Peering into one's weaknesses is seldom a pleasant experience. It hurts the ego which
normally provides the driving force for making the effort. At the same time, the ego works
as an opaque barrier between a person and his knowledge of himself. It acts like a blind
curtain of vanity between an illusion and what is real. In the process, many individuals
go through life without knowing themselves. What is true of individuals is also true of
groups of people or even a whole nation. It is therefore just as well that we tried to
look at the weaknesses of Hindutva after enumerating its strengths.
Anyway, now let me cheer you up by telling you how one long historical
phase has yielded place to another era. This change offers Hindutva a golden opportunity.
The annals of fighting go back to the beginning of time. The concept of war, however, got
crystalised with the advent of the feudal era.
The reason was that land was the fulcrum around which the polity as
well as the economy revolved. On its surface grew crops and below the surface could be
found valuable minerals. In between and around the land there could be fishing. In other
words, land came to be recognised as the principal source of wealth.
Every ambitious ruler extended his territory to as far as was possible
without fighting. When it became necessary to fight, it was war.Territory added to the
wealth and power of the state. When the ruler could not amalgamate the newly conquered
territory into his own state, he made it into a colony. Just as wars were fought in order
to capture territory and acquire colonies, constant preparedness for war was required to
defend and retain them. Individual rulers and dynasties yielded place to other forms of
government but the primacy of territory and the importance of war continued for century
A characteristic of Hindutva was its disinclination and distaste for
fighting. The Indian civilisation has many inventions to its credit ranging from medicine
and surgery to mathematics and astronomy. But rarely does one hear of an Indian having
invented a novel weapon or having innovated a new mode of fighting. The last victory
against a true foreigner that I can remember in our annals was that of Chandragupta Maurya
against Nicator Seleucus, the Macedonian general, left behind byAlexander in the 4th
century B.C. Incidentally, I consider fighting with Pakistan, which was a part of India
until 1947, as merely a civil war.
As a follow through of the industrial revolution, technology grew and
with it the importance of manufacture as a source of wealth. In due course, manufacturing
overtook land in its ability to produce surpluses. The emphasis was on marketing which, in
turn, made manufacturing more profitable. With revolutionary improvements in transport and
communication, the world became smaller and smaller. International trade became simpler
and exports became a dominant economic occupation for many countries. In the post World
War II years, Japan has been exceptional in combining industrial technology with
international marketing. To the extent that it overtook all other countries except the USA
and became the world's second largest economy.
Fifty years ago, Japan, after the devastation of the war, was
distinctly a poorer economy than India. This miracle also symbolises a new phase in
history. Trade has replaced war as an instrument of bringing home the surpluses of other
economies. Previously an imperial country needed colonies to bring home surpluses of other
economies.Now Japan has done it by capturing markets rather than acquiring territory. The
German miracle was also substantially engineered by exports. As it happened, both Germany
and Japan lost territory after World War II. Germany was divided into two while Japan was
deprived of Korea, Manchuria and several islands. Yet, they brought home more and more of,
what we call in India, foreign exchange.
On the other hand, the great territorial giants, namely, the USA and
the Soviet Union progressively built up foreign debts. The economy of the latter, as is
well known, collapsed some years ago. Neither their natural resources nor their armies and
arsenals made any economic impact. Surely, it could be said that over the last five
decades goods have replaced guns and services have substituted soldiers as instruments of
imperialism. There have been several regional wars since1945 when the World War ended, but
none of these has resulted interritories changing hands for economic considerations. Yes,
China has occupied large tracts of our Aksai Chin. Israel has held the west bank of the
river Jordan and until recently held the Golan Heights of Syria. But all these occupations
are for strategic reasons and not for economic gain. Trade then has largely replaced war.
Indians have traded for centuries. Even when the British ruled and
exploited our country, we enjoyed a trade surplus. In other words, the value of our
exports exceeded the worth of our imports. The Indian businessman can read finance and the
movement of money like the back of his palm. He is also a clever entrepreneur. When
trading, he is in his elements and that is just what the world wants today.
The Indian was earlier at a disadvantage. Now, that trade has become a
dominant feature in the international arena, he should be at an advantage. That is what I
meant by saying that the new phase of history offers us a golden opportunity. All we need
today is to put our economic act together, achieve national synergy by a spirit of
nationalism which, in turn, Hindutva can give and we would be ready for a take off in the
Olympics of international trade.