Frontier Arjunas of Northeast India
I am just back from the Maatri Bhoomi and this time from an exceptional trip, the experience of which I want to share with you. I had the privilege of being invited by two prestigious organizations of Bhaarat, the Indian Institute of Advanced Studies, Shimla (happens to be my Janma Sthaana—confirming Karmic connections!) and Vivekananda Kendra (VK), a monumental organization in itself. On my own I included Kashmir in my travels.
I am told some call VK workers, Frontier Arjunas—and very appropriately so! It is often said that India is Eternal but very few think why it is so? Its eternity is owed to the Vision of the Rishikaa/Rishi culture of this amazing land, which continuously produces people who are a tribute to these ancestors in every sense. In the three weeks that I spent with the Vice President of Vivekananda Kendra, Su Shree Nivedita Bhide and her team of Jeevanvrati Kaaryakartas (Life long workers) numbering only—one hundred and seventy four—but equal in determination to a thousand, I was reassured of the continuity of our land and its culture. The unique thing about the dedication of these people is their understanding of the present needs of the country, their devotion to her and the determined way they work. In a world where money seems to override all morality, all ethics, these volunteers have given their lives to make things better for the present and future citizens of their country—majority of whom seem unaware of the danger that Bhaarat Bhoomi faces on so many fronts. Also most remain oblivious to the sacrifice and the hard work these volunteers do every single day to secure the land for posterity—children of the uncaring and unconcerned. How unfathomable is our Human existence!
Only the vision of oneness of all Creation, expounded by Vedanta, told to us in a thousand different ways, over millennia can produce a work force of such dedication; here we see the true expression of the expanded SELF permeating all of Creation. Such a volunteer force can exist only where a subtle perception of the Truth behind the obvious duality of our everyday experience is understood. Hindus have that understanding of the oneness of the whole manifest Jagat—both at the intellectual level and at the intuitive level. This is why we are able to see the pristine and noble soul of Bhaaratvarsha and love her more—that landmass from the Himalayas to the Hindu Mahaasaagar, in fact the whole of Akhand Bhaarat is poojniya to us, her memory kept alive though the Akhanda Bhaarat Smriti Utsav. This unique love is because of what the human mind achieved on this landmass making it sacred forever. “Krinvanto Vishvam Aryam” is Bhaarat Maata’s vision alone and for that goal any sacrifice is worthwhile. Those who understand Bhaarat and its culture would die a million times to preserve her vision for the Human race. This intense love is seen by a few in the West for they often wonder, what makes people love a land so very much? You and I know it is not the land but the Vision that gave birth to a uniquely compassionate Samskrit—a humane culture that all aspire to—but have failed to produce even with all the materialism and other “isms” put together.
The prerNaa for the VK came as usual, from a Sangh prachaarak—Shree Eknath Ranade ji. (I often wonder what would have happened to Hindus without the Sangh?) In a short period of less than thirty years, the Kendra has opened many schools in very difficult areas of the country. Arunachal is a large, sparsely populated, most Northeastern state of Bhaarat. Here the life-giving rays of Suraya Deva bless Humanity first. China covets this land for its beauty and abundance of nature. The population though small, less than ten laakh, contains Twenty-six different Jan Jaatis with almost as many languages. Undaunted by such obstacles the VK people have opened Twenty-one schools. In Assam with its lush green tea gardens but as of now, inconvenient roads, VK schools have a strong presence too. All in all forty-one schools including one in Nagaland are run very efficiently—so much so that in Mebo, a place across the Siang River I was beseeched by people to please open a VK school right away. My repeated protests that I was only an invited speaker and had no authority to open schools did nothing to cool their enthusiasm. In fact some of the audience kept up the request all the way to the waiting vehicle and I ended up promising that surely there will be a school soon—a VK School at that—not just any school! One gentleman claimed that after sending his one son to a convent school run by the missionaries and another to a VK School he sees a world of difference in there attitudes. He preferred the values his son had learnt at the VK School—a great compliment for the Kendra and its workers for sure!
Now the readers may wonder why so much fuss over schools, as in Bhaarat schools are being opened every day? There are schools run by the Government that work and those that do not work, schools by charitable organizations some of which work very well. There are spectacular and lavish schools with facilities way beyond any student’s needs. However, the unique thing about the N.E. is that it is an area full of insurgencies engineered by constant pressure from the missionaries. In the guise of education and health care they are robbing families of mental health and family happiness. The interesting thing is they are funded by foreign money but run by our own converted lot. Many of our bright Kerelites have been convinced to increase the flock for a proselytizing religion. Destabilization of the Nation seems to be acceptable even though it means cutting the very tree that they are sitting on. Most Bhaaratiyas seem oblivious to the ground realities of this area, as the News Papers do not say much. In fact many do not know about these seven N.E. states, their history or the Jana Jaatis that live there and their struggle against anti National elements that surround them. I had ample opportunity to interact with various groups and felt their pain. Living here in the West many times the Asian immigrant has experiences similar to the Jan Jaatis who have been disturbed by foreign religions totally unsuited to a country of unparalleled diversity, which was effectively and peacefully managed for the longest time in history. The religion of the people here is much like the Vedic (Hindus) who worshipped nature and did not have Mandirs. Over time, as the need to organize arose - a more formalized way to worship evolved. However, to disturb other faiths and ancestral customs has never been the Hindu way, so as long as possible people have been allowed to maintain their life styles. Now because of very destructive activities of the missionaries, efforts are underway to help the Jana Jaatis to protect themselves, while maintaining their culture. It is important to know, that people are converted at gunpoint—what kind of a religion does such a thing? So very often the workers of VK and others face danger to their lives. I know of youth that have been ambushed or killed simply for working in this area. The insurgencies are in every way a danger to India as destabilization of the country is the larger goal—engineered under the guise of bringing various kinds of help to these areas. Unchecked it can enable and facilitate a reoccupation of Bhaarat. If we read the writing of Europeans, Arabs, Turks and many others of the medieval period it will become clear how much India is the desired destination. It is amazingly rich in so many ways even today. It is an astounding land that has been producing, for the whole world, both wealth and wisdom. Even at the present time India’s ideas and systems of Ayurveda, Yoga, Science, Music, Dance etc are influencing the World, especially the Western world towards gentleness and refinement. The citizens of India seem to know the value of their own nation far less than the outsiders. Many inimical powers await an opportunity for any weak links as we witnessed in case of the Kargil war recently. An ordinary person in the World may be ignorant about India but the interested groups have always kept a close eye on how much can be gained from Bhaarat. In fact all over Europe and USA there is great efforts underway to learn Samskrit and to fund research in ancient Hindu and Jain texts to find what they think of as secrets of India’s survival and its long growth and prosperity, destroyed only after very cruel Crusades for nearly Seven hundred years by Islam and two hundred years of robbing by the Maayaavi activities of Europeans! Of course we were not alone in this terrible and inhuman destruction—much of the ancient world met the same fate—only we Bhaaratiyaas, an indigenous people survived! Today there is a palpable fear as to what will happen if India and China become as prosperous and friendly as they once were? Somehow it never occurs to the leaders of these nations to consider how we can come together to prosper as a Planet.
I also spent one week in Kashmir. I wanted to go to the Shankaracharya Mandir—for a culture that values Sarasvati more than even Lakshmi (in my opinion all Hindu homes and schools should add daily Lakshmi Poojan—so far we have never forgotten Sarasvati and she has blessed us throughout) it must be remembered that Kashmir is our Shaaradaa Peetha;
Namaste Sharde Devi, Kaashmeerpur Vaasini
Tvaamaham praartheya nityam, Vidyaa daanam cha dehi me
Visiting the two boarder areas of Bhaarat Maataa my thought was that, we are Raahu Grasta on one end and Ketu Grasta on the other end. One side is the result of Raakshasa buddhi while the other Maayaavi buddhi. Please think about our stories and see if you do not see the similarity? The stories of a Genius culture like ours, are not simply meaningless ideas put together to earn money—rather they are tools to teach about life skills, how to handle situations and people with a million different Svabhaavas. The present day Hindu youth must know that they too will have to sacrifice like our ancestors who bequeathed us a free and proud Bhaarat!! There is no land more sacred or more compassionate than this Motherland or more deserving of our devotion.
The days I spent at the Indian Institute of advanced Study, Rashtrapati Nivas, Shimla were a delight. The structure that houses this Institute is the old Vice Regal Lodge—reminded me of the somber buildings of Europe which to me always seem imposingly depressing. Fortunately, the Institute will be moving I was informed to a different location. My hope is it will be a building that reflects our happy attitude towards life—may be they will have some Bhaaratiya artwork like Pattchitra, Madhubani or any of our own kalaa decorating the walls while providing lively hoods for our traditional artists! Even the thought is enticing—is it not? This particular building is ideal for a museum that should tell our people about how we got the Colonizers out of our land. Many meetings between the British and the famous Indian leaders like Mahatma Gandhi, Sardaar Patel and scores of other patriots were held here. The grounds are gorgeous all 331 acres of it. Near by there is Dufferinpur named by Lord and lady Dufferin, which has come to be known as Dufferpur now. Karma is also humorous at times. The conference was very enlightening and some of the younger speakers great command on their subject matters. A truly learning and enriching experience.
For the first time in my life, I feel the energy of India resurfacing—it is to be seen in the eyes of the youth, in the smile of the ordinary folk (who are the back bone of any society) and of course in the confidence of the young entrepreneurs who have made us proud the world over. It is also visible in the comments and writing of those who plundered us—let us take this ENERGY and transform it into the life changing force that Bhaarat and Bhaarat alone can unleash—for she alone understands the concept of Vasudaiva Kutumbakam. To protect a family that infinite—much that is unpleasant will have to be dealt with and we better be ready. In the thousand years past we lost huge areas to greedy and self centered, non-Spiritual elements; now it is time to start gaining it back and establish Dharma once again.