19 September 2007

Hindu Rashtra - 3

Why India Is A Hindu Rashtra


India is the oldest surviving civilisation in the world. The older civilisations (Sumer and Egypt) vanished long ago. Many younger civilisations (Greece, Rome, Persia, etc) also arose and fell. But India is still standing after 5000 years - despite being subject to countless invasions, conquests and long periods of foreign rule. How is this possible? How can a nation survive such severe trials? What gave it the strength to go on through its dark periods? What held it together through all the ups and downs of history? The answer is Sanatana Dharma.

Secularists say there was no India before 1947. They say the British made us a nation. I repeat: our nation is first and foremost a cultural entity. India may not have seen much political unity in its long history, but there was no lack of cultural unity. This land bound by the seas, the Himalayas and the Indus was one cultural unit. Its people may have followed different sects and worshipped different gods, but they all shared certain common core beliefs (such as karma and moksha). Irrespective of where they lived, they made pilgrimages to holy places scattered all over the country. The great epics were treasured in every home across the length and breadth of the land. It is not a coincidence that Shankara set up his four mutts in the four corners of India.

Thus it is Hinduism that binds this country. Secularists talk only about India's (and Hinduism's) diversity. They do not see the unity underlying this diversity. What unites us is much more than what (apparently) divides us. They say Hinduism is just one of the many religions in India. They are wrong; it is the first among equals. They say India is a salad bowl and Hinduism just one of the ingredients in the bowl. They are wrong; Hinduism is the bowl.

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