Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Progress of Art and Culture in India after Independence

That was the rare moment when India stepped out from the old to the new. It was the midnight of the fifteenth of August 1947, when the victory of the Bread and the Lotus was proclaimed. It were similar moments when, long long age, the Ganga descended on this earth, or when the ocean was churned to produce amrit. When the midnight ticked into the dawn, it was a rituraj in the great bosom of India where recent battles were fought and every blade of grass had a story to tell, often in blood and tears. The rituraj wiped out the blood and changed the tears into a new smile. It was India’s independence. On that occasion it was gaiety all around. Like musicians sculpted in a Khajuraho or Konark frieze, the entire Indian people were exultant on their independence. The birds of new hopes flew over the lofty ranges and deep valleys, spralling cities and huddled villages. The birds of new hope wheeled over singing inqilab, solo and in chorus. It was mass rejoicing. That day the cobbler and the tailor left awl and needle to join the great song of freedom. It was the day when all distinctions of caste, creed, religion and language melted into a glorious pride and self-respect. India once again regained her youth. Jan gan man proclaimed equality from the voice of the multitude. The mighty looked kindly at the man on the street. Independence became the best link language of the people. The grass looked greener. The whole people partook in celebration, and dusted their lenses of racial memory; and they remembered feats performed by the heroes of yore. Grandfather, wiping the betel stain from the corner of his mouth declaimed on Gandhi, the father of Indian independence wondering at the grand succession of victories! On that day all the old people recognized the merit of the present. All young people rejoiced the past glittering with heroes and martyrs. A universal joy journeyed through the length and breadth of India announcing the message of ‘a tender humanity, a varied and tolerant culture, and a deep understanding of life and its’ mysterious ways.’ That was the independence of India.
It was a new rituraj. The youth of India was regained once again. It was personification of all understanding and strength enshrined in India’s moral and material achievements. It was the present with a glow to project itself in the future. The present was now no more caged and circumscribed. It was not to be any more an odd mixture of medievalism, appalling poverty and misery and superficial modernism. It was a new milestone in the great drive toward the masses in India, which commenced during the freedom struggle, and which culminated on that day into a great and real voyage of discovery. The victory showed more than was expected. Even after the battering of the past two hundred years the towns and villages of India reaffirmed that they were seats and centres of civilization where great revolts – material and spiritual – blazed up against, tyranny and falsehood. There was a new élan of independence on faces of sturdy and proud peasant; deft and skillful artisan and cottage worker; the Hindu and the Muslim. There was smile on the faces of wide spaces, and high mountains and deep forests. India surged forward on a new horizon. The most powerful wave of unity in diversity was the dream born afresh. 
On the day of India’s independence, all her children with infinite variety smiled with the spirit of common outlook on life. Rising above trumpery matters, Independent India embraced her destiny to build the mansion of her new future; the future of a strong and a secular and a beautiful nation. The day of independence was a great roar of welcome to Bharat Mata, the good old earth with which her vigorous people were wedded to since time immemorial. August fifteen, 1947 was the day, when Jawaharlal Nehru, whom Tagore described as ‘the Rituraj of India’, took over. He was no stranger. He was the man who had already been ruling over the heart of India through all the past travails. He was the man whom the Father of the nation Mahatam Gandhi, certified as early as in 1929 : “In bravery he is not to be surpassed. Who can excel him in the love of the country? And if he has the dash and the rashness of a warrior, he has also the prudence of a statesman. He is undoubtedly an extremist, thinking far ahead of his surroundings. But he is humble enough and practical enough not to force the pace to the breaking point. He is pure as crystal, he is truthful beyond suspicion. He is a knight sans peur, sans reproche. The nation is safe in his hand.” It is like the universe being in the safe lap of the spring, in the will of the rose.
India, on that day, under the dynamic leadership of Jawarhalal Nehru, pledged to safeguard the inalienable right of her people, and all people, to have freedom, to enjoy the fruits of their toil with fullest opportunity to grow economically, culturally and spiritually. India, in her hand won freedom, pledged to remain grateful of all her sons and daughters who suffered and sacrificed so that the motherland may be free; of hundreds of brave youths who laid their lives at the altar of freedom; of the martyrs of Peshawar and the whole Frontier Province, Sholapur, Midnapur, and Bombay; of scores of thousands who faced barbarous oppression from the forces of the enemy; of the men of the Garhwali Regiment, and all other Indians in the military and the police ranks, who refused, at the peril of their own lives, to fire or take action against their own countrymen. On her independence, India pledged to remain grateful of the indomitable peasants of Gujarat, who faced without flinching and turning back all manner of acts of terrorism, and of the brave and long suffering peasantry of the other parts of India, which took full part in the struggle; of the merchants’ world, which helped at great loss to itself, especially in the boycotts of foreign cloth and British goods; of the one hundred thousand men and women who made voyages to cruel goals with songs of freedom on their lips; and especially of the ordinary volunteer who, like a true soldier of India without care of fame or reward, thinking only of the great cause he loved, laboured unceasingly and peacefully through suffering and hardship. The new India pledged her deep admiration and homage to the awakened womanhood, who, in hour of peril for the motherland, forsook the shelter of home and, with unfailing courage and endurance, stood shoulder to shoulder with menfolk in the front line of the battle; and to the Vanar Sena whom even their tender age could not prevent from participating in the struggle and offering martyrs for the cause. Free India recorded her grateful appreciation of the fact that all major and minor communities and classes joined together and gave best to the cause; of, particularly, the minority communities – the Muslims, Sikhs, Parsis, Christians and others who by their valour and loyal devotion to common motherhood helped in building up an indissoluble nation, certain of victory.
On 15 August, 1947, India resolved to maintain her independence and to use this new freedom to remove the shackles of inequalities among all classes, and thus also to serve the larger cause of humanity. It was the victory of the Congress culture symbolized in Jawaharlal Nehru. It was a pledge against futile dogmas and rituals. It was a whisper of rachana with deeper faith in man. It was a festival to accentuate truer lights in non-acquisitiveness, in non-violence, and in universal peace. There was a leap from the light of independence pregnant with promises to add new dimensions to art and architecture, to exact sciences, to literature in order to reach newer heights. It was a pledge to a new life, a life which is not moribund and is not locked in listless ponds of idle speculations. It was a new life in blooming youth with uncommon strength and determination not to succumb to indecencies like war and exploitation; a life which shall not be a mirage of pleasure and satiety, a life which shall be a great consummation of the Bread and the Lotus.
Nehru and the new man of free India are synonym. What this new man is supposed to be? It is definitely not to be the sectarian ashramite. Is he then ‘ideal type’ in the Weberian sense whose characteristics include performance of customary functions and duties fixed at birth, their working out through the four defined stages to a possible state of complete non-attachment and the resultant development of personality in the pursuit of dharma? A potentially religious person with a greater amount of integration of personality, more poise and peace than are given to the modern man? But this ‘ideal type’ is not possible due to drastic changes in modes and expansions of production, a typicality of the present times. Then, is the now man the prototype of the outcome of Hindu-Muslims period culture whose ideologies and ways of life are not materially different from those of the pre-Muslims period? The new man may not fit in the framework of anti-muslim or anti-foreign rebels symbolized in Rana Pratap or Shivaji, as it is debatable if they could be identified with the ideal heroes like Bhishma, Arjun, or Karan. Is then the new man going to be a replica of bhakti centred in the perfect man-god Krishna or his avatar? Here again the approximation of the ideal type connotes a merging, an immersion, in other words, renunciation.
The new man born out of the independence of India is sum and substance of the passion and power of youth having bathed in all fires of reform movements. The new man belongs to the Congress culture pivoted round Gandhi and Tagore and Nehru; and committed to restructure the new society. The new man, in essence, in invigoration of rural roots in order to self-grow to embrace all communities in India, and the world. He is faced with the colossal problem to digest science and technology, secularism and democracy in order to carve out a higher sociological order so that India’s villages turn out to be growthcones. He is faced with the challenge how to absorb new social, moral and material forces born out of the contact with the West, which are in essence power of large scale production uncontrolled by social sense and morality. Is the path ahead easy and simple for the new man? Will the ideals not become cloaks for social content? Will not the outline be blurred? Will he be a moral man ready to sacrifice his all for truth and non-violence? A simple and direct man pulsating with the lowliest of the low? Will the new man believe in renunciation as a means of higher enjoyment, as the Upanishad has it? Will satyam, advaitam and anantam remain his eternal values? 
The new man of independence India under the inspiration of Jawaharlal Nehru is a dynamic synthesis of two concepts of praxis, the facts of Indian life, and the truth which is almost personal, and human; and hence is equivalent to God. The new man, according to Buddha’s precept, will not carry the log after crossing the river. He is uplifted and occasionally transmuted by moral fervour of open movement. With the moral genius and an acute sense of history, the new man will not live in an exiled nostalgis of Ramarajya. Rather, he is realistically conscious of global business cycles, fluctuations of employment, war contracts, economic exploitation of man by man, dependence on and craze for foreign imports, sharp contrasts of wealth, belching factories and stinking slums which were not known in Ayodhya. The new man seeks an intellectual system in the new society with full knowledge that the world is not exhausted by India; that India must make strides towards the future; that science and technology have to be mastered for universal peace and prosperity; that culture is man-made and history halts unless it is pushed; that there is no marching back like frogs to the well; that blind or neutral forces of nature, and of social system have to be harnessed; and that the universe has to be faced openly and squarely, without fear or favour. The new man many not belong to a ‘Party’. But he does belong to a community of awakened intelligence skilled in social engineering and working towards a planned society of mutual cooperation.
It is an achievement of the highest order – this transference of allegiance from Ramarajya to a planned social order, this shifting of the axis of morality from sacrifice to planned endeavour. The new man has more knowledge, more technical ability more historical sense. The new man means both a change of the axis of the ideal type, as well as a change of gear, with total humanism and rationality of outlook. He is technocrat with imagination and sympathy, a bureaucrat with democratic temper and flexibility. The new man as a social engineer attracts voluntary rural workers to be his awakened instrumentality. He is full than his predecesors both in secular dignity and religious ethics. The cult of science neither causes aesthetic poverty, nor faith suffers from mistrust of knowledge. He does not allow himself to be cramped by modernity, from darker passions of the aggregate. The new man will lift up humanism and aesthetics, till now considered to be the exclusive treasure of cottage industries and decentralized economy, and spread the beauteous élan to large-scale state or private enterprise in order to erase the vulgarity which has come to stay as a natural corollary of industrialization. The river valley projects, the science laboratories, the state factories and services, the norms of economic pattern and knowledge draw the new man in one mighty embrace reaching newer peaks of self confidence and deep human love. He is a process of a changed axis, which in turn changes the pattern of habits and inspires generations of men to face the unknown with courage of conviction.
The new man in independent India is product of a civilization which has been and is a movement, not a condition: a voyage, not a harbour. The new man means growth, development and process propelled by changes in the structure of relations, proportions, functions; and yet free from the procrustean bed of syllogisms. He is logic of a process which is neither food, nor devaluation, neither Pakistan, nor the reported rise or fall of productivity. He may demand sacrifices of precision, even of economic theory, as precision has often proved to be imprecise because of its unreality and indetermination. He is fully conscious of the fact that life is short, and art is long. And, hence, he shall not start with abstraction, proceed by approximation and die ‘in the long run’ without bringing the abstraction down to earth.
For him model is not the reality, but impulse is, the impulse based on reality in the structure of relations. He is a fine, sea-green, incorruptible new man who loves his country deeply, is flexible and human, is rooted in the Indian tradition, is efficient and intelligent and he shatters an environment which breeds the poison of flattery, wasteful routine, and piffle leaving no time for work and leisure, the two main pillars of human living. The new man conceived by Nehru resides in the practical realm of probable reality where bureaucracy does not breed intrigue and sycophancy, where the social administrative system is not dominated by closed minds and means hearts, where patriotism is not limited to caste. The new man does not feed on himself, grow by himself and thereby remove himself from reality the more he wants to come closer to actualities. He does not live in Kaffka’s Castle, and does not remind of the love-making of porcupines who throw quills at each other at the time of their congress. 
The new man transcending India’s past and living in Nehru’s dreams and seeped in universal education, is competent, scrupulously honest and industrious. He belongs to the Indian soil and is the active agent of mighty social forces with historical urgency. While planning and building he is unlike sorceres’s apprentice who is unable to get rid of the spirit he has raised. The planned endeavour is the datum for him. He is social adventure, an earnest of the new order. This is neither the social order of the Brahmins, nor of thee sarvodya. It does not say there was history and there is none now. His eyes look ahead and he mutters the runes of the new, positing a partial historicity, and calling the new society to make it full. The new man is the momentum of the planned endeavour, unfolding the nature of growth, generating historical dynamism, and human deliberation. He knows that today’s problem is not disinterestedness, but deep involvement. The new man is independent. He is secular.
Steeled in the Indian traditions, values, and techniques to evolve newer values, he uses satyagrah and non-violence to fight exploitation of all hue. He knows how to utilize Indian mores, folk ways, myths and symbols to promote life in love. The new man is the spiritual essence of Hinduism, Jainism, Islam and Chritianity. He is possessed with a will power drilled in deepest pain and highest pleasure to broadbase movements of growth with contemporary and creative urges. He is the Vedic pagan, the Upanishadic meditator, the Buddhist shraman, the Jain muni and the sufi fakir simultaneously. He is the whisper of the subconscious wisdom derived from movements in human civilization which have never degenerated into a pre-condition.

A nucleus of constructive endeavour and informed sagacity, the new man is based on rita, which is wound up with dharma and achar, and whose content is enriched by effective equality, the fundamental thrust of India’s independence. Thus the new man’s rita duly recognizes, respects and allows freedom to the larger segments of human living. He is free as he recognizes social necessity. He is able to fathom the significance of the toils of the millions, for whom freedom dawned on this earth. He is the catalytic agent of the changed attitude bringing forth measure like nationalization which are newer forms of rearranging the free society. He is the quintessence of the conscious and subconscious will of the millions, whose ideal is personification, and not merely a representation. India is peasant, and the new man knows his India well and reacts to her lightest tremors. He is the better type of the modern mind. He is practical and pragmatic, ethical and social, altruistic and humanitarian. He represents the spirit of the age, the yugadhrama. Humanity is his god and social service his religion. He is of the vital stuff out of which all relevant human advance is born. Functioning in line with hightest ideals of the age, he seeks to mould them in accordance with his national genius. His mind and heart live in the harmony of the scientific spirit and humanism. For him, the earnest scientist of the present is the reincarnation of the philosopher and the rishi of the past. He firmly believes in Albert Einstein’s dictum : “In this materialistic age the serious scientific workers are the only profoundly religious people.”
This new man in independent India is the manas putra of Jawaharlal Nehru, as the Ganga belongs to King Bhagirath. Jawaharlal gave all his life’s strength to the first cause of the world : the liberation of mankind. He and his new man in free India are sentinel of peace on earth, the affirmation of human love and sympathy and non-violence. The man is the noble pilgrim to the one world of tomorrow. As soon as India became free, she, under Nehru’s guidance, moved towards the goal of a peaceful world. She was alone in the beginning. But as she marched on, the caravan of peace got enriched and strengthened. The humanity at large, weary of power blocks, of their hostile competitions and violent conducts, welcomed with heart and soul India’s march towards universal peace. The pilgrim of peace the world over led by Jawaharlal Nehru came to be known as non-aligned, away and opposed to war and exploitation, near and friendly to creativity in human cooperation. This carvan seeks only wisdom and knowledge, friendship and comradeship in its peaceful approach to the one-world of tomorrow. The new man in free India, being true to great values symbolized in Jawaharlal Nehru, may make mistakes. But he is made of the spiritual stuff that saves him from triviality, inner shame and cowardice. His dearest passion in life, in Kalidas’ words, “springs beauty at each moment”. Free India, under her maker and builder Jawaharlal Nehru, set out to play her part in an internationalism with her head held high. She, thus, reminds the world of her old ways of valuing the entire mankind as her own family. It is an Ashokan drama of universal peace being enacted in a bigger theatre, with larger participation, and perhaps, also with deeper concerns. The role of peace in the world is the role of the union of mind with nature. In Spinoza’s words this union is “the greatest good” that man can offer to humanity. Jawaharlal Nehru’s role is the greatest offering to the greatest number of human beings in the world. The new man in free India is proud of this glorious heritage. His creative energies are silently busy in performing the greatest good through his industry in all fields of human activity ranging from atomic energy for peaceful uses to art and poetry for aesthetic pursuits. 
Free India, under the wise leadership of Jawaharlal Nehru, adopted a constitution based on individual freedom and universal, adult franchise offering opportunity for all to grow in an atmosphere of equality. The Indian genius, today, practices common good through universal sufferage and holds the promise to maintain democracy with peace and secularism. As a cultural pledge, free India, under her democratic framework, has to discover a balance between the body and the spirit, between man as part of nature and man as part of society. In the words of Tagore, ‘for our perfection, we have to be vitally savage and mentally civilized.’ The new man is cultured to increase his number in order to be able to hold the mirror of life firmly, in order to beautify and energise life, In the new man, Gandhi’s humility is supplemented by aesthetics of Kalidas. The new rituraj of India is the contemporary personality of the Indian mind, which flows like an ancient stream singing, extending, rebuilding through hurdles. Indian mind is the Ganga pulsating through the large heart of Bharat Mata, always revealing, renewing, rediscovering. The Indian mind beings with fulfilling a tall demand from life not to exult in joy, and not to shed tears in sorrow. The brief sketch of the new man is uniquely itself, scriptural, philosophic, illustrative, and always sharp to rejoin basics, always insisting on relevance of each to the other, no either or. The Indian mind has been a perspective, an anticipation, a load of stimulating ideas, a train of logic and analysis, all eager to stress on beauty, on energy. In its chamber of awareness play all the mental processes by which the idea is reached. And in it reside august presences of detachment from results, from surroundings, grand bestowls of new moments; legendry loves and innocence’s; new equalities and new freshnesses. Indian mind has been India’s six seasons and six hundred languages, and multiple narcissism. Journeying through these climes of deepest sensitivities, the new man wants to update all human discoveries.
Is this theory of the new man working out? Yes. A simple equation is at work in that all are free to choose; all are equal to choose; and the endeavour is planned for all. The secular culture working on the wings of awareness that science is destructive, and culture shall construct it to be creative, has come forward to upgrade human dignity, the prime channel to infinite resources. The new secular man is stimulus, the appropriation. He is ignition of beauty, and of life, and of well-being. Like hero’s mind it is his individuality being drilled in the great tradition of democratic system, where excellence and expertise are being worked out to live in peace, and not for war; where good is being revered. The life of new man conceived and loved and lived by Jawaharlal Nehru is committed ‘not to allow coarseness’ to creep in various realms of life. The life of the new man is synonym of cleanliness both inner and outer. It is destined to uphold the cosmic ecology. And the voice of the new man is being listened to in the creative assemblies of the non-aligned, in universal planning for peace and prosperity, in sowing songs of endeavours for the welfare of the weak and the dispossessed. The working out of India’s freedom under the leadership of the new, secular man is least rigged compared to the so-called developed societies. Even her failures induce in her a strength not to let him fall a prey to cultural sulks of greed and war. Having learnt afresh its texts ranging from thousand ways of making love to infinitely subtle ways of running a state, the new man shall move on to mature triumphs, appliqué with new awareness. Without frowned wrinkles of will on the face his sense of accommodation is his most formidable strength. His strength lies in ever exploring and never leaving room for rejection. His wide embraces tone down wilder extravagances and awaken wider comprehendings, which inspire to step out from the old to the new.
The new secular and universal man lives in an atomic age; in other words, on the brink of a future that may be enthralling in its span and depth through an exploration of the anatomy of matter by modern physics. In liberating energy from uranium man has already liberated primeval energy repeating on a symbolic scale the process that created our expanding universe two billion years ago. This is an act in new transmutations of elements to keep our sun of hope rekindle its luminosity and radiance. In such a remarkable age the new man is nothing if not earnest; is dead if thoughtless. In earnestness, the new man is like the bee collecting nectar without injuring the flower, its colour or scent. In earnestness, the new man keeps away from fruitless words that are full of colour, but without scent. The  Dhammapada says, “The scent of flowers does not travel against the wind, nor that of sandalwood, or of tagara and Mallika flowers, but the odour of earnestness travels even against the wind, an earnest man pervades every place.”  The new man greets and reverse aged knowledge only to gain an increase in life, beauty, happiness and power. Him one calls the new man who has cut all fetters, who never trembles, is independent and unshackled; who has committed no offence yet endures reproach; who has endurance for his force, and strength for his army; who takes nothing in the world that is not given him; and who is manly, noble, impassible, accomplished, awakened. The new man of independent India would rather save his soul and not conquer the world. And if he will ‘conquer’ the world, it will be like the past when India’s excellences won universal heart and minds. Independent India under the new secular man is on march. India is, under peaceable motives, effectively mobilizing the newly gained strengths and to assets meet challenges. India is moving forward to discharge accumulated liabilities; striking a growth in mass education; bringing forward an assertive, confident and ambitious generation of youth; building a large trained scientific and technological man-power; generating her productive capacity, so that India may embolden the ushering in of the new in this world. India is synonym to Annapurna, to shanti, to blossoms in thousand forms. India in the company of her new man dreams of a world where children walk only through gardens of goodwill, dancing, singing, playing. India in the company of the new man is enlightened, united, industrially well-developed, educationally progressive, and militarily strong to tackle emergencies.
The new man of independent India, through an unprecedented process of democratic reconstruction, is involved to carve out a sustained belief that he needs mother India more than mother India needs him. Avoiding wilder mental extravagances and relating the mind directly to immediate circumstances, the new man is busy shaping universal human responses based on equality, freedom and happiness. He does not waste time in apologies to outdated sovereignties while building newer material and moral susceptibility in human contacts and relationships. He is determined not to repeat mistakes which are but foul smell in failures. The new man is the focal point of today in the eternal resurgence of India. He is not a grim commodity. The charm of youth resides in him; beauty, strength and happiness find hopeful habitat in his self-discipline. He will never falter. The story of the new man is an unending march forward in the religiosities to enable the social order grow on the great pillar of Indian sheel which has been, time and again, tested and worked out by great builders of civilization like Buddha and Gandhi. The new man in independent India has ceased taking pride in isolation. The touch in his peaceful contact has lifted restless waves of joy to subdue violence and tedium in human life. Untouched by languor and unsoiled by weakness, the new man is drawing to himself the splendors of the universe affecting the union of form with the formless, action with the ideal. In his voice echoes the victory of the infinite. In his soul spring songs to fling open all the prison-gates. The perfection flowing through the ages in though, knowledge and action has bestowed a new birth-right to him and through him to the humanity at large to acquire good fortune for all. Present India under the dynamic leadership of Indira Gandhi is marching on in accordance with the demands of the times and the need of the society to strengthen the evolution of the new man. Abhaya is the name of the new man, the every body, who embraces contemporaneity looking straight in the eye of the storm. Bitter winds sharpen the blossom in the face of the new man.

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