Tag Archives: Subcontinent

[Reprint Post] Indians are Talkers not Doers

A version of this Post was published on Andhra Cultural Portal on June 20, 2014


Let us face the facts, Indians are Talkers, not Doers. As usual, Andhras are the worst example of this.

We can talk for hours on end, over tea, over toddy, over tokkudu ladoo—but what does it matter, still we are stuck at square one. We complain about current events, we complain about family, we complain about how other people are better at things—but what do we actually do about it?

The enemy can declare his intentions, he can even begin subverting a government, he will even declare he has no obligation to secularism, but still our people will only talk

Our people are such pathetic talkers they will continue just talking even after getting all enthused about doing. Hyperventilating in a paroxysm of excitement, for them the talk itself becomes cause for celebration. To them sloganeering and rhetoric or even reading alone = accomplishment…but they should remember that wasn’t the lesson of the Gita.

But why take my word, that of a mere mortal, when the greatest Karma Yogi of all Himself explained thus:


Famous Talkers who weren’t Doers

Since the dawn of history, India has had no shortage of talkers. In fact, Satyajit Ray famously directed a movie on our dreaming “Chess Players”:

Based on the novel by Premchand, this exquisite cinema demonstrated how many zamindars and rajas of the time famously talked and played petty games in their heads, instead of playing the real game of life.

Nehru

Debate Kashmir at the UN instead of liberating it? Silly Indians!

People may say Nehru was responsible for “building Modern India”, but compare him to Vallabhai Patel, and it is the ultimate study in contrasts of talking versus doing. In one particular story, Nehru famously droned on and on, waxing verbosely on this and that while Kashmir was being invaded by a Pakistani tribal army, when an impatient Sardar finally interrupted and said “Jawaharlal, do you want Kashmir or not?”. It was the Iron man who advocated for quick action, gained the instrument of Kashmir’s accession, and sent troops to defend J&K. It was this same Sardar Patel who saved traditional Telugu land (what is now Telangana state) from the grip of Rizvi and his Razakars, while Nehru’s talking and dithering nearly led to a cancer in the belly of India.

Nevertheless, even the prolix Nehru failed to hold a candle against India’s most famous, or should I say infamous, talker of all time.

V.K.Menon

Vkkmenonfaintun.
8 Hours Later: “In conclusion….”

The pompously self-important and unjustifiably arrogant V.K. Krishna Menon is without a doubt India’s worst defense minister of all time (though fellow Mallu A.K. Antony came perilously close).

Why does this man even have a statue? His most “impressive accomplishment” was famously (infamously?) giving an 8 hour speech at the UN Assembly. Just what was he hoping to accomplish with this nonsense?! In fact, he more than anyone else represents this disease of chat-alysis that plagues our people. Had he spent less time talking and insulting India’s generals and more time preparing for inevitable hostilities against Mao, perhaps India might not have been humiliated in the 1962 War.

So we know Indians are talkers rather than doers, but why is this the case?

The problem with habitual talkers is that they are so caught up in their own assumptions and rationalization, that they fail to realize that somebody actually has to implement. In fact, whilst giving gyaan, they frequently become cocky over the prospect of victory, having already won the war in their heads. Worst of all, by talking all the time (giving away their vulnerabilities to the enemy), they rarely know the value of silence.

Beyond not knowing the value of silence, however, a lesson that can be traced back to the Panchatantra (“Silence is Golden”), there are certain characteristics of the Modern Indian that stand out:

Lack of focus/lack of seriousness

The Chetan Bhagat and Happy Days approach to problem solving may make life seem straightforward, but the reality is, the issues of the world cannot be solved with a simple song, poem, or thought. Furthermore, as Krishnarjun gaaru wrote in his excellent piece on Dharmanomics, far too many NRIs rely on mindless application of B-school frameworks. It must be recalled that irrespective of how well-intentioned many of these people may be, surface level analysis simply won’t cut it. And it should also be remembered that the road to hell is often paved with good intentions.

Furthermore, we consider talking or tweeting itself some sort of accomplishment. Rather than launching a successful institution or organization, we judge our success by the number of followers or facebook “likes” we get.

Additionally, our Twitterati style themselves as unquestionable Gyaanis. They imagine themselves doing a global service with their peer-edited encyclopedia pontification–because you see, copying and pasting something one doesn’t understand in order to sound profound is a productive and meaningful use of everyone’s time…

Worst of all, is the modern Indian approach to debating. The Children of Adi Sankara, Mandana Misra, and Ubhaya Bharata have fallen far from the tall tree of those days. To the modern (“Global”) Indian, debating is a means to entertainment (“arey time pass, yaar“) rather than ascertaining truth. Ironically, the idea of ascertaining the truth is at the very heart of the definition of the word dialectics.

Jealousy

The famed Indian crab-mentality is without equal in this world.

If we can’t get it, do it, or benefit from it, we’ll be damn certain no one else can. We go to great lengths to tear down our own people. Andhras, of course, are the most famous at this–a characteristic likely dating back to Maharishi Viswamitra‘s curse that his sons (who became the Andhras) be afflicted with perpetual infighting. This was seen again and again with the Rachakonda Rajas, the Araveedus, and the Madurai Nayaks.

However, one of the great tragedies in Medieval Indian history was not so much the obvious (Turk atrocities on civilians) or the oft-mentioned (destruction of Somnath), but rather, the little-known (Lahore). The great city of Lavanapura had an ancient lineage that dates back to the Ramayana. While it had eventually been taken by the Ghaznavids, it  came tantalizingly close to being recaptured by the Rajputs.

Indeed, while the current historical paradigm is slowly reconciling itself to the stout resistance to and even roll-back of invaders (courtesy of India’s Kshatriya houses as evidenced by the Battles of Rajasthan and Bahraich), less but steady light is now being shed on efforts at reconquest. The most notable of these efforts took place once the Ghaznavid invasions had been halted. In fact, the fractious Rajput clans actually invested the city of Lahore (then under Turkic) rule. Just as the city was on the verge of recapture, however, the squabbling Rais and Rajas called off the nearly successful siege. Why you ask? Not because of Turk reinforcements, or issues back home, but because they couldn’t agree on which petty ruler would keep the city. This crab mentality is emblematic of the costs of short-sightedness.

Selfishness

Everybody wants to be the big deal guy. More tragically, this is not even a question of being the best among peers, as our people are terrible at merely encouraging the next generation of talent. Even if there is no interest or the person seems rather naive, young people must at least be encouraged. But no–our gyaanis are far too concerned with advancing their own immediate agenda and preserving their cloistered little worlds of privilege. After all, God forbid anyone else outshines them.

The Madurai Nayaks are perhaps the most tragic example of this. At a time when the Vijayangara empire was in its greatest need, rather than coming to the aid of Raya, they actively encouraged the Bijapur and Golkonda rulers to invade. Why, you ask?–in the hopes that these self-same petty rulers could selfishly rule without Imperial overlord. But you see, this is the price such selfishness–because these same rulers stupidly dug their own graves, as the very sanguinary potentates they treacherously encouraged eventually turned on them and extinguished their piddly dynasty.

 

This is the cost of Ambition. Ambition is nothing more than burning a picture to collect the ashes.

Sometimes this selfishness also masquerades in the guise of selflessness. Those very men who pass themselves off as “men of conscience” are simply looking for excuses not to act–either out of attachment to their friends/loved ones, or even to a deluded idea.

Delusion

Sab kuch chalta hai

Let them bark! Who cares!

and WORST OF ALL: “Someone else will do it” or its latest incarnation (“Acche din aanewale hai!“)

In a previous piece I wrote at length about how moha is attachment rooted in the mistaken thinking that we are the body. But moha is also pure delusion–in effect, stupidity. In nowhere in the world is this characteristic greater than in India.

 Mindlessly repeating “acche din aanewale hai’ like a parrot, won’t make it so. Even the most patriotic politicians can only do so much and have their own constraints. This slogan cannot be seen as some magic “mantra” that will free you of your cares  so you can go back to playing in your irrelevant, and eminently un-serious,world.

The cult of personality must cease henceforth. We all sit around hoping for a Shri Ram or Shivaji , but they had their lieutenants and allies to help them too. Most of all, they built/maintained institutions that recognized and rewarded loyalty and talent. You too must do your part as well, as Ram Raj was not built in a day .

You must do your part. No one is saying you have to take a vow of celibacy and become a new Adi Sankara, but for God’s sake, do your fair share to contribute to the civilizational cause…even 15 minutes a day learning/teaching dharma, preserving/building from/beautifying our samskruthi(i.e. Artist Keshav), or at the very least, supporting those who do (and keep your word). Above all, you must pay attention!—because even the best intentioned can still make mistakes.

Worse, there are others who weren’t even concerned about the past election, and feel no concern about the state of affairs and the barbarians within and without.

Why would this happen?—this is all in past! Think of future!

Arey this is new era, we are new generation!!

Be progressive! Be Human first–why should we care of these regressives!!”

You should care, dummy, because this is what Razakars and Pakistanis did, this is what they are doing, and this is what they are planning to do. So wake the hell up and get your stuff together, you lazy bag of bones!

When our alliances mean nothing, when our promises mean nothing,when our actions equal nothing, then not only do you not have the right to complain, you don’t even have the right to talk…because your inaction, dereliction of duty, and even criminal negligence is the reason why your enemy gets stronger by the day in your own backyard.

…but yes, do go back to raving about how “Pawan is God”, how you are a “Mahesh bhakt”, or how your particular “caste is shupremely powerful”…just remember to fold your chairs and turn off the lights when the enemy comes to carve you up…

Knowledge without strategy is fecklessness, Strategy without knowledge is foolery. Action without aim is witlessness, Talk without action is buffoonery.

But for those of you who still do have some sense, who recognize that thinking and talking must be followed up with action, remember this wisdom. And if you yourself do not have the time to facilitate positive change, at least learn from those who do and support them:

[Reprint Post] On the Importance of History

A version of this Post was published on Andhra Cultural Portal on May 21, 2014


While this is by now a line so well known that it is almost cliche, few of us meditate on it. But what is lesser known is that even fewer still meditate on another insightful history quote.

Frederick the Great was a brilliant Soldier-King of Prussia (a leading German kingdom of the 17-1800s) who is considered one of history’s finest generals. He wrote that[1]:

“History is the School of Princes”.

And yet, our parents today consider this history to be “fluffy stuff” and an unworthy pursuit for their little rajakumaras. Why? Because understanding history makes for good rulers but poor servants. Despite the silly conceits of Indians in general, and NRI Andhras in particular, engineers, doctors, and coders are not rulers—just glorified workers. Real ruling classes and true elites have a sound understanding of history, and how it is frequently manipulated.

But to understand the importance of history, let us first understand what history is.

What is History

Most people, in fact, will not take the trouble in finding out the truth, but are much more inclined to accept the first story they hear.”
― Thucydides, The History of the Peloponnesian War

History is the study of past events as they apply to the human condition. It seeks to understand what happened, why it happened, at what are the ramifications of it.  It is more than mere national myth, kaakamma kaburlu (old wives’ tales), or the dry recitation of dates and personalities. While an element of Romance and Adventure adds excitement to it, as Thucydides (the Ancient Greek historian) wrote, history is ultimately about the cold hard study of recorded facts weighed against the truth. Thus the entire modern Marxist method of emphasizing that “there is no truth, only perspective” is in fact the greatest lie of all. There is objective truth, there must be objective truth, for without it, we have only relativist subjectivity that allows fools to be led astray and the wicked to believe their own lies.

As such, while there may be a rhetorical flourish here, and a romantic tale there, history is ultimately about the the dispassionate and truthful study of human events and society.

What is the Use of History

Study history, study history. In history lies all the secrets of statecraft” – Winston Churchill.

While Churchill is surely no friend to any Indian (a matter which the deracinated among us still fail to grasp), he was surely no stranger to the uses of history,  given not only his prime ministerial but also his imperialist track record.

While Westerners point to Herodotus as the father of history, and the British routinely loved to insinuate that Hindus had no concept of it, the reality is that the Dharmic tradition is replete with not just assorted puranas, but also charitras (chronicles), avadanas (narratives) and true itihaasas (histories) such as the Rajatarangini of Kalhana (the Kashmiri historian). Itihasa literally means so indeed it was, “iti ha asa”.

History records how great deeds were accomplished

Our own Kautilya advised that a prince undergo strict training, for “intellect is the result of learning”and “in the latter part of the day, he [the prince] shall listen to Itihasas]”. Thus, lack of historical curiosity is not an historical trait of Indians in general, but a trait of colonized Macaulay-putras who reject their own heritage without understanding its value. When our ancient political thinkers themselves advised of the importance of history, particularly in political matters, why do we continue to propagate the British-imposed fallacy that Indians had no concept of history–they did and they do, they have merely forgotten or been made to forget…

How History is Used

Most of us think that the history we read in school should suffice and serve as the benchmark for how we view ourselves. However, what is taught in India today, and about India in much of the rest of the world, is colonial in nature and British in bias.

As we’ve said repeatedly on this site, if you don’t know where you are from, you don’t know where you are going. And Indians (especially Andhras) continue to remain the most clueless bunch. Easily swayed by praise, they thoughtlessly bring outsiders into their innermost ranks. They fail to recognize that China’s closest equivalent to Chanakya said this millennia ago: “All warfare is deception”. Yet we continue to sway under the naïve notion that for “civilized people” war and politics remain separate from economics, religion, culture, and even history. In fact, another great Prussian General, Carl von Clausewitz said “War is the continuation of politics by other means”.  Thus if war is political and politicized, why wouldn’t history be? If knowledge is power, why wouldn’t the war of ideas be a matter of life and death?

The British use of history was no accident. It was a conscious move to play with the native historical record and to alienate Indians from their own tradition. It is for this reason that the entire “Invasions” leitmotif continues in Indian history to this day. The colonial monologue goes that “India was always invaded and invasion brought civilization, i.e. “Aryans” so the British were merely taking the next step to “civilize” Indians. In fact, India is an invention of the British”.

The irony of course is that anyone remotely acquainted with British history realizes how many times those islands were invaded (Romans, Angles/Saxons/Jutes, Vikings, Norman-French). In fact, their entire culture is a product of invasion, and if one reads the History of the Kings of Britain, even their mythical history is traced to the Asiatic Trojan invader Britannicus. Perhaps it’s true what they say: superiority complexes are built upon inferiority complexes.

Irrespective, this reductive view of Indian history is nonsense. For starters, many invasions–in fact the majority–were beaten back. Ancient India historically had a reputation for defeating and utterly routing foreign invaders. Alexander of Macedon had himself been cautioned about India, having been told of how few soldiers the Assyrian Queen Semiramis (circa 9th century BCE) returned after being humbled by the Indian King Stabrobates, and how Cyrus of Persia lost his life on the Indian frontier. Alexander himself did not fare much better–but remains the subject of debate due to colonial British lionization of him. The same Huns that killed the Persian Emperor Firoz  had been first defeated by Emperor Skandagupta and ultimately tamed by King Yasodharman of Malwa. Even the Arab Caliphate had virtually given up invasion of India, having been defeated many times, as established by their own histories (Chachnama). What’s more, even Bin Qasim’s conquest of Sindh proved short-lived, with the Rajputs of western India decisively defeating the Arabs, succeeding where Persia, Egypt, North Africa, Spain, and even Chinese-ruledTurkestan (in modern Xinjiang) had all failed.

Even the Indian worldview was reflective of this according to the Khorasani chronicler Alberuni: ” the Hindus believe that there is no country but theirs, no nation like theirs, no kings like theirs, no religion like theirs, no science like theirs. They are haughty, foolishly vain, self-conceited, and stolid…According to their belief, there is no other country on earth but theirs, no other race of man but theirs, and no created beings besides them have any knowledge or science whatsoever.

Given all this, what was the British tactic that was able to shake the foundation of Indian historical consciousness (or even arrogance as Alberuni would say) so thoroughly? A recent controversy regarding the historicity of a certain quote gives us a glimpse:

“I have traveled across the length and breadth of India and I have not seen one person who is a beggar, who is a thief. Such wealth I have seen in this country, such high moral values, people of such calibre, that I do not think we would ever conquer this country, unless we break the very backbone of this nation, which is her spiritual and cultural heritage, and, therefore, I propose that we replace her old and ancient education system, her culture, for if the Indians think that all that is foreign and English is good and greater than their own, they will lose their self-esteem, their native self-culture and they will become what we want them, a truly dominated nation.”

Now for the sake of argument , even if we accept that this quote attributed to Macaulay is not in fact valid and is apocryphal (bearing in mind a valid quote would have major European PR implications), is it really that much worse than the following Macaulay quote that all parties unequivocally accept as valid:

We must at present do our best to form a class who may be interpreters between us and the millions whom we govern,  –a class of persons Indian in blood and colour, but English in tastes, in opinions, in morals and in intellect.”

What better way to do this then to make Indians ashamed of their own history? After all, if an Indian had pride in his history (as Alberuni angrily confirmed was the case once) or understood the true worth of Sanskrit and other Indian languages such as Telugu, he would not think so overwhelmingly about English, and give importance to it regarding “tastes, in opinions, in morals and in intellect“.

Pandit Kota Venkata Chelam

In fact, whatever the validity of the first Macaulay quote, our own learned men of the time had recorded how British colonizers had in fact been playing with our history and even historical record, showing just how insidious the second Macaulay quote really was.

But before Macaulay-putras and their fellow travelers again attempt to attack the strawman of the first quote (crying “fascism, chauvinism, brahminical conspiracy,” and God knows what else), perhaps they should first recognize that Macaulay himself was an historian of sorts, and a dubious one at that by the accounts of his own fellow Englishmen. So it seems neither he, nor his fellow European imperialists, were unaware of the uses of history and how the past can be distorted to serve present and future ends…

…and is Still Used Today

KDRtankbund
Tank Bund Literary&Historical statues,even Krishna Deva Raya’s,destroyed for Razakars?

Nowhere was this better seen than in the unfortunate case of the Telangana agitation. While the bifurcation is said and done (so don’t worry my dear TG readers…), the way it was done was absolutely appalling. Not only was brother turned against brother, but history itself was turned upon its head. This gang went as far as to even praise the very oppressors of their own ancestors. Thus, the destruction of these statues, particularly that of Sri Krishna Deva Raya, who defeated and humiliated the  Qutb Shahis of Golkonda, shows whose dirty work they were actually doing. This is why it’s important to understand who the puppets and puppet masters really are.

A scholar/propagandist was enlisted to not only create a case for Telangana, but to even invert history by diluting the word “Andhra” (the glorious ancient name of all Telugu speakers to mean only those from the Coast).  While observers may glibly refer to this as a minor issue, the reality is, by diluting the Andhra brand, the case for another brand is slowly being made. After all, the best way to boil a frog is to slowly raise the temperature, rather than all at once.

Most ironically, the self-same politician who maligned Seemandhrites as “settlers” had no problem allying with Perso-Turkic “colonists” who advocate “Ganga-Yamuna Tehzeeb” in place of Telugu culture. They have the gall to demand privilege for their culture when they have never shown respect for our far more ancient and cultivated tradition, on our own land.

How Dharmic Indians must Use History

After seeing just how history has been used (and abused) in the hands of others, many Dharmic Indians may be think, let us just rebut this slander and write a glorious nationalist history. But two wrongs do not make a right. Replacing a nation-breaking history with an overly glossy nationalist one actually does a disservice to the nation. For a nation that only thinks of glorious achievements without understanding and analyzing past mistakes is doomed to repeat them.

Still others may say ask that if others have distorted our history  why should we not do the same? But for the very nation whose motto is Satyameva Jayate, such an action is not only contrary to our traditions, it is foolishness. For you see, the society that has ever-prized the truth above all things, even given the world such noble lovers of Satya as Satyakama Jabala, Satya Harishchandra, and Dharmaraja Yudhisthira, the truth will in fact be the very light the reveals our glory. For while the lie lives ever in fear and doubt of discovery, truth knows no fear.

Though it unmasks the machinations of others, with the sword of truth lies not only our greatest weapon, but our redemption itself. Lies divide, but it is the truth that unifies, whether it is all Andhras, all Indians, or all of Humanity itself. Therefore, it is incumbent on Dharmics to use history for precisely the purpose it was meant to–only we must do it better.

While our traditional scholars may have been meticulous at recording facts, communication of these facts must not be done in a mechanical manner. They must be done in a way that not only educates and inspires, but also instills a rational compass allowing the young student to read history, and if necessary, navigate it. As Frederick the Great of Prussia said, “Past facts are good to store away in the imagination and the memory: they furnish a repository of ideas whence a supply of materials may be obtained, but one which ought to be purified by passing through the strainer of the judgment“.[1] Even the great Greco-Roman historiographer, Polybius wrote in his work that “personal investigation” is the greatest quality of an historian. He went still further by emphasizing how men of action, rather than mere arm-chair observers, made the best historians–for they knew the value of what they were recording.

Thus mere rote memorization of history alone is not enough; one must use logic, analysis, and the historical method to understand the applicability and validity of these past ideas, so that students, politicians, and even generals, will draw the correct lesson–Acharya Kautilya would expect nothing less of us.

 In light of all this, the history of the descendants of Dharma and Indic Civilization must be based on the truth, rooted in our Indic tradition, weighed by the historical method, valid in educational purposes, and communicated in a way that inspires.

In doing so, the next generation of responsible citizens, Army Chiefs, and Prime Ministers will recognize that India’s unity is not only worth defending, but will also learn how best to defend India’s unity.  In tandem with that, they would see that our Dharmic Kings were worthy of emulation given that they were  manly and trained in the arts of war in addition to being equally cultivated and cultured (as seen here with Emperor Samudra of the Gupta dynasty and below where he uses a bow in one coin and plays a veena in the other)

The same Soldier-Emperor who became the paramount ruler of India was skilled not only in the force of arms, but in the mastery of music. This demonstrates that among the archetypes for our leaders was not a dichotomy between unschooled barbarian and milquetoast musician, but the cultivated and cultured King, who could protect civilization all while engaging in its highest artforms.

Ultimately, it is not enough to merely study history in school or even earn a degree in it. Rather, what must be taught is how to navigate history using the historical method, logic, and analysis. While indigenous chronologies and chronicles can serve as a foundation for our historical record, they should be tested against the evidence of the time as well. Trust, but verify. For in an era where knowledge is power, the war of ideas becomes a matter of life and death…and what is history if not that?

the-past-is-behind-learn-from-it

References:

  1. Frederick the Great. p.47,49
  2. Rangarajan, L.N. Ed., Kautilya. Arthashastra. New Delhi: Penguin. 1992.p.143

[Reprint Post] On High Culture: Beyond Bollywood

A version of this Post was published at Andhra Cultural Portal on November 4, 2013


rp_805.jpg

A recent article by an 30-Something Indian yuppie bemoaned the lack of cultural originality in India “beyond bollywood”. Ostensibly, Tollywood since the late 90s can be seen as a provincial version of its Mumbai cousin (with occasional flashes of brilliance). But is this presumed lack of anything beyond Bollywood a result of absence or awareness?

What’s more, a generation of Telugu speakers (and other Indians) have now grown up with Ross and Rachel  as their role models instead of Rama and Sita. This is the cost of neglecting one’s own high culture, which nourishes the soul through aspirational figures and timeless civilizational values communicated through sophisticated literature, dance, music, art, architecture, and cuisine.

The Andhra Cultural Portal was established because pop culture (Bolly & Tollywood) cannot take the place of High Culture (Kavya, Sangeeta, Natya, etc) and because Indians of all backgrounds are increasingly alienated from their own transcendent cultural heritage and utterly unaware of its unmatched accomplishment.

High Culture is also important precisely because the central clash between India and Pakistan, in some ways, isn’t even about religion. Rather, it is underscored by the emphasis of Persianized culture vs Sanskritic culture. Razakars lie about nothing existing here before the Sultans/Mughals because willful ignorance serves their cause (because if they claim persianized Turks gave India its culture, Nizamis can claim to rule Hyderabad State (oops, sorry, Telangana) and even India itself).

But deep down, even they know that their lies are precisely that—baldfaced lies. While they may even believe it, fortunately the APJ Abdul Kalams of this world knew and know better. Despite being an observant Muslim, former President Kalam was an avid connoisseur of not only his regional Tamizh culture, but the national & civilizational Sanskritic high culture and its epics.  Sanskrit high culture is verily the bedrock of Indic civilization. Sanskrit as a language truly has no equal, as computer scientists and even Colonial era Europeans have waxed eloquent over it. It is this very language of the Gods that has enriched Telugu.

And yet, this same bollywood/Delhiite delusion about culture has infected some sections in Telangana. See how the fundoo MIM  is already claiming that Urdu should take Telugu’s place as the official language of Telangana state. By KCR’s logic about a sprinkling of Urdu words in their dialect of Telugu justifying a new state, can’t other regions claim a new state because they have more English words?

Can this sophistry about India being a land of immigrants really be the notions of high culture that we teach ourselves and our children? Read the text, while he speaks of Sanskrit as a language of science or even occasionally literature, it’s quite clear his goal is to push only Urdu as the literary tradition of choice, particularly for poetry. Kalidasa is mentioned only to preemptively occupy the space, so that bollywood will continue to privilege the Shayari over the Shloka.

While there’s nothing wrong in appreciating a bollywood urdu shayari (though I personally prefer Kalidasa to Ghalib) , we must also take the time to learn about Sanskrit slokas and Telugu prabandhas…and Marathi Abhangas…and Rajasthani Rasos. All things must be taken according to measure. While it is a sign of maturity when a Civilization can be open-minded to imported ideas (or syncretic traditions in Urdu’s case), India is the only country that privileges all things foreign (or foreign derived) above the native. This must cease henceforth.

Even more dangerous, Pakistanis and their Gunga Dins on the Indian side of Wagah, have  even been digesting native Indic high culture as their own. It’s one thing to stake claim to Biryani and Qawwali (which are certainly imports, no denialism here….)—but quite another to take Tandoori (the Tandoor is native to Rajasthan) and Classical Indian/Music and Dance. They masquerade as though the Natya Sastra did not exist or Classical traditions did not exist prior to Hindustani and Kathak (themselves primarily based on the Natya Sastra only tweaked to Mughal tastes). For God’s sake, some are even claiming traditional Bengali Sweets as “Mughlai”! You may now ask, “have they no shame?”, but the question really is, “don’t we?”

That is the importance of documenting , propagating, and celebrating one’s own high culture. If we don’t clarify mistakes, if we don’t disprove propaganda, if we don’t perpetuate our own glorious high culture, someone else will deconstruct and digest our own culture whilst disparaging us. Before you laugh, let us not forget how the nefarious Nazis appropriated our Symbols (Swastika) and even our name for our Dharma (“Arya Dharma”) tragically perverting the meaning and auspiciousness of both. Language truly is culture.

Appreciating Urdu does not mean pigeon-holding Sanskrit or deriding Telugu. Diversity does not mean diluting one’s own culture. Cosmopolitanism does not mean negating one’s true identity, and Secularism certainly does not mean forgetting who we really are.

By all means, let Indians unite and allow both Majority and Minority to celebrate their respective traditions—but in fair and accurate measure. Enjoy your biryani and watch your bollywood, but also celebrate your own khichdi and Thyagaraja kirtanas. India is the home of Dharmic civilization—let us not forget this.

Above all, High Culture transmits Values. What are the principles that we must govern ourselves by? Who are the examples we must aspire towards? Whatever the laws may be, what moral code should guide our personal/private conduct? That is why it must be preserved at all costs.  After all, Modernizing does not mean Westernizing and Globalizing does not mean De-localizing, because if you’re from Everywhere, you’re from Nowhere.

Even the very British emigrant to America Christopher Hitchens recognized this when he said, “Globalization is only really interesting if we all bring something different”.

So tell me my dear reader, do you know what we as Indics bring?