The dream of a brave new world

V.R. Krishna Iyer

Copenhagen saw a global collapse because America is, as ever, controlled by corporate power.

Barack Obama’s forefathers called the British Crown’s bluff at the Boston Tea Party, battled it and won the historic American War of Independence. Much later, India fought the same British Crown without arms for swaraj and won its Independence. America made a unique Declaration of Independence, beginning the end of slavery and colonialism. India made a magnificent “tryst with destiny” for the sake of equality and Independence, and to wipe every tear from every eye, as proclaimed by Jawaharlal Nehru.

Nehru was inspired by the greatest human being of his generation, Mahatma Gandhi. India aspired to become a socialist, secular, democratic republic. It may be relatively poor in material terms but has sublimated itself with the noblest felicity of spirituality. Indians are not mendicants for military gains or other weapons for victory, but want peace and security. These aspirations have been articulated in India’s Directive Principles of state policy.

These two great democracies ought to work together to implement the conscience of the Constitution as expressed by Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, who was the Chairman of the drafting committee of the Constituent Assembly and as approved unanimously by that Assembly.

Article 51 of the Constitution commits India to the “promotion of international peace and security.” It requires that “the state shall endeavour to promote international peace and security; maintain just and honourable relations between nations; foster respect for international law and treaty obligations in the dealings of organised peoples with one another; and encourage [the] settlement of international disputes by arbitration.”

This is the crux of India’s foreign policy that should strive for a cosmos where none violates the other and there is peaceful co-existence, so that humanity as a whole shall be a haven of fellowship and ensures security and non-alignment all around.

Mr. Obama is a Gandhian, too. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was himself a disciple of Gandhi. Swami Vivekananda, the spiritual wonder, made his acclaimed lecture to the World Parliament of Religions on September 11, 1893 in Chicago. Thus India and the United States have bonds that are on a higher plane than mere military and business deals. The great American people, in electing Mr. Obama President, expressed their historic commitment to a faith in human rights, regardless of race, class or region.

Independent India’s Founding Fathers were true to the ancient heritage of the Buddha and Ashoka that motivated Mahatma Gandhi to take to the path of non-violence and truth in a world of ubiquitous terrorism and economic violence and where mighty corporate power came to rule the roost. A visit by Mr. Obama to India will prove to be an inspiration for a world where justice — social, economic, political and cultural — will be supreme. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has jettisoned the ideology of George W. Bush and invited him to Bharat Mahan.


Dr. Singh, who visited Russia and China before going to Copenhagen, is a statesman with a vision of one-world. His mission encompasses spiritual values that go beyond crass materialism and is instilled with compassion for all living creatures in the spirit of the Buddha. Thus, from the Volga to the Ganga to the Mississippi and the Yangtze, India wants a friendly universe. That is Advaita, the fundamental philosophy of India. The West came to India with the ethos of the Christian White, while India maintained a tolerant theology that has been forever pacific. The White House and the Red Fort did not practise the pathology of protest and conversion but integrated Jesus Christ with the Krishna cult. So, too, Islam came with trade. The Indian ancestors did not resist Allah but integrated religion into their culture. So India is secular in a transcendental sense.

The U.S. itself has people from many countries. India and the U.S. share many values. It is not about the nuclear power of annihilation but about a socialist culture and a secular wonder of fraternity and Gandhian culture. That is the foundation of Indo-American friendship, formed by means of a transformation of values. Big business and material consumption do not by themselves represent development. Privatisation, globalisation and nuclear annihilation constitute a thanatology that both the countries should jointly resist.

May you be the founder, Mr. Obama, of a majestic marvel of a brave new world. You are not merely of the American White House but part of the history of humanity. You may be misunderstood by some, but as Emerson put it: “Is it so bad, then, to be misunderstood? Pythagoras was misunderstood, and Socrates, and Jesus, and Luther, and Copernicus, and Galileo, and Newton, and every pure and wise spirit that ever took flesh. To be great is to be misunderstood.”

Mr. Obama is great; so too is Dr. Singh. The shared destiny of these two countries is not heading downhill but rather evolving into a higher cosmos that is free from chaos, not polluted by obdurate obscurantism.

The rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer is a recipe for planet earth to perish, sooner than later. Way back in 1972 (June 5 to 16) in Stockholm, the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment was held and Prime Minister Indira Gandhi took a leading role there in conscientising humanity about the need to fight environmental pollution in order to save the biosphere. Nearly four decades later the nations of the world met in Copenhagen last month to unite on serious issues of climate change and to save the earth from destruction, disease and despair.


But, alas, Copenhagen amounted to a suicide. The Indian Prime Minister did his best. But the richer countries would not agree. Do they not realise that if the planet perished the rich would go down too? Humanity’s death knell seemed close at hand, but some nations, intoxicated by their riches as they have been, forgot that fact and resisted change. The world summit ended in disappointment and despair. Mr. Obama, the new wonder, could not commit America to save Copenhagen as the hope of a new world.

Thus today the Indian Prime Minister seeks to salvage the world, while the American President is powerless to vote for the victory of humanity. Here it is not the new White House, but ‘America Incorporated’ that governs the white world, leaving the coloured mankind to seppuku. The revised draft presented by the U.S., India, China and a half-hearted Britain spelled surrender to the capitalist-exploitative appetite. The writing on the wall is of planetary extermination.

After all, the President of the United States, be he white or black, is still an American.


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