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The intellectual scene in Post-independence India

A speech of S. Gurumurthy given to IIT Chennai

... Defeat and anger go together. Abuse and defeat go together. So, it is in this norm and
with this understanding of what an intellectual debate means, I would like to place
before you some of my thoughts today. Some of may find it provocative. I am
confident that the audience is competent enough to absorb this and think rather than
get into the mood which all of us have got used to in the last 30-40 years abuse.

Background: India before Independence

Let us see the pre-independence background, the intellectual content of India. See the
kind of personalities who led the Indian mind Swami Vivekananda, Sri Aurobindo,
Gandhiji, Tilak- giants in their own way. Most of them were involved in politics, active
politics, day-to-day politics, handling men, walking on the road, addressing meetings,
solving problems between their followers. And, meeting the challenges posed by the
enemy, the conspiracies hatched against them. They were handling everything, yet, they
were maintaining an intellectual supremacy, and an originality which history has
recorded.

Let us look at the academic side. Whether it is a P.C. Ray who wrote on Indian
Chemistry in 1905 or Sir C.V. Raman who wrote about mridangam, tabala, and violin,
and saw the physics in it (this was in 1913); whether it was R.C. Majumdar or
Radhakumud Mukherjee who saw greatness in the Indian civilization; trying to bring up
points, instances, historical evidence to mirror the greatness of India to the defeated
Indian race, they were all building the Indian mind brick by brick.

Sri Aurobindo spoke of Sanatana Dharma as the nationalism of India. He didn't rank it
as a philosophy. He brought it down to the level of emotional consciousness. Swami
Vivekananda spoke of spiritual nationalism; it was the same Swami who spoke of
Universal brotherhood. For them philosophy was not removed from the ground reality.
The nation was at the core of their philosophy. Swami Vivekananda was called the
"patriot monk".

Mahatma Gandhi spoke of Rama Rajya. Bankim Chandra wrote Bande Maataram. The
song, the slogans in it, the mantra in it made hundreds of people kiss the gallows
smilingly and many others went to jail. It transformed the life of the people. This was
the intellectual scene, this was the content. This is what powered the intellectual as well
as the mass movement in India. This was the core of India, the soul of the Indian
freedom movement.

The symptoms: India immediately after Independence


Imagine what happened in 1947 and after, India was able to intellectually lead not only
Indians but also the whole world because of the intellectual assertion that the freedom
movement brought about. Let us look at post Independence India. The persons who
led post-Independence India were also trained in the same freedom movement. They
went to jail, but they were not rooted in the intellectual content of the Freedom
movement!

The first Prime Minister of India Jawaharlal Nehru was in jail for 7 years. He was a great
intellectual, purely in the sense of his capacity to reason, understand, read, and expound
a thought. He told Galbrieth once, "I would be regarded as the last English Prime
Minister of India." See the intellectual capability of the man, the enormously competent
mind.

But intellectualism doesn't exist in a vacuum. It has to be rooted in something concrete.


Swami Vivekananda's universal brotherhood was rooted in India's greatness as a
civilization. The concept of "Vasudaiva Kutumbakam" cannot exist without a living
form, a population which believes in it and believes in itself. You need to have a society
which believes in it.

That is why India could invite the Jews who were butchered, raped, all over the world.
In 107 out of 108 countries, this race was butchered. At least they had the courtesy and
the gratitude to publish a book. The Israeli government published a book that out of
108 countries that we sought refuge, the only civilization, the only country, the only
people, the only ideology that gave us refuge was the Indian civilization. They published
a book, which most Indians are unaware of.

And we invited the Muslims. The refugee Muslims first landed in Kutch. And they are
called the Kutchy Memons even today but not the Memons who bomb Mumbai. But
the Memons who lived with us.

In the year 1917, many of you might be aware, a case went to the Prey Council,
equivalent to the Supreme Court now. The Kutchy Memons went and told the Prey
Council that we are Muslims for namesake, but we follow only the Hindu law. Please
don't impose the Shariat on us. The Prey Council ruled that they are Muslims but the
only sacred book they have is called "Dasaavathaara", it is not Koran. In fact they knew
no language other than the Kutchy language.

And in the "Dasaavathaara", nine avatharas were common between Hindus and Kutchy
Memons. We call the tenth avathaara "Kalki" and they call him "Ali". The Prey Council
ruled that the Shariyat law is not applicable to them. The All India Muslim League took
up the case, went to the British and told them that this finding is dangerous to Islam
and requested them to pass a law which will overrule this judgment. The British
government passed a law in 1923 which was called the "The Kutchy Memons Act"
declaring, "If a Kutchy Memon wants to follow the Shariat, allow him to do so".

It doesn't mean a Muslim must follow the Shariat. Between 1923-1937, before the All
India Shariat Act was passed not a single Kutchy Memon filed an affidavit with the plea
that he wants to follow the Shariaat. That was the integration prevalent in India.

In 1937, when the All India Shariat Act was passed, the preamble to the act mentioned
that this was being passed by a demand made by the AIML leader Mohammed Ali
Jinnah. Today, the Shariat has become a part of Muslim consciousness.

The purpose behind making you aware of this background is that 99% of the people
who speak about the constitutional rights of the minorities or the distinctiveness of
Muslim life are unaware of the facts. Till the year 1980, in Cooch Behar district, the
Shariat law was not applicable. In 32 instances between 1923 and 1947 by legislation,
the Shariyat law was not applicable to the Muslims. This is the extent of the intellectual
gap in India.

Secularism: A Reversal and perversion of the Indian mind.

And now, coming to what is the position today. Everything that drove the freedom
movement - everything that constituted the soul of the freedom movement, whether it
is the Ram rajya of Gandhiji or Sanaatana Dharma of Sri Aurobindo or the spiritual
patriotism of Vivekananda or the soul stirring Vande Maataram song, came to be
regarded not only as unsecular but as sectarian, communal and even as something
harmful to the country.

Thus, there was a reversal, a perversion of the Indian mind. How did it occur? Today,
the intellectualism of India means to denigrate India. There are mobile citizens and
there are non- citizens deriding India. Go to the Indian Airlines counter you will find
people deriding India. Go to a post office they will deride India. Go to a railway station,
they will deride India. It is the English educated Indian's privilege to deride India.

When I was talking to postal employees in the GPO, Chennai (a majority of them were
women). I told them the basic facts about the post office. I said it is one of the most
efficient postal systems in the world, one of the cheapest in the world, one of the most
delivery perfect postal systems in the world. For one rupee, you are able to transport
information from one end of the country to the other.

And you have a postman, no where in the world this happens the postman goes to the
illiterate mother and reads out the letter, he is asked to sit there and shares a cup of
coffee and comes away. Money orders are delivered to the last rupee. It is an amazing
system, one of the largest postal systems linking one of the most populous nations, one
of the most complicated nations with so many languages.

Somebody writes the address in Tamil and it gets delivered in Patna! It gets delivered to
Jawaan at warfront! When I completed my speech many of the women were wiping
their tears. I asked why are you crying I have only praised you. They said, "Sir, this is the
first time we've been praised, otherwise we've only been abused!"

You know how many people use the railways in India? A million people and that is
equivalent to the population of Australia! And we have only abuses for them!

Have we any idea of what this country is? India has been compared with Singapore,
Hong Kong, Korea, Japan and Taiwan. You can walk across many of these countries in
one night (laughs)! The best politicians, intellectuals, sociologists in India have
compared us with them because, we have never understood what we are and unless you
do that, you can never relate us with others.

Demonising India: Projecting a negative image.

This enormous intellectual failure, to the extent of being intellectually bankrupt, did not
occur overnight, it was no accident. There is a history behind this enormous erosion.
And I told you about these mobile citizens, what they have done to us. Every country
has problems. There is no country without any problem. Are you aware of what is one
of the most pressing problems in America today? It is incurable according to the
American sociologists; even American economists have begun to agree with them.
American politicians are shaken, one third of the pregnant women are school going
children. And mothers mix the anti-pregnancy pill in the food without daughter's
knowledge everyday.

But this is not the image of America. The image of America is a technologically
advanced country etc. etc. Ours is the only country where the mobile citizens of India
have transformed the problems of India into the image of India -its identity is inherently
related with its problems.

Go to any country and the same negative stereotype is echoed that India is suffering
from poverty and malnutrition. India has no drinking water. Indian women are burnt. If
they are married, they are burnt, if they are widows, they are burnt. See the image that
has been built about this country. Who did this? The English educated Indian.

And one Kaluraam Meena (have you ever heard of him? Asks the audience to raise their
hands if they have), only a small fraction of this large audience has heard of him. When
Clinton came to India, he went to a village called Nayla where the villagers interacted
with him. And one of the panchayat board members asked him, "Sir, I am told that in
the West, all of you believe that this country is a rotten country, a backward country, a
poor, hungry country. Do you also think like that?"

Clinton was shaken, because he might have thought that this person might be
approaching him for some favour. I will relate my experience when I went to the Carter
Centre in 1993. They were talking about dispute resolution and all that. I went there to
meet somebody, if not Carter, somebody else at least. His Deputy, a lady, was very
hesitant to receive me. "Mr. Gurumurthy", she said, "Mr. Carter is not around, anyway,
I can spare seven-eight minutes for you." I said three or four minutes of your time
would do. Even before I could start, she said, "Mr.Gurumurthy, we don't have funds,
we will not be able to help" (laughter from the audience). I replied, "Let us assume you
have a hundred billion dollars, how much will you give me? One billion? One million?"
She kept quiet, I said: "I don't need your money. I came here to discuss whether
community living is an answer to disputes. I have come to discuss this because you have
suggested electoral means to resolve problems in communities which have no damn
idea of what an election is; whether community living is an answer because you don't
what that means. She sat and discussed this with me for two hours. This is the image we
have projected that anybody, who comes from India, comes to beg. Ordinary Indians
did not create this impression; educated Indians created it. This is the work of civil
servants, NGOs. Christian missionaries during the freedom movement created this.
Indians are filthy, rotten, dirty and unhealthy, advertising abroad these are the people
who need to be saved. We have to Christianise them, enlighten them, and give us
money. I can understand that because it is their business. But what did we do after
1947?

We repeated the same mistakes. We projected India as a country of unending problems.


As I said, every country has problems. Only in India, problems become identities. How
many dowry deaths take place in India in a year? Yet, India is projected as a country
burning its own daughter-in-laws. And we also talk about it. Every damn newspaper will
be writing about it. We believe in self-deprecation. And this goes on in the guise of
intellectualism in India. And one woman, she attempted to take a film of the widows. I
wrote an article, asking her to go to Lijjat Paapad. A widow brought me up. Millions of
widows have worked to bring up their children. It is a nation, which believes in Tapasya.
You may not believe in it but you are an exception. Compare Deepa Mehta"s attitude
with Sarada Maa's who was the wife, who became a widow after Sri Ramakrishna
Paramahamsa's passing away. She went to the very same place where Deepa Mehta went
and saw the widows. Sarada Maa said, "These widows are so pure, they are an
illustration and an example to me." Deepa Mehta saw them as prostitutes. The widows
have already been hurt once. Why are you sprinkling salt on their wounds?

I am very sorry to speak about this, but I have to, this audience is enlightened enough to
understand me. Indian women are sexually unsatisfied and so they are becoming
lesbians? This is one bloody story against us, about us. This is the image of Indian men
and women, and this film is in English. Catherine Mayo wrote a book and Mahatma
Gandhi said about it, "I have no time to read this filth. But I am under a compulsion,
under pressure because this has been published abroad. The image of India has been
rubbished and I have to counter it." With this introduction, he wrote about the book
and said that this woman is a gutter inspector (laughs).

The intellectualism in India is gutter inspection- people are of this kind etc. Understand
the level of erosion.

Indian Politics: Weaknesses and Pitfalls

Let us look at the post independence scenario from the macro level. We installed a
system of governance and it postulated all the important goals for the Indian society and
polity, which was gulped by the Indian academia, by the Indian intellectuals. We will
have a classless society through socialism. We will have a casteless society through
equality. We will have a faithless society through secularism. We will have a modern
society devoid of tradition.

Instead of politics restructuring caste, caste has restructured politics today. Political
parties are talking only in terms of castes. Has any Indian intellectual come to terms
with caste? You must understand caste if you want to handle the Indian society. You
cannot say that I want to have a very different kind of society. You have to handle the
Indian sentiment, the Indian tradition and Indian beliefs. You can't clone a society of
your choice in India. Social engineering has failed everywhere; the masters of social
engineering have given up the Communists - whether it is sociologists or economists
you have to accept a society as it is. You can only increase the momentum of evolution
in the society; you can't forcibly bring about a revolution today. But, Indian leaders and
intellectuals, till today, keep abusing caste. They don't know how to handle the caste.

Let me narrate to you how a community in Karaikudi handled this issue. The Chettiyar
community assembled top businessmen, professionals from all over the world for 3
days to discuss their culinary act, how to construct houses, what languages they use,
what old adages and stories their grand parents used to tell, what clothes they used to
wear; not one word of politics, mind you. This was not even published in the
newspapers. Intellectuals were not even aware of it. So, caste is a very important
instrument in India, you may not like it. Unfortunately, every intellectual leads a caste
life inside, but outside he is casteless! He is cloning an approach outside. There is no
intellectual honesty at all.

And what happened in the case of secularism? In India, any one who is not a Hindu is
per se secular. In the year 1947, just 10 years had passed after the Muslim League
demanded and got the country partitioned, the leader who voted for the resolution for
the partition of India was Quazi Millath Ismail, (who was leading the same Muslim
League on the Indian side), the Congress certified that the Muslim League in Kerala is
secular and hence it can associate with them. The Muslim League outside Kerala is
communal with the same president! Three hundred and fifty crores are spent today for
the Haj pilgrims out of the funds of secular India every year. No one can raise an
objection. At least I can understand why politicians don't want to do that because they
want the Muslim votes. But what about the intelligentsia. What about newspaper editors
and journalists? And academicians? None of them speak out. The reason is that we have
produced a state dependent intellectualism in India. We don't produce Nakkeerans
anymore, our intellectualism is a derivative of the State and the State is a derivative of
the polity. And in turn the polity is a derivative of the mind of Macaulay and Marx.

The Indian education system: A Legacy of Macaulay.

This Macaulayian system of education is a poison injected into our system. At least I
had the opportunity of schooling in Tamil and hence could withstand the corruption
that this English education brings with it. This corruption begins the moment the child
steps out of the house. He is told to converse in English at home. This did not happen
even in pre-Independence India, even when Macaulay wrote that notorious note sitting
in Ooty. How many of you know Macaulay's formulation? Just those two or three
sentences at least which form the crux - "We require an education system in India which
will produce a class of interpreters, who will be Indian in colour and Englishmen in
taste, opinions and morals."

This is the education system, which we have been continuing with, which was earlier
conceived to produce clerks for the British Empire. If you have to differ from an
English educated person you have to differ only through the English language. If you
have to abuse somebody, even that has to be done in English! If you abuse the
Anglicised Indian, he will not find fault with the blame but with the grammar in your
language! This is the extent to which a foreign language has possessed us. But, we must
master English, that is needed, but why do we have to become slaves of the English
language? We must use that language as a tool, but why do we consider it as a status
symbol? This is the influence of Macaulay.

If you want to understand the Macaulay/Marxist mix in India, you have to go a little
back to see how Marxism grew out of the Christian civilisation. I recommend that you
read the Nov 27, 1999 edition of the Newsweek, which describes how the Christian idea
of the end of time called the "apocalypse", influenced the entire history, art, music,
prognosis, sociology, economics, and the entire attitude of the Christian civilisation
towards the non-Christian civilisations.

A Christian scholar who describes how Communism grew out of Christianity has
written it. In 1624, Anna Baptists, a group of Christians who believed in the basic tenets
of Christianity seized power in a particular place, banned private property and use of
any book other than the Bible. When Marxism came up later through the exposition of
Das Capital, the Marxists began expounding their doctrine as an extension of
Christianity.

The thesis, antithesis and synthesis of making Christianity acceptable to the age of
enlightenment was the Hegelian way demanded rationalisation of Christianity in the
days of the Protestant movement. Hegel began with a disagreement, then started
interacting with Christianity and ultimately ended up accepting Christianity.

You can see the same phenomenon with Marxist postulates- "capitalism is my enemy,
we have to deal with capitalism" and finally "we have to find a synthesis with
capitalism".

Marx on India

In fact in the year 1857, Marx wrote about India, " India was a prosperous civilisation. It
had a very high standard of living. Their productivity was higher. India was an economic
giant." It was so. If you look at the statistics in 1820, India's share of world production
was 19%, and England's share was 9%, please note that Britain was deep into the
industrial revolution at that time. 18% of the world trade was in Indian hands at that
time whereas 8% was the figure for Britain and 1% for US. When 80% of the American
population was engaged in agriculture, India had 60% of the population engaged in
non-agricultural occupations. This is supposed to be an index of development. All these
statistics can be found in Paul S. Kennedy's "Rise and Fall of Great Powers".

So, Marx says, "This was a great civilisation which had produced prosperous
communities." A prosperity which went deep into the villages. In the early stages, when
the East India Company came to Murshidabad, an unknown name in Bengal today the
Britishers were awe struck with its prosperity and wrote that it was more prosperous
than London. This is no more disputed anyway, even by Indian intellectuals. Marx
acknowledges the fact that this was a prosperous country and also had equality but
unfortunately, he says for 2000 years the society did not change nor did it allow any
revolutionary forces to enter! In his worldview human beings cannot progress without a
revolution!

In the two articles on British rule in India and the East India Company- history and
results written by Marx, quoted in the New York daily "Karl Marx does grant though
somewhat in a grudging manner that "materially, India was fairly industrious and
prosperous even before the onset of the British rule. He said that India was an
exporting country till 1830 and started importing because it had opened its trade to the
British." Many of you may not be aware that the kings in India had no right to over the
lands, which came under the jurisdiction of panchayats. Whether it was Emperor
Ashoka or Bhagavan Sri Ramachandra, the rule was the same. It was changed only
during the British rule under the Ryotwari system. Even the Mughals could not change
it. It was also found that family communities were based on domestic industry, with the
peculiar combination of hand-spinning, hand- weaving, agriculture etc. which gave them
a supporting power.

The misery inflicted by the British on Hindusthan is of an entirely different kind and
infinitely more intense than what it had to suffer before civil wars, invasions,
revolutions, conquests, famines all these did not go deeper than the surface. But,
England broke the entire framework of Hindusthan, the symptoms of reconstitution are
yet to emerge clearly. This loss of the Old World without the emergence of a new order
imparts a particular melancholy to the present misery of Hindus and Hindusthan. Marx
goes on to say that the British interference destroyed the union between agriculture and
the manufacturing industry. Suddenly he remarks that the English interference dissolved
this semi barbarian, semi-civilised community.

He concedes that they were prosperous, that they organised their affairs well, they have
a measure of independence, they have a democracy at the lowest level, all this has been
conceded. Then, how does he classify us as "semi-barbarian and semi-civilised
communities"? He notes that India's social condition remained unaltered since remote
antiquity. This is important, for him revolution is the core, the soul and centre of the
society. This society never had a revolution; hence it cannot be modern! There is an
underlying assumption, which considers revolution as a pre- requisite for being modern.

Hence, he feels that the destruction wrought by the British is the inevitable revolution
needed for the development of the Indian society. England had vested interests, violent
interests in bringing about this "revolution". But, the question in focus is whether
mankind can fulfill its destiny without a fundamental revolution in the social state?
Whatever might have been the crimes of England, she was the unconscious tool of
history in bringing about a revolution, whatever bitterness the spectacle of crumbling of
an ancient world may evoke, from the point of history, we have to exclaim - should this
torture torment us?

Since it brings us great pleasure, were not the rule of Taimur, souls delivered without
measure? It is a creative destruction in the cause of revolution according to him. If you
see Indian Communism which was expounded by a man called Rajane Palme Dutt. Has
anyone heard of his name? (Two persons from the audience raised their hands). Two.
He was born of a white woman and an Indian father in England. He was in charge of
Indian Communism for 25 years. He never came to India though. In his book, "India
Today", he laid down the framework, the policy for Indian Communists, what must be
done, what is the kind of revolution needed in India, the development model etc.

In those days, even good photographs of India were not available, yet this man spoke
about India sitting in London. He came to India for the first time in 1946, ten years
after he wrote this book and realised that he had to revise it. He stayed for 30 days! A
visitor to India was the father of Indian Communism! And from that day till date, the
Indian Communist has never been with India. Not only that, they took over the Indian
mind in the post- independence period. It is these Marxist/Macaulayist intellectuals who
will certify whether somebody is modern or traditional, backward or secular or
communal, progressive or regressive. They were running an Open Air University issuing
certificates every day through the press. They have branded me as a communal man.

Labels: Tools for stultifying important debates

Labels substituted debate in India. Simply a label - communal, that is enough. Four or
five editorials will appear preaching that Gurumurthy is communal and the matter must
end there. No one would even discuss what communalism is! Religious fundamentalism,
RSS/Bajrang Dal fundamentalism! Anyone, who exposes the Hindu cause in India is a
fundamentalist! We have seen this term being used so casually and superfluously and
incessantly by politicians and newspapers. Has anyone bothered to understand the
meaning of religious fundamentalism going beyond these slogans?

Secularism is an intra-Christian phenomenon. It has no application outside Christianity


at all. Secularism resolved the fight between two powerful persons, the King and the
Archbishop who were loyal to the same faith, to the same prophet, to the same book
and to the same Church. It is not a multi-religious virtue.

A multi-religious idea, a multi-religious living, a multi-religious culture, a multi-religious


fabric or a multi-religious structure was unknown outside India. There was usually only
one faith and no place for any other, not even for a variation of the same faith.

Fifty six thousand Bahais were butchered in one hour in Tehran! They believed in the
same Koran, in the same Muhammad, the only difference was that they said that
Muhammad might come in another form again. That was their only fault and they were
all butchered.

But we have no such problem. We can play with God, we can abuse God, and we can
beat God!

If I say that monotheistic religions have had a violent history, and the reply will be "you
are communal." But this is exactly the same conclusion that a study in Chicago revealed,
probably, the only study on fundamentalism conducted by anybody so far. This
fundamentalism project brought out five volumes each volume about eight hundred to
nine hundred pages. The conclusion they have reached is that, "Fundamentalism is a
virtue of Abrahamic religions. It is not applicable to eastern faiths at all.

What about the Indian intellectuals? Day in and day out, they keep abusing us as
fundamentalists, communalists, that we are anti-secular and it is being gulped down by
everyone including those from the IITs and IIMs, lawyers and police officials,
journalists and politicians. Look at this intellectual bankruptcy.

An inner revolution: The much needed change

We need a mental revolution, an inner revolution; we need to get rooted in our own
soul. There is a missing element in India today and it is this. That element has to be
restored otherwise Indian intellectualism will only be a carbon copy of Western
intellectualism. We are borrowing not only their language and idiom but also we trying
to copy the very soul of the West.

So, all that we need to do is (it is impossible to share the entire depth of the subject in
one evening's lecture programme. I have only tried out point out in an incoherent way,
how a completely fresh mindset has to be evolved. And unless it evolves, the Indian
mind, which leads India, will be in a perpetual state of confusion ordinary people are
perfectly all right.

Consider for example how thirty years before there was a question whether Tamil Nadu
will be a part of India or not. The Dravidian parties have taken over the mind of Tamil
Nadu. It had virtually ceased to be a part of India. And their attack was aimed at
Hinduism. The moment you attack Hinduism you attack India. This is a fact. Neither
politicians nor intellectuals nor academicians realised this. But, the ordinary people did.
Just three religious movements- the Ayyappa movement, the Kavadi movement and the
Melmaruvatthur Adi Para Sakti movement- have finished the Dravidian ideology to a
very great extent. It is only the outer shell of Dravidianism that remains today. Tamil
Nadu has been brought back successfully by Ayyappa, Muruga and Para Sakti, not by
the Congress or the BJP or any other political party.

How many people have intellectually assessed the depth and the reach, the deep
influence of religion over the people? A paradigm shift in a study of India would be an
intellectual approach to this subject. Or consider for example its influence on
economics. Many of you by now would have studied economics in some detail. Take a
look at the society in India and compare the figures for public expenditure for private
purposes, which is called the social security system in the West. 30% of the GDP in
America is spent for social security, 48% in England, 49% in France, 56% in Germany
and 67% in Sweden. This private expenditure is nothing but what you and I do by
taking care of parents, our wives and children, brothers and sisters and grandparents,
widowed sisters and distant relatives. This expenditure is met by the society in India.

And there is no law in India that people should do this. We consider it as our dharma. A
person went to a court and demanded a divorce from his father and mother. The
American court granted it saying that the only relationship that exists between two
persons of America is their citizenship. The law in America recognises no other
relationship ... In the year 1978, an interesting incident occurred in Manhattan. There
was a power failure for six hours. Manhattan is in the heart of New York where you
find the UN building, the World Trade Centre and the head quarters of many multi-
national companies. One third of the world's health is concentrated in Manhattan.
Within six hours, hundreds of people were killed, robbed and assaulted. We don't need
electricity to behave in a civilised manner. How many intellectuals in India have ever
articulated from such a sympathetic approach? We have only tarnished the image of this
country. We must be ashamed of this.

Conclusion

I shall conclude my speech with this example. When Sri Aurobindo came to
Pondicherry in search of a new light. He used to get five rupees from a friend and four
persons used to live on this. A cup of tea was one of the luxuries they used to have
everyday in the morning, on the Pondicherry beach.

Sri Aurobindo used to always look at a mystic called Kullachamy (Subramanya Bharati
has written a poem about him). He used to behave like a madman, wandering here and
there, throwing stones ... One, day he came near Sri Aurobindo, lifted his cup of tea and
emptied it in front of him. Then he showed the empty cup to him, placed it on the table
and went away. Sri Aurobindo's friends were angry and wanted to chase him. Sri
Aurobindo stopped them and said, "This is the kind of instruction I had been expecting
from him. He wants me to empty my mind and start thinking afresh."

That is my appeal to you.