Chandigarh, Oct 20 : Well known environmentalist, thinker and author Claude Alvares has emphasised that we Indians lost our thousands of years of lead position in the field of knowledge and science in the world to the West only because at some stage we decided to give up being ourselves and blindly started aping our colonial masters. He feels the time has come to reinvent ourselves by once again re-linking to our own inherent strengths.
Delivering a talk on “De-colonising the Mind; De-westernising the Soul” as part of the `Lal-Bal-Pal Distinguished Lecture’ series organised by Chandigarh based Citizen’s Voice at the Panjab University here today, the Goa-based thinker said that we Indians may be dismissive of our own past greatness, but the world still acknowledges India as the fountainhead of knowledge and philosophy. This is clearly reflected in millions of people from around the world still flocking to India to find spiritual peace and solace, he added.
We Indians need to devise our own systems and find our own solutions best suited to our peculiar requirements instead of just copying Western models of development and progress which may not have any connect whatsoever with our way of life, Alavares, who is known to have radical views on just about all issues, including education, agriculture, development and science and technology, said.
Our education system, agricultural practices, means of irrigation, scientific and mathematical knowledge were so well developed that these sustained a very advanced civilisation for thousands of years and it cannot be that these have suddenly become obsolete and irrelevant to the country’s future progress just over the past few hundred years. This was part of a propaganda by colonial powers to subjugate the indomitable spirit of Indians to serve their own political interests and we Indians got entrapped, and continue to be entrapped, in the propaganda, he averred.
Alvares said we can make a new beginning by creating an environment for our children to set their minds free. Just like a forest is able to sustain itself with no outside support, and the young ones of birds and animals can sustain themselves with just a little push, our children can also chart a healthy course for themselves without help from us parents and the school. “At best, what we as parents should be doing is protecting their learning space and letting them pursue their own interests. We have to learn to trust our children’s capabilities, and if we do not trust our children, we are indirectly admitting that we do not have trust in ourselves,” he added.