Monday, December 19, 2005

Another year is drawing to a close and what we observe in what can be called the national discourse is sheer ennui. There are many voices, old and new, and proliferating, no doubt, but everybody is speaking in quite expected and predictable lines. The Hindutva and cultural nationalism orchestra is not as enthusiastic as earlier nor the Swadeshi caravan. The secularism debate is groping in the dark and seems to have lost its way in the myriad bylanes of myth and culture.
All polemics concerning haves and have-nots, North and South, State and individual, human rights and technology issues appear to perish under the Juggernaut of Globalisation. Perorations by cheerleaders of both sides abound but bereft of any new insight. Continental commercial conglomerates are being tom-tommed as the panacea for the future. Everything is being weighed in terms of trade or tourist-traffic.
But that is not the model of a greater World Union what Sri Aurobindo and other great thinkers dreamt of. The ideal of human unity must base itself on the idea of culture and not simply commerce. Books like Savitri and The Life Divine can very well form the basis of an enduring inter-cultural dialogue. The evolution-intelligent design dichotomy and racial unrests from Paris to Australia, are perhaps the pointers of such a hunger.
Sri Aurobindo holds a unique position among the modern day thinkers of the world. He has lived through the tradition of the east as well as the west for quite a long time and has not only delved deep into the soul of both the cultures, but also written about them extensively in English with a universal sweep. The futuristic vision that has come out of his forty years’ spiritual retreat needs to be kneaded into all our socio-economic endeavours.
At a time when all our heroes and idols are gradually fading into oblivion, Sri Aurobindo must be invited to occupy the dominant consciousness of the nation. The poet-philosopher must be allowed to teach us so as to exorcise our ephemeral notions about national regeneration and Global citizenship. The contemporary confusion concerning the search for the wisest man ends here.

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