India at a Crossroads: Choosing Between Unity and Division in the General Election

History shows us that through past ages, India has risen when its shared civilisational identity, collective energy, and shared vision have been awakened

By Srinivas Venkatram 

One of the central issues that is tacitly shaping this general election is two conflicting visions of the Indian subcontinent.

One view sees the Indian people as

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Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Sambit Patra at an election road show in Puri, Odisha; Image Source: X @narendramodi

(i) born of an ancient civilisation rooted in spirituality

(ii) which acts as a substratum from which numerous branches of the same organic whole have developed.

In this view, it is the collective consciousness and collective energy of the land that is the true national identity, and all divisive actions are alien.

The other view sees the Indian subcontinent as

(i) born of a historically disparate warring kingdoms

(ii) tied together only due to Islamic and British rulers

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(iii) divided and fractured in its national identity by caste, religion, and incomes

Congress Leader Rahul Gandhi with Samajwadi Party President Akhilesh Yadav at an election rally; Image Source: Samajwadi Party

These two world-views clash at every level

The civilisational worldview believes in the unity of all Hindus, nay all Indians, and sees the civilisational substratum as a unifying force that beckons to all to be one national whole with a shared vision of the future. This view demands equal treatment of all in the eyes of the law and equal opportunity for all.

The divisive worldview focuses constantly on the divisions between Indians – a division of caste, division between religions, and recently, divisions even based on colour. This view seeks special privilege for a few and nurtures a sense of victimhood and historical wrongs. This view does not seek a shared future; it seeks to divide an existing pie differently rather than expand the pie.

Which view is more appropriate for India?

History shows us that through past ages, India has risen when its shared civilisational identity, collective energy, and shared vision have been awakened. And India has declined, nay been conquered, when it has ignored our shared identity and focused on our differences rather than our commonalities.

We are once more faced with a choice – do we choose a civilizational identity and collective success or choose a path that goes back to the British era of “Divide and Rule”?

Let us choose wisely.

Author: Srinivas Venkatram founded Illumine – an “ideas in action” Lab that focuses on translating Swami Vivekananda’s ideas into new social, institutional and educational models. Illumine’s projects and interventions have reached more than 2 million users/ beneficiaries in society.

On this channel, Srinivas offers an interpretation of Vivekananda’s ideas, through the lens of Citizenship and Nation-building. For more, visit the Reflections on The Lion’s Roar.

Read the original article here.

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