Whither Indian Civilization?


I wandered upon the edge of the sidewalk searching for a spot to step on to the street. The roadside was littered with all kinds of scrap – waste paper, wrappers, cigarette butts, loose earth, plastic bottles and bags, empty tobacco sachets etc – to such a degree as to make it difficult for any person to alight from the sidewalk without landing on some kind of junk. I did manage to cross that barrier somehow, and hurried to cross the street on seeing the pedestrian light turn green. However, green does not always mean “go” which discovered to my chagrin as a motorcycle whizzed past me at breakneck speed in spite of all the red lights. I got to the other end of the street unscathed, thanks to providence, and decided to do a bit of shopping. There were makeshift shops by the dozen on the pavement itself, selling everything that any regular shop would sell, and with everything spread out on the pavement, blocking off half the width of the pavement in the process. Anyway, I threaded myself through all such obstacles and emerged out of a proper shop with a few necessities in hand when I came upon a “Pani Puri” vendor who had set up his stall right upon the street. A crowd of customers, who were heartily munching away at the snack, surrounded the stall. The remnants of the profitable trade, in the form of scraps of paper, half-eaten snacks, paper cups et al were being thrown about on the street, already strewn with more of the same stuff, with gay abandon, contributing in good measure to the overall appearance of the surroundings. I made my way towards a throng of people waiting for the city bus, passing on the way, a shaded section of the pavement where a man stood facing away from the street, urinating on the wall. I hurried along, holding my breath to keep away the stench. I hopped onto the waiting city bus, wherein I was lucky enough to find a seat by the window. The bus weaved painfully through the crowded street with its intractable traffic, of cycles, rickshaws, scooters and cars vying for ascendancy over each other in that small space already constricted by the presence of rows of vehicles parked on either side of it in a disorderly fashion. I had to endure the snaking ride through the din and chaos until I alighted at my destination, whereupon I quickly turned into the relatively tranquil lane that led to my home, and found myself letting out a sigh of relief.

It was a typical jaunt in a typical Indian city, one that has become a routine for every citizen of the country, and has been accepted as a way of life. I am no stranger to the abysmal depths that sensibilities and values of Indian society have degenerated to, and would have thought nothing of it on any other day. However, today, I was woken up to realization by chance, and wished I had not been, at the end of it. As I reposed on the sofa in my living room at the end of the grueling outdoor stint, for what I felt were a few well-earned moments of recreation and relaxation, I chanced upon a TV program on the history of Indian Civilization. The program was a creative representation of Indian society of ancient times, based on the archaeological evidence of the many historical remains of India’s rich heritage. It portrayed the heights that Indian society and culture had attained during the great days of the Indus Valley Civilization, the Mauryan Age, The Gupta Age, The Kushana Age etc. I sat engrossed in front of the television for an hour as the program progressed, revealing the zenith of glory that ancient Indian society had achieved during those golden ages in respect of standards of daily life, setting benchmarks of cleanliness, discipline and urban planning for the world to emulate. The writings of Huen Tsang and Fahien narrate the epitome of prosperity and meticulousness that society was during the reign of Harsha Vardhana and the Golden age of the Gupta Dynasty. The India of those times, as so beautifully portrayed in the program, looked a starkly disparate world from what we see around us today. In fact, there is not a trace of that supremacy of culture and attitude visible in modern Indian society. Today, we are accustomed to looking westward for ideas and systems to improve our standards of living, whereas, in the golden ages of the past, the rest of the world was in awe of our innovation and advancement. India was ever at the forefront of World civilization, and had been the leading light of human progression. Unfortunately today, the values of planning, order, discipline and method that were the cornerstones of ancient Indian society seems to have all but collapsed, and none but our own countrymen have brought about their ruination.

What, then, is the cause for the distressful state of affairs of Indian society today? Are we the descendants of a different breed of Indians; different from our ancestors, who had wrought such a path of gold on the same turf? Are we a blighted race so mentally disfigured by centuries of foreign rule that the consciousness of our glorious past and a redoubtable heritage has long been transformed into an acceptance of a continual state of regression and degeneration? Are we not accountable to our great ancestors for the state that our society is in today; or is our sense of pride and honor too numbed to even contemplate a revival of our glorious past? Some questions have no answers, and there is certainly none in sight of these. Alas, the efforts of great emperors such as Vikramaditya, Harsha, Ashoka, Chandragupta Maurya, Krishna Deva Raya and many others seem to have come to nought. My heart ached in sadness at the realization, and I fervently hope many more feel the same way as I do.

8 comments:

Manoj Kumar said... [Reply]

acceptable truth...we are responsible for our countries destiny...

under the proud name of modernization we are actually forgetting the past culture and heritage that India is always proud of having such a thing...

but to say you we had accepted the change of modern life and got addicted to it...

Nice arti....

Blogxter said... [Reply]

Thanks a lot Manu. Really appreciate your comment. Thanks again.

R.Hari Kumar said... [Reply]

You have captured the flavor of today's city very well .
everything just depends on the leaders.
During ancient times , there was so much disciple which today's people dont have .
In the current situation , self - disciple and awareness are the only things that can help the society , but i could not see that in the near future.

Blogxter said... [Reply]

Thanks for your comments Hari. Will look forward to more visits from you.

dguide said... [Reply]

Kaliyug has come in, people like to hide their real identity, and want to fake it too. If educated people do it, what about criminals they too are bound to follow it to the hilt...Lolz, good wake up call.

Blogxter said... [Reply]

Thank you for your comment dguide. Maybe the least we can do is let this feeling of realization grow.

the feeling lioness said... [Reply]

you seem to have interesting topics here

Blogxter said... [Reply]

Thank you Feeling Lioness (what a great name). I visited your profile. That looks very interesting as well

 

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