Vision of the future cannot be devoid of hindsight. Bharat in 2047 will be what we want to create today. The challenges that we project for the future in the current situation may not remain relevant then, what will remain relevant even then is the character of this nation. Swami Vivekanand used to describe this as Chitti and called धर्म प्राण भारत. Dharma is the essence of this civilization that is Bharat. My dream for Bharat in 2047 is a country where every individual has the liberty to follow their Dharma (स्वधर्म) according to their nature (स्वभाव). This is the ideal that I want to strive for!
To strive for this ideal there are some questions that the present and future generations need clarity on!
What is India and why would 2047 be a landmark in its history? If this nation came into existence in 1947, 2047 is a big landmark but if we are a civilization, this is just a phase in the long history of this country.
Bharat doesn’t stand the test of modern day definitions of a nation state! What is it then that keeps us together as a country?
As a country do we accept the partition of 1947 forced upon us by a colonial power?
Keeping a nation united requires continuous effort! What should be done today to overcome the fault lines, divisions of our society and stress on what unites us!
Bharat is a civilization for me personally. One of my favourite heroes from the freedom struggle Netaji Subhas Chanda Bose describes this land in ‘The Indian Struggle’. He goes on to write, ‘history of India has to be reckoned not in decades or centuries, but in thousands of years’..’though geographically, ethnologically and historically India represents an endless diversity to any observer-there is nonetheless a fundamental unity underlying this diversity.’..‘The most important cementing factor has been the Hindu religion. North or South, East or West, wherever you may travel, you will find the same religious ideas, the same culture and the same tradition. All Hindus look upon India as the Holy Land.’ He writes, ‘Everywhere the same scriptures are read and followed and the epics, the Mahabharata and the Ramayana are equally popular wherever you travel.’
It is not without this sense of geographical unity that a child born in Kaladi in present day Kochi district of Kerala renounces at the age of eight to perform a Digvijay Yatra and travels to places as far as Odisha, Badrinath, Dwarka and Kashmir. We know him today as Adi Shankaracharya.
Vishnu Puran expresses this sense as:
उत्तरं यत्समुद्रस्य हिमाद्रेश्चैव दक्षिणम् ।
वर्षं तद् भारतं नाम भारती यत्र संततिः ।।
“The country (varṣam) that lies north of the ocean and south of the snowy mountains is called Bhāratam; there dwell the descendants of Bharata.”
A vision is built on an understanding of who we are, to go to an imagined place in future, it is essential to find a common rhythm, a rhythm of Bharat!
(This was written as part of an exercise for Vision 2047 for India and captures some of the reflections that came up!)