As we prepare to enter the third millenium AD, India is faced with a spectrum of challenges - political stability, economic viability, poverty eradication, population control, social harmony, gender empowerment and environmental preservation, among others.
50 years into independence, it is clear that India is going through a period of tremendous turbulence. The old consensus has broken down and a new equilibrium has not yet emerged. Institutions that were considered to be the foundations of our democratic polity are under assault. The time has come when we have to re-examine many of the beliefs upon which our polity was founded, see where we have gone wrong and what needs to be done to set matters right.
At the same time the emergence of a global society beckons on the horizon. Is India ready to face the third millennium? With its unique cultural and historical heritage, India could play a crucial and critical role in structuring the new global society and providing the needed intellectual and spiritual stimulus based on our rich pluralistic tradition of Vedanta, Buddhism and other religions.
If we are going to emerge as an active participant of this global society, we need to understand and clearly act to reverse our collective failure to exercise power and its ensuing responsibilities. Not only is there deterioration in the public life, there has been no real movement towards good governance as both the dedication from above (political apparatus) and a corresponding desire (aspiration) from below (electorate) is in short supply.
The forum seeks to ignite within the country a "Cultural Revolution" that will attempt to translate the glowing visions of a resurgent India, which was so brilliantly articulated by seers like Swami Vivekananda and Sri Aurobindo, into a reality. This can be achieved only through a process of education and awakening among all the citizens of the country. In this context, the forum seeks to articulate and study the problems hampering India's development on a continuing basis and work out programmes of action on many levels including the parliament, state legislatures, universities, chambers of commerce and non-governmental organisations.
The India Forum will seek to build upon existing knowledge rather than duplicate work that has already been carried out. In addition to its own work, the forum will seek to broaden the focus of activity by its multi-disciplinary approach.
It is not that India lacks the intellectual or economic resources to tackle the problems facing us. Scientific breakthroughs and technological ingenuity have given us the capacity to overcome these challenges, as has been dramatically shown in our remarkable nuclear prowess. However, what is missing is the wisdom and compassion to apply them creatively. Knowledge is expanding but wisdom languishes. This yawning chasm needs to be bridged urgently.
To achieve this, what is needed is a "Cultural Revolution" in the best sense of that much misused term. What this implies is that India needs to reassess its past so that it can gain meaningful insights as well as break free from the shackles that have bound it for decades. This will enable India to move forward into the third millennium rejuvenated and able to add a spiritual dimension to the rudderless global society.
Amar Mahal Museum & Library
Amar Mahal Museum & Library, placed in a picturesque setting of Himalayas is an epitome of royal grandeur and magnificence...
Here are some photographs of the work I am doing and some of the events I have been involved in.
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© Copyright 2008, Dr. Karan Singh