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Sunday, November 30, 2014

Macaulay and his critics

It has become a fashion to boast about our rich heritage. This is resorted to more by an army of social media enthusiasts as it gives a definitely a sense of satisfaction. It is indeed a privilege to belong to a rich heritage of culture, philosophy, scientific temper, social mores, spiritual insights etc .No doubt we have pride of ancestry and hope for the future.

But at the same time we must also accept and acknowledge why? What? Who?  led us away from, not down from, such rich heritage? We also need to look at practically what we must do now, to gradually and diplomatically, not only resurrect our past glory but also revive the areas in which the modern civilization needs to march ahead for a bright future.
We must also question ourselves how much of? Or what part of our past glory that we are proud of and are willing to identify ourselves with, without disturbing our present life too much? We have too many great observations, citations singing the glory and greatness of India along with a crowd , a more visible one, which gets more recognition as well, which is more keen on projecting 'Slum dog Millionaires' for a particular audience.

We are looked down as a nation which can be easily led by emotional maneuvering and manipulations, euphemistically implying no one need to bother about the mental capacity and identity of the nation. This is because we very often resort to uncritical love as when we deify some film stars, politicians and make too many god men out of orators, scholarly interpreters of our scriptures, heads of our mutts etc or resort to unloving criticism when we blame everything on some outside force, as if out of xenophobia. I have read and reviewed wonderful books by many. Especially on this topic the books BECOMING INDIAN and BEING INDIAN by PAVAN K. VARMA, who unfortunately is now in a very wrong place for all his erudition, exposure, experience etc. Probably, driven by desperation or frustration, at the lack of recognition and want of platform to survive at his level. No one has blamed the British cultural and linguistic intrusion along with the portrayal of our proud heritage more lucidly than him.
Having said that, how many of us can touch our heart and say that whole edifice created by the MaCaulay has been destructive, has not contributed to our small growth story, it has been only negative etc?. Certainly not, every event, especially if it had any great impact, which cannot be denied or ignored, must have taken place to either make us undergo a specific experience or benefit. So, in that way Macaulay's system too had its hidden, rather I would say immense benefit for so many generations of Indians. I am not saying his system is better or correct or more appropriate for a nation like India. We cannot either deny or do away with the fact that his system did penetrate and prevailed which probably gave employment to millions of Indians then as clerks now as software professionals; it has enabled the great Indian talent to be shared by the whole world. I would like to look at the positive contribution of Macaulay. I am not evaluating it in comparison with the negative impacts it may have or has had.
But what Macaulay failed to pen down, of course he could not have, is a great trait, we as a nation and a group of individuals practicing a particular way of life, called Sanathana Dharma or Hinduism, have, namely, the willingness to imbibe and include anything that leads to more sober and sophistic march in socio cultural evolution and in addition we excel in what we have imbibed or included.
Be it the concept of vegetarianism, be it ahimsa, be it forgiveness, be it changing our attire and hair styles, be it changing our political systems, be it a foreign language, be it another culture, be it a sport like cricket etc. That’s why our Prime Minister Modi is able to proudly declare that people from many nations may be in USA but Indians are in several nations. It is our adaptability and ability to excel in what we have adapted.
Real richness of our heritage, our cultures, our traditions, our languages need to be pursued, perpetuated and practiced [their popularity is incidental] but we need not suffer from paranoid reactions that they can be destroyed by some years of occupation by rulers of different cultures, religions, languages etc.
India is a country with second largest population of Muslims.
India has world’s greatest number of people speaking English combining native and non-native people who speak or understand English than any other country in the world.
Neither of these facts have either destroyed our religion or have  destroyed our languages.
We are perhaps one of the most advanced race to really live with a universal spirit, liberal mind [liberal enough to include atheism as part of its religion] and global socio cultural adaptability.
So let us also look positively what and how Macaulay’s system contributed.
Read this link to shed all prejudices and unloving criticism.
The benefits that this single individual’s [Macaulay’s] dictate imparted to people, who were practicing Sanathan Dharma, and to the rest of the world far outweighs the smaller changes in life styles and traditions that it may have caused as a collateral damage”.

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