Spiritual Power Of Indian Freedom Movement
Indian freedom movement is unique in its contents of approach. Conventionally and historically, it is considered as an account of the struggle of various Indian kingdoms for the liberation of their geographical boundaries as well as a social and political freedom, which is basic aspiration of any nation, on this earth. Most reviewers and analysts of this field are not able to appreciate a unique dimension of this freedom struggle i.e. attempts to re-establish spirituality based personal and social value system, which was India’s most prime cultural possession, since the dawn of human civilisation, on this planet.
Beginning of this movement can be traced with the rise of Aadi-Shankaracharya in 12th centuary, who put his unique efforts for the national integration, with the creation of four dhaams (places of spiritual relevance in four diverse corners of India). He advised all the country men to undertake their pilgrimage, at least once in a life time, to witness the geographical and cultural diversity of this country and still to absorb a feeling of one nation, from the great Himalayas to the sprawling Indian Ocean. It was the time when Mughal domination had established, after its initial invasions in 7th century.
Birth of Guru Nanakdev and creation of Sikh faith was another milestone of Indian freedom movement. Teachings of Guru Nanakdev developed a new social order with a noble value system for the society and also developed a militant class for the Indian freedom struggle. Sacrifice of Guru Teg Bahadur, Guru Arjun dev, two sons of Guru Govind Singh (Ajeet Singh and Jorawar Singh) and Banda Bairagi are glaring examples of the sacrifices, made by these spiritual warriors, for the Indian freedom from the Mughal sultanate.
Rise of Tulsidas was one more milestone of Indian freedom Struggle and spiritual revival. Through composition of Ram Charit Manas, in 16th centuary, Tulsidas tried to remind and re-establish the value system, which was most inspiring for personal life and social harmony, during Ram-rajya.
This era also witnessed the rise of social reformers and bhakti-movement torch bearers like Kabeer, Meera, Raheem, Raskhan, Soordas etc. In addition to bhakti-movement they created an inspiring atmosphere
to re-establish the noble human values which were diluted, with the march of time. This also paved the way for social harmony among Hindu and Muslim communities on account of the message of common basic human values.
18th and 19th centuries were marked by the rise of another set of national heroes, who carried forward this torch of spiritual awakening to strengthen the Indian freedom movement. Swami Dayanand Saraswati, Raja Ram Mohan Roy, Swami Vivekananda, Maharshi Arvind, Lokmanya Tilak, Bankim Chandra Chatterji etc may be considered as the spiritual heroes of this era. Their work, writings, social and political interactions conveyed the message to the world that India has a rich cultural heritage and value-based social system, which is in place since most ancient times. It was academically and historically acknowledged by wide different international philosophers, writers and tourists, from different nationalities.
Fresh awakening about Vedas by Swami Dayanand Saraswati, thrust on social equality and women education by Raja Ram Mohan Roy, writings and call of Maharshi Arvind about the freedom of India, composition of Gita-Rahasya by Lokmanya Tilak, composition of historical patriotic song of Vande Mataram by Bankim Chandra Chatterji and spiritual global whirl-wind tour of Swami Vivekananda, starting from his address in the world parliament of religions in Chicago, gave a fresh lease of spiritual empowerment to the Indian masses on one hand and a boost to the political and revolutionary freedom struggle of India, on the other hand. These efforts won many foreign friends to strengthen Indian freedom struggle e.g. Bhagini Nivedita, Shree Maa of Pondichery ashram, Mrs Annie besant etc and also generated respect for the Indian culture and civilisation in the international community. This paradigm shift, towards the Indian society and culture, earned international support for the Indian freedom struggle.
All these spiritual efforts made by so many elevated souls, for about one thousand years, also helped in the soul searching of Indian masses, all through this dark period of freedom struggle and also re-established the cultural value system, which was the basic foundation of great Hindu/Indian society, since the dawn of human civilisation, on this earth. This also affected the psyche of Mughal as well as British rulers, in the corresponding times, which helped in their better understanding of the Indian society and assimilation for a beneficial co-existence with the Indian masses, during their stay, as the ruler. It created many supporters of Indian freedom movement, within the ruling block, resulting into a direct political and social impact for the ongoing freedom struggle. Bahadur Shah Zafar, the last Mughal emperor, could be seen as the effective culmination of such efforts.
Factually, no historian can deny the impact of this unique, historical Indian spiritual movement, on the freedom struggle of India. Most puzzling issue could be that, if spiritual awakening could bring such a positive impact on the Indian freedom struggle, than why this component can not influence the post-freedom efforts for social restructuring and over all development of free India. Is it not an unexplored tool for the regeneration of much desired political value system and political will, for the growth of a powerful and vibrant India. Spirituality is an age old and time-tested personal and social developmental tool of ancient India. Most celebrated management gurus of the modern world, are already using Shrimad Bhagavad Geeta based training modules, for the creation of strategically effective business managers, at all levels, in all the business streams. Now, it appears to be the turn of political and social scientists/managers of present era, to explore the usefulness of this powerful dimension and integrate its fundamental principles, for the development of respective fields. Are we listening to this call?
By Dr Dipak Shukla