As a nation, are we new or old?

We are being repeatedly told that we are a 'old and ancient' nation, we have centuries of history 'behind us' and it is unscientific, ahistorical and even blasphemous to forget our past.

No nation can be old. An 'old' nation is one in which people have accepted the ideas of their ancestors without question. Such a nation is not only old but also dead. A 'new' nation is not one which accepts all ideas which are recent but is one which examines ideas, new or old.

Now, if this old nation of Bharatvarsha has given us nothing but widow burning, castes, idol worship, untouchability, cow worship, are we to feel proud about it?

If this ancient land of the Vedas and Mahabharat has given unto us, its blind and passionate followers—Advani, Bal Thackeray, Ashok Singhal, Pravin Togadia and the invulnerable army of Kar-Sevaks, are we to feel proud?

The life-blood of a country are its men, its men who live by reason and not by force. A man of reason will not accept an idea or tenet just because it is 'old'. He will examine its philosophy and apply it and decide what to do with it. Ideas, philosophy; irrespective of whether they are old are new, are that which make a nation, man can originate ideas or reexamine existing ones, but deal with them in some way, he must.

If someone tries to impose a certain ideology on unsuspecting people the notion that a certain principle has to be upheld, because it was upheld in ancient India, he is a criminal. For him, the idea of a nation is different, his nation was that which existed in the past and it is the past which attracts him, which mystically draws him.

So in his mission to realize his vision, such a villain is up against people who examine ideas before accepting them, and it is the national pride of these men that is the weapon in the hands of the villain in his fight against them.

While these men who love this country for the right reasons struggle vainly against their own minds, the villain moves up with his plan of realizing 'ancient India'. It is the mind that examines ideas before accepting them that is at work against itself. And how does the villain set up a mind against itself? Simple. He just asks the question;

"Aren't you proud of your country?"
While that mind examines this question; it is faced with the atrocities and injustices perpetrated by the men of this country in the past and it is unable to feel proud about all this. It is also moved by the great philosophers and thinkers of this nation who have lived in the past. And the process of understanding a nation's history in an objective way, fraught with twists and turns and obstacles along the way.

With the thinking men of the country safely out of his way, grappling with a sense of a national identity, the villain proceeds further making more people his victims and imposes his whim on the pliable ones. While the thinkers of the nation make sense of history, the villains are writing the history books for the tomorrow.

The only message I have for the 'victims' is—wake up! It is you, who has decided to live by reason, who examines values and ideas before accepting them, who wants to feel a genuine sense of pride for your country, it is you who is the nation. It is you that makes and builds the nation. The villain merely proposes to turn your mind against you, he doesn't possess a weapon himself. Recognize this and fight him back.

Man evolved more or less in the same period of time in various continents where the centers of civilizations are located. Every center of civilization is more or less of the same age. Those who are saying that 'Indian civilization is the oldest' don't know what they are saying.

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