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Will the Sanatan Adarsha resurface now?

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The Indian tradition was of Sanatan Adarsha i.e., Harmonious Living and Cooperation. Despite economic disparity, there used to be mutual respect for each other’s work and responsibilities and contribution to society. People loved their own tradition and culture without despising other’s.

The root of Sanatan Adarsha is harmony and that there should be no rancour and hatred among different castes, classes and races.

Tagore said: The encounter with foreign lands has disturbed the age-old tranquillity of Bharatavarsha and consequently our commitment is faltering, our character is disintegrating; our mind is becoming unruly and our efforts futile. Yet our real ties are with the Bharatavarsha that lies outside our textbooks. Over many hundreds of years, it is our roots, hundreds and thousands of them, that have occupied the very heart of Bharatavarsha. But, unfortunately, we are obliged to learn a brand of history that makes our children forget this very fact. It appears as if we are nobody in India; as if those who came from outside alone matter. (The English translation is from ‘Essays of Tagore’ by Sibesh Chandra Bhattacharya and Sumita Bhattacharya)

The attack on this tranquillity was intensified by the Islamic fundamentalists so much so that the country was partitioned in 1947 and then there was huge influx of refugees from East Bengal (Now Bangladesh) to West Bengal. This completely destroyed the harmonious social fabric and West Bengal became the breeding ground for thoughts on Class and Caste exploitation and mutual struggle and Socialism and Communism. These concepts were alien to Indian tradition and this was the first time that their political significances and inferences were brought to the people’s consciousness. This worked like opium.

Pursuit of these ideas through political movements led to installation of leftist governments in West Bengal (continued for long 34 years) and to violent Naxalite movements. Gherao of corporate managers and Annihilation of Jotdars were two instruments of revolution resorted to by them, respectively. This was done to instill a feeling of intense hatred and to imbibe violence and cruelty, the so-called ‘revolutionary spirit’ among labourers and peasants. But such cruelty and persecution were anathema to the masses rooted in Indian tradition and ethos and they found it too much to accept. So, all this proved counterproductive and disillusionment set in. People wanted Parivartan and Trinamool was brought in. But violence and lawlessness continued with renewed vigour and the leadership of the party has lost all credibility. People are now asking for Asal Parivartan.

But when can Asal Parivartan happen? That would mean eradication of violence, restoration of law and order and bringing back the Sanatan Adarsha of harmonious living and cooperation.

The onus is not only on the newly elected government but also on the people themselves.

-By By Sudip Bhattacharyya: The writer is a longstanding commentator on contemporary issues.

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