Young girls at a book stall during the World Book Fair in New Delhi
Currently, libraries are flooded with books having anti-Bharat narratives. To undo this, youth have to come forward and take it as a challenge
Two years back sitting on the high dais of one of the most talked about literature festival in the world at Jaipur, I realised the power of the written word. Written word has long life. Written narration of today serves as history for the future generations. Couple of years back, I was among the audience of all these elite literature festivals around India. I was not comfortable with the dominant narrative at these literature festivals. Their idea of India was quite different from my idea of Bharat. Like many of us, I sat and cribbed. But nothing changed much.
In the late 1960s, Congress and Left had an arrangement and division of power. Congress captured power of the government. Left captured power of academia. Since then Bharat’s indigenous narrative vanished from the text books to the popular trade books. Guided and forced by left intellectuals, many of us started calling our history as mythology, our sciences as superstition and our all-inclusive culture as orthodox. In the process, the youth of this nation was getting distant from the idea of Bharat, envisaged by Swami Vivekananda. In this storm of anti-Bharat narrative, publications like Bharat Prakashan, Voice of India, Geeta Press, Prabhat Publications, etc kept the dwindling flame of indigenous narrative alive.
After the change in political dispensation in 2014, many felt empowered. And so did I. Emergence of new Bharat was in the air. I took a vow to myself to use the power of written words to reach out to the young minds of the country, with the narrative of New Bharat. I started with contributing short pieces to publications and then gradually took the challenge to author books. It was a daunting task. First to write a strong coherent, well referenced narrative, then to find and convince a mainstream publishers to publish your work and then to market your book and take it to the readers. Rejections at every stage made me disappointed and also strong. As a young author, it was hard to navigate and steer through the intellectual space. The doors were heavy and tightly closed. Even foot in the door, was hard to come by. Swami Vivekananda’s teaching—‘Arise, Awake and stop not until the goal is reached’ kept me going.
Today, I am a published author with three leading national and global publications. Even the opponents of my ideas respect the hard work gone into it. I come from a lower middle class family and now I am rubbing shoulders with the leading social and political commentators on TV studios, Literature Festivals and round tables. If I can do it, so can you. There is a lot to be written. Distortions done to Bharat’s indigenous narrative is massive. On National Youth Day, I call upon every young mind to at least write a book, in his or her lifetime.
Currently, libraries are flooded with books having anti-Bharat narrative. To undo this, youth have to come forward and take it as a challenge. While working on my books, I struggle to get proper references. Sometimes relevant content is no more in publication, sometime it’s only available in the original vernacular text, and sometime the argument in the reference text is not framed in the current social & political context. Take a personality, incident or phenomenon that has shaped your world view, and re-write it in the current context, in the language you are comfortable in and leave a written trail, which another young mind, in another time can use as reference and grow your work further.
Youngesters at a college
Social Media has surely democratised journalism. With just 140 characters, you can make your voice heard. But social media narratives are short-lived and have poor reference-ability. If they call your Ramayana a myth, become a Nilesh Oak, to scientifically date the Ramayana. If they give credit of India’s Independence movements to a party or a small set of individuals, become a Sanjiv Sanyal to de-construct that. Become a Hindol Sen Gupta, to coin a missing term—Patelian thought, to counter the Nehruvian thought. Become a Vikram Sampath to bring the extraordinary life of Veer Savarkar to the current millennials. Become Uday Mahurkar to objectively assess a government, which is marching with a billion people. Become a Ratan Sharda or Sunil Ambekar to de-mystify, RSS, one of the most misunderstood social movements of this country. Become a Sandeep Dev to call out the bluff of left ideology or become a Mukul Kanitkar to bring the essentials of Swami Vivekananda to the people.
New Bharat is taking shape rapidly. It will need many Bhaghiraths to set its flow correct, Many Nal & Neels to engineer a strong foundation, Many Abhimanyus to break through the mirage of distorted narratives and many Jatayus to sacrifice their lives to stop Ravanas from stealing the glory of Bharatvarsh. No better day to take a new resolve, than National Youth Day. Identify your strengths, choose a role for yourself and start today.
(The writer is a columnist and TV Panelist)