Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Better to live in present...

"Better to live in present than glorify past which is never going to repeat itself"...I read these lines in one of the comments to some article where author wrote a post about glorified Indian past thousands of years ago where women had equal status like men and contributed in all aspects of society's development, etc. I always come across many posts who talk about our glorious culture, there was time in history when India was considered as wealthiest nation of that time (financially and intellectually). There are many things from our past which we all should be proud of but at the same time there are many things which needs introspection and honest analysis. Many people even now try to defend age old caste system (mostly just because it was originated in that golden era) and try to show how it was designed with good intentions but it's the people who messed it up (but they are not ready to accept that the system itself had some flaws in it which allowed this type of exploitation), some even regret that the era where women had very specific role (that is to look after home, serve their men and produce kids) is being threatened by some of these new feminist movements, etc. etc. I think readers must have got an idea about what I am talking here.

One more thing which is very common among some Indians is, whenever they see some novel invention (let it be anything, starting from discovery of gravity, earth's shape or discovery of Higgs Boson) they always like to go back, find some related reference mostly from some ancient vedik text or quote by some ancient personality or mythological story and claim that Indians were first to think or know about that invention, but these people fail to appreciate or give full credit to people who either got a clue from those texts or many times even without taking any clue discovered these things on their own and introduced those concepts to modern world in proper way (which is very important thing to do). Many scientists work very hard to develop these ideas into something very relevant and applicable concepts in modern world. It's not wrong to feel proud about glorious past or study scriptures to get some clue but using these things to dilute impact of others hard work and intelligent discoveries is very wrong according to me. Some how all these things make me feel like we Indians are too much in love with our so called glorious past and want to ignore completely present situation of our society and country (which is not so glorious). One simple question we need to ask our self is, if we were first to discover all these things then why we failed to communicate it properly? Who stopped us from sharing it with rest of world and claim that glory?

We still mention proudly about Universities at Nalanda, Takshila, Nagarjunkonda and how people from all over the world used to come to study in them, but fail to acknowledge that we our self  are responsible for their destruction (directly or indirectly) and when we got chance we failed to rebuild them and reestablish their original glory. We Indians talk all the time how these things got destroyed but don't want to talk why we failed to rebuild these things. We proudly mention Ayurveda but at the same time don't want to accept that we failed to capitalize on early head start given to us by our ancestors in many fields (like maths, medicine, astrology, etc.), for example in Ayurveda they accumulated vast knowledge about various diseases and herbal medicines, even astrology was very well developed, they new about many stars and their properties, they even developed various mathematical theorems and equations but that was all past, long long ago but sadly we didn't bother to continue that process and lost that advantage. The truth today is that till now we didn't contribute any new medicine in modern day drug therapy which can be accepted all over the world, we even failed to standardize our traditional medicine system so that it can produce medicines with reliable quality and reproducible results. Research and development is not our priority even today, we need to buy many sophisticated instruments and technologies from other countries, most of these countries are way ahead of us in many ways and we are not even trying to catch up with them, we even are not in race, but not because we can't run but somehow we don't want to run.

Some how we proudly want to take credit of all good things which our ancestors achieved in past but totally want to reject or blame it on others (mainly on foreign invaders) all bad things (including casteism, religious riots, superstitions, etc.) these things happened in same society and our ancestors were very much part of it. It is very common habit to blame everything on foreign invaders, they all came from outside and messed up our wonderful system and culture. We were so good, so intelligent, so brave and so honest still we got duped by some foreigners who came in small groups and destroyed our whole system. If we were so superior and intelligent then how did they managed to fool us? Why we lost battles with them even though they were smaller in numbers? We take the easier path to blame them for everything but don't accept that we also were equally responsible for this debacle which pushed our society several hundred years back.

Glorious past is always nice thing to have and it can teach us a lot but only if we want to learn from it, we should be definitely proud of it but mentioning it again and again just to show off and take away (or dilute) credit from others may make us feel happy temporarily but it's useless exercise. If we are not willing to take any serious efforts to reach that level again then it is not a good attitude according to me. If we develop habit of living in that past then we may not be able to fully understand and recognize challenges of present and won't be ready to face problems of the future. Presently our society in India is in total mess, our political system sucks, bureaucracy is heavily corrupted, we have pathetic medical infrastructure and we are or going to face lot of social, environmental and economic challenges if we continue like this. Living in glorious past is not going to help us in any way, we need to look at present situation and tackle all these problems right now before they go out of our reach and become reason for our dark future.

It always pays off to live in present by getting all possible clues and lessons from past, but if we refuse to accept present situation and just keep on singing songs about past glories then we all know what will be our future. So lets gear up and accept that currently there are many problems which we need to solve and also accept that these problems are mostly created by us, so it's our responsibility to think about them now and find possible answers. I believe if we change our attitude then it wont be difficult to fight with these issues and work towards finding possible solutions, but the big question is are we willing to change our attitude? This is the question I want every Indian to ask to him/herself today.

Thanks for reading and please share your views on this topic.

(Copyright : Vinay Thakur. Please contact the author for re-posting or publishing)

1. Were Our Ancient Ancestors Scientifically Advanced?

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