In the last post, we saw how forced juxtaposition brings about hatred between groups which have no natural antipathy to begin with, and how organic evolution brings about cooperation and friendship between the same groups. In this post, I'd like to point out glaring similarities between two recent forced juxtapositions which have plagued India: British colonization of India and the imposition of Hindi post independence. We'll also see what the former achieved, and what the latter is already achieving, albeit slowly.
Unorganized British traders and intellectuals would have simply continued their interactions with Indians until it was profitable to them and probably turned into naturalized Indians if they had lived here. But it took a multitude of traders and intellectuals well-organized as the British Nation to turn organic evolution into forced juxtaposition, and the seed of friendship and cooperation into hatred. It was the British Nation which juxtaposed tens of thousands of Britishers with Indians in a short period of time (yes, a couple of centuries years is a short period of time for these things!), armed them with the right to rule and destroy at will, and ultimately succeeded in creating hatred between the two societies.
When India became independent, the forced juxtaposition of the British was successfully undone, leaving mostly whatever can go on by ways of organic evolution to go on. However, this undoing required the rise of the Indian Nation, that is, a political India which never existed before the British. Rabindranath Tagore was completely opposed to the idea of this Indian Nation, because he saw that as the perfecting of organization and corruption of the power of self-protection which would ultimately make India goad all its neighbouring societies with greed of material prosperity, and consequent mutual jealousy, and by the fear of each other's growth into powerful-ness.
He also held the fear that the Indian Nation would stop Indians and Europeans from learning whatever is worth learning from each other by way of organic evolution - seeds of which were seen in M. K. Gandhi's rejection of everything English - such as education and textile machinery. Even today, there is no dearth of ultra-nationalists in India who look at anything uttered by Europeans as against the national interest of India and everything Indian as for the national interest of India - however steeped in vice that may be. The positioning of Hindi as the official language of India where two other European products (first, of having all state languages as official and second, the English language) are provably better is a glaring example of Tagore's fears coming true.
I have argued earlier that the primary concern of Tagore - that the Indian Nation would goad all its neighbouring societies with greed of material prosperity, and consequent mutual jealousy, and by the fear of each other's growth into powerful-ness has come true not with regard to external societies, but with regard to internal societies. India has not yet risen to that level of greed and perfection of organization and science where it can goad other Nations such as say China or Pakistan or Russia or the United States of America, but the version of India which is enshrined in the constitution has become the license for internal goading. I am referring to the Constitution of India according a higher status to Hindi than every other Indian language. This has become the license for Hindi speakers to literally rule over the speakers of other Indian languages who are less important by definition. This has forcefully juxtaposed Hindi speakers with the speakers of other languages all over India.
Now the Indian Nation has juxtaposed tens (if not hundreds) of thousands of Hindi speakers with other Indians in a short period of time (if a century is a short period of time, 60 years is too short!), armed them with the right to rule and destroy other Indian languages at will, and has ultimately succeeded in creating hatred between the two societies. There are some who believe that having Hindi in parallel with other Indian languages cannot be called imposition - but the fact is, Hindi is the only Indian language in matters of the Central Government, without any parallel Indian language. From the perspective of non-Hindi speaking states, then it was the British, and now it is the Hindis. Not much has changed. There exists in the experience of these states a forced-juxtaposition continuum.
Notwithstanding Tagore's ideas in these matters, the fact is: the solution which finally did undo forced juxtaposition of the British was the Indian Nation which he so hated. Just as a thorn must be used to remove another thorn, it was the Indian Nation under M. K. Gandhi which ultimately succeeded in removing the forced juxtaposition. Of course, it came with all the negatives of the Nation which Tagore so feared (two of which I've pointed out above).
If the past is any indicator of what the future holds in its womb, it appears that the forced juxtaposition of Hindi all over India by the Indian Nation will result in the development or strengthening of state-level nationalisms in post-independence India, which will not rest until the forced juxtaposition is removed. This is already seen most visibly in the Southern and North Eastern states. Also, other types of forced juxtapositions such as that due to which large numbers of speakers of one language are still living second-grade lives in states where they form minorities, and that which state governments themselves engage in, will all aid such nationalisms. Inter-state issues between geographically adjacent states are, of course, due to a bad job done during the reorganization of states. All this, of course, will cost all Indians time and money which are better invested in what Tagore proposed as the solution to India's problems: good education in the mother tongue.
This is the truth as we see it at Banavasi Balaga. The question is - will thinkers and policy makers and men and women of power realize this and take corrective actions?