I recently had a chat with my childhood friend Santosh, who was shaken a bit by recent Indian politics and media. Particularly the threat to Hinduism and the pressing need of its resurrection. I do have my thoughts on it, but I wanted to hear from him what he thought and asked him to email his ideas in installments. I got the first part as below.
Da, Remember the day Sonia Gandhi got elected as the prime minister, which she ‘politely’ declined ‘upholding the principles of renunciation’. (as media hastily put it as if to uphold her Indianness). Whether sonia has become more Indian from that day or not one thing became clear to me, that the media has certainly become less Indian. The fourth estate is now like a fast food parlour. There is no much time for an analytical assessment of events and in that haste to proclaim sonia as Indian in thought and deed, what was lost to us was our own understanding of Indian thought and way of living.
Renunciation, in India has been highest spiritual virtue that stood as a synonym for detachment and adherence to the code of dharma. As Lord Krishna has put it “for the sake of a village forsake a house, for the house of a country forsake a village, … and for the sake of self denounce the entire universe”. This practice of living for a higher ideal denouncing all that is less has been prevalent in India. An India wherein Shankara , Buddha all were born who renounced the princely status to pursue something higher. So were Sita, Gandhari, Damayanti, Anasuya… all who lived the life of renunciation for a cause. Rama abdicated the throne to keep the word of his father.
Now comes the Question, has there been any hero or heroine in Indian epics who abdicated the throne and just kept quiet saying it has been an act of high renunciation? Those of you who have read the charvaka samhita will better understand Krishna’s message to yudhishtira. It is a sin to abdicate the throne, which has come to you by dharma. This is what has happened when the democratically elected prime minister refuses to rule the country. it is whimsical to call it renunciation. And, if her own reasons like “my children fear that what happened to my husband may happen to me” (oops that thought came a little just before the coronation moment… eh?) are considered. More than a concern about renunciation, a genuine concern that arises is the concern about the spine of Indian administration.
What if Vajpayee after having been elected the prime minister had said, “meri maa kahati hai. ki meim PM nahi banoom” and resigned? Could we afford a “dhoodh pine wali PM” for our country? And above all the philosophical question that arises here is “can Indian citizens be taken for a ride?”. When they elect you democratically and you say “meri gharwale log mana kar rahe heim” and decline the post? Hmm, perhaps there was a Vyasa who would call it dharmachyuti, but then the media bhavatita has already declared it renunciation. And this is ‘modern India’. The India is no more, and in”modern India” truly sonia is very much Indian.
Though I disagree that Sonia was “democratically” elected leader, I agree that India is more becoming a country which bends more backwards that remain straight and the media also playing an irresponsible role. In addition to that India now has an added burden of a “secular” government, who have got no direction to head to, other than supposedly carry on ruling “ram bharose”.
To top it, the democracy in India does not make any sense at all. When peoples who dont have a clue about their own rights and what governance is, vote in majority, I dont think democracy works. I have spoken with several people including relatives, some who criticise the government and wont go out to cast their vote. “Sab chor hai”, they say. I somehow have to restrain myself from yelling at them and just has to comment, “phir bhugto”. Democracy sure has a long way to go in India.