The intellectual scene in Post-independence
A speech of S. Gurumurthy given to IIT Chennai
... Defeat and anger go together. Abuse and defeat go together. So,
it is in this norm and with this understanding of what an intellectual
debate means, I would like to place before you some of my thoughts today.
Some of may find it provocative. I am confident that the audience is
competent enough to absorb this and think rather than get into the mood
which all of us have got used to in the last 30-40 years abuse.
Background: India before Independence
Let us see the pre-independence background,
the intellectual content of India. See the kind of personalities who
led the Indian mind Swami Vivekananda, Sri Aurobindo, Gandhiji, Tilak-
giants in their own way. Most of them were involved in politics, active
politics, day-to-day politics, handling men, walking on the road, addressing
meetings, solving problems between their followers. And, meeting the
challenges posed by the enemy, the conspiracies hatched against them.
They were handling everything, yet, they were maintaining an intellectual
supremacy, and an originality which history has recorded.
Let us look at the academic side. Whether
it is a P.C. Ray who wrote on Indian Chemistry in 1905 or Sir C.V. Raman
who wrote about mridangam, tabala, and violin, and saw the physics in
it (this was in 1913); whether it was R.C. Majumdar or Radhakumud Mukherjee
who saw greatness in the Indian civilization; trying to bring up points,
instances, historical evidence to mirror the greatness of India to the
defeated Indian race, they were all building the Indian mind brick by
Sri Aurobindo spoke of Sanatana Dharma
as the nationalism of India. He didn't rank it as a philosophy. He brought
it down to the level of emotional consciousness. Swami Vivekananda spoke
of spiritual nationalism; it was the same Swami who spoke of Universal
brotherhood. For them philosophy was not removed from the ground reality.
The nation was at the core of their philosophy. Swami Vivekananda was
called the "patriot monk".
Mahatma Gandhi spoke of Rama Rajya.
Bankim Chandra wrote Bande Maataram. The song, the slogans in it, the
mantra in it made hundreds of people kiss the gallows smilingly and
many others went to jail. It transformed the life of the people. This
was the intellectual scene, this was the content. This is what powered
the intellectual as well as the mass movement in India. This was the
core of India, the soul of the Indian freedom movement.
The symptoms: India immediately after
Imagine what happened in 1947 and after,
India was able to intellectually lead not only Indians but also the
whole world because of the intellectual assertion that the freedom movement
brought about. Let us look at post Independence India. The persons who
led post-Independence India were also trained in the same freedom movement.
They went to jail, but they were not rooted in the intellectual content
of the Freedom movement!
The first Prime Minister of India Jawaharlal
Nehru was in jail for 7 years. He was a great intellectual, purely in
the sense of his capacity to reason, understand, read, and expound a
thought. He told Galbrieth once, "I would be regarded as the last
English Prime Minister of India." See the intellectual capability
of the man, the enormously competent mind.
But intellectualism doesn't exist in
a vacuum. It has to be rooted in something concrete. Swami Vivekananda's
universal brotherhood was rooted in India's greatness as a civilization.
The concept of "Vasudaiva Kutumbakam" cannot exist without
a living form, a population which believes in it and believes in itself.
You need to have a society which believes in it.
That is why India could invite the Jews
who were butchered, raped, all over the world. In 107 out of 108 countries,
this race was butchered. At least they had the courtesy and the gratitude
to publish a book. The Israeli government published a book that out
of 108 countries that we sought refuge, the only civilization, the only
country, the only people, the only ideology that gave us refuge was
the Indian civilization. They published a book, which most Indians are
And we invited the Muslims. The refugee
Muslims first landed in Kutch. And they are called the Kutchy Memons
even today but not the Memons who bomb Mumbai. But the Memons who lived
In the year 1917, many of you might
be aware, a case went to the Prey Council, equivalent to the Supreme
Court now. The Kutchy Memons went and told the Prey Council that we
are Muslims for namesake, but we follow only the Hindu law. Please don't
impose the Shariat on us. The Prey Council ruled that they are Muslims
but the only sacred book they have is called "Dasaavathaara",
it is not Koran. In fact they knew no language other than the Kutchy
And in the "Dasaavathaara",
nine avatharas were common between Hindus and Kutchy Memons. We call
the tenth avathaara "Kalki" and they call him "Ali".
The Prey Council ruled that the Shariyat law is not applicable to them.
The All India Muslim League took up the case, went to the British and
told them that this finding is dangerous to Islam and requested them
to pass a law which will overrule this judgment. The British government
passed a law in 1923 which was called the "The Kutchy Memons Act"
declaring, "If a Kutchy Memon wants to follow the Shariat, allow
him to do so".
It doesn't mean a Muslim must follow
the Shariat. Between 1923-1937, before the All India Shariat Act was
passed not a single Kutchy Memon filed an affidavit with the plea that
he wants to follow the Shariaat. That was the integration prevalent
In 1937, when the All India Shariat
Act was passed, the preamble to the act mentioned that this was being
passed by a demand made by the AIML leader Mohammed Ali Jinnah. Today,
the Shariat has become a part of Muslim consciousness.
The purpose behind making you aware
of this background is that 99% of the people who speak about the constitutional
rights of the minorities or the distinctiveness of Muslim life are unaware
of the facts. Till the year 1980, in Cooch Behar district, the Shariat
law was not applicable. In 32 instances between 1923 and 1947 by legislation,
the Shariyat law was not applicable to the Muslims. This is the extent
of the intellectual gap in India.
Secularism: A Reversal and perversion
of the Indian mind.
And now, coming to what is the position
today. Everything that drove the freedom movement - everything that
constituted the soul of the freedom movement, whether it is the Ram
rajya of Gandhiji or Sanaatana Dharma of Sri Aurobindo or the spiritual
patriotism of Vivekananda or the soul stirring Vande Maataram song,
came to be regarded not only as unsecular but as sectarian, communal
and even as something harmful to the country.
Thus, there was a reversal, a perversion
of the Indian mind. How did it occur? Today, the intellectualism of
India means to denigrate India. There are mobile citizens and there
are non- citizens deriding India. Go to the Indian Airlines counter
you will find people deriding India. Go to a post office they will deride
India. Go to a railway station, they will deride India. It is the English
educated Indian's privilege to deride India.
When I was talking to postal employees
in the GPO, Chennai (a majority of them were women). I told them the
basic facts about the post office. I said it is one of the most efficient
postal systems in the world, one of the cheapest in the world, one of
the most delivery perfect postal systems in the world. For one rupee,
you are able to transport information from one end of the country to
And you have a postman, no where in
the world this happens the postman goes to the illiterate mother and
reads out the letter, he is asked to sit there and shares a cup of coffee
and comes away. Money orders are delivered to the last rupee. It is
an amazing system, one of the largest postal systems linking one of
the most populous nations, one of the most complicated nations with
so many languages.
Somebody writes the address in Tamil
and it gets delivered in Patna! It gets delivered to Jawaan at warfront!
When I completed my speech many of the women were wiping their tears.
I asked why are you crying I have only praised you. They said, "Sir,
this is the first time we've been praised, otherwise we've only been
You know how many people use the railways
in India? A million people and that is equivalent to the population
of Australia! And we have only abuses for them!
Have we any idea of what this country
is? India has been compared with Singapore, Hong Kong, Korea, Japan
and Taiwan. You can walk across many of these countries in one night
(laughs)! The best politicians, intellectuals, sociologists in India
have compared us with them because, we have never understood what we
are and unless you do that, you can never relate us with others.
Demonising India: Projecting a negative
This enormous intellectual failure,
to the extent of being intellectually bankrupt, did not occur overnight,
it was no accident. There is a history behind this enormous erosion.
And I told you about these mobile citizens, what they have done to us.
Every country has problems. There is no country without any problem.
Are you aware of what is one of the most pressing problems in America
today? It is incurable according to the American sociologists; even
American economists have begun to agree with them. American politicians
are shaken, one third of the pregnant women are school going children.
And mothers mix the anti-pregnancy pill in the food without daughter's
But this is not the image of America.
The image of America is a technologically advanced country etc. etc.
Ours is the only country where the mobile citizens of India have transformed
the problems of India into the image of India -its identity is inherently
related with its problems.
Go to any country and the same negative
stereotype is echoed that India is suffering from poverty and malnutrition.
India has no drinking water. Indian women are burnt. If they are married,
they are burnt, if they are widows, they are burnt. See the image that
has been built about this country. Who did this? The English educated
And one Kaluraam Meena (have you ever
heard of him? Asks the audience to raise their hands if they have),
only a small fraction of this large audience has heard of him. When
Clinton came to India, he went to a village called Nayla where the villagers
interacted with him. And one of the panchayat board members asked him,
"Sir, I am told that in the West, all of you believe that this
country is a rotten country, a backward country, a poor, hungry country.
Do you also think like that?"
Clinton was shaken, because he might
have thought that this person might be approaching him for some favour.
I will relate my experience when I went to the Carter Centre in 1993.
They were talking about dispute resolution and all that. I went there
to meet somebody, if not Carter, somebody else at least. His Deputy,
a lady, was very hesitant to receive me. "Mr. Gurumurthy",
she said, "Mr. Carter is not around, anyway,
I can spare seven-eight minutes for you." I said three or four
minutes of your time would do. Even before I could start, she said,
"Mr.Gurumurthy, we don't have funds, we will not be able to help"
(laughter from the audience). I replied, "Let us assume you have
a hundred billion dollars, how much will you give me? One billion? One
million?" She kept quiet, I said: "I don't need your money.
I came here to discuss whether community living is an answer to disputes.
I have come to discuss this because you have suggested electoral means
to resolve problems in communities which have no damn idea of what an
election is; whether community living is an answer because you don't
what that means. She sat and discussed this with me for two hours. This
is the image we have projected that anybody, who comes from India, comes
to beg. Ordinary Indians did not create this impression; educated Indians
created it. This is the work of civil servants, NGOs. Christian missionaries
during the freedom movement created this. Indians are filthy, rotten,
dirty and unhealthy, advertising abroad these are the people who need
to be saved. We have to Christianise them, enlighten them, and give
us money. I can understand that because it is their business. But what
did we do after 1947?
We repeated the same mistakes. We projected
India as a country of unending problems. As I said, every country has
problems. Only in India, problems become identities. How many dowry
deaths take place in India in a year? Yet, India is projected as a country
burning its own daughter-in-laws. And we also talk about it. Every damn
newspaper will be writing about it. We believe in self-deprecation.
And this goes on in the guise of intellectualism in India. And one woman,
she attempted to take a film of the widows. I wrote an article, asking
her to go to Lijjat Paapad. A widow brought me up. Millions of widows
have worked to bring up their children. It is a nation, which believes
in Tapasya. You may not believe in it but you are an exception. Compare
Deepa Mehta"s attitude with Sarada Maa's who was the wife, who
became a widow after Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa's passing away. She
went to the very same place where Deepa Mehta went and saw the widows.
Sarada Maa said, "These widows are so pure, they are an illustration
and an example to me." Deepa Mehta saw them as prostitutes. The
widows have already been hurt once. Why are you sprinkling salt on their
I am very sorry to speak about this,
but I have to, this audience is enlightened enough to understand me.
Indian women are sexually unsatisfied and so they are becoming lesbians?
This is one bloody story against us, about us. This is the image of
Indian men and women, and this film is in English. Catherine Mayo wrote
a book and Mahatma Gandhi said about it, "I have no time to read
this filth. But I am under a compulsion, under pressure because this
has been published abroad. The image of India has been rubbished and
I have to counter it." With this introduction, he wrote about the
book and said that this woman is a gutter inspector (laughs).
The intellectualism in India is gutter
inspection- people are of this kind etc. Understand the level of erosion.
Indian Politics: Weaknesses and Pitfalls
Let us look at the post independence
scenario from the macro level. We installed a system of governance and
it postulated all the important goals for the Indian society and polity,
which was gulped by the Indian academia, by the Indian intellectuals.
We will have a classless society through socialism. We will have a casteless
society through equality. We will have a faithless society through secularism.
We will have a modern society devoid of tradition.
Instead of politics restructuring caste,
caste has restructured politics today. Political parties are talking
only in terms of castes. Has any Indian intellectual come to terms with
caste? You must understand caste if you want to handle the Indian society.
You cannot say that I want to have a very different kind of society.
You have to handle the Indian sentiment, the Indian tradition and Indian
beliefs. You can't clone a society of your choice in India. Social engineering
has failed everywhere; the masters of social engineering have given
up the Communists - whether it is sociologists or economists you have
to accept a society as it is. You can only increase the momentum of
evolution in the society; you can't forcibly bring about a revolution
today. But, Indian leaders and intellectuals, till today, keep abusing
caste. They don't know how to handle the caste.
Let me narrate to you how a community
in Karaikudi handled this issue. The Chettiyar community assembled top
businessmen, professionals from all over the world for 3 days to discuss
their culinary act, how to construct houses, what languages they use,
what old adages and stories their grand parents used to tell, what clothes
they used to wear; not one word of politics, mind you. This was not
even published in the newspapers. Intellectuals were not even aware
of it. So, caste is a very important instrument in India, you may not
like it. Unfortunately, every intellectual leads a caste life inside,
but outside he is casteless! He is cloning an approach outside. There
is no intellectual honesty at all.
And what happened in the case of secularism?
In India, any one who is not a Hindu is per se secular. In the year
1947, just 10 years had passed after the Muslim League demanded and
got the country partitioned, the leader who voted for the resolution
for the partition of India was Quazi Millath Ismail, (who was leading
the same Muslim League on the Indian side), the Congress certified that
the Muslim League in Kerala is secular and hence it can associate with
them. The Muslim League outside Kerala is communal with the same president!
Three hundred and fifty crores are spent today for the Haj pilgrims
out of the funds of secular India every year. No one can raise an objection.
At least I can understand why politicians don't want to do that because
they want the Muslim votes. But what about the intelligentsia. What
about newspaper editors and journalists? And academicians? None of them
speak out. The reason is that we have produced a state dependent intellectualism
in India. We don't produce Nakkeerans anymore, our intellectualism is
a derivative of the State and the State is a derivative of the polity.
And in turn the polity is a derivative of the mind of Macaulay and Marx.
The Indian education system: A Legacy
This Macaulayian system of education
is a poison injected into our system. At least I had the opportunity
of schooling in Tamil and hence could withstand the corruption that
this English education brings with it. This corruption begins the moment
the child steps out of the house. He is told to converse in English
at home. This did not happen even in pre-Independence India, even when
Macaulay wrote that notorious note sitting in Ooty. How many of you
know Macaulay's formulation? Just those two or three sentences at least
which form the crux - "We require an education system in India
which will produce a class of interpreters, who will be Indian in colour
and Englishmen in taste, opinions and morals."
This is the education system, which
we have been continuing with, which was earlier conceived to produce
clerks for the British Empire. If you have to differ from an English
educated person you have to differ only through the English language.
If you have to abuse somebody, even that has to be done in English!
If you abuse the Anglicised Indian, he will not find fault with the
blame but with the grammar in your language! This is the extent to which
a foreign language has possessed us. But, we must master English, that
is needed, but why do we have to become slaves of the English language?
We must use that language as a tool, but why do we consider it as a
status symbol? This is the influence of Macaulay.
If you want to understand the Macaulay/Marxist
mix in India, you have to go a little back to see how Marxism grew out
of the Christian civilisation. I recommend that you read the Nov 27,
1999 edition of the Newsweek, which describes how the Christian idea
of the end of time called the "apocalypse", influenced the
entire history, art, music, prognosis, sociology, economics, and the
entire attitude of the Christian civilisation towards the non-Christian
A Christian scholar who describes how
Communism grew out of Christianity has written it. In 1624, Anna Baptists,
a group of Christians who believed in the basic tenets of Christianity
seized power in a particular place, banned private property and use
of any book other than the Bible. When Marxism came up later through
the exposition of Das Capital, the Marxists began expounding their doctrine
as an extension of Christianity.
The thesis, antithesis and synthesis
of making Christianity acceptable to the age of enlightenment was the
Hegelian way demanded rationalisation of Christianity in the days of
the Protestant movement. Hegel began with a disagreement, then started
interacting with Christianity and ultimately ended up accepting Christianity.
You can see the same phenomenon with
Marxist postulates- "capitalism is my enemy, we have to deal with
capitalism" and finally "we have to find a synthesis with
Marx on India
In fact in the year 1857, Marx wrote
about India, " India was a prosperous civilisation. It had a very
high standard of living. Their productivity was higher. India was an
economic giant." It was so. If you look at the statistics in 1820,
India's share of world production was 19%, and England's share was 9%,
please note that Britain was deep into the industrial revolution at
that time. 18% of the world trade was in Indian hands at that time whereas
8% was the figure for Britain and 1% for US. When 80% of the American
population was engaged in agriculture, India had 60% of the population
engaged in non-agricultural occupations. This is supposed to be an index
of development. All these statistics can be found in Paul S. Kennedy's
"Rise and Fall of Great Powers".
So, Marx says, "This was a great
civilisation which had produced prosperous communities." A prosperity
which went deep into the villages. In the early stages, when the East
India Company came to Murshidabad, an unknown name in Bengal today the
Britishers were awe struck with its prosperity and wrote that it was
more prosperous than London. This is no more disputed anyway, even by
Indian intellectuals. Marx acknowledges the fact that this was a prosperous
country and also had equality but unfortunately, he says for 2000 years
the society did not change nor did it allow any revolutionary forces
to enter! In his worldview human beings cannot progress without a revolution!
In the two articles on British rule
in India and the East India Company- history and results written by
Marx, quoted in the New York daily "Karl Marx does grant though
somewhat in a grudging manner that "materially, India was fairly
industrious and prosperous even before the onset of the British rule.
He said that India was an exporting country till 1830 and started importing
because it had opened its trade to the British." Many of you may
not be aware that the kings in India had no right to over the lands,
which came under the jurisdiction of panchayats. Whether it was Emperor
Ashoka or Bhagavan Sri Ramachandra, the rule was the same. It was changed
only during the British rule under the Ryotwari system. Even the Mughals
could not change it. It was also found that family communities were
based on domestic industry, with the peculiar combination of hand-spinning,
hand- weaving, agriculture etc. which gave them a supporting power.
The misery inflicted by the British
on Hindusthan is of an entirely different kind and infinitely more intense
than what it had to suffer before civil wars, invasions, revolutions,
conquests, famines all these did not go deeper than the surface. But,
England broke the entire framework of Hindusthan, the symptoms of reconstitution
are yet to emerge clearly. This loss of the Old World without the emergence
of a new order imparts a particular melancholy to the present misery
of Hindus and Hindusthan. Marx goes on to say that the British interference
destroyed the union between agriculture and the manufacturing industry.
Suddenly he remarks that the English interference dissolved this semi
barbarian, semi-civilised community.
He concedes that they were prosperous,
that they organised their affairs well, they have a measure of independence,
they have a democracy at the lowest level, all this has been conceded.
Then, how does he classify us as "semi-barbarian and semi-civilised
communities"? He notes that India's social condition remained unaltered
since remote antiquity. This is important, for him revolution is the
core, the soul and centre of the society. This society never had a revolution;
hence it cannot be modern! There is an underlying assumption, which
considers revolution as a pre- requisite for being modern.
Hence, he feels that the destruction
wrought by the British is the inevitable revolution needed for the development
of the Indian society. England had vested interests, violent interests
in bringing about this "revolution". But, the question in
focus is whether mankind can fulfill its destiny without a fundamental
revolution in the social state? Whatever might have been the crimes
of England, she was the unconscious tool of history in bringing about
a revolution, whatever bitterness the spectacle of crumbling of an ancient
world may evoke, from the point of history, we have to exclaim - should
this torture torment us?
Since it brings us great pleasure, were
not the rule of Taimur, souls delivered without measure? It is a creative
destruction in the cause of revolution according to him. If you see
Indian Communism which was expounded by a man called Rajane Palme Dutt.
Has anyone heard of his name? (Two persons from the audience raised
their hands). Two. He was born of a white woman and an Indian father
in England. He was in charge of Indian Communism for 25 years. He never
came to India though. In his book, "India Today", he laid
down the framework, the policy for Indian Communists, what must be done,
what is the kind of revolution needed in India, the development model
In those days, even good photographs
of India were not available, yet this man spoke about India sitting
in London. He came to India for the first time in 1946, ten years after
he wrote this book and realised that he had to revise it. He stayed
for 30 days! A visitor to India was the father of Indian Communism!
And from that day till date, the Indian Communist has never been with
India. Not only that, they took over the Indian mind in the post- independence
period. It is these Marxist/Macaulayist intellectuals who will certify
whether somebody is modern or traditional, backward or secular or communal,
progressive or regressive. They were running an Open Air University
issuing certificates every day through the press. They have branded
me as a communal man.
Labels: Tools for stultifying important
Labels substituted debate in India.
Simply a label - communal, that is enough. Four or five editorials will
appear preaching that Gurumurthy is communal and the matter must end
there. No one would even discuss what communalism is! Religious fundamentalism,
RSS/Bajrang Dal fundamentalism! Anyone, who exposes the Hindu cause
in India is a fundamentalist! We have seen this term being used so casually
and superfluously and incessantly by politicians and newspapers. Has
anyone bothered to understand the meaning of religious fundamentalism
going beyond these slogans?
Secularism is an intra-Christian phenomenon.
It has no application outside Christianity at all. Secularism resolved
the fight between two powerful persons, the King and the Archbishop
who were loyal to the same faith, to the same prophet, to the same book
and to the same Church. It is not a multi-religious virtue.
A multi-religious idea, a multi-religious
living, a multi-religious culture, a multi-religious fabric or a multi-religious
structure was unknown outside India. There was usually only one faith
and no place for any other, not even for a variation of the same faith.
Fifty six thousand Bahais were butchered
in one hour in Tehran! They believed in the same Koran, in the same
Muhammad, the only difference was that they said that Muhammad might
come in another form again. That was their only fault and they were
But we have no such problem. We can
play with God, we can abuse God, and we can beat God!
If I say that monotheistic religions
have had a violent history, and the reply will be "you are communal."
But this is exactly the same conclusion that a study in Chicago revealed,
probably, the only study on fundamentalism conducted by anybody so far.
This fundamentalism project brought out five volumes each volume about
eight hundred to nine hundred pages. The conclusion they have reached
is that, "Fundamentalism is a virtue of Abrahamic religions. It
is not applicable to eastern faiths at all.
What about the Indian intellectuals?
Day in and day out, they keep abusing us as fundamentalists, communalists,
that we are anti-secular and it is being gulped down by everyone including
those from the IITs and IIMs, lawyers and police officials, journalists
and politicians. Look at this intellectual bankruptcy.
An inner revolution: The much needed
We need a mental revolution, an inner
revolution; we need to get rooted in our own soul. There is a missing
element in India today and it is this. That element has to be restored
otherwise Indian intellectualism will only be a carbon copy of Western
intellectualism. We are borrowing not only their language and idiom
but also we trying to copy the very soul of the West.
So, all that we need to do is (it is
impossible to share the entire depth of the subject in one evening's
lecture programme. I have only tried out point out in an incoherent
way, how a completely fresh mindset has to be evolved. And unless it
evolves, the Indian mind, which leads India, will be in a perpetual
state of confusion ordinary people are perfectly all right.
Consider for example how thirty years
before there was a question whether Tamil Nadu will be a part of India
or not. The Dravidian parties have taken over the mind of Tamil Nadu.
It had virtually ceased to be a part of India. And their attack was
aimed at Hinduism. The moment you attack Hinduism you attack India.
This is a fact. Neither politicians nor intellectuals nor academicians
realised this. But, the ordinary people did. Just three religious movements-
the Ayyappa movement, the Kavadi movement and the Melmaruvatthur Adi
Para Sakti movement- have finished the Dravidian ideology to a very
great extent. It is only the outer shell of Dravidianism that remains
today. Tamil Nadu has been brought back successfully by Ayyappa, Muruga
and Para Sakti, not by the Congress or the BJP or any other political
How many people have intellectually
assessed the depth and the reach, the deep influence of religion over
the people? A paradigm shift in a study of India would be an intellectual
approach to this subject. Or consider for example its influence on economics.
Many of you by now would have studied economics in some detail. Take
a look at the society in India and compare the figures for public expenditure
for private purposes, which is called the social security system in
the West. 30% of the GDP in America is spent for social security, 48%
in England, 49% in France, 56% in Germany and 67% in Sweden. This private
expenditure is nothing but what you and I do by taking care of parents,
our wives and children, brothers and sisters and grandparents, widowed
sisters and distant relatives. This expenditure is met by the society
And there is no law in India that people
should do this. We consider it as our dharma. A person went to a court
and demanded a divorce from his father and mother. The American court
granted it saying that the only relationship that exists between two
persons of America is their citizenship. The law in America recognises
no other relationship ... In the year 1978, an interesting incident
occurred in Manhattan. There was a power failure for six hours. Manhattan
is in the heart of New York where you find the UN building, the World
Trade Centre and the head quarters of many multi-national companies.
One third of the world's health is concentrated in Manhattan. Within
six hours, hundreds of people were killed, robbed and assaulted. We
don't need electricity to behave in a civilised manner. How many intellectuals
in India have ever articulated from such a sympathetic approach? We
have only tarnished the image of this country. We must be ashamed of
I shall conclude my speech with this
example. When Sri Aurobindo came to Pondicherry in search of a new light.
He used to get five rupees from a friend and four persons used to live
on this. A cup of tea was one of the luxuries they used to have everyday
in the morning, on the Pondicherry beach.
Sri Aurobindo used to always look at
a mystic called Kullachamy (Subramanya Bharati has written a poem about
him). He used to behave like a madman, wandering here and there, throwing
stones ... One, day he came near Sri Aurobindo, lifted his cup of tea
and emptied it in front of him. Then he showed the empty cup to him,
placed it on the table and went away. Sri Aurobindo's friends were angry
and wanted to chase him. Sri Aurobindo stopped them and said, "This
is the kind of instruction I had been expecting from him. He wants me
to empty my mind and start thinking afresh."
That is my appeal to you.