Excerpts from Saffron Book by Prafull Goradia
Awake and Unite!
After centuries, a unique opportunity has come our way. The current can be the Indian century provided we Indians amalgamate as metals in an alchemy. Combined to create a national synergy so that the efforts of four Indians lead to the result of five or six. That is the only way we can generate surpluses in order to leapfrog across lost centuries.
For the greater part of history, brawn has dominated brain, muscle has overruled mind. World War II was an epic example of the resulting brutality. Now, at last, a time has come when the brain is beginning to ride the body. The greed of nations no longer covets the territory of other countries. Colonialism ended decades ago as land ceased to be the principal source of wealth. In the process, trade has replaced war as the instrument for centuries to enrich themselves. The Indian generally, and the Hindu in particular has preferred trade to war.
At the dawn of this millennium, there are high hopes and many expectations. With the advent of the computer revolution, we are set to play a big role in information technology. Five million or more Indians are likely to get rich as a result. That is a matter not only of hope but also honour. But India is a nation of a hundred crore. What about the rest of our people? Just as a chain is as weak as its weakest link, a society is as woeful as its poorest section. Unless we enable all our people to have a chance to be well off, India will not be united enough to seize the opportunity.
Apart from the difference between the poor and the rich, there are several obstacles in the path of Indian unity. The Muslim contempt and the Hindu hatred must be overcome.
This is the deepest and the wildest schism in our society. Without removing or bridging it, India cannot be truly one nation. I have therefore devoted a great deal of space to this syndrome. Many leaders ranging from Emperor Akbar to Bhakta Kabir to Mahatma Gandhi have all failed to bridge the schism except temporarily or in a few sectors. Their approach was to placate whereas mine is to be open and frank. Unless everyone is enabled to express oneself freely, no true dialogue, or understanding can come about. After all, there can be no true friendship without frankness. How can there be a true friendship unless the two speak up the truth about each other?
Women must get their equal place in society. Casteism must go. There should be no need for anyone to feel like a dalit or a neglected tribal. This book shows how these gulfs can be bridged. Unless every region of the country makes equable progress, national unity will be difficult to sustain. The backward region would have a grievance while the prosperous area would consider the poor an economic drag. The vast difference in the employment prospects of those educated in English and the rest has to be removed, if ours is to be a united society.
A bane of our country are the anti-Hindu Hindus who enjoy all the legitimacy of their Hindu pedigree including names such as Sitaram, Harkishan and yet spend all their lives trying to divide our society by inciting the poor without reducing their poverty, instigating the Muslim without redressing his grievance. In fact, they form a perennial fifth column. Are they not a symptom of a masochistic trait? Or, are they a cancer that destroys the pride and self-confidence of Indians as a nation? Or else how can India tolerate a street in the middle of New Delhi that commemorates Aurangzeb?