DEFINING INDIAN IDENTITY-THE SPIRIT OF NATIONALISM
“….The Ganges,above all is the river of India,which has held India’s heart captive and drawn uncounted millions to her banks since the dawn of history.The story of the Ganges,from her source to the sea,from old times to new,is the story of India’s civilization and culture,of the rise and fall of empires,of great and proud cities,of adventures of man….”
Discovery of India,Jawaharlal Nehru
JIS DESH MEIN GANGA BEHATI HAI (THE COUNTRY WHERE RIVER GANGES FLOWS)
Raj Kapoor won Filmfare’s Best Actor Award in 1961 for his portrayal of ‘Raju’,a song writer,in his film titled ‘ Jis Desh Mein Ganga Behati Hai ‘.The picture was released during 1960 when I was twelve years old and was studying in VI-Form at the DANAVAIPETA MUNICIPAL HIGH SCHOOL in the town of RAJAHMUNDRY,East Godavari District , Andhra Pradesh.We had a beautiful marble statue of Mahatma Gandhi right in front of our school.I had studied Indian History as part of my school curriculum.I used to score well in my History tests.It was not difficult for me to remember all those dates,names and other facts that constitute the subject matter of History.I have a deep sense of appreciation for all those leaders who orchestrated the political struggle against the British Rule.The freedom movement did indeed foster a sense of purpose and had united people to achieve a common goal. It could be true that the fight against the Colonial powers gave a sense of Identity and very often the freedom fighters were called ‘SATYAGRAHIS.’I have great admiration for their sense of patriotism and I am ever grateful for the sacrifices they made to win our independence.I saw this movie ‘ Jis Desh Mein ‘ just once and may have heard the title song on the radio on a few occasions.But the song ,” Hotoan pe sachhai rahati hai,jahan dil me safaai rahati hai,Hum us desh ke vaasi hai,Hum us desh ke vaasi hai,Jis Desh Mein Ganga Behati Hai “, never faded from my memory.
Ten years after seeing the movie,in the year 1970,at the age of 22 years ,I was granted President’s Commission and joined the Indian Armed Forces in the rank of Lieutenant.While joining Service,we accept the risks that naturally accompany such an occupation and reflect upon the motivation that shapes the decision.I understand that the Freedom Struggle was important but that Struggle does not define my sense of National Identity.I have known that the country that we call India has existed long before the invasion by the Mughals,the country that we call India has existed during centuries of British Rule and now the country that we call India exists in spite of the changes in the political landscape and the political fortunes of the Parties that we elect from time to time.My sense of National Identity is not dependent upon the political history of our country.My sense of National Identity does not depend upon the language that I speak at home and it is not related to the regional customs pertaining to food or dress.I have known my country from its Cultural Traditions.In 1970,I had joined Army to defend the country which lives in my mind as the Land where River Ganga flows.
In my opinion,the country that we call India is not a mere political entity.It is true that India gained its political freedom in 1947.The country is existing ever since the River Ganges had started flowing across its Land.
I am not surprised that the song ” Jis Desh Mein ” still plays and I still hear the golden voice of immortal Mukesh ,whenever my heart dreams about India. Most certainly,the Spirit of Nationalism is inspired by a history which reaches back to a period earlier than the British occupation of India.
Dr. R. Rudra Narasimham,
Kurnool Medical College, Kurnool, Andhra Pradesh, India,