VIOLENCE- INDIA’S FAILURE AS A DHARMIC SOCIETY
With the recent heart wrenching events in Manipur and Bengal, it seems to me that a crucial chapter of our country’s history has come to an end. You would be fallen into a sea of surprise when you eagerly walk your intelligence through the riotous behavior of the mass. India in its recent past has become more and more volatile and the most dangerous thing was that we have developed an incriminating insensitivity towards acts of violence or you would find people justifying the way violence is executed in the streets in the name of their socio-political affiliations or their silence conveniently concealing the barbarity. We can’t forget the fact that the concept of a Dharmic society was India’s unique contribution to the world, an Indian thought which was spiritual and philosophical. Starting from the Vedic period, the whole idea of dharma got expanded to the Buddhist era and to a later period wherein modern spiritual masters expounded them with slight modifications to suit the pressure of the passing time. But today, we stand seriously exposed with our frozen conscience while the country’s essential Dharmic principles are being tormented.
All the Indic religions considered dharma as a prominent religious principle on which each one of them believed the collective ethos of a society should be established. With the progress of time this doctrine of dharma seems to have faced a recognizable degradation and the effect of the same is reflected in every aspect of the society. Interestingly, a dharmic society was not bound by the stringent regulations of any particular cult or group. It was a natural formation of ideals meant to structurally strengthen people with a value system binding the whole edifice of the society. And that was the potential element or the cementing factor that societies were once knotted with. No doubt, India, a diverse society, with its numerous gods and goddesses and practices remained a perplexing mechanism to the aggressive invaders and in a later period, to the colonial masters and also to those who came to grab the gist of its spiritual realm with unending curiosity.
We became more diverse socially, culturally and politically but practically remained illiterate about maintaining amiability among societies. Diversity was not only the result of the ideologies we represented but we became strangely diverse in multiple aspects. In a never before manner, we continued to become emotionally ugly and acrimonious and conveniently forgot the fact that there could be values and practices and at least some genuine emotions like compassion and kindness that we could use to patch up our differences with. We created classes on every passing day dividing the societies on minute differences and kept shifting our focus from trying to find ways to collectively progress. The more we confined our thoughts inside the boundaries of a barricaded social atmosphere, the more we learnt to live under its pressure. In this process what we lost was an emotional link with the rest of the world. As humans we became more selfish and secluded behind the boundary that we built with bricks of animosity, greed, lust and colossal insensitivity and we lost the essential humanness, the quality that we were once known for.
Leaving the green patches and the innocence of the villages, we migrated to the complicated callousness of the cities. We thought this urban makeover would make us more universal, progressive and civilized and the villages became holiday tour destinations. Huge skyscrapers packed people in concrete colonies and we found it convenient and became unfeeling to the grief of the family next door. We never felt the gravity of horror until it knocked on our doors. We remained unprepared to address a death-defying situation that our neighbor was reeling under. But when the same situation shattered the walls of our dreams we needed help. We wanted the help so intensely and when we failed to get it, we were critical about everything from the state to the ruling class to whatever came in our reach. We shouted about citizen rights and criticized the protective cover that the constitution offered to every citizen. Meaning of life in its applicability failed to recognize the essence of humanness altogether. We kept yelling louder than usual with a decisive affirmation that our generation is not only modern but we are more civilized than all other generations. But we became more senseless with mechanized gadgets ruling our imagination. They reduced our sweat and also reduced the strain of our efforts both physically and mentally.
In fact, the generation that we are has the greatest opportunity to progress both individually and collectively. We are widely connected globally as communication and transportation facilities grew manifold with more precision and speed. The globe has shrunk into the size of a village as its faster connectivity systems bring the latest information to us in the fraction of a second. India, with its cultural munificence has diplomatically taught the world the importance of seeing the globe as one family. That being its mission, India is supposed to be the torchbearer, the catalyst to a universal civilizational integration of humanity into its finest design of coexistence. But being overwhelmingly irrational, we have become more diverse but regrettably more divided to the core. Going back to the horror of its primitive barbarity, the world once again became a complicated place for the generations to come. We thought that the two world wars would see the end of human hostility but the wars didn’t help the world to roll back into a better place, a place of peaceful coexistence. Samuel P. Huntington takes the call of a cultural necessity for societies to survive beyond petty dividing factors. His book “The Clash of Civilizations” gives a vivid account on this. “First, human beings in virtually all societies share certain basic values, such as murder is evil and certain institutions, such as some form of the family. Most people in most societies have a similar “moral sense,” a “thin” minimal morality of basic concepts of what is right and wrong.”
In the absence of this moral sense of what is right and wrong, an apparent view on societies including that in India pulls our nerves harder as disturbing situations piling with inexplicable insensitivity, horror and barbarity. Deeply divided in the name of regions, religions, languages and colors; our societies have come to the brink of a colossal disaster. Essentially the dharmic sensitivity is missing across social life all over the world. The cases of acrimony in India are not only the handiwork of anti-national elements but political consolidations with desperate intentions and religions with exclusive mindset are also playing their ugly role. We have totally lost the luster of dharmic societies as we became a completely complex social sentiment that can’t survive without satisfactorily destroying the other side. It is not necessary that war should essentially happen for humankind to bring its disaster instantaneously. But small unrests and perennial rivalry between societies and races can show us the way to our extinction. Disturbing events such as the Manipur imbroglio or the Bengal political skirmishes would be enough for us to become reminiscent of a complete medieval barbarity.