Location: Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, India

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Dharampalji (1922-2006)

This is a sentence typed after almost 3 hours of blankness and a loss for words to convey that - Dharampalji, a man who has had a profound influence on my thoughts, is no more.

This blog has referred to Dharampalji more than once. I request all the readers of this blog to please go through the following, and if you feel more interested, please visit the following links: Click here and here.

Dharampalji is a Gandhian Historian, who has done original research, by going through the British archives on India between 1775-1815, in dismantling a lot of myths created about Indian History over a period of time during the British Rule and after thanks to biases of the Historians as well as the needs of the polity. The historic truths that he establishes through scholarly study of the British archives give an entirely different outlook about India - far different from what is taught to its children today in schools.

In Dharampalji's own words:

If we investigate these (British) records on similar aspects further, on the basis of what is available in our archaeological, inscriptional and other historical sources, and what is still retained in the memory and consciousness of our people, we ought to be able to reconstruct our social and cultural past, and hopefully to mould our state and society accordingly.

Since Independence in 1947, it is this question of reconstruction of self and society on the foundation of our priorities, values, tradition and culture that seems to have completely eluded us, particularly our scholars, administrators and politicians. We appear to have forgotten that we can look back and learn from our own past. And based on that experience, construct our own unique identity within the context of our own affairs as well as that of the rest of the world. What do we as a nation - without leaning on others' ideological and material crutches - want? Do we have ingenuity or not? Can we make our points-as against aligning with one sort or another? I have a point to make as Indians?
We, as Indians - as a people of a nation have had an existence of only the past 60 years. But as a culture we have to go back to times immemorial. It is probably the responsibility of each of us to have an proper understanding of our culture, which may not occur without a study of our own history - that which is written with an Indian soul in it. One of the tasks that he has set for us:

... they (Indians) need to acquire a better awareness - especially as children and youth - of the human past of their localities, and to establish friendly relations with other beings including all kinds of animal life, bees, bushes and plants, rivers, lakes, ponds, hills, forests, soil, etc. which coexist with man. Similarly, we should begin to be aware of the linkage of each and every locality with the immediate region, of the region with the country, and of our country with other countries on this earth, and the earth's linkage with the cosmos.

These efforts would require new texts of well-told stories of localities, regions, countries, the world, and the various ideas about the beginning or non-beginning of the universe. Such knowledge and awareness would make our people feel confident and well informed and also enable them to partake of the Indian understanding of life and of natural phenomena.

It would also ground them in the elements of various sciences and technologies in agriculture, animal husbandry, forestry and crafts, as well as history, philosophy, grammar and language. Thus, by about the age of fourteen, our children - boys as well as girls - would have become competent citizens of their respective areas.

It is important to note that he talks of developing a world-view which is different from what we are being taught. A philosophy that is ingrained on different fundamentals.

I am not too sure if this made sense. Do drop in a comment in case of any questions. I shall be patient and glad to answer each of them. I apologise that I have not answered to some of the questions raised in this speech of Dharampalji which he gave at IIIT. I shall do so in my next post. You may read the speech here.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I felt very sad about this. May his soul rest in peace.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006 8:15:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

May his soul rest in peace.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006 6:44:00 PM  
Blogger KoPoS said...

For one i seriously regret not having had interacted more with him. Its a sad day for me. RIP.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006 7:05:00 PM  

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