If India was a person how would it be? What would be its character?
To know a character, it is required to know something of its past. So in a quick recap, over centuries, India has been a fragmented landscape with small regional kingly states forever at war for their expansion. In historical times some empires were built by indigenous rulers whereas in last thousand years unifying empires were only built, first by Middle Eastern invaders and then by western mercenaries.
So by the time, independence was secured as a unified nation state, because of its fragmented landscape and very long history, India was home to a large impoverished, multicultural, multireligious and multilingual population. In a conservative count it houses over 4000 communities and over 400 languages. A defining event also took place at stroke of its independence when a landmass was separated as another country based purely on religious grounds.
However the founding fathers of newly independent nation decided to retain this cosmopolitan past as a show of our character uniqueness and strength. They decided to retain the multi-polarity of the populace by ensuring that everyone gets freedom of belief and expression. Their guiding character motto “unity in diversity” loosely translated meant that people could retain their personal outlooks in all matters while also bearing allegiance to common identity as an Indian.
In recent times tough, 68 years after independence, a concerted effort is afoot to re-define the character of our nation in supposed alignment with the voice of its majority population. Speaking for the masses, some organizations and individuals have taken upon themselves, to prescribe a uniform set of mores, ideas and beliefs for everyone. Their idea of an Indian identity, in alignment with Pakistani idea of its identity at birth, is overtly religious in nature and swears allegiance not to present reality but ideas of Vedic periods.
This endeavour apart from re-defining our national character by indulging in cultural brainwashing, creates a host lot of other social problems.
1) creates divisions by marginalizing a large section of population 2) opens the grounds for intolerance and bullying by majority community,
3) impedes the progress achieved by everyone working together, 4) is a slippery slope as mobacracy sooner or later slides into barbarism,
5) Does not reflect even Hindu faith as that itself is not a monolith set of principles but more a confluence of conflicting philosophies.
So as current generation of citizens, we have a choice. We can either agree with this character re-definition of what we think India is or raise our voice to resist this religious rebranding of our diversity and go with how our founding fathers thought about India.
Remember we cannot stay neutral in this debate as we will always owe our future generations an explanation of the choices that we make today.