The Indic Civilization
History, Nationhood and
Research and Notes by
genesis for this monograph lies in a series of discussions that the authors
have had with a number of individuals over the last 5 years. The Internet has been the catalyst that has
made possible this interaction with a wide variety of individuals over an
extended period of time. The credit for the development of these ideas belongs
to them while any shortcomings of the monograph are solely those of the author.
The themes that have been developed and the resulting thesis are neither new
nor original. We do feel however, that these themes have not been brought
together in this fashion and that this is what makes this book rather unique.
India regards herself as
a Civilizational power. Such a viewpoint is not new. Both Arnold Toynbee and
Samuel Huntington have remarked on such a Civilizational power of India.
It is a common thread running through the early writings of Nehru continuing on
to the viewpoint of Jaswant Singh, the erstwhile Minister of External Affairs. What does it mean to be a Civilizational
power? Simply, it means that for a large part of its history except for an
interregnum of 8 centuries of foreign domination, India
has exerted considerable influence on the cultures and civilizations of most of
Asia. To those who infer such an influence to
be mostly a historical curiosity with no relevance to the present, I would draw
attention to the equally widespread acceptance of Indian movies (this industry
is commonly referred to in the subcontinent as Bollywood) throughout the
world. In addition, a new phenomenon
which has arisen in the world is the ubiquitous presence of highly skilled and
even more highly educated Indian technologists, engineers, doctors, software
engineers and the increasing dependency of the West, in particular the US, on Indian
technological manpower. Truly few would have anticipated, even as late as 2
decades ago, the extent to which the Indian Diaspora has spread to the four
corners of the globe.
is clear that India
occupies a unique position in this planet both in a geographical sense as well
as in a Civilizational sense. It has been our observation that the uniqueness
of the Indian civilization and history is also accompanied by a unique set of
threats to her security. It is our contention which we plan to develop in this
book, that these threats to her development as a viable and powerful nation
state are very real and that indeed her very survival as a nation state and a
civilization is in question if not in jeopardy, if she chooses not to address
these threats in a coherent manner.
developing the thesis as set forth above, it is the purpose of this book to
review the history and civilization of India
with particular relevance to those issues which impinge on the security of the
civilization and the state, and to analyze the nature of the threats that the
modern federal republic
of India faces during the
plan of the book is as follows. In the introduction we will lay out in broad
perspective the nature and extent of the challenges facing the Indian republic.
In subsequent chapters we will develop specific themes that are mentioned only
in summary in the Introduction
the core of the opposition to India
amongst many quarters in the world is the notion that Indian nationhood is a
nebulous entity. Foremost in this cacophony of naysayers is of course Pakistan which
makes no secret of the fact that it considers the Indian nation an anomaly and
would dearly love to see it broken up, even if in the process it endangers its
own survival as a nation.
If that were the only opposition to Indian nationhood, life would be relatively
simple for those in India
who are entrusted with the responsibility for framing Indian foreign policy.
Alas, such is not the case. There is a whole gaggle of disparate entities keen
to see India
dismantled. Not least amongst these is the powerful anti Indian lobby in the US
State department and the US Senate who make no secret of their distaste for a
More pernicious is the left secular lobby in India
that barely hides its extraterritorial leanings towards Chinese and other
ideological moorings and would not mind sacrificing the notion of the nation
state called India
in order to achieve power in the remnants of the subcontinent.
are many reasons why this topic is of significant interest not only to
residents of the subcontinent and the Indian Diaspora but also to the very
influential and diverse set of India
watchers throughout the world. These are also the reasons why certain state and
non-state entities have gone to great lengths to devalue the durability and
robustness of the Indian
Republic and continue to
attempt to prevent it from assuming its logical place in the family nations.
among these reasons is that India
is an extraordinarily free and open society. It can be asserted with reasonable
certainty, that few countries can boast of such freedom of action and thought
as there is in India.
India has a vociferous, argumentative, and cacophonous free press, very much
like that in the US and arguably acts in a far more unfettered manner than the
established press in leading capitals such as Washington and London. Such
freedom of the press offers opportunities not only for the unhindered
expression of views, but also to plant seeds of misinformation among the millions
of Indian residents.
is a large country not only because the size of its population but also because
of its geographic location. The Indian sphere of influence could potentially
encompass a vast area between the straits of Hormuz and the straits of Malacca.
There is a certain amount of fear as well as envy that one day,
one of the most poverty-stricken nations in the world will transform herself
into a powerful economic nation. It is rare to find acknowledgement, in the
Western press or even in the English language press in India, that such a transformation is indeed
under way, barring the unavoidable reference to the growing economic clout of
the Indian Union..
is a new kid on the block. It is a natural human tendency to limit the
membership of an individual when he or she seeks membership in a particular
group and prevent the expansion of an existing club. As an example there is great reluctance on
the part of the UN Security Council Permanent five to expand the club. Any number
of reasons have been given until fairly recently to prevent the entry of India
into these exclusive clubs, but it is clear that the main reason for exclusion
of the nation with the worlds second largest population is primarily based on
considerations of exclusivity and ‘why should we upset the cozy apple cart’
where we and we alone (the UNSC P5) will decide what is good for the rest of
as far as the West is concerned, India does not fall easily into the
category of a friendly subservient nation. For starters, the majority of her
population do not subscribe to a Abrahamic faith
(Christianity, Islam and Judaism). The West understandably has always felt more
comfortable with nations that ‘look and feel’ like themselves
despite the fact that hitherto the major conflicts of the world have almost
always taken place between protagonists of the same religion and culture.
Despite the fact that the majority of terrorist acts against the US are
committed by persons almost none of whom are Hindu, there is an undercurrent of
hostility to the Hindu faith which is assiduously fanned by various church
groups and which is far in excess of the animosity felt against Muslims even
even when individuals adopt what is clearly a practice derived from Hindu
traditional texts such as Hatha Yoga, there is a special attempt made to
divorce such practices from their native origins. Increasingly, the reference
to its Indian origins is omitted when discussing a subject such as Yoga. In fact few in the west are aware that the
decimal place number system in universal use today was developed in India and that it was only in the 14th
century that Europe gradually adopted such a
system in place of the far more cumbersome Roman numeral system which was in
widespread use till then. It is also little known that the subject of Grammar
as it is taught today is the result of the work of the greatest Grammarian of
all time Panini, who is reputed to have completed this work several hundred
years before the birth of Christ.
but not least, it is a widespread misconception among India watchers to mistake India’s diversity as a weakness and seek to
exploit the resulting heterogeneity of India for purposes that are less
than noble. Ethnic diversity and cultural diversity are two different aspects
of any society. While the Indian
subcontinent has always been home to a ethnically
diverse population, due to geographical, climatic and other reasons, India possesses
and always has exhibited a cultural uniqueness that is unmistakable. Many have
been the philosophers, journalists, and essayists that have remarked on the
unique nature of the Indic civilization. Even as far back as the Greek invasion
of Alexander in the 4th century BCE, observers not native to the subcontinent,
have remarked on the propensity of the Indian to concern himself with the
larger ontological issues relating to the nature of humankind and the place
that the human species occupies in this universe. One must assume that such questions occupy
ones mind only if other needs in the hierarchy are met and that the Indian
savant of antiquity was able to focus on such issues only because he was
otherwise prosperous and had the time, inclination and the intellectual
curiosity to pursue his inquiries,
few remarks on housekeeping are in order. Generally verbatim quotes have been
referred to in Italics. The text is
copiously footnoted There is also an extensive bibliography at the end of the
book. The book has been extensively edited, but there remain large passages of
quotes from other authors who have been cited in the footnotes.
authors would like to acknowledge their debt to a large number of individuals.