Friday, 1 July 2016

Swamiji : Condensed India

 

The Swami reminded the Indians that their national ideals are renunciation and service, and if their thoughts and actions flowed through these twin channels, the rest would take care of itself. A lover of India, he said, must give up the desire for personal aggrandizement and dedicate himself to the service of the common man. He should also rid himself of the national habit of blind imitation and dependence upon others, and above all of the national sins of jealousy and lack of discipline.

 

Swami Vivekananda was in a sense a condensed India. He regarded her as the playground of his childhood, the pleasure grove of his youth, and the sacred Varanasi of his old age. The Motherland, which is none other than the mother, was to him superior to heaven itself. He fervently cherished the dream of India's political freedom. Foreign domination is the mother of many national evils. The rulers exploit the material resources of the country and impose 'upon the people their own culture, customs, and ways of life. Slavery breeds jealousy, fear, malice, and servile dependence. Under foreign rule the development of the national culture is arrested. Thus, from the cultural standpoint, the British period of Indian history is a sterile one. Lord Macaulay, in introducing the English language as the medium of higher education, said that his purpose was to make educated Indians appear like Englishmen in all possible respects except colour of skin, which could not be changed. Anglicized Indians imitated their rulers in art, literature, architecture, and dress, and in many other respects. They moved away from the common man and became indifferent to his weal and woe. The English exploitation of the physical resources of the land was superficial, but their exploitation of the mind went deep. It will take years before English-oriented Indians rediscover their own cultural treasures.