The two day national conference on ‘Decolonisation of Indian Mind’ organised by Bharatiya Vichar Manch was duly attended by intellectuals from 19 states
“Our knowledge has increased by this seminar but we should not keep it to ourselves. We should connect with masses at places like colleges, universities and study one subject over a period of time. We have to make the general masses aware about decolonisation. People from other states also should organise such seminars”, was the message of RSS Sarsanghachalak Shri Mohan Bhagwat in his concluding remarks at the two day national conference on ‘Decolonisation of Indian Mind’, organised in Karnawati (Ahmedabad) on April 15 and 16, 2017. Bharatiya Vichar Manch which is celebrating its silver jubilee year was the organiser. Seminar was unique in a way because although it was about ‘decolonisation of mind’, modern technology was used. Registration and payment of fee was done only through online. More than 800 persons got themselves registered out of which 683 people were present on the occasion. It was truly a national seminar, as said by Shri Mohan Bhagwat as there was representation from 19 states of Bharat.
Shri Bhagwat further said that the Bharatiya Vichar Manch organises such seminars every year. Its purpose is to change direction of dialogue-deliberation of the country. The discourses given by speakers are of very high level not due to their study, but because they have come from their heart. For this, they may have suffered but they have not got deviated from their paths. We have to prepare ourselves like those speakers to win intellectual war. We have to fight collectively, Shri Bhagwat emphasised.
We have to decolonise ourselves first. Shri Guruji said that Marx talked about violence because he saw atrocities. Thus Guruji was able to see compassion behind Marx’s thoughts. We must keep Sarvesham Avirodhen (we accept everyone without resistance) vision in mind, said Sarsanghachalak.
The occasion was marked by the presence of galaxy of speakers. On first day, the ball was set in motion by Shri Suresh Soni, Sahsarkaryavah of the RSS. In his keynote address he said, “Dialogue and brainstorming is a very old custom of Bharat. Extracts of such process were thrown away without shedding a drop of tear if such extracts were found useless. When a civilisation attacks another, that civilisation influences the mind of defeated people. Old system is broken down. Danger of full destruction arises. At that time, one group comes forward taking inspiration from original elements of defeated civilisation. Arnold J Toynbee a British historian called this group as ‘Creative Minority’.” After explaining the process of intellectual colonisation Shri Soni suggested the remedy of ‘Self realisation i.e. Atma Sakshatkar. According to him the prescription given by Pt Deendayal Upadhyaya is the key, “Make whatever is foreign in tune with our ethos and whatever is domestic, retune it as per changing times.”
Prof Kapil Kapoor, former Pro Vice-Chancellor of JNU, spoke on ‘How to De-subjugate the Mind’. He elaborated that even though, our countrymen are multi-linguist, multi-religious, but our Chaitanya (consciousness) is one. That’s why we think alike. Our civilisation is knowledge centered, he said.
Indumati Katdare spoke on ‘Bharatiyakaran of Western Influenced Education’ and gave a call to start from our houses as families are the biggest centres of education. Smt Indumati who is Chancellor of Punarutthan Vidyapeeth gave a call for striving for autonomy of education from governmental intervention.
Dr AK Singh former Director of School Of Translation Studies and Training, IGNOU presented his thoughts on ‘Decolonising Education in Bharat’. Dr Singh highlighted the fact that since Independence movement itself many people spoke about need for Indianising education. Giving example of Dr Syama Prasad Mookerjee, he said that Dr Mookerjee who was a great educationist who stood for the holistic approach for education in his speeches and propagated the idea of introducing mother tongue even in courts, hospitals, government offices etc.
In the session of Art and Culture Prof Kapil Tiwari, former Director of Adivasi Lok Kala Parishad, Bhopal and Dr Chandraprakash Dwivedi a wellknown actor, director and script writer were the speakers.
Prof Tiwari while speaking on ‘Folk Art and Folk World: Way of Freedom from Decolonised Mind’ made an emotional presentation on tribal way of preserving knowledge. He said, “Knowledge that is considered as most invaluable is not that is written, but that is transmitted verbally. Upanishad, Bhagavad Gita, or for that matter even the Quran etc all are transmitted verbally.” He argued that not whole Bharat is trapped in colonisation. Our tribes are untouched from so-called modernism. They are totally decolonised. They believe in nature. They preserve nature.
Dr Dwivedi while deliberating on ‘Drama And Cinema: Way Of Freedom From Decolonised Mind’ said, “Our cinema has become more and more irresponsible. Bharat is invisible from TV after 1992. In Hindi film industry people say, ‘We are living with
market driven forces.’ Shooting is done in foreign countries. They want to make us feel ashamed for our customs.” We need to come out of our forgotten Bharat mindset to Indianise our cinema.
On second day, Prof. Prasanna Deshpande, Assistant Professor, Department of English, Fergusson College, Pune spoke about the danger of neo-colonisation arising in the name of decolonisation. According to him, students are incited against our own country in the name of ‘cultural revolution’ of new-Left. Taking the instances from IIT Chennai, JNU, Jadavpur University, Kolkata, Hyderabad Central University and elaborating the deconstructionist rationale behind the events like Slut Walk, Kiss of love, Yes I bleed etc, he explained that the failure of Marxism is being re-invented with the cultural revolution, which focuses on destruction of the culture.
Dr Makarand Paranjpe, presented his views on ‘Swaraj and Hindu Samaj: Beyond Decolonisation And Secularism’. He stressed that problem of translation is basically the problem of religious conversion. We have no word for ‘colonisation’ or ‘decolonisation’. So Hindi word ओपनिवेशिकता is not proper word for ‘colonisation’ because we have never made colonies. He said Sri Aurobindo, Lokmanya Tilak and Mahatma Gandhi talked about ‘Swaraj’. They provided new categories such as Sanatani, Sah-Sanatani, non-Sanatani and anti-Sanatani to understand the larger discourse.
Shri Prafulla Ketkar, Editor of Organiser spoke on ‘Decolonising Governance’ in which he highlighted the fact that thinkers coming from all streams found that decentralised model of governance is most conducive to the Bharatiya society since contemporary parameters of participation and distribution are also in tune with that.
Dr Shankar Sharan, former Assistant Professor at NCERT spoke on ‘Political Science and Current Situation in Bharat’. He said, “At the time of attacks by Ghajani, Bharat was very much developed in materialistic sense. We must be cautious about protecting our civilisation. Development in GDP, sensex, technology is not enough.”
Prof Rakesh Sinha, well known face on TV debates, spoke on ‘Discourse on Decolonisation—West and East’ in which he argued for more aggressive and positive approach towards decolonisation. He said, “We are victims of micro narrative. We have to adopt metanarrative. We should do something so that Vedas, Upanishads are taught in the Harvard University.”
On this backdrop, the call given by Sarsanghachalak Shri Mohan Bhagwat in his concluding remarks, to take the discourse on decolonisation to the larger masses is significant.
Bharatiya Vichar Manch is planning to bring out a publication out of this deliberation in coming days, which will be helpful in taking the issues pertaining to colonisation and decolonisation to the intellectuals and masses.