Why is India special? How is India different? What is the idea of India?

We are special because we already have what others are searching for – wisdom of life. What is it? It is the knowledge, acceptance and embracing of the middle path. Why is that wise? Because life exists only in the middle, extremes have been designed as chambers of destruction. Everything that is a waste and not required for life on earth is aligned with the extreme and eventually destroyed. What remains are those and that which exist in the middle.

India is different because we have so much diversity built into our DNA that we automatically reject any concept that is singular.  Many invaders tried their best to cloak us in single dimension but we rejected it even as we embraced and accepted what was good in them.  Forget external forces; look at our own way of living, philosophy or what we have now come to know as religion. It is not religion at all. That is just the superficial lazy branding to a much larger inclusive concept of life. Hinduism does not originate, practice or celebrate one God, one doctrine, one way, one system or one anything.  

We have multiple Gods, Avatars, Gurus, theories, systems and ways of life. It is same with our language, food, art, fashion and cultural and social streams. There are numerous ways in which we cook the same lentil and rice. Our dialects and languages change every few kilometers. Our ceremonies and rituals change with every region. We neither welcome our new born in one exact manner, nor do we bid farewell to our dead in the same way.  We do not get married in the same way.  We do not perceive life as a well or a pond but as a river with many tributaries channels and detours. We do not even restrict ourselves to human form of God or wisdom. We also worship animals, nature, elements and almost every living and non-living creation of God. We learn wisdom from even ants and birds and wind and Sun.

Our way of life is truly inclusive of everything that Earth has to offer. We engage with it, we accept the good, reject the negative, embrace the learning from all of it and make it our own. We do not try to change them. We change ourselves and progress, evolve and adapt. This is why whenever we have followed our actual way of life we know as Hinduism, we have been an advanced society. We are not one right now, atleast not compared to what we were and this is why it is important for our present people to introspect and engage with actual values and knowledge of our way of life that has served us well as one of the oldest civilizations on Earth.   

Therefore, Idea of India is not one thing; it is many. Simply put, Idea of India is sculpting. Chipping away the extremes to keep the middle emerging. This is a constant process. We should not be worried, scared or intimidated by it even if the sculpting is sometimes noisy, violent or even a complete waste. We should engage with it, investigate it, chip off the extremes and embrace, and accept the middle.  This is our collective conscientiousness, our collective DNA, and collective character of our nation. We are all sculptors.

This is why India has time and again been the source of inspiration and discovery of higher meaning of life and love.

Coming back to our present, there has been a lot of concern regarding random and excessive ‘saffronization’ of our systems, public life, political narrative or even general discourse. Prior to this, there was a lot of concern about excessive appeasement of some resulting in suppression of others. Neither the past succeeded in 'Islamization' of our land or people and nor will the present succeed in Saffronization of our land or people. Even fierce, cruel and violent invaders could not do this.  The Mughals could not do this. The Colonial Empire could not do this. Even the great Alexander could not do this.  The well travelled well funded missionaries, the loud and intense preachers; even the well-connected and much revered Godmen could not do it. I mean they managed to get some at some point for some time but none of them could get us all, everywhere, for all times or destroy our sculpture, our way of life, our idea of India.  

It is true that we have been more efficient in sculpting the external compared to the internal excesses, like castes, patriarchy, inequality and classism, but make no mistake, we are sculpting at them continuously and it is only a matter of time before we have chipped them off from our sculpture. 

I see all this, all of them and their existence as weathering. We as sculptors often find ourselves facing the sculpture, the fabric of our nation covered with excess, clouding and cloaking our beautiful sculpture and to some, it may even look like one monolith block for a while. So every time we sculpt the excesses, the waste, the unneeded and the extremes, and what emerges eventually is always the middle path, the sculpture. This is the idea of India.

Do not despair. Do not freeze up. Do not be scared. What you see as dangers are only that, if left unattended. If you engage with them, if you investigate them, explore them, reject the negatives, extract the positives; then they are just tools for you to sculpt the idea of India, the middle path. Everything that comes at you has been sent to deliver some good, reject some bad, ignore some useless and evolve your sculpture. We must believe that. This is is our faith, our way of life. Nothing can change it but everything can evolve it, to make it better and relevant to the future we are approaching and not just our present.

India is art. India is science. India is knowledge. India is wisdom. India is peace. India is love. India is diversity. India is plural. India is freedom. India is not one thing; it is many. God gave us this knowledge, wisdom and way of life to liberate others, not cage ourselves in it. Learn it, embrace it, spread it and celebrate it. 

Happy Independence Day.

*Images are from Google. Not mine. Used only for representational purpose. 


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