India – A Developed Nation in the Advanced State of Decay
Swami Vivekananda once said, “This is the Punya Bhoomi, the land of karma. Today I stand here and say, with the conviction of truth, that it is so. If there is any land on this earth that can lay claim to being the blessed Punya Bhoomi, to be the land to which souls on this earth must come to account for karma, the land to which every soul that is wending its way towards God must come to attain its last home, the land where humanity has attained its highest towards gentleness, towards generosity, towards purity, towards calmness, above all, the land of introspection and spirituality — it is India.”
India, as we know it today, is as similar to Jambudvipa as a beetle is to a butterfly. Jambudvipa (Sanskrit: जम्बुद्वीप Jambu-dvīpa, lit. “berry island”) was used in ancient scriptures as a name of India before Bhārata became the official name. The derivative Jambu Dwipa was the historical term for India in many Southeast Asian countries before the introduction of the English word “India”. This alternate name is still used occasionally in Thailand, Malaysia, Java and Bali to describe the Indian Subcontinent. What was once the world’s richest nation is now labelled as a developing country. It won’t be an exaggeration to say that India was the world’s largest economy between 1 AD and 1000 AD. Also, contrary to the situation of today when we share a meagre 2% of the world’s trade, our contribution to the global economy in 1500 AD was somewhere around 24.5%. That was equal to all of Europe’s share! During the period when the Mughals ruled India, the country’s income was 17.5 million Pounds, which was greater than the entire treasury of Great Britain. Texts from as far back as the 5th century BC mention Sreni, a corporation of traders, who used to procure the raw materials, controlled the quality of manufactured goods and their price, and located markets for their sale!
Not just the money, with rich spiritual and philosophical knowledge, we were the world leaders in practically every sense!
India introduced the world to yoga, discovered and practised in the country since ancient times, with origins tracing back to Adi Yog (Lord Shiva), the first yoga guru, as a significant contribution in the field of healthy living and medicine. Today, for healthy living, people perform this spiritual, physical, and mental activity in the world every day. The world can thank Sushruta, an Indian physician who invented the procedure in the 3rd century CE, for cataract surgery. He was also the principal contributor to Samhita’s Sushruta. He used a curved needle (called Jabamukhi Salaka) to perform this operation, which loosened the lens and then forced the cataract towards the back of the eye.
Ancient Indian sages have known that the earth is round as far back as 900BCE when rishi Yajnavalkya wrote Shatpath Brahman, where 188.8.131.52 clearly indicates that he knew that the earth was round. This statement mentions that
“The sun strings these worlds (interpreted as the earth, its atmosphere, and other planets) to himself on a thread”
In the words of Arthur Schopenhauer,
“Vedas are the most rewarding and the most elevating book which can be possible in the world.” (Works VI p.427).
The Gita, too, can teach us a lot, regardless of how old or young we are. Apart from being a religious scripture, it is a scripture of life as well. It is a way of life-based on faith and devotion.
Sanskrit, the language of ancient India, was found to be the most suited to develop programming for NASA’s artificial intelligence program owing to its grammar, according to their research. Less than 1% of Indians speak Sanskrit now because in our country it is not ” trendy” and “cool” anymore.
Moreover, it was this country’s scholars that gave the world the concept of zero, shunya, which by definition means nothing, but without which we wouldn’t have computers in the first place.
A few hundred words would never be enough to describe the illustrious period of our nation. In relatively more recent news, the world can thank Indians for USBs, wireless communications, natural fibres, shampoos, and buttons. Our country has the second-largest land army in the world.
With a rather glorious past, it raises one inevitable question- what happened then?
Being colonised for over two centuries the complexes of Indian mindset paved the way for the western culture into Indian society. Silently the thought rose in the Indian society that the adoption of western culture reciprocates their status in the society which in fact is out of touch with reality.
Gautam Buddha perhaps aptly said,
We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts, we make the world.
In India instead of trying to find a solution at the grass-root level, ranting about all the issues on various social media platforms is considered “trendy” and “cool”. Perhaps shifting accountability is a rather enticing fad. It is a known fact that part of the problem with our nation is the attitude of politicians and bureaucracy but so is the attitude of all the citizens who never considered it important to take pride in our culture, who turned a blind eye to the noteworthy lessons in our literature, to the teachings of the revered saints, to their own heritage and language. Taking pride doesn’t equal the shallow social media gloating posts without backing them up or for that matter the ‘ USA vs India’ Instagram trend. It rather resonates with completely knowing what our traditions are and what they stand for. It means using the knowledge to better our day to day life, having a broa
der mindset, not being stuck in the short term profits. The biggest hindrance in or development is perhaps our very own mindset.
Ratan Tata rightly once said
“None can destroy iron but its own rust, likewise none can destroy a person but its own mindset can.”
FY B.Sc. Economics