Saturday 17 September 2016

The Great Task Ahead

My fellow Indians let me tell you something.

Whatever you may think of yourselves, whatever may have been your achievements in the past, and whatever may be the achievements of some of our countrymen in Silicon Valley and some other places in recent times, the truth is that today you are not respected by the people of the developed countries. These people are very sophisticated and will not tell this to you on your face, but behind your back they look down on you.

And why ? It is not because the colour of your skin is brown or black but because our country is poor. Today 75-80% of our people are poor, and nobody respects the poor. When the Chinese and Japanese were poor people they were called ' yellow races ' by the Westerners. Today China and Japan are highly developed, highly industrialized nations, and nobody dares to call them that.

So what must you do ? You must make India a highly developed, highly industrialized, highly prosperous country with its people enjoying a high standard of living.

And for that our people must modernize, modernize, modernize.

To be modern does not mean wearing a nice suit or tie, or a nice skirt or jeans.

To be modern means having a modern mind, which means a rational mind, a logical mind, a scientific mind, a questioning mind.

Do you know why the ancient Greeks were so great ? It is because they questioned everything ( see the works of Plato, Aristotle, etc )

Similarly, why were our ancestors so great ? How could they have achieved so much in science, mathematics, philosophy, literature and art ? It is because they questioned everything, and were constantly debating over everything. There are hundreds of instances of ' shastrarthas ' recorded in our literature. These shastrarthas were debates of scholars before audiences in which the participants questioned one another over everything.

So our people must question all old ideas of our forefathers, accept and develop the rational ones, but reject and denounce irrational, outdated and feudal ideas and practices, e.g. casteism and communalism. We must patiently spread scientific ideas among our people, and combat unscientific ones. This will not be an easy task. Most people are conservative by nature, and wish to cling on to their old ideas, and may even condemn you for attempting to reject them. Even your parents may condemn you. But if you are genuinely patriotic you must do that, as a duty to your country.

However, while doing so you must not be arrogant and must not look down on your countrymen, who mostly have a low level of intellect ( whom I have called the 90% ). You must have modesty and humility, and must remain students who wish to learn. Before you can be a teacher you must be a student. For over half a century I was a student, and only now, when I am 70 am I a teacher. But I regard myself only partly a teacher, I am still partly a student, still learning.

No doubt most of our people today are still backward,with casteism and communalism steeped in their minds. But that is not their fault. Their minds have been crammed and brainwashed over the centuries by stupid, feudal and backward ideas, and it will take a long time to get rid of them. But you must begin the process now if you wish our country to be respected in the comity of nations. We must make India a highly developed, highly industrialized and prosperous nation, with its people enjoying a high standard of living and decent lives.

And for that you must use your creativity for resolving the massive problems facing our country. Mere bookish knowledge will not suffice

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