Sunday, April 22, 2007

Conditions in Rural India

Vivekananda travelling extensively through India, somethimes by train, somethimes on foot. He was shocked to see the conditions in rural India people ignorant, superstitious, half-starved, and victims of caste-tyranny.
If this shocked him, the callousness of the so-called educated upper classes shocked him still more. In the course of his travels he met many princes who invited him to stay with them as their guest. He met also city-based members of
the intelligentsia lawyers, teachers, journalist and government officials. He appealed to all to do something for the masses. No one seemed fo pay any heed to him expect the maharaja of maysore, the maharaja of khetri and a few
young men of Madras. Swami vivekananda impressed on everybody the need to mobilize the masses. A few education men and women could not solve the problems of the country; the mass power had to be harenessed to the task. He wanted the
masses education. The ruler of Mysore was among the first to make primary education free within his State. This ruler of Mysore was among the first to make primary sducation free within his state. This, however, was not enough in Swamiji's view.
A peasant could not afford to send his children to school, for he needed their help in his field. He wanted education which perhaps he visualized. Hisletter to the maharaja of Mysore on the subject show how much thought he lead give to the subject
and how original he was.
As Swamiji arrived in Madras, young people gathered round him drawn by his bright looks and inspiring talks. They begged him to go to the USA to attend the forthcoming Parliment of religions in Chicago to represent Hinduism. They even started raising
funds for the purpose. Swamiji was at first reluctant but later felt some good might come out of his visir to the West, for if he could make some impression, first in USA and then also in England. The press paid him the highest tributes as an exponent of Indian's
age-old values; overnight he because a great national hero in India. Suddenly it was brought home to them that there must be something in India thiught that Western intelligentsia feel compelled to admire. Slowly but inevitably, they began to revise their opinions about their own country and civilization.
They began to suspect that perhaps they were not as backward as they once thought, and literature, and in areas like religion and philosophy, in art and literature, they were perhaps more advance than the Western people. They had always felt sorry about themselves, but, now for the first time, they
awoke to the richness of their heritage. This was the starting point of the India renaissance one hears about. A long succession of national leaders starting from Tilak have drawn inspiration from Swami Vivekananda. They 'discovered' India her strong and weak points through him.
'If you want to know India,study Vivekananda', was Tagore's advice to Romain Rolland. This holds true even today, indeed, no one has studied Indian's body and mine so thoroughly as Swamiji did.
He described India's neglect of the masses as a national sin. Next to this was the sin of neglecting the womanhood. Caste, in its present form, was yet another sin. Indian's ethnic and religious pluralism did not worry him, for india had always sought her unity inlove and respect for different sects and
communities. He saw socialism coming and the welcomed it fir indian as for the rest of the world . The Shudras, i.e., the working people, were sure to come to power, and in order that the transition might be peaceful he asked the Brahmins, i.e., the intelligentsia, to pave the way to it. Lest any cultural decline occur following this shift
he wanted to deluge the country with spiritual thought.
It was Swamiji's hope that Indian would create a new social order and a new civilization by combining her best spiritual traditions with the latest advancement in science and technology. She would be rich both materially and spiritually. He knew affluence was not enough, man had
to be human,too. He wanted Indian to set example in this.

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