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India faces more threats to its republic today than it did 66 years ago

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By Nithin Sridhar

India is today celebrating its 67th republic day. It was on this day 66 years ago that Indian constitution came into force. Indian constitution is not only central to Indian democracy, it also upholds the fact that India is a sovereign nation and it is no longer under foreign rule. Thus, the celebration of Republic Day is in many a sense symbolically more significant than the celebration of Independence Day.

Independence Day marks the day India became independent from British rule, but Republic day attests each year of our sustainment of that independence, of our democracy. Each Republic day marks another year when India has been successful in retaining her sovereignty, her democracy, and more importantly her Prana (life force). India is a very old nation with a very long history and culture of many thousand years. It is a living civilization that refused to die in spite of repeated invasions and occupations by outsiders. Its Prana, which was described as Ma Durga in Vande Mataram, is still alive and flourishing. Thus, Republic day does not just represent the formation of a new country, it truly marks the freeing of an old national spirit personified as Bharat Mata from the clutches of colonialism.

But, this Indian Prana, the very lifeline of our republic, faces more threats to its existence- internal and external- today, than it did in 1947 when India finally got out of colonialism. There are a number of breaking India forces (to use a term popularized by Rajiv Malhotra), who are continually attempting to exploit already existing fault lines in the Indian society and also trying to create new fault lines where none exist.

Let’s take a few examples from 2015 itself. There was a great uproar over the lynching of Mohammad Akhlaq by few Hindus in Dadri allegedly over a rumor that a cow was killed and consumed. This was indeed a ghastly incident and was rightly condemned. But, did the incident really call for the whole propaganda of alleged intolerance rising in India? Did it really call for writers returning their awards over supposed intolerance? If such an incident indeed calls for such huge outrage, why was there no outrage, no return of awards over the death of Sanju Rathod, which happened many months before Dadri, and who was killed by a group of Muslims because a cattle belonging to a Hindu family grazed on the land belonging to a Muslim family?

Violence or murder is indeed ghastly and condemnable whether it is committed by people belonging to majority community or minority community. Yet, why only one deserved media attention and country wide staging of outrage and the other was equally ignored by everyone? This incident clearly establishes how there are certain breaking India forces working behind the scenes who exploited Hindu-Muslim fault lines that exist to defame India and create a false sense of fear and intolerance about India. The whole intolerance movement, which magically became silent after Bihar election’s outcome, points towards a deep nexus between people in various fields who have joined hands with breaking India forces.

A similar media bias and exploitation of an existing fault line can be seen with respect to Dalit issues. Any incident, any crime related to a Dalit is always portrayed as an issue of caste discrimination, though in reality it may not be. At the same time, any incident that identifies Dalit as a Hindu is deliberately suppressed as well. A comparison of the media’s treatment of suicide of Rohith Vemula with the media’s treatment of the recent murder of Savan Rathod clearly brings out the biasness.

Rohith’s suicide has been increasingly being portrayed as Dalit issue and issue of Caste oppression, though his family is claiming he was not even a Dalit. At the same time, the death of Savan Rathod, another Dalit, who was burnt by a group of Muslims simply because he was a Hindu, has been completely suppressed. This incident again reinforces the fact that certain sections of the media and outrage brigade has no real concern towards losing human lives or care towards increasing violence and crimes. They are only concerned at exploiting these historical fault lines of Indian society to further weaken Indian society and destroy the idea of India as Bharat- the living national spirit that had come down from hoary past.

These are not the only attempts at breaking India. The year 2015 was marked with various serious issues that were in many a sense manufactured to create a new fault line where none exist. The issue of women’s entry into Sabarimala and the ban on Jallikattu, and the outrage over elephants kept in temples are only a few major examples.

It is significant to note that each of these issues is related to Hinduism, Hindu traditions, and practices. The issue of prohibition of women into certain temples like Sabarimala was deliberately transformed from a religious issue into an issue of women’s rights. Similarly, Jallikattu was banned under the pretext of animal rights violations, though the ground reality was something different. These very same people who cry over supposed injury to temple bulls or temple elephants have continuously maintained silence over illegal cow slaughtering, celebration of beef eating, or even goat slaughtering during Bakrid, etc.

The fact of the matter is neither Jallikattu nor temples keeping bulls are by design violent in nature. There may be occasional incidents of injury to animals. But, such incidents can be minimized by proper regulation and monitoring. The outrage brigade is clearly not interested in such monitoring, because their actually concern is not the safety of the animals, but regarding how they can exploit the issue to dismantle Hinduism that forms the foundation of Indian life and Indian national spirit-Prana.

It is in this context that various initiatives that map elements of Indian society, be it Harvard mapping of the Kumbh Mela (exposed by Rajiv Malhotra), or reports about how burning incenses are causing air pollution, or reports released by the ilk of Armed Conflict Resolution and People’s Rights Project’, must be understood. These are all attempts at dismantling Indian society, culture, and traditions, so that they could be broken down and Indian way of life is completely destroyed.

Then, there are of course the Christian missionaries and their evangelization projects like Joshua Project, Project Thessalonica, etc. using which they harvest the souls; and the rising influence of radical Islam and Islamic terrorism, as witnessed recently in Malda violence and the recent arrests of ISIS suspects. These are other major threats to Indian society.

It is high time that the Indian political establishment, as well as the common citizens, stop whitewashing burning issues and start identifying the power centers that fuel these breaking India forces and develop proper responses and mechanism to counter them. Unless Indian society develops these necessary responses, we are at the risk of losing our national spirit, our national Prana in the coming decades.

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Here Are Some Life Lessons That We Can Learn From Freedom Fighters this Republic Day

Liberty of thought and expression, to practice ones faith - in broad terms, the power to choose

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Republic
This Republic Day, why not remind our next generation, particularly young children who will grow up to be proud Indians upholding the republic-spirit of our great nation, of five incredible freedom fighters and what their lives and sacrifices exemplified - virtues that we can learn from, imbibe, and propagate, in order to strengthen ourselves as individuals, and as a nation. Pixabay

The 26th of January marks a very special day in our calendars. For Indians in India and the world over, our nation’s Republic Day symbolizes all that our great, free, democratic, secular nation stands for and embodies. Values that we sometimes take for granted. Privileges, that we ought to protect, nourish, nurture, savor. Liberty of thought and expression, to practice ones faith – in broad terms, the power to choose. The definite gift of Free Will.

This Republic Day, why not remind our next generation, particularly young children who will grow up to be proud Indians upholding the republic-spirit of our great nation, of five incredible freedom fighters and what their lives and sacrifices exemplified – virtues that we can learn from, imbibe, and propagate, in order to strengthen ourselves as individuals, and as a nation. Mahatma Gandhi, Subhash Chandra Bose, Rani Laxmi Bai, Bhagat Singh and Sarojini Naidu; these brave men and women of India’s freedom struggle may have represented differing philosophies, espoused, at times, contradicting ideologies. They all however came to a common point wherein principals they stood for, were the same. Let us remind ourselves and our children through life lessons from their lives, of theirs and our country’s greatness.

TAKE A STAND FOR WHAT YOU BELIEVE IN

From Gandhi protesting being unfairly disembarked from a Train, to atrocities of civil rights at the hands of the British that poetess Sarojini Naidu wrote about, to discriminatory treatment meted out by the imperialists that Bhagat Singh & Subhash Chandra Bose fought against, to the entirely forced and hostile advances of the British army to usurp Rani Laxmi Bai’s kingdom – each of these brave men and women, when confronted with a moral dilemma, took it on, head on, and took a brave, bold, unafraid stance, even though it was a David vs Goliath scenario! Children of today’s world would be very wise to learn to stand-up for what they believe in.

POWER OF TEAM-WORK

Another crucial lesson children can learn from all these men and women’s’ lives is their absolute belief in the power of team-building and team work. In the future, children will form leaders and it will be of utmost importance for them to appreciate the strength of a team, rather than being individualistic workers. Examine any of the freedom fighter’s individual lives and one will find that each worked purposefully to construct a team of trustworthy, loyal, devoted and philosophically aligned men and women, who fought and furthered their causes right alongside them. Be it generals and friends in the armies of Bhagat Singh, Laxmi Bai and Bose, or an intellectual coterie of guides and advisors always with Gandhi & Naidu. The power of team-work was evidently important to each of them.

Indian Flag, Flag, India, National, Country, Nation
The 26th of January marks a very special day in our calendars. For Indians in India and the world over, our nation’s Republic Day symbolizes all that our great, free, democratic, secular nation stands for and embodies. Pixabay

COMMUNICATION SKILLS

In a bygone era with limited to no real and effective means of fast or mass communication; all five men and women we are using as inspirations, led masses of people, through massive campaigns, wars, protests, and organized movements. How? It was only because they understood, appreciated and made efforts to put in place, a well-oiled and highly effective communication system. From Gandhi’s well-attended speeches to Bhagat Singh and Bose’s surreptitious networks of pan-India soldiers. From the power of the written word to the power of the spoken word, as practiced by Naidu & Laxmi Bai respectively. Each was using communication skills to their best efficacy, a vital lesson for children of today, who have a plethora of communication tools at their disposal, to use, correctly, rather than go atray and abuse these resources.

SACRIFICE SELF

What is also painfully clear is that all five individuals believed in a purpose far bigger and greater than themselves. That they willingly sacrificed their own lives, families, careers, safety, security; putting everything on the line for the greater good, the good of a nation in distress, inspires us with their courage of conviction and their do-good nature. If they hadn’t bothered, who knows we might still have been an English colony, and not the free nation we so assume to be our birthright! A sacrificing and sensitive outlook is an immensely important lesson for children.

FIERCELY PATRIOTIC

The other life lesson that children ought to clearly see reflected in the lives of Gandhi, Laxmi Bai, Naidu, Bhagat Singh and Bose is their intense and immense patriotism. If it wasn’t for their overarching sense of belongingness to the country and motherland, few amongst them would have gone to the extent that each of them did, fighting for the cause of freedom. It was this sense that NOTHING, not even their own lives, was bigger or greater than Country, which made each of them garner the strength and resolve to fight against all odds.

PHILOSOPHICAL

It wasn’t only brute force of stubbornness of purpose that drive each of these five freedom fighters to achieve their goals. It was, in each individual’s case, a well thought out, well considered, guiding light – a principled philosophy that each of them believed in, that made them be successful freedom fighters. It was this philosophy of �fighting for what was rightfully their own’ that united them into a common mission, although their methods or means to that common end might have been different from each other’s. The latter did not matter. The lesson to draw is that along with grit and determination, children must also develop a mature belief-system that guides them through life.

STEADFAST

Steadfastness of purpose is yet another element that unites our group of freedom fighters. They might have begun their individual battles, fought for the common cause of liberating India from the clutches of British tyranny. But had they NOT been steadfast, stubborn, with a dogged persuasion and self-motivation, they would have fallen by the wayside, having list sight of their goal. Many times in life, children give up too, because they are not steadfast, something that they can learn and incorporate in their own lives, from these great men and women.

DREAMERS

Sometimes as elders we tell our children not to dream. And this is a colossal mistake. Had these five brave men and women not seen a common dream, not dreamt of a free, independent India, their purpose would never have taken shape in the form of the movements they each led so heroically. It was this inconceivable dream that Gandhi, Naidu, Bhagat Singh, Bose and Laxmi Bai dreamt, that made them firm in their mission and resolve. It is a lovely and necessary thing to dream, and to dream big, and we would be wise to teach children the same life lesson.

Aged, Ancient, Antique, Army, Art, Asia, Background
The planet today, of which our country is a part, is grappling with a set of shared problems – be it terrorism or climate change. In these trying circumstances, drawing on life lessons from the lives of freedom fighters on Republic Day could just serve as the most required and most intelligent thing to do. Pixabay

ACTION-ORIENTED

Finally, it is absolutely vital for us to understand, and communicate to our children, the importance of putting plans into action. Too often, in classrooms or in boardrooms, much discussion takes place, much strategizing is done, to no avail. Alas, plans, remain plans, never seeing the light of day, unexecuted, they stay in dusty files, physical, virtual. The lesson to draw ultimately from our set of incredible freedom fighters is that plans they drew up in their lives, they had the courage, the will, the strength, and the sheer guts, to execute them. And we must as well, in our lives. Particularly for children, it is imperative that they understand that thought has to be backed-up with action.

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The planet today, of which our country is a part, is grappling with a set of shared problems – be it terrorism or climate change. In these trying circumstances, drawing on life lessons from the lives of freedom fighters on Republic Day could just serve as the most required and most intelligent thing to do, in order to come together to fight off the different types of menace that face us today. These are the lessons we ought to impart to the younger generation, for it is the Children of today, that will be the saviors of tomorrow. And the lessons are all in our very own history, to draw from! (IANS)