Saturday, July 28, 2007

In India the constitution is now been well amended

Sri Aurobindo's Vision for a United India
by Rich on Fri 27 Jul 2007 12:13 AM PDT Permanent Link
Since we are exploring the re-visioning of the term Hindutva in other current SCIY post, and it would appear that Sri Aurobindo's use-value for political Hinduvta is in championing him as a staunch nationalist who would resort to warfare - citing his essays on the 5000 year old text of the Gita, - to restore her timeless Hindu Identity and reclaim her ancient territory, I think the following statement needs to be deconstructed; and I mean that in no small way:
“Sri Aurobindo's vision for a united India.”
In doing so the following words need to first be removed and looked at individually
1) India
2) United
3) Vision (as in Sri Aurobindo's)
1) I will start with the ideal of the nation state of India first. The nation states of the 19th and 20th centuries have been constructed according to a European socio/political model of nationhood with a legislative body. Although one can certainly identify on the sub- continent commonalities of culture and heritage, we dont necessarily find the sharing of a common language – unless imposed by the Nation State - nor do we find a homogeneous religion among all people. In fact, the unified nation-state of India today was the result of the British drawing arbitrary boundaries to establish it.
If one is referring however, to a unified India as existing pre-independence then of course one is tracing a genealogy to those arbitrary boundaries the British drew up pre-1947 which were more determined by the chaotic landscape left behind after their colonial conquest than any natural political affinity of the region. In fact, one of the reasons for the wide spread success of the nationalist home rule movement in pressuring the British to leave India was due to the fact that the one of the unintended consequences of British rule is that they had instituted one central system of administration and laws,- unifying the many princely states -, and had connected the territory north to south by railways, roads, postal service, telegraph, making communications on resistance to the oppression of British rule possible across the vast areas spanning the territory.
So at very least the term a “unified India” needs to be defined, because even today within the present nation states there are people and areas of the unified nation state of India who wish to succeed from the Union because they claim a heritage and autonomy that dates back well prior to the formation of India in 1947. In other words they feel their unity has been trampled upon.
2) Next the word united, what does this mean in terms of a nation state? Well there is currently a united Europe or EU , which is comprised of many smaller sovereign individually united nations. At one time almost all those nations however, were themselves amalgamations of smaller countries but combined generally after wars to form larger more inclusive nation states, which although they are still shifting their boarders, have now elected to form a larger supra-national entity to represent their common interest. What unity appears to mean in this context of nation states is that it is an ever changing value which more often then not refers to a transitional form of national identity at one particular moment in history. If anything what is currently being worked out is sort of a multiplicity in unity , in which autonomous nation states form larger geo-political unities. Could a South Asian union based on the EU model be a unified India?
3) Finally regards Sri Aurobindo's vision of a united India, the thing one should do in any critical inquiry is to compare the historical vision to the time in which the vision occurred. This particular vision of Sri Aurobindo was last stated in 1950. In the US that was the year of the Korean War, and McCarthyism. In India the Constitution was officially adopted and the Election Commission established. Well in the U.S Iraq has replaced Korea, and Cheney has replaced McCarthy, but in India the constitution is now been well amended and there have certainly been many elections ( and India has largely had a good record for holding fair elections because of its independent election commission) But I think we all would agree that there has certainly been a lot of time and tremendous amount of change in both nations since this time. Does the fact that the times have radically changed since 1950 make a difference in the original vision of Sri Aurobindo?
Well prior to 1926 he was engaged actively in sedition against the British, and then after his siddhi withdrew from public life, because after he had a transformation of consciousness he knew the task would be done.. Well did his perceptions of geo-political events change after his transformation of consciousness regards Indian independence? Indeed they certainly did. In short over time his perspective on the conflict changed as well. As I understand it in 1965 Mother urged a full assault on Pakistan during the War, yet in 1973 her message on Pakistan was that without the need of military intervention the nation state of Pakistan would implode itself. Did Mother's perspective change between 1965 and 1973, well yes it appears to have changed measurably.
This is why I question the use of the phrase “Sri Aurobindo's vision was for a unified India” because both he and the Mother having a great deal of common sense have demonstrated that they could adapt their perspectives on both national and world affairs according to the evolution of time and circumstances. So when we read that Sri Aurobindo vision was for a united India would he define this unity exactly the same way today as he did in 1950 or Mother in 1973?
Unfortunately this is the interrogation political Hindutva fails to make regarding Sri Aurobindo's social/political vision. It as if the clock in Mrs. Haversham's drawing room has stopped in 1950. Moreover, they seem satisfied to simply reduce his metaphysical or integral terrestrial vision to the territorial politics of division and self-interest. In this way Hindutva seeks to recover past glory by means of appealing to a timeless or transcendent will. And although this glory should certainly be preserved to assert ones victimhood because the upheavals of history have unseated one's group dominance as a subculture within a larger south Asian cultural heritage, and then to seek to recover what was lost some millenium ago can only be called: reactionary rich Print Article Keywords: Hindutva Posted to: Main Page .. India .. Critical Theory & Postmodernism POLITICS IY PHILOSOPHY .. Rich Carlson

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