Free India - Vision and Reality           

Sixty years after independence the picture of free India that emerges is not inspiring, not even reassuring, it is in fact depressing. The vision of freedom movement and the reality are poles apart. Seers like Sri Aurobindo prophesied that partition of India will go and a united Bharath would emerge out of the debris of chaos that was partition. India’s gift of spirituality, he believed, will reach the four corners of the world and lift up human consciousness.

      Two of Mahathmaji’s visions of free India, which are fundamental to his life’s philosophy have suffered serious setback after independence. One of them is eradication of poverty, particularly at the rural level by empowering the villages of India by reviving the ancient concept of autonomous villages to which Gandhiji gave the significant name “Gramswaraj”. Strengthening the agricultural base and developing small scale agro-industrial network in villages and instilling the spirit of self-help and Swadeshi was the very essence of Gandhian approach to rural India’s all round development. That was the corner stone of his vision of “Ramarajya”. Though Gandhiji was convinced that his philosophy was ultimately meant for all humanity across the world, he was realistic enough to realize that the process must spread from the soil of Rural India. Unfortunately India has now taken to the path of Globalization with the result that external economic and civilizational forces have swamped our farmers in the Indian villages. Rural India is today under the grip of poverty, famine, unemployment and illiteracy. The gulf between the rich and poor has multiplied manyfold. Suicide by farmers due to starvation has become a normal feature. Those whom Gandhiji expected to feed the rest of India are themselves dying for want of food. Vulgar Consumerism that Gandhiji severely condemned as immoral is now rampant. In the place of Swadeshi by Indians for Indians, multi-national corporations are ruling the roost, crippling and paralyzing the economy of vast masses of Indian population.

      One has to seriously ponder over the causes for these mismatches between the vision and the reality. The partition of sacred Motherland left the people confused and disrupted. There was no unified will nor optimism so much required for a sound rebuilding of the nation on the basis of our eternal spiritual and cultural values. Those leaders who emerged as most powerful and who were supposed to execute the grand vision were themselves not fully imbued with the same. We have to retrieve our lost vision – the vision of Swami Vivekananda, Sri Aurobindo, Mahatma Gandhi and such like. India has to rediscover her soul, and also its “Swabhava” and work out its “Swadharma”. Let us collectively pledge ourselves to follow the path of “Swadharma”, which alone will lead to ultimate victory. 


Yuva Bharati, August 2006 

 P. Parameswaran 

(abridged for SM, Ed)