Wednesday, July 29, 2009

'We Have Got Lost', 'Let's Stand Up, Do Something.'

Dharampalji in an intense conversation at his kuti in Sevagram Ashram,2005

On Western influenceBut why hasn't any moment started till now on de-linking from the western minset? After Gandhi, there seems to have been no commensurate effort in that direction. The predominant thrust among Indian leaders and thinkers was to make India Western. Or that we could not survive unless we took aid from the West. Even extraordinary individuals like Swami Vivekananda held such views.
D: I think we are too demoralised. I think even the great Vivekananda, after he had gone around the country for about four years, from 1889 to 1893, and saw the wretchedness, the poverty, the impoverishment of the mind and attitudes and so on, was perplexed as to what had happened. Then he went to the West and saw a different world and that made him feel that we could not do anything on our own. We have to have Western aid, Western muscular power, but what he meant was that we might require these things to stand up. He didn't mean that it would be forever. He meant that we needed such support in the next generation or so, 10-20-30 years and we'd come into our own, chart our path, to some extent similar to that of Western man, but in other ways perhaps very different. The West was to serve as an example, but not forever. That doesn't seem to have been Vivekananda's idea. Our people got stuck because, I think, we are too literal. Whether it is Vivekananda or Mahatma Gandhi or someone else we seem to take them too literally; something has happened to us. Maybe this is a much older trait. It may that because of Vasco da Gama and the British and partly the Islamic period - all this could have made a contribution to the degradation, the loss of faith, the loss of courage - added to it. Is it of our own making, or is this what happens eventually to all civilisations and maybe they have a new birth at some other stage? the full interview

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