Dear Shri Narendra Modi Ji:
His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama has wished the very best for the success of your government, and is praying for the same. This, as you surely know, is no ordinary symbolism. His Holiness actually voices the great hope the people of India have on you, for reviving the glorious Indian culture, the culture which had preached harmonious living in the world while retaining martial spirit for fighting the evil when the need arises. It is not only His Holiness, or the people of India, who have this tremendous hope. There are countless ordinary people in the world (in Japan, France, Brazil, United Kingdom, Taiwan, Belgium and in many other places), who wishes to see India performing her rightful role in the world affairs, and help preserve countless local cultures in this era of all-pervading globalization. Your presence in Ganga Arati in Varanasi showed that you are acutely aware of the responsibility that lies ahead of you. Best wishes!
Here I wish to present just a few suggestions, more as examples, of how India’s traditions can contribute to India’s growth, and thus overcome a depressing sense of mediocrity. You know of all of these. I do not wish to preach, this letter is just an articulation from a common Indian citizen.
Cleaning river Ganga, revered in Indian tradition as mother, is not only going to create hope and a large number of jobs, but will also show the world and the country that environmentally sustainable growth is no slogan, it is indeed possible.
Sanskrit, possibly one of the oldest languages in the world, is also one of the most beautiful ones. In spite of widespread state negligence, due to sheer resilience of Hindu traditions, this magnificent language has survived, albeit not in the best of health. Due to the characteristics of this language, it lends itself beautifully to poetry and recital. Reviving this language will not only create jobs, but will also create intellectual capital.
Kalachakra conducted by His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama is not a cultural tradition for the Buddhist people alone, it is a heritage for the world, and India can help showcase this to the world. Needless to say, the economic development of people in the regions where this takes place, such as Ladakh, will receive a boost.
Scholars Rahul Sankrityayan and Gendun Chomphel had conducted an extraordinary intellectual ‘expedition’ in Tibet, as a result of which they had unearthed thousands of ancient manuscripts that are revered by the Indian and Tibetan people alike. The history buffs among tourists would feel overwhelmed to experience of their expedition through technology-assisted means. The tourism and economic potential can hardly be overstated.
The names of towns such as Darjeeling, Jalpaiguri and Udalguri have considerable history attached. Can the history of these places be traced back and publicized, with appropriate museums and multimedia presentations? It is possible that the ancient Tibetan empire, which was strong up to the 8th century AD, had considerable influence in these regions, in all likelihood the Indian and Tibetan cultures had confluences in these areas. Students of ancient Tibetan history, among tourists, will forever be grateful to India, for such treasure-trove of guidance.
A place near Darjeeling is called ‘Rungli Rungliot’. In the local language, this means ‘Thus far, and no further’. There may be considerable mystery attached to this name, with possible historical significance. Unfortunately, modern Indian history, heavily influenced by colonial-educated intelligentsia, has not demonstrated the intellectual rigor to research on the folktales and legends of people living in remote hill areas. Unlocking the history may hold the key to tremendous tourism potential for our country.
The 6th Dalai Lama, a very unusual Dalai Lama, was born in Urgyenling near Tawang (Arunachal Pradesh). If the place can be developed commensurate to its historical significance, along with the necessary infrastructure for tourism and the appropriate information resources, this can attract droves of tourists interested in history.
Kashmir has acquired global attention for Pakistan-sponsored terrorism. However, we need to turn it around to make it famous for the legends – of being the abode of sage Kashyap. We need to bring back memories of Kalhan and his epic ‘Raj Tarangini’. We need to revive Kashmir’s ancient and beautiful Sarada language, which is almost dead, due to the divisive policies practiced by the successive state governments that have marginalized this language. We need to revive Kashmir’s glorious history, this is where important segments of Buddhist faith was born.
Mother India has allowed persecuted people from other parts of the world to settle in her lap, and has enabled them to keep their culture alive. Tibetan people have kept their beautiful language alive. Parsi community has kept their pre-Islamic Iranian culture alive. India can help these communities showcase the splendor of their culture. Cultural tourism will benefit these communities, in addition to boosting economic development in India.
As you know, Yog, the magnificent science emanated from India that has enthralled the world, can very well flourish to its full potential in India too, with good governance and policies that at least do not obstruct business. Similarly, in an era when eBook version of the Rig Veda can be purchased for as little as Indian Rupees 54, the ancient Indian literature including the epics and Puranas can be publicized a lot more, with only a little bit of imaginative policies that help entrepreneurial spirit. Likewise, ancient martial arts such as Kalaripayattu that had flourished in Kerala can also be publicized – after all, if Tai Chi is successfully publicized in the world, these Indian martial art forms stand as good a chance as any. Each of these will bring in the associated economic benefits.
Indian people will happily work towards revival of Indian tradition and history. Please lead your new government to frame, and execute, appropriate policies. Jai Hind! Vande Mataram!
Thanks and regards,
an ordinary Indian.