Vimarsh on ‘The Seven Tectonic Forces Undermining India: How to Confront & Defeat Them’
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The Vivekananda International Foundation (VIF) organised a panel discussion on 'The Seven Tectonic Forces Undermining India: How to Confront & Defeat Them’ on 3rd March 2023. The panel discussion was aimed to highlight the issue of various forces hindering Indian portrayal at a global level, and what could be ways to counter such forces.

The discussion was chaired by Dr. Arvind Gupta, Director VIF and hosted an esteemed and renowned panel of speakers. The distinguished speakers were; Shri Rajiv Malhotra, Founder Infinity Foundation, & Dr. Vijaya Vishwanathan, Board Member, Infinity Foundation. The panellist; Amb Kalwal Sibal, Former Foreign Secretary & Advisory Board Member, VIF and Prof Sujit Dutta Distinguished Fellow and Editor- National Security, VIF also shared their invaluable views.

Unjust, unfair, biased, fraudulent and purchased global rankings can do immense damage to different countries. Countries which are not into the game of lobbying or buying rankings, are greatly prejudiced by unregulated rankings which are given huge publicity in the media for diverse reasons, including political and financial (Gurumurthy, 2021[1]). Such is one, of many, glaring challenges faced by India. The core of the dialogue held was to put the issue of undermining India into the spotlight and find ways to deal with the problem at hand.

Dr. Arvind Gupta, addressed the theme of the event by recounting the book launch of ‘Snakes in the Ganga: Breaking India 2.0’, authored by Shri Rajiv Malhotara, highlighting how the book exposes an expanding ecosystem of hinduphobia in the western academic and media circles and how this ongoing information warfare has impacted the Indian society and its National Security.

Discussing forces Undermining India

The distinguished speakers elaborated on the nature and kind of challenges posed by such forces in front of India. The speakers deciphered that these tectonic forces are coming from the theories developed by the west, which were on the basis of their own experiences of history and philosophy, and later imposed them objectively throughout the globe. The term associated with such widespread use of these theories is ‘Western Universalism’. Being apprehensive towards the approach our nation is taking in order to understand the deep causation of such activities, by referring to how we lacked Purva Paksha, which means having an in-depth analysis of an opponent's criticism before arguing it. This lack of Purva Paksha has indeed led to the immediate retort, by Indian intellectuals, to the allegations of different international organisations and media houses, but the deep cause remains active. Hence unless the deep cause is acknowledged and remedied the long term solution of such issue will not come about.

The seven tectonic forces that were elaborated upon were; Firstly, ‘New Ideology’ the unipolar understanding of the idea of social justice, caste theories, rights, who’s the oppressor and who’s the oppressed, etc have formed an ecosystem and created a divide. This has created a base for ideological warfare undermining Indian society.
Secondly is education; adoption of western ideologies in the form of teachings, in liberal arts, social sciences, etc. The West has subsequently not been able to understand the subjectivity involved in developing the theories for social sciences and have been imposing their hypothesis. Such concepts are allowed to penetrate in the young minds through unfiltered education, which eradicates the native ideas of Vedic liberal arts. The dangerous instance of foreign universities being allowed to open up campuses in India, syllabus not being governed under UGC guidelines, is just one of the cases which are further reinforcing the western perceptions.

Third kind of forces are the ‘Indian Industrialists’; funding of foreign institutes and academicians, bringing foreign consultancy and American ideas, and adhering to foreign narratives. The Indian industrialists funding western academia provide them credibility to cater to masses in India. Foreign consultancy firms put forward the western ideas of diversity and implement them through policy recommendation or through complying with various indexes like Diversity and Inclusion Index, ESG Index, etc.

Fourth force that also serves as an instrument is, ‘Technology Giants’ using data to weaponize algorithms to manipulate and create a functional divide, therefore bringing forth an age of ‘Digital Colonisation’. Hence a dire need to check on the content spreading through digital modes.

Fifth force being ‘Media’; the issue at hand shall not be limited to the published journals or academic literature, tarnishing the Indian culture. Rather a necessity to analyse the source of ideology and funds that need be highlighted. Sixth force is the ‘Judiciary’ expounding the western narratives.

Lastly is ‘Myopic Hindus’- they are those who are either ignorant or not well versed with the actuality. Hence these are the people who get inclined towards the superficial narratives and theories of civilisation.

Furthermore, discussion took turn towards the broader path of policy discourse, and the two significant issues were put on the spot. First are the issues occurring through errors of commission, where we have ended up subscribing to the certain policies that have further driven us into the clutches of western ideologies. The other mistakes are the errors of omission, where our nation has failed to develop a concrete policy which could act as a gatekeeper to the western theories.

There is an urgent need to take charge of our educational curriculum and carry out a thorough introspection of the liberal arts education including what kind of skills such curriculum offers. Such evaluation will enrich us to take charge of our education and ponder about the kind of employment possibilities they will further lead us to.

The process, adopted by the west, of indoctrinating respective ideologies, like caste sensitivity, diversity, etc through education in liberal arts, corporate training and policy inclination, has dented the individuals’ belongingness to their own culture. Such programmes to brainwash, further leading to thought reforms, have created a wide gap between an individual and his own identity.

The esteemed panelists further brought forward the varied issues and elaborated their view. In a federal system, where there is a lack of consensus within the society to act collectively against such forces. Combined with the immense value given to the English language it creates an easy pathway for new ideologies to percolate in the nation. Hence, it is very important that the media works in tandem with the national interest.

The media plays an important role in infiltration of western ideas, through the distorted reporting of the incidents, tends to further solidify the divide, rather than seeking a redressal. Concerns were also presented on the new education policy (NEP 2020) allowing foreign universities to set up liberal arts which will consequently lead to further deep rooting of new ideologies.

The discussion was further extended towards technology. Here the two faced problems, firstly the issue of dealing with American pressure to imbibe such data mining technologies and then the concern of having a data law that is acceptable to the west, were highlighted upon. The role of the judiciary and how it is being allowed to encroach upon the executive power of government, was touched upon.

Finally the discussion moulded towards the broader structural problem of the interaction with the west. The idea of how democracy promotion became the liberal agenda, since the cold war. First structural problem is the linguistic structure. It was observed that how decolonisation did not impact the educational system as the English language continued to dominate the academics and thus western literature played its role in perpetuating the mindsets through that language medium.

Second structural problem is western education, and the market value of these programmes makes it an attractive place for Indian students. Third structural issue is the shared idea of democracy which hinders in censoring or even investigating the free flowing ideas. On the back of this democratic value system the western idea penetrates more deeply. With open free trade policies these structural challenges will keep on becoming stronger, where the infiltration of technology becomes a new force to reckon with.

Actionable Solution Proposed

To conclude the discussion, both the speakers and the panelists discussed solutions to counter the aforesaid issues. These actionable solutions were focussed equally on all the 7 tectonic forces. Firstly, there is a need to have a dialogue and analyse the reasons behind the funding by the Indian industrialists in the foreign universities and discuss the alternatives for such funding. Secondly, a policy intervention to avoid brain drain with a focus towards the investment in research and development of home based intellectual property rather than preparing students for developing technology for foreign tech giants. Thirdly, having data protection laws on national interest where the example of European data protection laws was quoted.

Fourth suggestion pointed towards training, initiated by the Ministry of External Affairs, towards awareness of such categorical challenges posed by the forces undermining India. Fifth suggestion was to have foreign universities, opening up campuses in India, to adhere to the UGC guidelines creating a level playing field for Indian universities to compete with them. Sixth recommendation was towards the foreign consultancy; the habit of seeking policy consultation, in education, social justice, etc., from organisations having expertise in different fields should come to an end.

Lastly, a need to invest in development of Vedic based social sciences was emphasised upon. Such actionable proposals were given not only to create awareness of these forces but also to push away the false sense of security we have; there is a need to swiftly act upon such recommendations to prevent further penetration of such tectonic forces.

Endnotes :

[1]Gurumurthy, S. 2021. Random Thoughts 2021: Emerging Paradigm shift in the Changing Global, Political and Economic Order. Chapter VII; Explosive Revelations of Fraud in Ease of Doing Business Ranking by World Bank. pp 244-259. Vivekananda International Foundation, New Delhi.

Event Date 
March 3, 2023

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