The Arya Samaj indeed is an international movement and not a national one. Right from day one when this august movement made a debut in Bombay in 1875 the entire mankind was put in focus. Among the 28 principles enunciated at the inception and later modified to 10 principles in Lahore in 1877, the emphasis has all along been on the development of the entire mankind. The sixth principle of the Arya Samaj states that promotion of well being of the entire humanity – physical, spiritual and social development – is the main aim of the Aryan movement. It needs no underscoring that as a reformation movement the Arya Samaj is not confined to the geographical or political boundaries of a nation state. However, India being the birth place of the movement and the founder promoter of the Arya Samaj, Maharshi Swami Dayanand Saraswati, being an Indian the initial impact was felt in the then British India.
Notwithstanding the historical and geographical past, the movement gained momentum in other European, African and American states where men and women of Indian origin with an Ayan bent of mind settled for education, business, service or other human and legal occupations. These Aryan pioneers held the flag of the Arya Samaj aloft and kept it flying despite numerous odds that they faced. They had a recurring problem. Were they to pay attention to the country of their birth or to the country of their adoption. The concept of dual citizenship was not even in an embryo form more than a century ago. The pioneer Arya Samajists had to profess and demonstrate their loyalty to the country where they earned their bread and butter and at the same time had to inwardly remain attached to the country where their forefathers were born and the Arya Samaj was founded. Indeed some felt tormented where as others took it in their normal stride of life. Without violating the law of the land of adoption, they kept their conscience and their `Vedic Dharm’ in an unadulterated form. We raise our hats and salute to them for their quality of character and strength of perseverance.
The Arya Samajists born and raised in India have indeed no problem of dual citizenship or tormented conscience. Unencumbered by a tormented conscience the Arya Samajists of India have had all the time in the world to devote their undivided attention to nation building. Turning a page of history we find that the British government in India had started keeping a suspicious eye on the activities of the Arya Samaj after many an Arya had joined the national freedom movement. When Lala Lajpat Rai, a prominent Arya Samajist and a freedom fighter was imprisoned and exiled by turns, the Arya Samaj faced the ire of the Raj. Gurukul Kangri of Swami Shradhanand Saraswati was rated as a factory manufacturing revolutionaries by the sleuths of the central government. This state continued until Sir Ramsay Mc Donald later prime minister of United Kingdom (UK), Deenbandhu Andrews and other prominent Englishmen paid a visit to the Gurukul and found not only peace of mind but spiritual tranquility in its hallowed precincts.
Past is past. It is the present that an Indian Arya has to take care of. The Arya Samaj now is rarely in the news in nation building activity. Although the educational institutions like the DAV schools and colleges, various Gurukuls and Arya Kanya Paathshaalas are rendering yeoman’s service in the cause of education, direct involvement with the masses has been gradually receding. With the result various prominent Arya speakers have been only lecturing and listening to each other. Consequently there is no forward movement and we seem to be running in circles. It is time we broke the circular run and moved forward double time.
If an individual or an organization puts too many irons in fire, none is heated. In other words launching too many projects simultaneously does not produce the desired results. In the bargain we fritter away our energies and limited resources. Therefore, let us pick and choose some areas where we can move forward with our brothers and sisters not only in India but also in other parts of the world too.
In nation building unity of aim is very important. Right now the Indian nation is rather badly divided on linguistic, religious and regional bases. After more than half a century of independence, a sizable section of the population refuses to sing the national song Vande Mataram, because they mistakenly believe it infringes their religious beliefs. How can a nation be a nation when the nation doesn’t sing together a song enshrined into the constitution as a national song. The Arya Samaj may move forward and disabuse the minds of illiterate and semi-literate people by educating them and enlightening them. Let Vande Mataram which indeed is not an idolatrous song, be sung at various Arya Samaj functions after chanting of the eight Ved Mantras of Ishwar Stuti and reading the Ten Principles or Das Niyam of the Arya Samaj.
At the end of the event the second mantra of the Sangathan Sukta should be recited in unison to bring in social cohesion. It is indeed a very welcome development that many a government school and private education institutions have rendered the Sangathan Sukta mantras and its Hindi version into a musical chorus. The boys and girls sing the chorus with gusto. Let us carry this torch of emotional cohesion to every nook and corner of our beloved Bharat and light the unlighted lamps from Kashmir to Kanyakumari and Kamrupa to Kutch.
Pursuing the sixth principle of the Arya Samaj the Arya leaders should pay extra ordinary attention to the physical wellbeing of our compatriots. Off late it is noticed that the mushrooming growth of educational institutions has paid little attention to games and sports. Schools and colleges proudly declaring thousands of students on their rolls have little space or playing fields for team games. For nation building and bringing in social cohesion team games play a very vital role. Day in and day out we are reminded of the famous saying of England, ``the battle of Waterloo was won on the playgrounds of Eton.’’ In other words it was the famous public school of Eton that provided the sound military leadership and cohesion in thought and action that could beat the mighty French legions of Napoleon. Unfortunately not enough has been done to have such playgrounds for our leaders of society in making.
In the physical well being of the masses education to keep the growing menace of AIDS at arms length is now a must. Indeed, ``Shariramadyam Khalu Dharm Sadhanam,’’ that is, it is the body that is certainly the first means of practicing righteousness. Let their not only be a healthy mind in a healthy body but also a healthy soul in a healthy body. The way AIDS has been eating into the vitals of our society, the day is not far off when we will be cremating our dead in dozens like the African are burying theirs – all victims of AIDS.
What is AIDS? Acquired Immuno Deficiency Syndrome – in other words the virus renders ineffective the body’s natural immune system. AIDS is transmitted not only by indulging in unsafe sex with multiple partners but also by HIV positive blood transfusion and using infected needles. The only protection from AIDS is prevention. AIDS is a killer disease and silently eats into the body’s defences against disease. Even innocuous maladies like common cold cannot be prevented and the patient dies a horrible death. The Arya Samaj should be on the forefront to educate the youth – both men and women to protect the future generation from the clutches of this dreaded disease. Education is the best and at present, the only weapon against this virus.
While taking care of the physical well being, emotional stability has to be attended to. If an individual, a family, a group or a nation is emotionally stable, development will take place at a faster pace. For peace of mind and for international peace emotional stability is a sine qua non, that is, a basic must. Individuals have to practice it and also give up the tendency to seize or grab what does not belong to them. In the words of Yogeshwar Shri Krishna the two pillars of emotional stability are Abhyas and Vairagya that is constant practice of the good things in life and detachment from the mundane world.
Let us hope and pray that our Arya brothers and sisters march forward in unison by selecting the aforesaid programme of action and participate in nation building.
By Brigadier Chitranjan Sawant, VSM