Indians Living with Differences : Appreciations and Introspections

Wise India By Wise India, 6th Feb 2014 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Columns & Opinions

Along the history, India has seen lot of conflicts and contradictions within itself putting its polity, society, economy, international relations and even the very idea of India to tough tests. Fortunately, it has always come victorious against all odds except few unlucky occasions.

Celebrating The Values

After more than sixty years of India’s independence, it’s high time we become wise enough to introspect ourselves, whether we are up to our leaders’ expectations of being united in any situation and of living with differences, whatsoever great. We are a civilization of more than 5000 years old history with many foreign invasions and settlements, many empires and ruling dynasties, many wars and ceasefires, some unions and divisions; a land with sub-continental size and nature of geography; a society believing in Science, Arts and Religion and practicing Technology as well as Tradition with equal measure and passion. It has got more than a dozen cultures, languages and hundreds of dialects. A nation with so much diversity is bound to have innumerable differences: natural, man-made, physical, ideological, quantitative, qualitative, real as well as imaginary. Along the history, India has seen lot of conflicts and contradictions within itself putting its polity, society, economy, international relations and even the very idea of India to tough tests. Fortunately, it has always come victorious against all odds except few unlucky occasions.

Seeing the track record of our social order, our first prime minister had rightly characterized our great country with the unique feature called “Unity in Diversity”. He and his able colleagues not only merely dreamt of continuing and improving this feature in future but also strived hard to leave for us an India which has got a just and ideal constitution, many ideas, as many institutions and more importantly a society, which largely has been committed to the universal human values like love, respect, trust, cooperation, peace, justice, hope and happiness. Tolerance has been the most praised – and criticized too – Indian quality and this is proved from the age-old stories of yogis doing meditation for years at a stretch or even from today’s public patience seen in railway stations waiting for delayed trains till another day and in legal courts fighting for justice till the criminal or victim dies his natural death. Moreover, our society have always been receptive of new and good concepts from others, no matter who they are: countrymen or foreigners, conqueror or conquered, intellectuals or laymen, rich or poor alike to add to the treasures of our value system.
No wonder that living with differences has become our beautiful and never-dying habit but, since in these times of over-informed and self-opinionated society the differences have grown up to as many as our headcounts, we have to be more committed and organized in nurturing those values in the young generations to sustain the environment of peace and justice, keeping all differences always at bay.

India of Today – Society and System

Peace and justice are twin requirements of a social system to maintain law and order. Hurting one is bound to affect the other, especially when the system gets bigger in size and complex in behavior. Going back to the history of the human civilization, people got their first institution in the form of society to make peace and justice a practical reality along with their daily livelihood activities. Then came the major human faculties of Polity and Economy to organize larger systems of men and materials. This facilitated delivering and maintaining peace and justice effectively and efficiently through the institutional systems of security and governance. In last couple of centuries, people’s participation in politics increased resulting in fall of kingdoms and evolution of democracy, which in practice is governance through discussion in a representative assembly. Academia, Media, Legislatives, Executives, Judiciary, Military, Industry and Market are different institutions.
India too kept pace with the history and, today is a vibrant secular and sovereign democracy with a developing economy, capable military and diverse media, all powered by world-class technology, management concepts and traditional wisdoms. In a democracy, there can be differences between society and system or even within selves. If the differences grow enough to cause extremism and disorder, small amounts of violence and harshness in forms of protests, arrests, curfews, punishments etc are justified for the larger common good.
Despite being young as an independent democracy, India has been by and large a stable state with balanced welfare policies and non-aligned international relations, thanks to our wise and visionary leaders. We are more a nation of many states than a nation-state, a western concept which brought two world wars, nuclear warfare, brutal communism, ultra-nationalism and killed more people in the last century than cumulatively killed before. Notably, we have our Indian Union long before Europe formed its EU only recently for better peace and prosperity. In economic front too, India has always been well planned and steady bringing equitable development in every section of the society with the help of stringent public regulations and equally strong market fundamentals. Thus today’s India has got the modern-day combination of Society and System working fine.

Countering Extremism

Thanks to the Gandhian spirit and Nehruvian approach, we are already living with differences even today, as evident from the social coexistence of liberals and conservatives, from the political coalitions of castes, communities and regions, and from the economic synergy of capitalists and communists. In the process, social order was always maintained until the 1980s, when violence and extremism got started by the people with different identities, regional, religious, caste, ideological and economic, causing the minor differences to become major conflicts.
Any conflict is originated either from misunderstanding and lack of knowledge about each other’s ideas, intentions and approaches or due to any substantial absence of peace and justice and the conflict gets carried through generations by either indifferent attitudes, confrontational extremist approaches or some vested interests and evil instinct are at work. Consciously and wisely, we always succeeded in not choosing the extreme options for meeting our political and economic visions and thus avoided the disasters like Russia’s communism, Europe’s Nazism &Fascism, Mexico’s capitalism, America’s ultra-liberalism and Pakistan’s state-failure. We can further ensure to bridge the differences and counter extremism by initiating the following value-based approaches in our social, political and economic activities, keeping the young generations in mind:

1. Promoting co-operation and stopping unreasonable competition to help avoiding the young people become eccentric rather than holistic and balanced.
2. Balanced educational system to create an inclusive and broader-knowledge society for better mutual understanding.
3. Merit should be rewarded not only with financial temptation but also with a sense of intellectual pride and social responsibility.
4. Discouraging the children from exposure to the extremes of sex, crime and war in the forms of games and films. Encouraging them for the conventional sports and literature to inculcate controlled behavior and thoughtful attitude.
5. Insanity is defined as motion without memory, and so is said to be the state of a nation without true knowledge of its past. Teaching of true history is a must to avoid any chaotic situation in the society.
6. Environment of discussion and debate is to be encouraged to bring consensus and understanding between parties while resolving conflicts. Media has to play positive and responsible role in this very effort.
7. Justice undoes the crime. Judiciary is to be strengthened both quantitatively and qualitatively. Village panchayat court system is to be empowered and number of magistrate courts has to increase to avoid delayed justice to the victims of corruption, crime, terror and riots.
8. Since, Politics is about policy and power, we have to strike a balance while formulating policies and executing power to give every section of the society at least the minimum level of security of all kinds: physical, political, social and economic.
9. Promoting the spirit of harmony and adjustment in the society along with the respect for global sense and communal/regional sensitivities.
10. Community is defined as group of people with a particular identity related to race, religion, profession or anything. In this globalised world, a person can never be exclusively a part of only a single community, as clearly seen in today’s social media networking sites like Facebook, where a member is invariably part of at least two/three different cyber groups. So, the obvious message “Communalism is outdated, Secularism is eternal” should be aggressively propagated.

Hope Never Dies

As they say, “Hope is the last thing to die in men”, it is truer for India as a nation and state, because India is not only surviving but excelling in every field despite last two decades of violence, terror, riots and unrest carried out by the anti-national and anti-social elements for their evil and vested interests. But, again both the society and system are getting matured to keep development, peace and justice more prior to any other irrelevant communal or trivial issues. Now, we are not giving any chance to those elements to break our social fabric and disturb the order, as evident from the events of last couple of years. In future also, we can very much be comfortable with millions of differences just by promoting the human values based on Truth. And as far as Truth is concerned, nothing needs to be invented according to the Mahatma’s “Truth is as old as mountains”. We only have to revive and recall.


Economy, Extremism, Hope, India, Society, Unity, Values

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author avatar Wise India
Originally a villager from Indian side of Bengal...... Bengal side of Bihar and Bihar side of Nepal. this is my Geography :-)

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