By Gaurav Sharma
In promotion of Indian culture and heritage, no Indian Prime Minister even minutely compares to Narendra Modi’s vigour and pro-activeness.
Apart from being a harbinger of economic development, Modi has ensured that the rich history of India is marketed profusely even as geopolitical ties with other nations are strengthened through the diplomatic route.
In his maiden visit to the United States, Modi gifted ‘The Bhagavad Gita according to Gandhi’ to President Barack Obama, thereby propounding Indic values on the Western shore.
Ahimsa or non-violence was also extolled as the guiding philosophy of the Indian nation, inspired by icons such as the Buddha and Mahatma Gandhi.
Tulsi Gabbard, an elected member of the US House of Representatives, reciprocated by gifting her own version of the Gita to the Indian Premier.
The advertisement of the Gita is not an isolated incident restricted to the United States. Modi rekindled India’s spiritual ties with the Eastern nations by presenting the message of Gita in a witty yet graceful fashion.
In his visit to Japan. Modi gifted Emperor Akihito with a copy of the Bhagavad Gita. Apart from happily advocating the universal message of the Gita, Modi tried to stem the foreign notion of India as snake-charmers.
His wry remark, “We’ve had devaluation. We used to play with snakes, now we play with the mouse. When we move a mouse, the whole world moves” made him the hero of Indian diaspora.
Secular critics, however slammed Modi’s Gita distribution as a propagation of a deeply polarizing RSS agenda.
Mainstream television news channels, ran long debates against the celebration of the universal message of the Gita, based on the warped premise that the philosophical narrative was essentially a Hindu text, and therefore its presentation to foreign diplomats was a discriminatory move on part of Modi.
The liberal secularists term such an initiative as antithetical to the ‘secular’ fabric of India.
Most of the intellectual and academic study of the Gita has been limited to either deciphering whether Krishna was real or fictional or to defining the Mahabharata as a class struggle and a clash of tribal groups.
Such narrow subjections are basically a reading of the civilisational texts through the prism of Europeanised thought.
In this regard Lokamanya Tilak’s view holds much food-for-thought; “When you want to read and understand a great book–especially a great book such as the Gita–you must approach it with an unprejudiced and unprepossessed mind”.
Moreover, the reductionist view of the ‘pseudo-liberal’ secularists, has been the greatest impediment in India’s movement towards becoming the world leader of deeper harmonious spiritual truths.
In fact, the message of the Gita can itself become the unique selling point (USP) of India in the globalized world, something that could make India stand miles apart in the geopolitical space.
Since, the United Nations has failed to usher world peace, perhaps Gita can provide the succour for wounded souls.
Besides, some of India’s most prolific and enlightened thinkers, such as Aurobindo, Mahatma Gandhi have argued for the universal message of the Gita.
S. Radhakrishnan, India’s first vice-president sums-up the broad-minded scope of the Gita as follows, “Gita does not represent any sect of Hinduism but Hinduism as a whole, not merely Hinduism but religion as such, in its universality, without limit of time or space…”
Surely not all of our founding fathers were ‘Hindu’, although the mainstream media loves to paint such a dubious picture.
Modi has definitely taken the right course by carrying the message of Gita to countries bereft of such lofty and pristine spiritual wisdom.