“I have travelled across the length and breadth of India and I have not seen one person who is a beggar, who is a thief. Such wealth I have seen in this country, such high moral values, people of such high caliber , that I do not think that we would ever conquer this country, unless we break the very backbone of this nation, which is her spiritual and cultural heritage, and therefore, I propose that we replace her old and ancient education system , her culture, for if the Indians think that all that is foreign and English is good and greater than their own, they will lose their self esteem, their native culture, and they will become what we want them, a truly dominated nation”- Lord Macaulay’s Address to the British Parliament- 2.2.1835
The schools do not display Sanskrit shlokas as ‘Quote of the Day’ on blackboards, they don’t teach Rahim and Kabir dohas anymore, children are taught the meaningless ‘Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star’ rather than couplets from Gita and Ramayana, and teachers do not tell the child about the love and valor of Krishna, about the compassion and dilemma of Sri Rama, about the generosity of Bali, about the sacrifice of Rishi Dadhichi, about the science of Patanjali.
The funniest outcome has been names- Rosy, Bobby, Miky, Viky, Twinkle, Sweety have replaced Lakshmi, Radha, Saraswati, Savitri, Meena, Sunaina and so on. The poor insist on English medium due to jobs in Englsih language, beggars who get money after much cajoling want to taste cold drinks than milk. Children have not heard of Udaipur and Jodhpur but dream of Disney Land and Eiffel Tower.
Men have forgotten to tie dhoti and turban, women have dropped bindi and sindoor from dressing tables, youth frown at Onam, Radhashtami, Bhai Dooj, Ras Lila and prefer Valentine, the fifteen day Shraddha is ridiculed by the young who laugh at the pundit who performs for the ancestors asking him rudely whether the ancestor will enjoy eggs or meat up there, the vegetable seller sells America’s Red and yellow pepper, Canada’s green cucumber, shoe shops exhibit shoes made in America and China, steel utensil shops proclaim that they sell cheap steel from China.
Neem and haldi products were from traditional Ayurvedic centres now they come via Canada and China, aloevera comes through America but the wisest are those who can see through these plans and nevertheless come to India, adopt Eastern traditions and feel peaceful and happy for the first time in life.
—- By Seema Burman