Nationalism has become a bad word. No wonder. It has come to mean not only xenophobia, hating foreigners, but also sectarianism. Intolerance for sections of one’s own country. That is ugly nationalism, and should be shunned at all costs.
But is nationalism always ugly? Or is there a good type too? One where all citizens of a country cooperate for a common goal? Where there is a belief, confidence and pride in one's country’s ability to create, produce and contribute on the world stage? Say whatever you might, criticise its state machinery, but China as a nation has committed to lead the technological revolution of the 21st century. They are determined to be the next super-power, through this tool they specialise in. America led the last century with a national commitment towards innovation.
So then what kind of good nationalism can emerge from India? Is there something which is our specialisation, something we can offer to the world? A brand, a technology available only with us?
Yes, there is. In fact, it is already waiting for us to use its treasures.
All it needs are citizens who display a conviction and dignity in its capabilities.
It can’t happen with citizens who are dying to dissociate themselves from the country. Who are morphing into a strange new specie which, while living here, speaks in a half Brit/half American and half Indian accent. Who shun Ayurvedic diet for keto and paleo, diss Yoga and Pranayama for cross fit and Pilates, prefer tarot decks to Jyotish. Who declare all saffron clad, Sanskrit quoting guru type as cheats but swear by Tony Robbins and Abraham Hicks. Who are die-hard fans of vision boards and the affirmations, but are uninspired by Vedic mantras.
It’s not their fault, not that much. The modern representatives of Yog, Vedas, Ayurveda, Jyotish have done an abysmal, petty job of it themselves. What is deep, multi-layered, thorough, science is being presented as silly rules, illogical dogma and quick-fixes.
A case in point; it is not that the planets Jupiter and Saturn in your horoscope are making your life miserable through some invisible electromagnetic or gravitational force.
Jupiter and Saturn are simply metaphors for the psychological forces of wisdom and discipline operating in your particular system. Good or bad 'Grahas' do not translate as good and bad planets, but as parts of your psyche which have ‘eclipsed’ you over other parts. So your kundali is an indication, a hint of your complete psychological make-up. The sub-conscious and unconscious impulses which you might not be completely aware of. An ideal Jyotish would guide you at a psychological, mental level to lead a better life. And much more comprehensively that any other self-help, new-age technique which might not even target your specific issues.
So where is the dogma or the lack of logic here?
Maybe we do not understand enough, that is why we reject our indigenous, native knowledge. Imagine what would happen if our well-educated, intelligent citizens would grasp these truths and spread the word across the world. That would be a tremendous contribution, because the healing depth of our ancient wisdom tradition is beyond compare. There is simply no other modern or old science/philosophy to match it.
That would be a good kind of nationalism wouldn’t it? An absolutely unique ‘Brand India.’
Hope such a brand India emerges on the world stage in the Modi 2.0 era.