Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Thursday said that India is “not a constitutional democracy”, rather it’s a “civilization democracy”.
Speaking at the inaugural ceremony of Lokmanthan 2022, CM Sarma said, “Bharatvarsha is not just a nation-state that came into being in the 19th century, but a living entity. India nurtures one of the oldest civilizations in the world. The sense of Indian identity is not a 19th-century phenomenon when India began to imagine itself as a nation-state. The sense of India is a civilizational continuity of the past several millennia.”
“It is true that the European colonial powers could not succeed in destroying the ancient beliefs and traditions of the indigenous population of India. It was because of the inherent power of Sanatan civilization that remained unbeatable in the face of European powers,” he added.
A major characteristic of Indian civilization is that it does not consider the country only as an inert political entity, he said at the programme of the third iteration of the biennial colloquium.
CM Sarma said, “For us, our nation is akin to our Mother, a vibrant goddess whose every geographical appearance - the landscape-rivers-hills and mountains find a place in the verses and hymns of the Indian scriptures. North East had deeply enriched the great ancient Indian civilisation. Eminent 15th-century Vaishnavite saint Mahapurush Srimanta Sankardev was the first to associate Bharatvarsha with Assam and referred to it as its motherland.”
The conception of India as our motherland was conceived by Sankardeva five centuries ago, the Assam CM said referring to the comment of eminent litterateur Birinchi Kumar Baruah. Sankardeva wanted the people to feel proud of being born in the holy country as India provides an immense opportunity for the development of men’s moral and spiritual potentialities.
The third edition of Lokmanthan was Vice President Jagdeep Dhankhar with Assam Governor Prof Jagdish Mukhi and CM Sarma present at the Srimanta Sankardev Kalakshetra in Guwahati yesterday.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi spearheaded the movement for punarnirmaan of Bharatvasrha based on the strength derived from the ancient ethos of India, the Assam CM mentioned.
He said, “This movement is for the resurgence of our country's 5000-year-old culture and civilization. This movement is for the attainment of rights and dignity for the underprivileged, the fulfilment of dreams of crores of Indians. This movement is also for the establishment of a powerful image of India in the global landscape and emergence of the country as the Biswaguru.”
The Assam CM also upheld the cultural heritage of Northeast India saying that it continues to enrich the great Indian civilization since ancient times.
“Northeast India is blessed with nature's bounty in abundance. The mystic nature, the legends, the wildlife and varied flora and fauna make it one of the most diverse regions in the world. This region is home to numerous ethnic groups having distinct cultures, languages, traditions, heritage, food habits and lifestyles. This makes the region incredibly vibrant and colourful. Though the people in the region practice different customs, traditions and beliefs, one thing that binds the people together is their common identity as Indian,” he said.
Speaking on the folk culture of the state, he said that today there has been a renewed consciousness among the Assamese people about its folk heritage. Due to the foresight and dedicated efforts of pioneers like Suryya Kumar Bhuyan, Birinchi Kumar Baruah, Hem Chandra Baruah and many others, the study of folk culture as an academic discipline has taken root in the state.
Hoping for a grand success of the event, CM Sarma expressed his gratitude to the organizers for selecting Assam to host the colloquium.
Meanwhile, Governor of Assam Prof Jagdish Mukhi said, “Our country Bharat has a unique heritage of knowledge sharing, public discourse and intellectual brainstorming. Lok Manthan is the churn of the nation which encourages intellectual discourse to rediscover the cultural and traditional treasures hidden in different parts of our country.”
“The country has been credited to have developed Philosophy and Mathematics, Science and Technology of a very high order. This great nation's contribution to the march of civilization goes back to several thousand years even before the Christian era. From Vedas to Upanishad down to several institutions and eras, Bharat was respected for its flourishing economy, trade, commerce and culture,” he added.
Prof Mukhi also said, “The Indian freedom struggle, which was inspired by Tilak, Gandhi, Aurobindo, Patel, Bose and others, had a clear vision of the civilization consciousness of our past. These leaders had directed the freedom movement, keeping the Indian ways and thoughts at the centre of their actions. They had the vision to reconstruct the political and economic institutions of India as an outcome of civilizational consciousness, which made India one country one people and one Nation.”
“After achieving independence, the leaders at the helm of affairs seemed to have lost the spirit and the vision, which the freedom movement had evoked. They discarded the vision and adopted the institutional framework of administration created by the British which was quite alien to India's worldview. It is unfortunate that these leaders could not comprehend India's inner vitality, which was the main force responsible for India's survival despite several attacks and prolonged foreign rule. This parasitic view of the leaders during the country's independence from the British failed to rekindle the spirit of India,” said the Governor.
Lauding the efforts of the present government, he said that efforts have been put to reorient the polity and social system in consonance with those strong points of the Indian psyche to realize the future glory by the CM Sarma led government.
“We have kept the doors and windows open to have a clear understanding of the global scenario and how without destroying our uniqueness we can assimilate the best to regain our lost glory for our mission of Ek Bharat Shrestha Bharat,” said Prof Mukhi.