- Posted March 30, 2014 by
INDIA’S FESTIVAL OF DEMOCRACY PART I`
Brief Introduction of India
1237 million human beings packed in 3.27 mill sq.kms of land bounded by the mighty Himalayan ranges on the North and two major oceans in the South. 28 states and 7 Union Territories, (Union Territories are areas run directly by the Central Government, a purely administrative arrangement), each state run by the respective elected state governments. Twenty Two scheduled/official languages, with innumerable dialects, and many of these scheduled languages have their roots in Sanskrit, considered one of the oldest languages whose origins can be traced to more than 5000 years, passed down orally and very well preserved, and presently is hardly spoken among the people because it is essentially sacerdotal in nature. India is multi religious with the majority being Hindu who comprise nearly 80 % of the population followed by 14 % Muslims, the third largest Muslim population in the world, Christians 2 %, Buddhists, Sikhs, Jains and the smallest of the communities the Parsis/Zorastrians, who came originally from Iran centuries ago, for whom the government has given special incentives to have more children and increase their numbers as they generally have very strict community rules for inter faith marriages, late marriages and have small families. Barring the Parsis all minority religious groups have seen their numbers growing in independent India the highest growth rate being among Muslims. This is the mystical land which houses one of the continuous ancient civilizations of the world whose cultural and religious practices continue to this day. This is the land of the Indus Valley Civilization the ruins of which suggest that primacy for civic facilities was given to the ordinary citizens rather than to the nobility, quite unlike other ancient civilization of Egypt, Greece, Rome and China where royal palaces, tombs of kings and big state buildings were given more importance. This is the land of Bharat, as referred to in ancient texts, or Hindustan (a place where Hindus reside) as the invading Persians called it and India as the modern world knows it to be.
15th August, 1947 at the stroke of midnight India was declared a free country after more than 200 years of British colonial rule, ravaged and impoverished as colonialists are wont to do with colonies. In 1750 Indian manufacturing contributed 25 % to world GDP and after 200 years of colonial rule it had come down to 2 %. This non violent freedom came at a bigger human price, the country was partitioned along essentially religious lines by the British with the active connivance of a section of the population whose leaders sold an utopian dream of a country to some Muslims. West Pakistan and East Pakistan (present day Bangladesh) was carved out which was followed by bloody riots which left millions dead, and this was not war it was a colonial power drawing borders with an eye to protect its future interests in a world order. The World view in 1947, it would be difficult for India to remain united and a democracy. Balkanization of India was just a matter of time and that Pakistan seemed to be a better idea as far as longevity of ideas is concerned. Unfortunately for the critic and fortunately for India they did not factor in this country’s pluralistic culture coming down from thousands of years, as recent archaeological excavations assisted with carbon dating is revealing of how old the civilization could be though traditionally Hindus always believed it to stretch to a few aeons. The word Hindu has been essentially coined once again by the Persian invader for anyone residing in this region and it was not religion specific and the word Hinduism (used first by the British) a derivative of Hindu, stands for a religion, though no codified religions existed during those times, which in Sanskrit or local parlance is known as “Sanathan Dharma” – Dharma means right way of life and Sanathan means eternal, so the right way for all for eternity and the cornerstones of it are – NON VIOLENCE, SELF CONTROL and acceptance of all beliefs since Sanathan Dharma believes that the path to realisation or God are manifold. Like all oriental religions Sanathan Dharma considers aiding conversions to their own religion as taboo or even sinning. However, like all other faiths it comes with its own share of fault lines.