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India forever India
|by Aju Mukhopadhyay|
India, a vast country like a continent, containing almost all the physical, mineral and environmental varieties of the world, a fountain head of spirituality, was the cradle of one of the oldest civilizations on earth. I think like Swami Vivekananda that it was the swing of my childhood, grove of my youth and it is the Varanasi or the divine refuge of my mature age. I wish to share Rabindranath Tagore’s emotion that my birth here is significant. Born in your lap, nurtured by you, living in different parts of your body, I shall die somewhere in you, O Mother!
Rig-Veda is the first primary source and available record of Indian civilization. Of this Sri Aurobindo said,
Bounded by the mighty mountains on the north, extending to the north-west and north-east, peninsular India has sea on all other sides. These are the natural boundaries for millennia. It was the birthplace of Vedas, Upanishads, Ramayana and Mahabharata, the cultural and intellectual products of the great Aryan civilization. Mohenjo-daro and Harappan sites may be some of the physical remains of the same and related civilization. There has not been any proof of Aryan invasion and destruction of any preexisting Dravidian civilization. With Innumerable admixture of peoples from other countries and cultures India remains great throughout the ages. It has spread its cultural fragrance to other corners of the globe but seldom invaded others to spread its territories. Though not politically, culturally and physically Bharat has ever remained one; a unified country, which is revered by her sons as the mother.
Rig-Veda keeps the secret of herself in it, to be treasured by the flowing humanity.
Efforts to Desecrate Ancient Indian heritage foiled
Towards the end of the eighteenth century the ruling British scholars took special interest in finding the truth of ancient India. They made indepth study of Sanskrit language and its relation with other European groups of languages. Their similarities led them to name the whole group of languages as Indo-European language of which Aryan comprised the leading part. After the discovery of Harrappa and Mohenjo-Daro sites, known as the Indus Valley Civilisation, the rulers and the like minded scholars found out, to satisfy their superiority, that Aryans were the people originating in Europe spread to India and other areas who destroyed the Dravidian or the Indus Valley Civilisaiton.
Beginning with Mortimar Wheeler numbers of foreign scholars took interest to prove that India had the Dravidian people and other ignoramuses like hill living tribes who were driven out by the superior Aryan people. Many Indian scholars too helped them in explaining and elaborating such theories. Frederick Max Muller, the German scholar living in England, favoured specially by none of the two countries, took great interest in proving the above theory with apparent show of educating and civilising India with the aim of and by way of conversion to Christian religion. Historians and Indologists like Ramesh Chandra Majumdar, R. K. Mookerjee, D. D. Kosambi, Suniti Kumar Chatterjee, K. D. Sethna, N. Rajaram, Romila Thapar, and many others were and are on the job of elucidating the Indian past.
Friedrich Max Muller (1823-1900) was a great Indologist and scholar who twisted his scholarship, sometimes contradicting himself, to propagate his ideas for a distinct purpose of denigrating Indian past, to help getting it converted to Christianity. Professor Ratna Basu of Calcutta University in her paper “Max Muller’s Indology Revisited” observed, (Read at the Ramakrishna Mission Institute of Culture, Kolkata; 15-16 December, 2000).
She further wrote,
While he wrote for his own purpose it struck the right cord in another heart without his knowing.
Sri Aurobindo’s biographer writes,
It will not be out of place to add the address of Lord Macaulay to the British Parliament on 2 February, 1835 to view the similarity of their purpose.
Taking a clue from Professor Asko Parpola of the University of Helsinki, the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu made huge propaganda in favour of Tamil language and covertly of the community for his political purpose which was resented later by other personalities of similar importance. True that Tamil is one of the oldest extant languages of which some links were discovered by professor Parpola with the Indus Valley scripts which remains, in spite of all claims so far, undeciphered. Asko Parpola was awarded ‘Kalaignar M. Karunanidhi Classical Tamil Award’ on 23 June 2010 by the President of India at Chennai with much fanfare.
Let us quote from the speech given by Parpola on the occasion, as reported by a newspaper:
In the introductory part titled, “The Indus Civilization and its historical context”, Parpola, the author of the book writes, “No unambiguous information has been preserved to tell us the names of the Indus kings or their subjects, the name of the gods they worshipped, or even what language they spoke. The Harappan language and religion continue to be among the most vexing problems of South Asian protohistory.” (Parpola/ 3)
But inside the book he has the other story to tell following the footsteps of some early Western scholars with some details like,
He thought that the Aryan language did not arrive before1000 B.C.
Let us now come to Sri Aurobindo, the scholar, social thinker and philologist who was the greatest interpreter of Vedas as he linked up with the origin of it as seen or heard by the Rishis, the recorders of such Shruti, through his yogic power. He found out the symbolic meaning of the words of Veda and wrote them with elaborate explanation which was far from the ken of an archaeologist or a scholar. He wrote as if he visualizing the scene of awarding professor Parpola,
Let us read some more pieces out of the vast work he did on the Veda.
These are the words of revelation by the yogi and the greatest interpreter of the Veda. If there are half a dozen Tamil loan words in Sanskrit language there are hundreds and hundreds of Sanskrit words in all the languages of South India. See everywhere; in personal names, names of shops and institutions and parks, in songs where they love to add Sanskrit words; in every temple Vedic chanting is done. Even when attempts were made to appoint priest from the common folk in Tamil Nadu it was resisted vehemently and the court had to disallow it.
Again in October 2011 the Madras High Court has dismissed a writ petition challenging the engagement of security guards from the pool run by other religious denomination for a temple under its jurisdiction, telling that even a contractor cannot be engaged if it is run by other religionists as the temple is Hindu temple and it is a matter of their faith; it is not a state affair.
Sanskrit is the backbone, the flowing blood in all Indians; they love it with the love for their regional tongues. It is the source of the Mother Tongue of most of the north Indian languages. Ancient India still runs through the veins of India as the river Saraswati flows unseen. Indian people are the same with innumerable variations due to huge admixture in the past and present but basically, culturally India is one. Any fissiparous tendency and attempt is doomed to failure. Raja Rammohan Roy, Swami Vivekananda, Sri Aurobindo, Rabindranath Tagore, M. K. Gandhi, Radhakrishnan, K.D. Malavya, Jawharlal Nehru, Abul Kalam Azad and host of other great names in the nineteenth and twentieth century were the voices of integration and unity. Going forward in tune with the past, breaking from it whenever it is obscure and obsolete, is our holy aim.
Speaking about the vigour and achievement of India in the past Sri Aurobindo observed,
In general, he said,
The soul of Indi has survived all barbaric onslaughts for two thousand years. In the concluding part-4 of his ‘Indian Polity’ Sri Aurobindo’s ever positive mind ummarized his long discourse on India. He said,
He further analysed,
The whole of the continent was divided into many kingdoms or different divisions, there arose no question of political unity except under some great or powerful kings who won and unified as it happened during reign of Asoka, during the Mughal period and during the British period. India has peculiar mental and spiritual make up. This Sri Aurobindo explains,
He further explained that Rome and Greece though militarily unified, could not endure. He did not find a fault in Indian mind, rather a special trend he found in it:
1. Max Muller, My Autography. Indian reprint, N. Delhi, 2002, pp. 120-121. Published in ‘Dialogue’; a quarterly journal of Astha Bharati. January – March, 2008. V. 9. No.3
2.The Hindu. Chennai, dated 24 June 2010
1. The Life of Sri Aurobindo. A. B. Purani. Pondicherry; Sri Aurobindo Ashram Publication Department. 1978. Fourth Edition.
2. The Secret of the Veda. Sri Aurobindo. Pondicherry; SABCL, Sri Aurobindo Ashram. 1971. V.10.
3. Life & Letter. Max Muller. Asian Education Service. 2005. V.1 and V.2
4. Deciphering The Indus Script. Asko Parpola. New Delhi; Replica Press Pvt. Ltd. 2000. p.3
5. The Foundations of Indian Culture. Sri Aurobindo. Pondicherry; SABCL, Sri Aurobindo Ashram. V.14.
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