FROM MAULANA’S DESK
Maulana Wahiduddin Khan, born in 1925, in Azamgarh, Uttar Pradesh, is an Islamic spiritual scholar who is well-versed in both classical Islamic learning and modern disciplines. The mission of his life has been the establishment of worldwide peace. He has received the Padma Bhushan, the Demiurgus Peace International Award and Sayyidina Imam Al Hassan Peace award for promoting peace in Muslim societies. He has been called ’Islam’s spiritual ambassador to the world’ and is recognized as one of its most influential Muslims . His books have been translated into sixteen languages and are part of university curricula in six countries. He is the founder of the Centre for Peace and Spirituality based in New Delhi.
THE EMERGENCE OF A NEW INDIA
POLITICS is full of differences. If we tried to eliminate such differences, it would prove to be counterproductive. In other words, it would result in a greater evil. Then, what is the alternative? Democracy is the answer. Democracy, in one sense, is the art of difference management. Democracy means a non-confrontational settlement of differences.
India’s just concluded sixteenth general election is a landmark in the history of Indian democracy. This election has led to a sea change in India’s politics. But the whole process was totally peaceful. From A to Z it was a smooth exercise. For one political group, this election led to an unprecedented victory, while for another political group, it was a near disaster. But a good sign is that the defeated group welcomed the winning group without losing any time, while the winning group has declared that this was a victory of none other than Bharat, and that they were ready to engage in the sharing of politics for the benefit of India’s development.
Democracy is the best form of inducting the spirit of healthy sportsmanship in politics. During the age of kingship, the man wearing the crown used to say: ‘I am here to rule the land,’ while in a democracy the winner has to say: ‘I am here to serve the land.’
Democracy is the best way to settle political differences in a positive spirit. It offers a twofold strategy: adopting a sharing principle with respect to common national issues, and at the same time adopting the policy of non-interference with regard to those issues that are regional and not national.
We proudly say that India is the largest democracy of the world, but this statement refers only to the quantitative aspect of our democracy. Now we need to add one more dimension to this statement, and that is, the qualitative aspect. The time has come to show the world that Indian democracy is value-based rather than simply power-based.
Democracy is the art of difference management. Democracy means a non-confrontational settlement of differences.
Swami Vivekananda was a great soul of India. He visited the US in 1893. One day Swamiji was walking along a street in Chicago, clad in two lengths of untailored cloth. At that time in the US, this kind of attire was quite unfamiliar. On seeing this, a woman whispered to her husband, “I don’t think that man is a gentleman.” Swami Vivekananda overheard this remark. He walked towards the lady and said to her politely: “Excuse me, Madam, in your country it is the tailor who makes a man a gentleman, but in the country from where I come, it is character which makes a man a gentleman.”
For India, character is not simply a matter of individual behaviour. It also reflects in the policy of the state. Now the time has come to re-shape India on moral principles.
The term Ramarajya was used by Mahatma Gandhi to define democraticrighteous rule during the Indian independence struggle. At the same time he clarified, “By Ramarajya I do not mean Hindu Raj. I mean by Ramarajya, Divine Raj: the Kingdom of God. The Ramarajya of my dream ensures equal rights for all.”
The present change in Indian politics provides an opportunity to lay the foundation stone for an India that has been the dream of all the great minds of our country. The present world is said to be a developed world, but all the modern developments are material developments.
This kind of development is one-sided. Jesus Christ rightly said: “Man does not live by bread alone”. (Matthew 4: 4) India is now in a position to present a new model of qualitative democracy; that is, value-based democracy.
Everyone talks about bharatiya parampara (the Indian tradition). What is the Indian tradition? I have made an in-depth study of this subject. I can say that basically there are two important aspects of the Indian tradition: peace and spirituality. Peace and spirituality make up the real identity of India. India can thus emerge as the harbinger of these two values.
Peace and spirituality make up the real identity of India.
As far as peace is concerned, India under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi adopted the peaceful method for its freedom struggle. This method was so successful that India emerged as the foremost name in pacifism. India became the identity of peace. Everywhere in the world anyone who wants peace refers to the Indian example. Now it is the turn of spirituality. The subject of spirituality has become a fad. Everyone in the modern world wants spirituality. But the only hope lies in India. India, at least potentially, is a spiritual nation. What is required is to turn this potential into reality. India possesses spiritual qualities in the fullest sense of the word and the present world is greatly in need of spirituality. The need of the hour is to combine these two aspects, and the result will be in the form of a new international phenomenon; that is, the emergence of India as a spiritual superpower of the world.
Maulana Wahiduddin Khan
In this world falsehood too may appear to carry weight,
but in the Hereafter nothing will carry weight except the truth.