Narendra Modi has led the BJP to an incredible victory leaving no doubt about the choice of the people. It is crucial that we address the next question – the single most important task before the new government – in a serious manner and not in the spirit of rhetorical debate or mudslinging of the election campaign.
People have been searching for an alternative to the current political leadership, frustrated and dissatisfied by the corruption and its unabashed pursuit of narrow self-interest. Narendra Modi appeared as a ray of hope and, despite detractors even within his own party, managed to emerge as the prime ministerial candidate. His appeal to the people across lines of caste, religion, language etc and beyond – to India and her development and progress has resonated with the voting public. A public who is now aware and awake and no longer swayed by the empty promises of secularism masking the appeasement of organized minorities in a calculated attempt to garner votes.
How far Narendra Modi as the focus of the hopes of the people is able to fulfill these hopes remains to be seen. The task before him is extremely complex and challenging as the expectations seem to be diverse and often conflicting. But common to all or to begin with better governance is needed. An efficient administration based on the rule of law and plugging the holes made by corruption nurtured by politicians masquerading as secular leaders of the nation. The various arms of government – particularly the government administration, judiciary and financial system – mired in corruption and negligence have to be freed to fulfill their proper roles. It may need a certain degree of authoritarianism – for the day-to-day running of government cannot be done by popular vote which is simply a crude machinery evolved by nature to ensure at least the semblance of basic democratic structure. A fundamental democratic spirit and a basic loyalty to Truth which will result in a freedom from all ill-will in thought and action is all that can, at best, be demanded from a political leader who should otherwise be left free to move towards the desired ends using whatever methods are appropriate and needed to accomplish the task at hand. It is immaterial whether they appear democratic, undemocratic or even outright authoritarian to the gaze of some. (A democratic free-for-all may not always be the best way to achieve our goals and a skillful manager – while adhering to the strictest moral imperatives – uses whatever methods are appropriate for the task in hand without binding himself to any one system.) Narendra Modi has the support of the people, they have voted for him and for his plans for India. For the first time in a long time a leader at the helm of the country has been given an overwhelming and unequivocal mandate. Drawing upon this support he should boldly but judiciously pull India out of the vicious grip of inefficient government.
An efficient government can provide a framework in which a modicum of people’s wants and needs can be satisfied without extraordinary efforts. And at present that seems to be the sum of most people’s expectations. But we cannot stop at this and have to look behind the surface to see where this push, this expectation, this aspiration is coming from. There is a psychological need in a people which seeks expression and satisfaction and this is what drives development at a personal level or at the level of the community, society, nation. Once this synergy gets going in a nation it can produce great results – the phenomenal economic growth of Japan after the Second World War is an obvious example. At this critical moment in her history, the destiny of India is calling and these limited aspirations of the people are only the foam on the sea of the true potential. The single most important task before the new government will be to channelise this energy to higher and higher expressions to create a society where spiritual enrichment is the basis of all development – whether material or moral or intellectual. India has always lived for the Spirit and that has been the guiding principle behind not only her religion but all her cultural, social, political, economic structures and the source of her legendary material wealth.
The coming of the British and their rule over India seemed to create a hiatus in this journey towards a greater and greater manifestation of consciousness in the life and society of the India people. But now the time has come for India to get back on track with the added impetus of forms and institutions reverberating with a greater power of the spirit. A greater sense of nationalism, a certain degree of material prosperity, are the first steps on the road to a truly liberated India ready to take her place as the guru of the world. A place she will take only “when she will become integrally the messenger of the Divine Life.”1 For India is one country that never has or can ever live for herself alone. It is for humanity and for the progressive manifestation of the Spirit in terrestrial nature – the sole purpose of Sanatana Dharma – that India has always lived. “When therefore it is said that India shall rise, it is the Sanatana Dharma that shall rise. When it is said that India shall be great, it is the Sanatana Dharma that shall be great. When it is said that India shall expand and extend herself, it is the Sanatana Dharma that shall expand and extend itself over the world. It is for the dharma and by the dharma that India exists.”2 For the Sanatana Dharma is not confined – even when at times it apparently seems to go along with them – to any specific religion or way of looking at or understanding things, for such things can scarcely be sanatana (eternal). It is rather the deep , wide and irresistible law of man’s ascension towards the One who behind his infinity and eternity is the Absolute for whom man from earliest times has always knowingly or unknowingly, sought for in the symbols of God, Freedom, Light and Immortality. The pursuit of this has been the essence of the spirit of Indian culture. Speaking about Indian religious culture Sri Aurobindo said, “It gave itself no name, because it set itself no sectarian limits; it claimed no universal adhesion, asserted no sole infallible dogma, set up no single narrow path or gate of salvation; it was less a creed or cult than a continuously enlarging tradition of the Godward endeavour of the human spirit. An immense many-sided many staged provision for a spiritual self-building and self-finding, it had some right to speak of itself by the only name it knew, the eternal religion, sanatana dharma. It is only if we have a just and right appreciation of this sense and spirit of Indian religion that we can come to an understanding of the true sense and spirit of Indian culture.”3
1. Collected Works of The Mother 13: 372
2. Complete Works of Sri Aurobindo 08: 10
3. Complete Works of Sri Aurobindo 20: 179