The recent and unexpected visit by the Prime Minister of India, Hon. Narendra Modi to Pakistan had caught the whole world by surprise and created a storm of praise by world leaders who applauded this action towards lasting efforts for peace with Pakistan.
In contrast, there were politicians and political parties in India who criticized this trip venomously. And, there are those who are unable to understand either the purpose of this trip, or its implications, or the philosophy behind the whole effort.
To understand the efforts of the new leadership of India, one must go far back into the past, and visit the thought concepts of ancient Bharat (the land that is comprised of the current nations of India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri-lanka and the immediate neighboring countries).
The basic principal of the Bharatiya view of country and way-of-life is the “commitment to culture”. The nation known as India did not begin its existence from 15 August 1947, but had existed as “Bharat Rashtra”for aeons before the British rule and other foreign rulers prior to that. On this land; the threads of life, art, literature and philosophy that bind the people as one culture and as a homogenous entity of various castes and sects, have existed and never weakened through the times of foreign occupation and rule, and the forced imposition of Abrahamic religions onto the people of this land. This basic culture is an integral part of majority of Indians and it is the very foundation of cultural unity of Bharat.
Based on this fact; that Bharatiya culture is the foundation of our social unity, it follows seamlessly that our view of life is integral. The all-encompassing development of every individual can happen only when the body, mind, intellect and soul are developed simultaneously. When such efforts are constantly undertaken by individual citizens, then the interest of the individual is in automatic harmony with the collective interests of our society. Since the individual and the society are inter-dependent for harmonious existence, their mutual relationship has to be based on congeniality and cooperation.
When the consideration of the individual extends beyond the ‘I’ to include ‘we’ and ‘our’ it leads to universal development, and unity of universal bonding. Thereby, the development of Society can be judged from the development of the Individual.
Bharatiya society is based on the four objectives prescribed in our culture; these being the pursuit ofDharma (responsible actions), Artha (acquiring wealth), Kama (fulfilling desires) and Moksha (liberation of the soul upon death). These founding principles of our culture guide every action of our people. Dharma is the force that holds all other objectives together, and regulates the changes in society over time.
This concept of Dharma (responsible actions) has, many times in the past; given rise to Dharma-Rajya (the rule of Dharma) which in its simplistic definition can be considered the “Rule of Responsible Law”.
Dharma-Rajya is non-religious and non-sectarian. It is strictly, the rule-of-law. Such a rule of law is neither dictatorial, nor arbitrary, nor based on individual self-interest. Dharma-Rajya puts all its emphasis on duties and responsibilities and not only on ‘rights’. In such an environment where rule is based on duties supported by the needs of individual rights; the administrative, judicial and legislative institutions function according to the requirements of the Bharatiya culture and as per the law, and not as per the whims and fancies of individual leaders or outside the parameters of legally and morally defined boundaries of society.
When Institutions function as per Dharma-Rajya, it automatically leads to the strengthening of democratic principles and a commitment to democracy. Democracy is the only means of ensuring the rights of every individual and protecting these rights and dignity of the people. Democracy is an indivisible concept and as such in our Bharatiya mind-set it is not restricted only to the political arena, but also defines itself in the economic and social arenas as well. Democracy is sustained by dignity of the individual, which in turn is the after-effect of responsibility of individuals combined with the rights of the individuals. The one issue that has to be always ensured in such a situation is that the individual’s rights shall not be detrimental to the rights or interests of society, and that the rights of the individual and that of society are complementary to each other.
Bharatiya society values Freedom at all costs. Freedom is not only the life and soul of a democracy; but also of individuals, their society and their nation. Economic, social and political freedoms have to work together in tandem to assure the individual and the nation the freedom from conflicts. This can be assured only on the basis of long term planning of all aspects of governance, including foreign policy. Planning is always the means to reach an objective and not the objective itself. Such planning has to protect the basic values and beliefs of our culture and strengthen them continuously. Inspiration for overall development of the society and nation cannot come from objectives alone. For this, it is necessary to cultivate the commitment of the people; not only within the geographical boundaries but within the cultural boundaries of Bharat-Rashtra.For only then, can the nation achieve success.
The above philosophy is part of the strength of the Narendra Modi governance policy. This thinking does not stop at the boundaries of India. It encompasses the whole world. The Bharatiya philosophy has endured and survived countless attacks on it over ages, centuries and ancient time-lines. In the past this philosophy has spread itself to the current countries in Eastern Asia and also the Pacific Rim. The most important component of Bharatiya thinking is its commitment to peace. Dialogue can win more hearts and minds than bombs and bullets. This does not mean that our philosophy makes us shy away from war and violence.
From the wars of Mahabharat to wars against British Empire, Bharatiya people have borne arms when required and sacrificed their lives for all of the above mentioned concepts. Some wars were won conclusively, leading to the establishment of Bharatiya empires (colloquially called as ‘Hindu Empires’) that spanned the entire Indian continent; many were lost, leading the people of Bharat into slavery and subjugation.
However, our Dharma (concept of responsibility) still demands that we use all non-violent and diplomatic avenues to broker lasting peace with hostile neighbours before we are forced to sound the Trumpets-of-War to enforce our right to lead our way-of-life comprehensively.