Icon of Self-Confidence and National Pride
The one central idea that comes to our mind when we think of Swami Vivekananda or read his powerful exhortations is Self-Confidence. Swami Vivekananda was an embodiment of tremendous self-confidence and he inspired confidence in others wherever he went. The French Nobel Laureate Romain Rolland gives expression to the inspiration he derived from Swami Vivekananda in these beautiful words:
“Vivekananda’s words are great music, phrases in the style of Beethoven, stirring rhythms like the march of Handel choruses. I cannot touch these sayings of his at thirty years distance without receiving a thrill through my body like an electric shock. And what shock, what transport, must have been produced when, in burning words, they issued from the lips of the hero!”
The diversity of people from different walks of life who have been touched by this ‘electric shock’ is astounding. From freedom fighters of yore like Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Subhash Chandra Bose and Sri Aurobindo Ghosh, to crusaders like Anna Hazare today; from scientists like Nicholas Tesla to industrialists like Jamshedji Tata, the list of his admirers continues to grow all over the world. Swami Vivekananda’s inspirational life and literature has successfully delivered this ‘shock’ treatment to millions of people across the world even today, inspiring them to take charge of their lives and strive for the highest goals of life. Swami Vivekananda declares, “The history of the world is the history of a few men who had faith in themselves.” Self-Confidence is the key to the success of an individual in life. Without this strong faith in oneself, man becomes a helpless toy in the hands of the powerful winds of destiny and circumstances. What is true of individuals is also true of societies and nations. The self-confidence of a society and a nation is built on the basis of the shared memories of their collective achievements. This sense of pride in their achievements bonds them together with a feeling of national pride. A nation which does not take legitimate pride in its past achievements becomes rootless and weak. Unfortunately today, India presents a picture of weakness and meek submission in the international arena, precisely because our intellectual and policy makers have cultivated a selective ignorance of our past glory. The modern Indian education system fails to highlight positive achievements of Indian culture and civilization. Speaking of this weakness, Swami Vivekananda thundered at the new system of English education introduced by Macaulay thus:
“The education that you are getting now has some good points, but it has a tremendous disadvantage which is so great that the good things are all weighed down. In the first place it is not a man-making education, it is merely and entirely a negative education. A negative education or any training that is based on negation, is worse than death. The child is taken to school, and the first thing he learns is that his father is a fool, the second thing that his grandfather is a lunatic, the third thing that all his teachers are hypocrites, the fourth that all the sacred books are lies! By the time he is sixteen he is a mass of negation, lifeless and boneless. And the result is that fifty years of such education has not produced one original man in the three Presidencies. Every man of originality that has been produced has been educated elsewhere, and not in this country, or they have gone to the old universities once more to cleanse themselves of superstitions.”
Even today, our schools do not highlight the contributions of Indian scientists like Aryabhata, Varahamihira, Brahmagupta, Bhaskaracharya, Madhava, Nilakantha Somayaji, Srinivasa Ramanujan, C V Raman and Jagadish Chandra Bose. Students do not learn the profound values brought out through our elevating literature like the Ramayana, the Mahabharata and other epics. How then will this nation acquire self-confidence and national pride? As we commemorate the 150th birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda, every Indians should take a pledge to acquire and disseminate the knowledge of India’s cultural heritage and work towards the realization of the dream that Swami Vivekananda prophesied that India will once again become the Guru of the world. .
The author Shri. M.Pramodkumar is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Cultural Education at Amrita University in Coimbatore, Tamilnadu.
This article is the gist of the talk given at a seminar organized by the ‘Desiya Chintanai Kazhagam’ at the Sengunthar Engineering College Erode, to commemorate the 150th birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda.
Anna Hazare, Aryabhata, Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Bhaskaracharya, Brahmagupta, C V Raman, Jagadish Chandra Bose, Jamshedji Tata, Madhava, Nicholas Tesla, Nilakantha Somayaji, Romain Rolland, self-confidence, Sri Aurobindo Ghosh, Srinivasa Ramanujan, Subhash Chandra Bose, Varahamihira, Vivekananda
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