Ghar Wapsi

(The following is extracted from a long note Pawanji wrote on the SIDH WhatsApp group)

Since 2014, a sharp divide has emerged in the Bharatiya samaj. No, I am not talking of the Hindu-Muslim, or the caste, or the rich-poor or the North-South divides. In the context of power, the only divide of significance in our country has been between the minority of ruling elites—the tiny percentage of our population steeped in modern/ western values and completely alienated from their cultural and civilizational roots—and the vast majority of the dis-empowered ordinary Bharatiyas. All other divisions are dwarfed in front of this one and if this divide can be bridged then other divisions will get consumed and become redundant.

Different governments have come and gone, even the Britishers came and were sent back, but this alienated minority always managed to remain close to the centres of power. After independence Nehru and his Congress with the backing of powerful international forces made sure that all four pillars of (modern) democracy remained firmly in the grip of this alienated minority. This status quo got so deeply entrenched in the system that, over time, even the dis-empowered majority started believing that to be part of the power structure, one had to renounce one’s roots and adopt the value systems of the ruling elite.

It is the good fortune of this country that, for the first time after independence, in 2014 a crack finally appeared in one of the pillars of democracy—the legislature. We have had non-congress governments in the past, in 1977, 1989 (V.P. SIngh), 1990-91 (Chandrashekhar), 1998 (Atal Bihari Bajpai) but the changes they brought in were cosmetic. The order of the ruling elites was not shaken by any of them. But the change since 2014 is unlike any other, it is monumental. It has unleashed a dormant energy that was suffocating for centuries. It will be a mistake to see this change merely from a short term political lens.

This change has silently ignited something powerful in the majority still connected with their civilizational roots. It is something similar to the experience of Sri Hanuman when the wise Jamvant awakened him to realize his hidden powers. After a long time, our ordinary people are sensing freedom and the joy of breathing freely. This has suddenly given them confidence to value and appreciate themselves and their ways and not feel diffident and ashamed about themselves.

It is a major disruption. The alienated elite are extremely uneasy and unable to fathom the change. If they wish to make sense of the civilizational churning that is happening they will have to look, not outside (as they are used to), but deep within themselves. In this process of self-examination they will be required to see themselves dispassionately, almost like one is required to observe one’s thoughts and feelings during meditation. And this is not going to be easy. Most of them will back off and revert to their old ways of ignoring reality and putting all their energies in creating the same old world they have been so comfortable with.

But those few like us who are neither there nor here, those who have also been a part of that elite power structure from time to time and have enjoyed its fruits, but by some quirk of fortune have also remained connected with the roots of this great civilization, may go through this yagna and come out purified. We may realize that all the various masks we were wearing all these years, trying to belong to that false but rarefied atmosphere of the power elite were so unnecessary and so burdensome. This is the time of praayshchita (atonement) for us, paving the way for our ghar wapsi – coming home. Ghar wapsi to being able to relate to the majority, our long lost brothers and sisters, to appreciate their ways and their greatness, to appreciate the greatness of our civilization.

This is a period of great churning the likes of which is rarely seen, even in centuries, and this change is happening not just in Bharat but all over the world. 2014 has been a watershed year unleashing an amazing energy residing in our ordinary people who are able to, for the first time, find a voice, a space for themselves. Be it Kashi Vishwanath, Mahaakaal, installation of Netaji’s statue on Kartavya Path and now this great event of Ram Mandir, these events need to be seen as major milestones in a process of civilizational resurgence.

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