing our National Flag fly high on our borders will define Nationalism. For someone who has been inculcated with the yesteryear Congress Party’s ideology, the crucial roles played by their knights in shining armour, “Gandhi, Nehru and other Congress political leaders“, has everything to do with Nationalism. For someone who is affiliated with Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), service to the Nation and showering respect on Bharat Mata could aptly describe Nationalism. For an Indian Sportsman, wearing the logo of India proudly upon his/her sleeve can be described as Nationalism.
The remaining of us Indians clearly need to understand what prompts us to be proud of this Nation.
Is it the fluttering of National Flag?
Is it chants like “Vande Mataram” and “Bharat Mata Ki Jai“?
Is it the greatness of Indian dynasties of the past?
Is it the Independence Freedom Movement?
Is it our rich tradition which infuses morals and values?
Or is it wearing your country’s jersey in a energetic sports stadium? Infact it might actually be a mixture of all of the above or even more!!!
First and foremost there is a severe lack of awareness of the greatness of Ancient India’s civilization among the masses of India. Before the rise of Mughal conquest, India was the centre of World Civilization. India had flourishing trade routes established all over the world – from modern day Europe, Persia, Africa and far reaching corners of China. Even to this day many of our school going students are being taught that it was Vasco da Gama who discovered the ports of Goa in India, there by linking a trade route between Europe and Asia.
Ironically it was the Tamil Dynasty of Pandiyan Empire which had the strongest Naval fleet in the world around 6th to 16th century. Vasco da Gama had personally mentioned in his memoirs that it was a Gujarati trader’s fleet of ships which has guided him and his misguided fleet on his en-route to India.
Even in the fields of Science and Medicine we have been World leaders, the value of an Indian Scientist and Doctor is recognized worldwide to this day. Greatness of Vedic Mathematician “Aryabhatta“, Father of Ayurveda “Charaka” and other scientific achievements of Indian Rishis have been subdued for long by our Political leaders.
One might think that as per the World Standard Time, we all still follow the Greenwich Meridian Time and hence most of the greatest scientific achievements might have been from the European Civilization. What one doesn’t realize that the “Maha Kaleshwara Temple in Ujjain” is not just a mere symbolic Shiva temple but it is a representation of a time keeper. The Lingam present there, passes right through the marker point, which was once considered as the “Ujjaini Mediaian”. Varahamitra in 530 CE, in his Pancha Siddhankita, verse 9-10, on time correction meridian states that
“One Nadi for every 53 1/3 yojana has to be deducted or added by the people in the east and west respectively of the Ujjaini Medidian”
This has not only been some random quote picked up from Sanskrit literature but it has been validated and accredited by historians from other civilizations. Ptolemy has marked the city of Ujjain as “Ozene” in his map and had suggested Ujjain to be a cardinal city of the World. French Nuclear physicists “Fritjof Capra” in his book “The Tao of Physics” suggest that the Aanandha Thandavam of Lord Nataraja is a symbolic metaphor to the dance of subatomic particles.
After reading a few noted historical facts of our Indian culture and civilization, will one still not be proud of this Nation? Or wouldn’t one try to respect this Nation for how much advanced we were on comparison with other Civilizations in the World Arena?
Now coming to Independence Movement during the Colonial British Empire, we keep reading the kind of peaceful transition we have had from British Empire. But one simply doesn’t understand the torments and abuses that our freedom fighters had to undergo, in order to achieve freedom. In Mahatma Gandhi’s book Hind Swaraj, he affirms the usage of passive resistance against the British Rule but unfortunately this is misrepresented by modern historians as peaceful force. Nowhere in this book did Gandhi talk about settling for peace with the British. He keeps urging the reader for the use of passive resistance as a force against our colonial rulers for he believed that it is the most vital weapon.
Stories of V O Chidambaram Pillai’s who tried to oppose British in monopolizing sea trade and how he was forced to succumb to colonial British in the palayamkottai jail needs to be known to many. Kodi Katha Thiruppur Kumaram was delivered with several annihilating blows but he still refused to bring down our National Flag there by dying in the process. Reading stories of Indian National Army’s conquest in Imphal by Subhash Chandra Bose along with the Japanese Army will bring quivers down one’s spine.
If one actually manages to visit the “Celluar Jail in Port Blair“, stories of “Kalapani” will torment you all through your dreams. Local guides will teach you the kind of ill treatments suffered by the likes of Veer Savarkar. The architecture of the Jail was designed in such a way that no solitary prisoner was given an opportunity to look at another Indian soul for the rest of his life. Although Veer Savarkar and his brother Ganesh served sentence in the same prison, the Britishers ensured that either of them were never aware of each other’s existence for their full terms in jail.
In each cell the prisoners were given one iron bowl which should be used for eating, drinking and excreting. The oxidizing of iron bowl would slowly kill the prisoner in a matter of time as well. The dining area was located very close to the prisoner’s hanging area, thereby ensuring that prisoner’s were constantly subjected to the sound which delivers one’s death. Ironed by heavy chains, overworked till their bones crumbled and stories of mental agony still taunts the walls of this prison.
We as a Nation are never in short of literature to glorify our Civilization’s achievements or the goriness of Colonial brutality. We can just assume that our Political masters have ensured that the right literature is not available to the next generation of India. In short to contextualize, our text books have been busy explaining history of Babar and Akbar to instil secularism, but clearly we have forgotten to read about true Indian History which has certainly failed to arouse a sense of Nationalism to many.
The NIT Srinagar student’s flag hoisting movement is clearly a wakeup call. These heroes have clearly warded off Local anti-social elements, Administrative brutality and the brute force of Jammu and Kashmir Police. These are the kind of students that we should be looking up to, for they raised the National Flag and repeatedly shouted slogans of “Vande Mataram” and “Bharat Mata Ki Jai” in an intensely repulsive environment. I would like to dedicate my article to these heroes for they have inspired many of what we should have been doing in our student day.