CRISIS IN THE PSYCHE OF INDIA
Indian intellectuals live in a state of perpetual inferiority and are intolerant of others who do not share the same disability.
Frawley (Vamadeva Shastri)
Defeatism born of alienation
A defeatist tendency exists in the psyche of many modern Indians that is
perhaps unparalleled in any other country today. An inner conflict bordering on
a civil war rages in the minds of the country’s elite. The main effort of many
of its cultural leaders appears to be to pull the country and her culture down
or at least to remake it in a foreign image. To this end they always support
forces that are not only alien, but even hostile to India and her civilization.
elite of India suffers from a fundamental alienation from the traditions and
culture of the land that would not be less poignant had they been born and
raised in a hostile country. The ruling elite appears to be little more than a
native incarnation of the old colonial rulers and other invaders who sought to
destroy the native civilization. This new English-speaking aristocracy prides
itself in being disconnected from the very soil and people that gave it birth.
There is probably no other country in the world where it has become a
national pastime among its educated class to denigrate its own culture and
history, however great. When great archaeological discoveries of India’s past
are found, for example, they are not a subject for national pride but are
ridiculed, as if they represent only the imagination of backward chauvinistic
elements within the culture.
is probably no other country where the majority religion, however enlightened,
is ridiculed, while minority religions, however fundamentalist, are doted upon.
The majority religion is taxed and regulated while minority religions receive
tax benefits and have no regulation. While the majority religion is carefully
monitored and limited as to what it can teach, minority religions can teach what
they want, even if anti-national or backward in nature. Books are banned that
offend minority religious sentiments but praised if they cast insults on
is probably no other country where regional, caste and family loyalties are more
important than the national interest. Political parties exist not to promote a
national agenda but to sustain one region or group of people in the country at
the expense of a whole. Each group wants as big a piece of the national pie as
it can get, not realizing that the advantages it gains means deprivation for
other groups. Yet when those who were previously deprived gain power, they too
seek the same unequal advantages that causes further inequality and discontent.
affirmative action code is by far the most extreme in the world, trying to raise
up certain segments of the population regardless of merit, and prevent others
from gaining positions however qualified they may be. In the guise of
removing caste, a new casteism has arisen where one’s caste is more important
than one’s qualifications either in gaining entrance into a school or in
finding a job when one graduates. People view the government not as their
own creation but as a welfare state from which to take the maximum personal
benefit, regardless of the consequences for the country as a whole.
people need not pull Indians down. Indians are already quite busy keeping any of
their people and the country as a whole from rising up. They would rather see
their neighbors or the nation fail if they are not given the top position. It is
only outside of India that Indians succeed, often remarkably well, because their
native talents are not stifled by the dominant cultural self-negativity and
rabid divisiveness that exists in the country today.
Political parties in India see gaining power as a means of amassing
personal wealth and robbing the nation. Political leaders include gangsters,
charlatans and buffoons who would stop short at nothing to gain power for
themselves and their coteries. Even so-called modern or liberal parties resemble
more the courts of kings, where personal loyalty is more important than any
democratic participation. Once they gain power politicians routinely do little
but cheat the people for their own advantage. Even honest politicians find that
they cannot function without some deference to the more numerous corrupt leaders
who often have a stranglehold on the bureaucracy.
divide the country into warring vote banks and place one community against
another. They offer favors to communities like bribes to make sure that they are
elected or stay in power. They campaign on slogans that appeal to community
fears and suspicions rather than create any national consensus or harmony. They
hold power based upon blame and hatred rather than on any positive programs for
social change. They inflame the uneducated masses with propaganda rather than
work to make people aware of real social problems like overpopulation, poor
infrastructure or lack of education.
a decent government come to power, the opposition pursues pulling it down as its
main goal, so that they can gain power for themselves. The idea of a
constructive or supportive opposition is hard to find. The goal is to gain power
for oneself and to not allow anyone else to succeed. In short, opposition does
not provide criticism or policy options, but plays a destructive role by
destabilizing the government and obstructing its functioning. This was clear
during the recent budget session of the Parliament when the principal opposition
party did not even allow the Parliament to function.
Pandering to foreign interests
further their ambitions Indian politicians will manipulate the foreign press to
denigrate their opponents, even if it means spreading lies and rumors and making
the country an anathema in the eyes of the outside world. Petty conflicts in
India are blown out of proportion in the foreign media, not by foreign
journalists but by Indians themselves seeking to use the media to score points
against their own opponents in the country. The Indians who are responsible for
the news of India in the foreign press spread venom and distortion about their
own country, perhaps better than any foreigner who dislikes the culture ever
killing of one Christian missionary becomes a national media event of
anti-Christian attacks while the murder of hundreds of Hindus is taken casually
as without any real importance. Even when it was exposed that several Christian
organizations were engages in a child kidnapping and selling racket using
‘adoption as a cover, there was no outrage in the media, in striking contrast
to its behavior during real and imagined attacks on Christians. Missionary
aggression is extolled as social upliftment, while Hindu efforts at self-defense
against the conversion onslaught are portrayed as rabid fundamentalism. One
Indian journalist recently lamented that Western armies would not come to India
to chastise the political groups he was opposed to, as if he was still looking
for the colonial powers to save him!
Quality of leadership
Let us look at the type of leaders that India now has today with its
Laloo Prasad Yadav, Mulayam Singh Yadav, Jayalalita or Subrahmanian Swamy to
mention but a few. Such individuals are little more than warlords who surround
themselves with sychophants. Modern Indian politicians appear more like colonial
rulers and their agents looting their own country, following a divide and rule
policy, to keep the people so weak that their power cannot be challenged.
Corruption exists almost everywhere and bribery is the main way to do business
in nearly all fields. India has an entrenched bureaucracy that resists change
and stifles development, just out of sheer obstinacy and not wanting to give up
Now the Congress Party, the oldest in this predominantly Hindu nation,
has given its leadership to an Italian Catholic woman simply because as the
widow of the last Gandhi, she can carry on the family torch, as if family
loyalty were still the main basis of political credibility in the country. And
such a leader and a party are deemed progressive! And the support to this
‘leader’ is coming predominantly from the educated ‘elite’ rather than
the common people.
The strange thing is that India is not a banana republic of recent
vintage but one of the oldest and most venerable civilizations in the world. Its
culture is not trumpeting a militant and fundamentalist religion trying to
conquer the world for the one true faith but represents a vaster and more cosmic
vision. India has given birth to the main religions that have dominated East
Asia historically, the Hindu, Buddhist, Jain and Sikh, which are noted for
tolerance and spirituality. It has produced Sanskrit, the world’s greatest
language. It has given us the incredible spiritual systems of Yoga and its great
traditions of meditation and Self-realization. As the world looks forward to a
more universal model of spirituality, and a world view defined by consciousness
rather than by religious dogma, these traditions are perhaps the most important
legacy to draw upon for creating a future enlightened civilization.
the irony is that rather than embracing its own great traditions, the modern
Indian psyche prefers to slavishly imitate worn out trends in Western
intellectual thought like Marxism or even to write apologetics for Christian and
Islamic missionary aggression. Though living in India, in proximity to temples,
yogis and great festivals, most modern Indian intellectuals are oblivious to the
soul of the land. They might as well be living in England or China for all they
know of their own country. They are isolated in their own alien ideas as if in a
tower of iron. If they choose to rediscover India it is more likely to occur by
reading the books of Western travelers visiting the country, than by their own
direct experience of the people around them.
dominant Indian intelligentsia cannot appreciate even the writings of the many
great modern Indian sages, like Vivekananda or Aurobindo, who wrote in good
English and understood the national psyche and how to revive. It is as if they
were so successfully brainwashed against their own culture that they cannot even
look at it, even if presented to them clearly in a modern light!
If the enlightened thought of India is going to arise it cannot through
the current educated elite of the country. Various spiritual groups in India may
be able to promote it, including in foreign lands, but they are fast becoming a
minority and denigrated in their own land.
Is there hope?
Given such a twisted and self-negative national psyche, can there be any
hope for the country? At the surface the situation looks quite dismal. India
appears like a nation without nationalism or at least without any national pride
or any real connection to its own history. Self-negativity and even a cultural
self-hatred abound. The elite that dominates the universities, the media, the
government and the business arenas is the bastard child of foreign interests and
is often still controlled by foreign ideas and foreign resources. It cannot
resist a bribe and there is much money from overseas to feed it. Indian
politicians do not hesitate to sell their country down the river and it does not
require a high price.
Signs of revival
Fortunately signs of a new awakening can be found. There is a new
interest in the older traditions of the country and many people now visit
temples and tirthas. Many young people now want to follow the older
heritage of the land and revive it in the modern age. The computer revolution
and the new science are reconnecting with the great intelligence of the Indian
psyche that produced the unfathomable mantras of the Vedas. Slowly but surely a
new intelligentsia is arising and now several important journalists are writing
and exposing the hypocrisy of the anti-Hindu Indian elite. Yet only if this
trend grows rapidly can there be a counter to the defeatist trend of the
country. But it requires great effort, initiative and creativity, not simply
lamenting over the past but envisioning a new future in harmony with the deeper
aspirations of the region.
One must also not forget that the English-educated elite represents only
about three percent of the country, no matter how much power they wield. The
remaining population is much more likely to preserve the older traditions of the
land. Supposedly illiterate villagers often know more of real Indian culture
than do major Indian journalists and writers.
overseas Hindus have become successful, well educated and affluent, not by
abandoning their culture but by holding to it. They see Hindu culture not as a
weakness but a strength. Free of the Indian nation and its fragmented psyche,
they can draw upon their cultural resources in a way that people born in India
seldom can. Perhaps they can return to the country and become its new leaders.
Let us hope that some at least will heed this call.
first this strange alienated elite has to be removed from their positions of
power and influence, and they will not give up without a fight. The sad thing is
that they would probably rather destroy their own country than have it function
apart from their control. The future of India looks as though a new Kurukshetra
War is on the horizon that requires a similar miracle for victory, and
enlightened leaders like Krishna and Yudhisthira. Such a war will be fought not
on some outer battlefield but in the hearts and minds of people, in where they
choose to draw their inspiration and find their connection with life.
regardless of outer appearances, the inner soul of the land cannot be put down
so easily. It has been nourished by many centuries of tapas by great yogis and
sages. This soul of Bharat Mata will rise up again through Kali (destruction) to
Durga (strength). The question is how long and difficult the process must be.