Servitude or freedom?
Author: Francois Gautier
Publication: The Pioneer
Date: June 25, 2003
There is a growing need to rewrite Indian history according to the latest linguistic and archaeological discoveries if Indian children are to understand who they are and where they come from. We now know that not only the foundations of Indian history were written by European colonisers with an intention to downsize, downgrade and postdate Indian civilisation, but that, unfortunately, generations of Marxist Indian historians, for their own selfish purpose, endorsed and perpetuated these wrong theories. Among these are the Aryan invasion theory which divided India pitting the South against North, Aryan against Dravidian, and “Untouchables” against Brahmins.
Not only that. These British and Marxist historians – eager to give prominence to the Congress, which was a British institution in the first place – robbed of their true place in India’s history, giants such as Sri Aurobindo, who – apart from being the avatar of the supramental age – was the early prophet of Indian Independence when all that the Indian National Congress wanted was a few crumbs from the British. As a result, very few Indian children know about Sri Aurobindo today. But now comes Professor Kittu Reddy and his book History of India: A New Approach (Standard Publisher, New Delhi), which was released in February 2003. It addresses a grave lacuna in Indian historiography, and compels us to take a second look at Indian history. It opens our eyes to incidents we had totally ignored. These new facts are peppered with wonderful quotations from Sri Aurobindo, which give an altogether new dimension to the book.
Professor Kittu Reddy was best equipped for this task. He was born in the Anantapur district of Andhra Pradesh in 1936. His father, C Narayana Reddy, was one of the first MLCs when he was elected to the Legislative Assembly in 1924 as a member of the Swarajya party. Professor Reddy is the nephew of Neelam Sanjiva Reddy, the former President of India. At the young age of five, he was taken to Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Pondicherry, by his parents. Brought up in the spiritual ambience of the Ashram, he has lived there ever since. He had all his education at the Sri Aurobindo International Centre of Education from where he graduated in 1957. In 1958, he started teaching at the same Centre, first at the school level and later from 1971 at the college level. His subjects today are The Foundations of Indian Culture, Political Science, Social Science, and History. It must be mentioned that all these subjects are taught in the light and vision of Sri Aurobindo.
In 1987, Professor Reddy came in contact with the Indian Army and has since been giving talks to the Indian Army on subjects like Indian culture, the Mission of India and Motivation and Leadership. In 1994, at the request of General BC Joshi, who was then Chief of Army Staff, Professor Reddy shifted to Delhi for two years to help him in his work. He was appointed Adviser to the Army Welfare Education Society. After the passing away of General Joshi, he worked closely with General Shankar Roy Chowdury when he was the Chief of Army Staff. Since then, he has been in close touch with the Armed forces and has conducted workshops for the Indian Army, Indian Navy and the Indian Air Force. These workshops deal with Motivation, Leadership, and the Indian nation. They have been held both in Pondicherry at the Sri Aurobindo Ashram and at training centres of the Armed forces elsewhere.
Professor Reddy has also written a book for the Indian Army, Bravest of the Brave, and a monograph Kargil: The Manifestation of a Deeper Problem. Professor Reddy’s brief is that History, as it has generally been conceived and written in modern times, has limited itself to the outer narration and interpretation of events and has ignored the psychological forces and factors that affect human life. This predominance of external events has been so great that most modern historians and political thinkers have concluded that objective necessities are bylaws. Nature, Professor Kittu Reddy implies, is the only really determining force; all else is a result of superficial accidents of these forces.
Scientific history has been conceived as if it must be a record and appreciation of the environmental motives of political action, of the play of economic forces and developments and the course of institutional evolution. But man is essentially mental and spiritual being, and to ignore these psychological factors would be to miss out the very essence of human growth and evolution. Indian history in particular loses all its true significance when looked from this purely external viewpoint. For the Indian mind and temperament is naturally inward looking.
And, indeed, this book is an attempt to look at Indian history from the psychological and inner angle. It is an attempt to place in proper perspective the deeper psychological and spiritual elements even in the outer life of the Indian nation. As Sri Aurobindo wrote: “All great awakenings in India, all her periods of mightiest and most varied vigour, have drawn their vitality from the fountainheads of some deep religious awakening. Wherever religious awakening has been complete and grand, the national energy it has created has been gigantic and puissant.”
Professor Reddy’s book, History of India: A New Approach, begins with the pulsating spiritual happenings in the Vedic and Upanishadic times, and traces the evolution of India to the building of empires. It is followed by a description of the invasions, both Muslim and English, and the psychological impact that these had on the people of India. Next, there is a detailed description of the freedom movement with special emphasis on the psychological forces that were in play till the attainment of Independence in 1947. Finally, it concludes with a vision for the future of India.
It is to be hoped that History of India will give a greater insight and lead to a truer understanding of Indian culture and civilisation. This book is particularly aimed at the young – not only to those who are young in body but also in the heart. Because, as Sri Aurobindo prophesied: “It is not till the Motherland reveals herself to the eye of the mind as something more than a stretch of earth or a mass of individuals, it is not till she takes shape as a great Divine and Maternal Power in a form of beauty that can dominate the mind and seize the heart, that these petty fears and hopes vanish in the all-absorbing passion for the Mother and her service, and the patriotism that works miracles and saves a doomed nation, is born…
“Once that vision has come to the people, there can be no rest, no peace, no further slumber till the temple has been made ready, the image installed and the sacrifice offered. A great nation, which has had that vision, can never again bend its neck in subjection to the yoke of a conqueror.”