The Weakening of the National Spirit and the Sanatana Wellspring of Hope

The Weakening of the National Spirit and the Sanatana Wellspring of Hope

Honourable Members…I ask you, Members, to stand in your places to pay our tribute of respect to Quaid-e-Azam Mohammed Ali Jinnah, who by his grim determination and stead fast devotion was able to carve out and found Pakistan and whose passing away at this moment is an irreparable loss to all.[1]

That was the Honourable President of India, Dr. Rajendra Prasad addressing the Constituent Assembly of India on Thursday, 4 November 1948.

Sir…In the early hours of this morning Marshal Stalin passed away…When we think of Marshal Stalin, all kinds of thoughts come to…my mind…looking back at these 35 years or so, many figures stand out, but perhaps no single figure has moulded and affected and influenced the history of these years more than Marshal Stalin. He became gradually almost a legendary figure, sometimes a man of mystery, at other times a person who had an intimate bond not with a few but with vast numbers of persons. He proved himself great in peace and in war. He showed an indomitable will and courage which few possess…here was a man of giant stature…who ultimately would be remembered by the way he built up his great country…but the fact remains of his building up that great country, which was a tremendous achievement, and in addition to that the remarkable fact…is that he was not only famous in his generation but…he was in a sense ‘intimate’…with vast numbers of human beings, not only the vast numbers in the Soviet Union with whom he moved in an intimate way, in a friendly way, in an almost family way…So here was this man who created in his life-time this bond of affection and admiration among vast numbers of human beings…But every one must necessarily agree about his giant stature and about his mighty achievements. So it is right that we should pay our tribute to him on this occasion because the occasion is not merely the passing away of a great figure but…in the sense of the ending of a certain era in history…Some…describe him as…[a] gentle person…Marshal Stalin was something much more than the head of a State. He was great in his own right way, whether he occupied the office or not. I believe that his influence was exercised generally in favour of peace… May I also suggest, Sir, that the House might adjourn in memory of Marshal Stalin?[2]

That was Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru addressing the Parliament of India on 6 March 1953 on the occasion of Joseph Stalin’s death.

Much is said about the superiority of [Hindu] religion, art, music and philosophy. But what are they today? Your religion has become a thing of the kitchen, as to what you can eat, and what you cannot eat, as to whom you can touch, and whom you cannot touch[3]the [real] danger to India, is Hindu right-wing communalism.[4]

That was Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru again on two separate occasions. The first regarding the “superiority of our religion” was uttered in an address to students in Bombay on 20 May 1928, and the second, in 1963.

Hollowed out at the Core

Fifteen days from now, India will celebrate the seventy-second anniversary of obtaining freedom from more than a thousand years of colonial rule. Anybody who has studied the true history of India will testify to the fact that the freedom that India got on 15 August 1947 was merely a political freedom from the British yoke…they were perhaps the last of the alien oppressors. The oppression had started more than five hundred years before the advent of the British into Bharatavarsha. By all accounts, it was only a nominal freedom. That date is also a milestone of sorts to hark back and reflect upon what India has achieved by governing itself as a free country which adopted the Westminster-style democracy and had secularism thrust down its throat as state religion by its first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru.

The blunt but honest answer is that these seventy-two years of secularism have reduced a once-thriving ancient civilization, economic superpower, cultural magnet, and educational and spiritual hub of the world into a shrunken Lilliput where:

  • There seems to be no rule of law or fear of punishment at any level
  • Almost all institutions of governance and administration, and the judiciary have been almost irreparably compromised.
  • Penetration of foreign powers, missionary influence, and innumerable separatist islands have torn the body politic, the society, the legal system, and various key spheres of national endeavor.
  • The whole system appears to have broken down with seemingly no fix in sight.

All of this has occurred under the watch of just one dynasty that gave the country three official Prime Ministers and one Super Prime Minister ruling for a combined period of forty-six years chanting and propagandising Jawaharlal Nehru’s mantra of secularism. The vestiges of this dynasty though greatly reduced in power in the present time have nevertheless succeeded in retaining the status quo of secularism whose toxic influences continue to escalate the consequences listed afore.

Indeed, the fact that even after five years, the first single-party-majority government to take office after thirty years (of rule by various coalitions) has been unable to indict a brazen perjurer and an anti-national political agent and puppet of breaking India forces like Teesta Setalvad, let alone go after the massive scammers who wreaked havoc on the nation between 2004 and 2014 is yet another proof of how the Indian state has perhaps hollowed out right at the core.

Blame for this state of affairs solely lies with the character, actions, and decisions of the top leadership of the Indian National Congress party especially when it spotted independence, clearly visible on the horizon. And when he became the “Unchallenged Caesar[5]” of the Congress Party after Independence, Jawaharlal Nehru, armed with the twin weapons of secularism and socialism, unleashed the forces responsible for reducing India to the present condition.

Where it Began

One of the most astonishing phenomena is the manner in which the top leadership of the then Indian National Congress party[6] so swiftly capitulated to the demands of just one person, Mohammad Ali Jinnah, and gave in to Partition. For Jinnah, it was a double victory of sorts: he not only got his new nation but the Muslim hordes he had inflamed, got more than their share of Hindu blood. And, for the Congress Party, it was a double loss.

But we really need to examine the role and legacy of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, the man whose policies and strategies dominated the entire freedom struggle and culminated in one of the bloodiest episodes in human history, but still refused to learn anything from it.[7] The Dharma Dispatch has numerous episodes documenting a whole host of cruel and tragic fallouts that occurred directly under Mohandas Gandhi’s leadership so it’s superfluous to repeat them here.

Three points emerge from this historical analysis of Gandhi’s leadership and the trajectory of the Indian National Congress under him.

First, Gandhi’s leadership of the Congress, like a banyan tree did not allow anything to grow under its shade[9].

Second, by cultivating only fawners and flatterers, the post-Gandhi Congress leadership under Nehru was made of weak men who went on to rule “independent” India.

And third, which flows from the second, was the reason for said swift capitulation to Jinnah’s demand for Partition.

In other words, Gandhi’s unchallenged grip over the Congress Party and his sway over the largely naïve Hindu masses who were captivated by his saintly charm robbed them of a prized quality that had energized, reinvigorated, and sustained them even under the direst existential threats under the prolonged and oppressive Muslim regimes: an earthly spirit of ruggedness that contributed to civilizational and cultural resilience from time to time. This spirit was supplanted and consumed by Gandhi’s leadership, which replaced it with a national weakness of spirit.

And it is exactly this weakness of spirit that we detect in the first President, Dr. Rajendra Prasad’s shameful “tribute of respect” to Jinnah that we saw earlier in this essay. That it was done on the floor of the Constituent Assembly of India is not really shocking. But what is truly stunning is the fact that not even one member opposed Prasad. It is also the same weakness of spirit that detects no wrong in or persists with the amnesia of still retaining the word “secular,” which was unconstitutionally inserted by Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in the Preamble to the Constitution when she imposed the notorious Emergency in June 1975.

Therefore, it’s unsurprising that India produced at best only second and third rate political and administrative leadership starting with Jawaharlal Nehru, which as it must, eventually descended into the kind of morass that’s pervasive and commonplace today. To understand the competence and character of this sort of self-degenerating leadership, consider a rather straightforward question: which other democracy in the world has sought votes in the name of secularism?

Jawaharlal Nehru’s secularism is the ideological love-child born by fusing an incurable love for Stalinist Communism and an irretrievable alienation from his own Hindu roots. But after becoming Prime Minister, he had ample opportunities to better know his own roots and to apply independent thinking with regard to the true nature of the (then) USSR and China. He chose neither.

Between then and now, Nerhu’s secularism has produced about four generations of deracinated Hindus who neither know their roots nor can speak any Indian language including their own mother tongue. Their English is even worse. As much as I disagree with Nirad C. Chaudhuri, some of his cultural analyses are spot on. Here’s a hint he gave:

The immense noisy crowds that greeted the end of British rule in India with deafening shouts of joy on August 15, 1947, did not recall the old saying: they thought nothing of British rule would survive in their country after the departure of the White men who had carried it on. They never perceived that British rule in India had created an impersonal structure…. a system of government for which there was no substitute.

When we take even a casual glimpse at our vast corpus of Dharmashastra texts including learned expositions on Rajadharma (Statecraft and Polity), we invariably come across a refrain, a commandment of sorts for the King and the ruling class: Raja Dharmiko Bhooyaat — The Ruler shall always be guided by and practice Dharma.

In this backdrop, we get an immediately verifiable fact, which our own lived experience of 72 years can eminently testify to: there is no notion of Dharma in this impersonal structure and system of government. In other words, there is absolutely no higher guide on how to conduct what I call the National Life. What are our “guides?” The Parliament, Judiciary, Election Commission…faceless bodies manned at best by highly-trained and extremely competent rule-followers…and that’s putting it charitably. Sure, one might still build a strong economy and a prosperous nation with these institutions of governance and democracy. But a national economy sans a cultural substratum that sustains it is akin to a heap of nutritious tablets on a golden plate. You can produce these tablets in a Pharma factory but it requires culture to grow food. There’s a reason Bharatavarsha called the soil, the earth as “Bhoomi-Devi.” Decades ago, the iconic modern Rishi, D.V. Gundappa[10] said the same thing differently:

What is the character and nature of the people of India? What are their life-ideals? These are primary and basic questions that need to be asked in our politics… according to the ideals of our people, the world is just an instrument; the Spiritual World is a possibility, that is, it’s something that needs to be attained. A thirsty man needs water. What is required to hold water is a utensil. Thus, the utensil acquires a value because of water. In the same manner, worldly life acquires a value because it enables the attainment of the goal of reaching a higher world. And politics acquires a value because of worldly life. This is the chief tenet.

This is our national spirit. Tragically, our experience of the last seven decades has shown a progressive and proportional erosion of this spirit with each succeeding generation. Quite obviously. Because it was informed by the selfsame weakness of the Sanatana spirit exhibited so cravenly by Dr. Rajendra Prasad praising Jinnah in our Parliament.

But from the same Sanatana wellspring springs eternal hope.


[1] Constituent Assembly Debates, Book No. 2, Volume VII: 4 November 1948—8 January 1949: Lok Sabha Secretariat, 1999

[2] Parliamentary Debates, House of the People’, Official Report – Volume 1, No. 18, 6 March 1953, Lok Sabha Secretariat, New Delhi

[3]Nehru: The Invention of India: Shashi Tharoor, Pg 233

[4]Ibid, Pg 234

[5] Nehru, a Political Biography, Chapter 18: Michael Edwardes, Praeger Publishers, 1971

[6] To be fair, some of the men and women of this top leadership are still correctly regarded as the heroes of the freedom struggle

[7] For a thorough study on this, see: Gandhi and His Freedom Struggle: Radha Rajan, New Age Publishers, 2009

[8] History of the Freedom Movement in India: Preface to Volume 3: R.C. Majumdar, Firma K.L Mukhopadhyay, Calcutta

[9] For a detailed treatment of the autocratic manner of and the underhanded tactics that Gandhi employed in first isolating and then forcing Subash Bose out of the Congress, see pp 125—128, Nehru: A Political Biography: Michael Edwardes, Praeger Publishers, 1971.

[10] Jnapaka Chitrashaale: Vol 4, DVG Kruti Shreni: Kannada and Culture Department, Government of Karnataka, 2013, Pg 210 

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