The Epics serve as a comprehensive account of the great cultural, social, political, and moral ethos of the historic past. Ever since the political rejuvenation of the right wing in 2014, the government has been promoting the cultural ethos of the Hindu way of life. The teachings of the great sages and traditions have come to the fore, and indigenous knowledge has become a mainstream discourse.
Lessons to learn from the Epics
The efficacy of the great epics of Ramayan and Mahabharat has been instrumental in determining our contemporary culture. The recent address of the Foreign Minister, Dr. S. Jaishankar, at Banaras Hindu University sheds light on the significance of the two great epics in shaping our day-to-day discourse. He highlighted how, as a child, he was given religious instructions at home, which shaped his moral and psychological ethos.
He went ahead to highlight the prominence of the traditional Hindu culture in guiding the present government machinery in refining its policy documents. He gave his personal example to suggest that he has drawn inspiration from the strategy adopted by Bhagwan Ram in bringing together the various groups under one umbrella for a particular cause. He drew a similarity between the strategy and the present-day geopolitical theory of “coalition building.”
The Foreign Minister’s statement implied that India is following in the footsteps of Bhagwan Ram and that ideals of Ram Rajya will soon be national ideology. His statement is a clear indication that the foreign policy of India is inclined towards bringing like-minded countries together to face a common enemy.
Further, it also highlights that the attitude of the government in the geopolitical area would be characterised by humility, humanitarian considerations, collective progress, and relentless efforts. On the contrary, India would not spare its enemies and would go all guns blazing against any foreign miscreant.
India will follow Ram Rajya’s lead
The External Affairs Minister, Dr. S. Jaishankar, further voiced that the policy of the Modi government unequivocally stands for the cultural renaissance of the Hindu philosophy. He further explained that the cultural diplomacy of central government is aimed at “restoring our rich traditions for the benefit of the world,” and a genuinely democratic and pluralistic world order is not possible without taking refuge in Indian heritage.
The statement clearly indicates that India is all set to play a leader’s role in the geopolitical arena. The peace, tranquility, and prosperity that the world’s leaders seek to achieve can only be achieved by following the footsteps of Ram Rajya. That is to say, the way the current world order is collapsing, the world would be forced to look towards India in order to overcome the catastrophe of modern times.
Dr. S. Jaishankar, while addressing an event at the “Kashi Tamil Sangamam,” illustrated how magnificently the temples have preserved and promoted our culture and history. Pointing out the “Contribution of temples to society and nation building,” he drew attention to the prominent role that temples played in the promotion of arts and crafts, especially the architectural marvels. The discourse of the Minister was centered on how India can effectively; develop its culture as a mechanism for soft power.
The curriculum around cultural tourism, cultural diplomacy, and rejuvenation of the cultural heritage is significantly redefining the role of New India on the global front. The nation, being the oldest and the only surviving ancient civilization, can contribute to the world on diverse fronts.
Furthermore, the Modi government can effectively use indigenous cultural ethos to build significant “soft power” around it. The nation lacks at present on the global front as it does not have a mass following which the Japanese animation movies or Korean K-pop enjoys. Developing a soft power around culture would be a diverse and more lasting idea given the failed state of affairs of present-day western art in India.
Dr. S. Jaishankar, who recently took part in the Nagarathar Nattukottai Chettiars’ traditional procession to the Kashi Vishwanath temple and the Ganga Aarti at the Dashaswamedh Ghat, can be said to be promoting the essence of the Hindu culture both within and outside the country.
Dr. S. Jaishankar, an erudite scholar of our glorious past, highlighted that the government has in the recent past carried out various rejuvenation and infrastructural developments in the ancient cities. Throwing light on the cultural diplomacy of the current regime, he informed that Varanasi will be hosting the G-20 Development Ministers’ meeting in the near future.
The policy of the government is centered on utilizing the growing might of the civilizational ethos of India. During the covid times, various leaders used the references of our cultural pasts to denote that India can play a significant role in the times of crisis. That is to say, the government through its cultural diplomacy looks to capitalize the ‘Soft power’ of the great cultural heritage.
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