BIAR will rejuvenate Bharatheeya Self Pride -P.Parameswaran

published on May 12, 2007

Presidential Address by P.P. Parameswaran, Director, Bharatheeya Vichara Kendram on the Occasion of the Inauguration of the Bharatheeya Insitute for Advanced study and Research (BIAR) on 28.04.2007 at Samskrithi Bhavan, Thiruvananthapuram.

By Pradeep Krishnan

We take it as a divine dispensation that the recognition of Bharatheeya Vichara Kendram as an autonomous and approved research institute by the MDS University synchronizes with the Rajatha Jayanthi celebration of the Kendram.

I believe that there is more to this coincidence than meet the eye. Maharshi Dayanad Saraswathy hailing from the north and Sri. Narayan Guru from the far south are both great revivers of the Bharatheeya Culture and leaders of modern Indian Renaissance. Both are epoch – makers in their own rights. Both represent two streams of the same Bharatheeya culture. Viewed from this context, the association of the MDS University and the BIAR is like the confluence of two rivers, a sacred ‘Sangamam’. They are bound to cross-fertilize and produce magnificent results.

 The past 25 years of continuous and vigorous activities of the Bharatheeya Vichara Kendram has created an intellectual ferment in Kerala. With the status of a University approved research Institute, the Kendra will be able to move forward on the path of significant research activities on the solid foundation of Intellectual dynamism already laid down. The seven subjects which we are entitled to carry on research may appear to the superficial observer quite ordinary, totally on a par with what any research centre routinely carry on. But BIAR has a different perception. Though at present its activities will be confined to the state of Kerala, the canvas on which it aspires to work is far wider.

While the focus is on Kerala the background and the perspective, the vision and the objective, will be fully Bharatheeya.

Much needs to be done in Kerala to the state to develop to its full potential. There is no doubt that the human and natural resources, the cultural and spiritual legacy of the state is enviable; still Kerala today is a frustrated State. As it celebrates its 50th year of formation there is no glow of pride, no sense of achievement, no real optimism either among the people or among the political formations or outfits. Bharatheeya Vichara Kendram believes that the self-pride of Kerala needs to be awakened and the self-confidence regenerated. Instead of the new generation being trained and educated only to seek a career or find a livery hood outside Kerala, we should be able to retain our talented youth force to galvanize the economic and cultural resources of the state and produce a model of development. Kerala is the only south Indian state, which has neglected its Mother Tongue. Tamilnadu Government has got for Tamil, the status of classical language, along with all the privileges that go with that status. Andra and Karnataka legislatures have passed such resolutions. Kerala has done nothing of this kind.

At this point I may be permitted to disagree a little. Research activities currently being carried out are mostly, if not totally, job oriented. Where some serious research works are done they are mostly pale imitations of the western methodology with very little relevance to the actual conditions prevailing in the state. There is very little of innovation or creativity, to address the problems that really confront us.

I am not accusing anyone particularly. The post-independent education scenario largely reflected the borrowed system of the west. There is very little of true Indian approach. This needs some explanation. By Indian approach I mean not merely Indian intellectuals taking up Indian issues and trying to find solutions. Most of the solutions are again borrowed from the West. Not only in science and technology but also even in humanities. The methodology, the perspective and the guide lines are borrowed from the west, as if research is the sole preserve of western Universities. When I say Indian approach, I mean the approach arising out of our national collective consciousness, our philosophical perspective and world-view, our spiritual tradition and our rich historical wisdom. That alone will be truly Indian. With our very humbly and limited knowledge resources the BIAR would like to pursue the path of Indian genius and creativity in all its intellectual endeavors.

Today’s Indian intellectual, unfortunately, has only one window to look through to see the world. What is more calamitous is the he looks at himself and tries to comprehend himself also through that window provided by the west and that too through the English window, not even the French or the German or any other. He sees Indian problems and seeks their solutions with the help of the light that emanates from abroad depriving him of an original vision. Consequently, since Independence, our identity, our ‘svatwa’ has become estranged and alienated from us. We are no longer our original selves, no longer free owners or donors and no longer producers of truly Indian goods, service, concepts or even thoughts. Hence we are easily vulnerable. Our growth, in whatever filed or direction, is neither sustainable nor wholesome. Many are left behind; very few make the grade.

The modern educated Indian is obsessed by his sense of indebtedness to Europe and America. Even students of history do not realize that our direct contacts with these countries are at best only five centuries old. We have forgotten that our natural allies and real neighbours were Asiatic counties like China and Japan, Korea, Indonesia, Cambodia and Malaysia. Our association with China started from 3rd century BC and continued with intense vigour and mutual benefit till the 14th century AD. The same is the case with Japan and other south East Asian countries. What must be underlined in this context is that all these countries naturally looked upon India as their sacred land, the ‘Punyabhumi’ and the ‘Dharmbhumi’ and unhesitatingly came to our Universities to learn. Our ‘Acharyas’ in large numbers went to China and Japan and not only taught them ‘Dharma’ and Sanskrit but also learned their languages and translated Indian texts into those languages. We had plenty of windows to look at the outside world; but all of these have been closed for Centuries. Thus we became isolated and alienated from our natural allies and got entangled with those who came to loot, plunder and dominate.

This is part of history. When foreign aggressors invaded India, plundered our wealth, burned down our Universities and imposed their domination over us, history records that China, Japan and all our Eastern neighbors were traumatized. They could not believe that a country like India could be enslaved. From that time onwards these perception of India also changed. It was a great tragedy, not only for India, but also for the whole Asia has not come out of it yet.

British imperialism, following on the heels of Islamic vandalism made things worse. It spread its dark wings over the whole of Asia. Asia lost its freedom and its soul also. Even after independence things have not improved to the extent necessary or anticipated. Indian education system and research methodology still follow western university models. Oxford, Cambridge and Hardward dominate our intellectual horizon. It is gratifying to see that we have slowly begun to realize the importance of “Look East” policy. Considering our ancient traditional, millennium long association with our eastern neighbours, it is an area where deep attention is required.

The colonial ghost in our education system has to be exorcized an indigenous system suited to modern conditions must be installed. The present system does not instil in the student community a legitimate sense of pride; on the other hand it creates a sense of inferiority complex along with great fascination for whatever is western, calling it modern. By introducing western concepts of analytical method like structuralism, Post modernism, De construction etc our insight in to our past and our achievements have been totally people, strongly knit together by an emotional unity-which is the real unity- by an underlying oneness with a flourishing diversity. How many of them know that their existed a “Greater India” –“Mahabharath” much bigger that the present one, culturally virile, economically prosperous, militarily strong and politically decentralized. On the other hand the colonial mind set that prevails in the post independent India has instilled the feeling in the minds of young India that it is only by following the western model of development with island of economic prosperity based on outsourcing that for the first time India is coming to the focus of international attention. This is a totally wrong perception and must be wiped on if young India is to regain self-confidence and self-respect.

I refer to all this to emphasis the necessity for opening our windows not only to the west but also in other directions. Even ordinary students of history know that India, from ancient times had welcomed ideas from all over the world. “Let noble thought come to us from all directions” was our Vedic dictum. While welcoming ideas from outside, India had self-confidence and unshakable pride in her own native wisdom. Our universities were world famous centres of excellence, Thakshasila and Nalanda were knowledge destinations for all world. We had opened our windows in all directions.

Kerala too had maintained this natural tradition. Romans, Arabs and Jews had trade relations with Kerala even before Christianity or Islam was born. There was free exchange of goods and knowledge. Kerala had produced great Mathematicians like Madhava, Sreedharan, and Parameswara at a time when foreign aggressors smothered the intellectual atmosphere in the north. Kerala has also liberal and open mind. This is proved by the fact that even when there was grand native architectural tradition based on Vasthu we could not only appreciate but also assimilate the style introduced by Larry Baker. Even his personality was absorbed into the Kerala culture.

In this context it is significant to recall the close association of Kerala with China. There is recorded evidence that there was constant naval communication and commerce between China and India. Some where in the 16 the century more than three hundred ships with cargo from China had anchored for three months on the Malabar cost at Kozhikode.Kozhikode was at that time such a developed port city that it could very well handle such a huge number of cargo and people.

 It is this outlook that prompted BVK to start research work based on our own genius, while keeping the door and windows open to healthy outside influences. We are extremely grateful to the MDS University for providing us a launching pad for this initiative. But also sad to say that the Kerala University which we approached with a formal request for approval for starting a Ph. D program under the title” Bharatheeya Institute for Management Studies” fulfilling all the requisite conditions, there is no response even after nearly one year. The University headquarters is hardy one kilometer from here, but it appears that Jaipur is psychologically nearer than Thiruvananthapuram. I am yet to know why the University could not even send a team to conduct a preliminary inspection. Universities are supposed to be patrons and promoters of knowledge and education. The very name University denotes a liberal and universal outlook. A tunnel vision and the concept of a University do not go together. That Marxist ideology does not exhaust all intellectual personalities. Let a hundred flowers blossom should be to which Kerala is no exception. I fully believe that the Kerala University, in the midst of its very heavy schedule, will find time to depute a team to inspect our facilities and grant us approval for Management research. If any deficiency is pointed out we are prepared to make up the same the way the University recommends. I hope we will have the privilege of Kerala University approval for the Kendra and be able to start our research activities in right earnest, the earliest.


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