Saturday 12 December 2015

Unity of India

Sister Nivedita appeals :

The power of man, whether as individual or community, depends on the degree to which he can act in synthesis. The European is stronger than the Indian merely in so far as he has a deeper-rooted habit of regarding himself as part of a whole. But behind the power of action stands the idea. Without the conception of synthesis, it is impossible to co-ordinate ourselves or our deeds to those of the community or the race. Thought makes the world. Creative power is in the mind. We ourselves, by intense concentration on a given notion, may change the whole face of the earth within a lifetime. For these reasons it is all-important that the young should learn how sacred is the duty of thinking of their country as a whole. Neither of patriotism nor of politics have I anything to say to you tonight, because these words are too paltry to describe the far grander thing I would evoke. That to which I address myself, that which I seek to awaken, is Your Sense of Nationality. 'India a Unity', - most people imagine that we use the words, only in order to point a sneer. 'Look at the diversities between Sikh and Bengali, Mahratta and Madrasi', they say, 'and the diversity between all these and the Musalman, and what unity is possible here?' What! Do you understand this English language so badly? Are you so completely unaware of the march of 19th century thought? Which body presents amore perfect unity? That of the lobster, with its manifold repetition of similar segments, or that of man, in which scarcely the two ears, the two nostrils are alike? Learn what is meant by Organic unity, and realize that whereas the crude observer seeks for resemblances as proofs of living relations, the sign of the more profound student finds presumptive evidence in its favour rather in dissimilarities than its similarities. In her most perfect productions the Great Mother never duplicates Her handiwork. We shall do well to flory in the differences that distinguish Musalman and Hindu, Bengali and Mahratta, Sikh and Madrasi, knowing that each suserves some function without which the others could not live, that all are necessary to the whole, that without anyone no other would be so rich or strong or truly beautiful. The living heart of Bengal, with her idealism; the cool determined courages of the Sikh; the firm grip of practical and the magnificent manhood and exquisite courtesy of the Musalman; with which of these do you think yourself strong enough to dispense? But 'The Unity of India'! – as not this, which really exists, been after all the gift of aliens, withing the last 50 years or so? Is it not the creation of two pice postage, and extensive Railways, and the common use of a business language? If it were so, then God help India! Nay, God help that India in which it is possible to find men who believe such nonsense. Something like 7000 years it has taken this people to evolve. Seven thousand years a series of jarring discordant fragments have been evolving into separateness and distinctness and in 50 years order is introduced. Unity is created. Pray, what would this mushroom growth be worth, if it were true? What pull would it bear, do you suppose? How far could you develop under the shade of its wide spreading branches? Do you not see that unless there is Unity, we cannot create it? We cannot, by spasmodic shocks, galvanise a corpse into the activities of life. Neither can we, by a judicious attitude make community of life and character where there was no fundamental co-ordination. If India manifests Unity at all, it is because her divergences are only so many rays of a single star, because through all her veins courses the same blood, because she is actually one already, and all she has to do was to become conscious of the fact. It is this becoming conscious of the solidarity that already exists, that we call the awakening of the National Consciousness. But our picture is ever present to my mind, giving me, I think, a better clue to Indian Unity than the mechanical contrivances to which I have referred.

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