The Idea Of India

By Sunil Kumar

Another Republic Day in a new year; 2016. A ceremonial display of military and cultural might to entertain the citizens of the republic. Does this herald a change; or will the wayward winds of destiny take us to a different future?

English: India map translated to Hindi

English: India map translated to Hindi (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

2300 years ago; the great teacher Kautilya gave us a vision of a unified nation. His creative angst and dissatisfaction with the self-serving rut he saw around him resonates even today. We have newer challenges in ways that would have engaged the shrewd administrative mind of Chanakya. What would Kautilya’s take be on Naxalites; religious extremism, caste divisions; woeful infrastructure that seem to have reached woeful proportions? Or the fact that modern India has imported both people and ideologies from the land of Machiavelli!

The Hindi writer Kamleshwar resurrects the vexed demons of history in his surreal novel; “Kitne Pakistan“. He seems to examine the inhumanity that actually leads to hatred; the feeling of disconnect and alienation; horrific violence unleashed that still claws at the Republic.

A parade and meaningless patriotic fervor entertains and even engages. But the idea of India is still an elusive concept. Perhaps it is lost in the nothingness of self-serving life; where freedom of expression is in itself a talking point; bandied about in a tale of quick fixes.

 

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