The Ganges and the Brahmaputra

Mauritius Times – 60 Years Ago

By Bharamsing Sharma

We revert with pleasure to enlighten NMU the archcritic of oriental civilization. In an oblique reference, in Le Cernéen of November, he talks about the Ganges and the Brahmaputra to belittle the people inhabiting the plains of those great rivers.

As a mouthpiece of a small fraction of this Colony’s population, Mr NMU, in his self-assumed pedantry has been throwing random stones in his fight with fantasies.

He obviously fails to imagine how a manual labourer can have a prosperous progeny. Evidently, he does not know how a cobbler’s son became the head of a State. He must have seen in his fatherland how many men of small means have raised illustrious families. But probably he cannot reconcile to similar positions in the East.

Whether on the banks of the Ganges, the Brahmaputra, the Seine or any other Lilliputian river of the West, the labourers have been doing the work for the incapable employers but nowhere perhaps has any egocentric person with myopic outlook envied the prosperity and advancement of manual workers or their descendants. Apparently, he does not know the inescapable result of the law of cause and effect. There are white labourers in many countries today but does he know that there is interdependent partnership between the workers and the proprietors and the latter are helplessly dependent on the former?

History alone will teach NMU the danger of stepping behind time and failure to understand the East, as René Guénon had emphasised “… the need for an understanding with the East – apart from the question of intellectual benefit that would be its direct result…” If France had raised the cry of Liberty, Fraternity and Equality, NMU does not wish the Algerians to remember that lesson. If a priest in plain faith criticises certain action of France, then he gets exasperated and takes it as an insult to his fatherland. But when he does the same in respect of other’s fatherland, then it is all very fine.

In his utter confusion, NMU has said that things have remained static in India from the pre-Vedic times. That is a nice admission of failure for foreign domination. It is true that the soul of India has survived all the onslaughts. René Guénon had said – “It is forgotten that the earliest civilizations (in India) have continued to exist without interruption to the present day. If the intention be to consult these people, then one should not start out from the curious principle that one is oneself better informed than they are themselves.”

NMU should know what Sir George Birdwood had to say about the Indian society: “Such an ideal social order – we should have held impossible of realization – a proof of the superiority in so many unsuspected ways of the hieratic civilization of antiquity over the joyless inane and self-destructive civilization of the West.”

NMU is getting out of date. If he wants to still flourish his profitable pen, he should know what some of the cultured natives of the West have to say about their own society. Prof La Piane of Harvard has said: “What we call our civilization is but a murderous machine with no conscience and no ideals”. Prof Foester of Princeton has said: “This is an acquisitive society, materialistic in its interest, unhealthy in its pleasures, disillusioned in its ideals and moving blindly towards disaster.”

Great minds of the West have time and again admitted that the values of life in the West are interpreted in terms of power and material assets, comforts and convenience. NMU’s “l’esprit et les armes” confirms how life fed on such a culture should lack in peace and contentment. They have not the estimation of that aspect of science which reveals the innermost secret of human happiness.

The “spirit and arms” with which conquests were made during the dark days of history have no potency and strength today. The “spirit” of exploiting the peace-loving people and the “arms”, that preferred guns to shovels, stand discredited before the developing order of the world. NMU pines for the dying system which made life easy and rosy for a few at the cost of many. And he fails to see the rise of powerful “spirit” and stronger “arms” on the banks of many rivers to cater for even justice and equal service.

NMU forgets that the brawns of the Indians and Coloured men had helped to nurture the brains of those who today speak from a self-created superior pedestal. He would do well to gather some more knowledge even at this late stage and we sincerely hope that he knows that knowledge starts with “Know Thyself”.

Friday 7th December, 1956

* Published in print edition on 21 June 2019

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