Location: Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, India

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Dharampalji's Speech

18/2/2006 : The following is the text of Dharampalji's talk in the campus - he has sent me the corrected version of the earlier approximate version.

It is important to study his thoughts for a different perspective of how the world could be. I strongly recommend every one of you to go ahead and study the speech.

The corrections made in the text of the speech provide greater clarity to the reader for understanding the point of view.

Text of the Speech

I I I T, Hyderabad, 5.01.2006


Perhaps you have heard that I have been interested in Indian political and social events since I was very young. I seem to remember that I visited the Annual Session of the Indian National Congress held in Lahore in December 1929. I was about eight then. About a year later, Sardar Bhagat Singh, the great Indian revolutionary and patriot, was also executed by the British in Lahore in early 1931. At that time I seem to remember that I joined my school friends in a procession to protest against the execution.

In my school during the 1930s we also talked of Indian independence from British rule. Our general understanding was that freedom from British rule would be a blessing for India. But some of us in Lahore, especially some of the teachers, felt that the British should not leave so soon as their leaving India may tempt the Afghans, etc., to attack India. During the 1930s and the 1940s till 1946, many of us were not too sure whether India was strong enough to rule itself and preserve its independence.

But by 1946, the British eventually decided to leave India, take the British army and officers back to Britain, and made agreements with the political and administrative leaders of western educated Indians that to begin with they would administer and rule India in the same manner as the British had done. According to the British what thus had been arranged was a transfer of the political, administrative and military power which they have had over India for over 150 years, to a group of select Indians, whom they trusted, on August 1947. They also did a similar transfer of power to Pakistan (including East Bengal) on Aug 14. 1947.

While this transfer was called independence it was made like a deed of transfer of second hand property from the British to the Indians, and as the Indian property held by the British had deteriorated and become relatively rigid and non- functional over the period of British rule, it could not, given the British arrangements, laws and rules, etc, be of much immediate use to the Indians.

As for as I recollect, practically no Indians felt any great joy at the fact that the British were leaving India. Part of the joy had been much reduced by the sad and cruel events of the partition of India, and the manner the transfer took place. It looked as if the British were transferring the keys of the colossal prison they had made of India to their Indian successor. The sense amongst most Indians that India was still a British made prison holds true even today.

If 15 Aug 1947 heralded the Independence of India - every locality, Mohulla, and community and individually had to be told so and informed that from then on they had the right and opportunity to reshape their societies and politics and the relations amongst them. But this was not done. For it was the conquering and occupying each and every area of India which the British did from about 1750-1820, rather than that they got India from the Mughal Shahzada, or from some other Indian ruler. It is possible that half the Indian population was destroyed in India by the British during their rule.

It is not that the British were mild to the people of Britain while they were cruel and blood-thristy towards the people they conquered and subdued in India and other places. From about the Norman conquest of Britain in 1066 to about 1900 the British were nearly as cruel to the majority of the people of Britain as they were to conquered in India, etc. This would also be true of other Europeans, those who settled in the Americas from 1500 AD onwards, or who began to settle in Africa, S E.Asia, etc.

According to European political theory be it of Greek or Roman origin, or a product of the old Testament of the Bible, the conqueror of any area has limitless claims and rights on the area he conquers. He can protect, or preserve or destroy whom he wishes. And as long as the conquest lasts it is inherited by his successors. According to such a theory, any living beings, as such, including human beings, plants and animals and insects have no inherent rights bestowed to them by the primeval creation in the world.

The people of India since their ancient past subscribed to different ideas. Indians believed that every thing which gets created with life form has a sanction and validity of its own, and one form of life may be transformed, transmigrated, into another form of life after the demise of a specific body. In the Indian sense, the earth is inhabited not just by man but by the variety of life forms in the innumerable localities of the world. These forms ordinarily may vary in their expression and swabhavas from locality to locality.

While according to the views of the West, the movement of life is linear in nature and much of what happens is irreversible. The Indian Civilization does not subscribe to such ideas. The Indians sort of believe that they have lived in the vast Indian area from the beginning of time and there is a recurrence of events, like those of the Ramayana and the Mahbharata, time and again. The story of Kak-Bhusand narrated by Tulsidas in Ram Charit Manas is a superb illustration of such beliefs.

It seems that till about 1800 AD India was a well functioning society not only in the field of agriculture, horticulture, animal husbandry, etc. but also in innumerable crafts and technologies. According to modern estimates around AD1750 India and China produced some 73% of the manufactured goods of the world. India was a highly literate and scholarly civilization, and it seems that even in the depressive days of the early 19th century most sections of the Indian community were fairly literate and informed. Indian medical systems-ayurveda and surgery were of ancient origin and well laid. Similarly was the situation with metallurgy, architectural sciences and technology, chemicals and dyes and various other technologies. India perhaps has been the ancient home of the cotton plant and textiles also.

While India perhaps had no major need to export its agricultural or Industrial products to countries outside India yet it had a major maritime trade from ancient times and had its own ships. Around 1405, Calicut was a major port of India and at that time some 300 Chineses ships with some 30,000 soldiers were halting there for a period of about five months. The Commander of the Chinese fleet was admiral Chen Ho, who is said to have sailed between China and East Africa for some 10-20 times between 1405 - 1430.

With such a background India did not require Britain and its laws, rules, etc., to make a new start of an independent polity in 1947. It perhaps would have been better if India had dissolved the British structured Indian state and created a new civilizational union of India on the basis of the affinity between Indian common inheritance, languages, literature, and shared ancient swabhava and institutions. In fact India forming itself as a new global unit along with East Asia, SE Asia and Central Asia would have made a welcome beginning for a relatively peaceful future for life on earth and still can do so if it so determines along with its neighbors .


Anonymous Imanpreet said...

Nice, but I really don't get the following.

It perhaps have been better if India had dissolved the British rented Indian state and created a new civilization union of India on the basis of the affinity between Indian common inheritance, languages, literature, and shared ancient swabhava and institutions.

Pardon me for my naivness about such things.

Saturday, January 07, 2006 11:51:00 AM  
Blogger mythalez said...

I also seem to be as naive as Imanpreet, so can the sage plz elaborate on wat was meant in the closin paragraph ??

Monday, January 09, 2006 8:36:00 AM  
Blogger KoPoS said...

agree with myth and iman, what does dissolving the state really mean?

Monday, January 09, 2006 10:24:00 AM  
Anonymous Imanpreet said...

Has the sage left for the Himalayas ;-)?

Wednesday, January 11, 2006 1:35:00 AM  
Blogger agastyabhrata said...

hello all,

I was busy with Dharampalji till the previous day. I shall write a separate post exclusively on this topic - how do we understand the last paragraph of Dharamaplji's speech.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006 8:11:00 AM  

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