The Tsunami from West to East!

Buddhadeb Ghosh

 “Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high;

My Father, let my country awake.” Rabindranath Tagore

 Uttar Pradesh (UP) has shown us the way in March 2017 as it had done thousands of years ago. BJP has won UP Assembly with massive, unprecedented and historic mandate. And this has happened at a time when anti-national elements from within became proactive in creating evil spirit against India.

The strategies implemented by BJP have shown the world that a state with about 19% Muslim vote and 81% Hindu vote has positively responded to development goals cutting across caste, creed, religion, party, gender and age in the most complex and largest state of India. Yogi Adityanath has been the ideal choice of the Prime Minister and his team. A Sanyasi Raja (read Chief Minister) at last in miniature India, Uttar Pradesh,which has the oldest surviving city in the world, Varanasi all possible diversities of human society.

When Adityanath was selected as Chief Minister of UP, eyebrows were raised from many quarters. Sceptics wondered what will happen. Week later, many are rushing to congratulate the Yogi. Adityanath was anticipated no less than 150 years back by none else than a towering Indian intellectual of 19th century Bengal.Imagine moving seamlessly over time and space.The man, who would have been happiest after the selection of Yogi Adityanath, is Bankim Chandra Chatterjee, who was born on the banks of the Ganges in Bengal some 179 years ago. The common man in the land of his birth have been forced to unlearn his birth date and then new generation can hardly identify the great man’s name simply because he bequeathed us “Vande Mataram”.

He created in his two classic novels, among others, two characters, namely Bhabananda and Bhabani Pathak epitomising Indian nationalism in subjugated India. The former in Anandamath (1881), the latter in Devi Chaudhurani (1884). They were dedicated saints (Yogis) and kingmakers to rule Eastern part of India. They were ideally groomed, taught and trained by the principlesof The Bhagwat Gita by the first modern Indian novelist whom Rabindranath Tagore used to regard as the father of modern Indian nationalism.According to Tagore,Bankim raised Nationalism to the level of religion by identifying the Motherland with the Mother-Goddess, Durga. The tremendous impact and thrilling upsurge that Anandamath and Vande Mataram had on Indian National Movement is indeed legendary.

Let us begin from Tagore as written by him in(1) History of India as well as (2) East& Western Civilization. Most people in India do not know that Tagore’s perception of Indian history is essentially an outcome of his devotion to Brahms as articulated in The Geetanjali, which eventually got the Nobel Prize. According to him, “The nature of Indian history we are forced to read and memorize for passing examination is basically the nastiest nightmare at midnight. All those from outside the country have always been engaged homicide, torture and plunderer for the throne. The fact that assassination of father by son, senior brother by junior one simply represented the craze for the throne and power. One group of invaders after another was the order for centuries: Pathan- Moghul, Portuguese-French- English as if collectively spoiled India the dream.” This great man has also expressed his tremendous disdain towards Mahmud of Ghazni as well as Maohammad Ghori and many others in the series. In another place, he has written that Assimilation and collective spirit in society, in religion in polity is essentially Indian, nowhere can it be found. The teachings articulated in The Bhagwat Gita on knowledge, wisdom, love and work are intrinsically India’s own threat of social fabric. The way the term ‘religion’ as used in the West is impossible to find in Indian language; because, in India, ‘Dharma’ is not ritualistic, it is inherently intertwined into the realm of body, mind, soul, belief system, attitude, birth, death, rebirth, intelligence and into our entire existence in an inseparable way. This is Bharat barsha, according to Tagore. He is indeed candid in the second essay when he writes that the root cause of the rise of Greek and Roman civilization is national power. The moment that power became weak, both the civilizations vanished. On the other hand, according to Tagore, Hindu civilization is not based on national power, it is based on “Unity in Diversity.” It never dies, even if we are temporarily overtaken by outside forces as in many times during last 1000 years. According to him, the word ‘Nation’ can not be found in our language system. Our history, our society, our home, our religion has always been searching ‘Mukti’ or ‘Moksha’, meaning ‘release’ or ‘emancipation’, while the West has always fought for ‘freedom’, freedom from whom is not clear. As per Tagore, we do always believe in “freedom of soul”, “peace of soul”, “emancipation of soul”, not body. We have established the Universe into the core of body-mind-soul and Transcendental wisdom. As quoted by Tagore:


যদ্‌যৎকর্মপ্রকুর্বীততদ্‌ ব্রহ্মণিসমর্পয়েৎ॥



To name only a few of our greatest nationalist intellectual leaders from across India during the 19thand 20th century: Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Khan Abdul Gaffar Khan, Swami Vivekananda, Subramanya Bharati, Dadabhai Naoroji, Gandhi, Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel, Ramkrishna, Sri Aurobinda and the like.

There is no doubt that Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay was the predecessor of Tagore as well as the whole host of intellectual nationalist movement. A verse to Ma Durga as the Mother goddess, it was written in both Sanskrit and Bengali.The song and the novel containing it was banned by the British, but workers and general public defied the ban, many went to colonial prisons repeatedly for singing it, and the ban was overturned by the Indians after Independence. The Indian mass came to know it from the film Anand Math in 1952 by Hemen Gupta. The novel and the film are set in the background of events of the Sannyasi Rebellion, which took place in late 18th century Bengal. Under Hemant Kumar’s music, the song “Vande Mataram” in Lata’s voice became an instant hit across India. Great Bankim composed the song and the novel on traditional Indian values and selflessness- both social and political.

Much ahead of his time, he brought woman’s leadership to the forefront about 150 years ago, when women at large usually remained confined to household chores. Interestingly, Bhabani Pathak (a Brahmin) was a majestic dacoit in the eyes of the British, and a nationalist philosopher, saint and benevolent distributor in the eyes of the poor and needy and those against the British. Grand creation. Yogi is in the right track in bringing out UP out of decades long tyranny from within.

Bankim created these characters as ideal personalities following the Karma Yoga. Rest is history of Renaissance Bengal beginning from Rammohan and Bankim toVidyasagar, Ramakrishna, Vivekananda, Tagore, Arabinda Ghosh, Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay, Nazrul, Netaji, Shyama Prasad Mukherjee and so on. Bengalis brought up in Bengal were lucky to have read these in school days in vernacular language. But the picture has been deliberately misdirected since 1977 in Bengal. And the process continues till date.

The UP Yogi may take urgent initiative to translate these classics into major Indian languages to reinforce the 19th century Renaissance to a 21st century Reawakening of India from UP, which is socio-culturally more apt for the second uprising unlike in today’s Bengal. No country in the history of the world had got two Renaissances except Italy. People in Eastern India are eagerly waiting to see it begin from UP- the birth place of Lord Ram. Following Alexander Chanayav’s life cycle hypothesis of a generation, there is no doubt that last three generations of Indians since 1947 have been methodically misguided except the small spell from2000 to 2005 to divert away from the inclusive philosophy of modern Indian nationalism to celebrity based concept by family parties.

In contrast to early Renaissance and national awakening in Bengal in the 19th century, look at its decadence in today’s Bengal. Freedom of worship is challenged in many locations here. Liberal virtues of Bengal Renaissance have vanished into the blue. There is no neutral space in social or intellectual life. You have to be either red or blue or green. Whiteness is in museum. The problem in Bengal is extremely depraved and complex particularly due to lengthy porous international border. In addition, antagonistic attitude towards the British for about 200 years since 1757 has created a sense of estrangement from mainstream India among the leadership. Eventually this has created a sense of hostility towards the Centre. These factors alone have damaged Bengal more than anything else. It was intensified during Leftist rule, which has worsened in recent period. Its consequence has become dangerous for brilliant Bengali students. Almost all of them have left Bengal since 1970s beginning from the Naxalite Movement. It has reached alarming proportions now. It is painful to note that Bengal has seen de-industrialization twice- first during the British rule and the other in recent decades beginning from the Leftist period. The same order has reached extreme proportions. Bengalese settled in Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai, Pune, Gujarat and abroad are no less Indian than other ethnic groups of the country. But a long period of ‘manufactured mediocrity’ in Bengal has made ‘development’ particularly industrial and social development the primary casualty.Sadly, once the best industrial state with highest per capita income in early 1960s and respectable educational institutions has come down to 18th rank since the New Millennium. A state of complete inertia simply based on rural sector with Tsunamic erosion of ‘rule of law’ and cyclonic ‘brain drain.’

Light is at last seen there after Modi and UP wave, on the Western and Northern horizon. Bengalese have never bothered about Ram Navami. Octogenarian tolerant people here are of the view that they have never seen any celebration of Ram Navamiand Bajrangbali Puja in Bengal. Last few days, Bengal roads from Himalayan border to the Bay of Bengal in Medinipore have been flooded by procession with all omnipresent sounds of “Jai Shree Ram”. While moving across Indian districts situated in North, South and West for MGNREGA works, the same procession had been observed everywhere by the present author, but never in Bengal. Facebook and WhatsApp are over burdened here by creative and intelligent messages by Bengalese living in and outside India. Unprecedented in Bengal. Even if the qualified and careerists have surrendered here, the educated have not. Social media has become the foremost podium for change now. Change is the only constantrule here. Bengal urgently requires another Yogi- Bhabananda or Bhabani. The general mass is disgusted with leadership vacuum and political misdemeanour everywhere. Modi -Shah and their team must not miss this opportunity to emancipate the land and people of Bankim. And additionally, revive India’s nationalism as a driving force.

The author is the Principal Investigator, Evaluation Study on all India MGNREGA & Border Area Development Programme (BADP) of Planning Commission (NITI Aayog), GOI, New Delhi