Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Thursday claimed that India is "not a constitutional democracy" but a "civilisation democracy".
"Bharatvarsha is not just a nation-state that came into being in the 19th century, but a living entity. India nurtures one of the oldest civilizations in the world. The sense of Indian identity is not a 19th-century phenomenon when India began to imagine itself as a nation-state. The sense of India is a civilizational continuity of the past several millennia. It is true that the European colonial powers could not succeed in destroying the ancient beliefs and traditions of the indigenous population of India. It was because of the inherent power of Sanatan civilization that remained unbeatable in the face of European powers," Sarma said.
Speaking in the inaugural programme of the 3rd edition of Lokmanthan 2022, the Assam Chief Minister said that, a major characteristic of Indian civilization is that it does not consider the country only as an inert political entity.
"For us, our nation is akin to our Mother, a vibrant goddess whose every geographical appearance - the landscape-rivers-hills and mountains find a place in the verses and hymns of the Indian scriptures. North East had deeply enriched the great ancient Indian civilisation. Eminent 15th-century Vaishnavite saint Mahapurush Srimanta Sankardev was the first to associate Bharatvarsha with Assam and referred to it as its motherland," he said.
Referring to eminent litterateur Birinchi Kumar Baruah, Sarma said that the litterateur commented that the conception of India as our mother country was conceived by Sankardeva five centuries ago who wanted the people to feel proud of being born in his holy country of Bharatvarsha, as India provides an immense opportunity for the development of men's moral and spiritual potentialities.
Vice President Jagdeep Dhankar inaugurated the 3rd edition of Lokmanthan 2022 in presence of Assam Governor Prof. Jagdish Mukhi and Chief Minister Dr Himanta Biswa Sarma at Srimanta Sankardev Kalakshetra in Guwahati on Thursday.
Organised by Prajna Pravah along with Intellectual Forum for North East in association with Assam Tourism Development Corporation, Lokmanthan 2022, a national colloquium is being organised on 'Lok Parampara of India' as the core topic which will witness elaborate deliberation on the culture, traditions of the country with special reference to North East.
The Assam Chief Minister said that, based on the strength derived from the ancient ethos of India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi spearheaded a movement for punarnirmaan of Bharatbvarsha.
"This movement is for the resurgence of our country's 5000-year-old culture and civilization. This movement is for the attainment of rights and dignity for the underprivileged, the fulfilment of dreams of crores of Indians. This movement is also for the establishment of a powerful image of India in the global landscape and emergence of the country as the Biswaguru," Dr Sarma said.
In this backdrop, Sarma also said that the cultural heritage of Northeast India continues to enrich the great Indian civilization since ancient times.
"Northeast India is blessed with nature's bounty in abundance. The mystic nature, the legends, the wildlife and varied flora and fauna make it one of the most diverse regions in the world. This region is home to numerous ethnic groups having distinct cultures, languages, traditions, heritage, food habits and lifestyles. This makes the region incredibly vibrant and colourful. Though the people in the region practice different customs, traditions and beliefs, one thing that binds the people together is their common identity as Indian," the Chief Minister said.
Speaking on the folk culture of Assam, Dr Sarma said that today there has been a renewed consciousness among the Assamese people about its folk heritage. Due to the foresight and dedicated efforts of pioneers like Suryya Kumar Bhuyan, Birinchi Kumar Baruah, Hem Chandra Baruah etc, the study of folk culture as an academic discipline has taken root in the state.
He said that looking at the importance of ancient wisdom of the indigenous tribal faith and culture of the state, the State government has created a department to work for the promotion of the faith and culture of anthropologically indigenous and tribal communities.
The Assam Chief Minister also said that, with its vibrant and rich culture, Assam will definitely contribute to the grand success of Lokmanthan 2022.
He also expressed his gratitude to the organisers for selecting Assam as the host for the intellectual discourse.
Sarma also thanked Vice President Jagdeep Dhankar for releasing his book 'In Pursuit of A Dream'.
On the other hand, Assam Governor Prof. Mukhi said - "Our country Bharat has a unique heritage of knowledge sharing, public discourse and intellectual brainstorming. Lok Manthan is the churn of the nation which encourages intellectual discourse to rediscover the cultural and traditional treasures hidden in different parts of our country."
He said that India has the most ancient civilization in the world and has always been looked upon by the world as a land of wealth and wisdom.
"The country has been credited to have developed Philosophy and Mathematics, Science and Technology of a very high order. This great nation's contribution to the march of civilization goes back to several thousand years even before the Christian era. From Vedas to Upanishad down to several institutions and eras, Bharat was respected for its flourishing economy, trade, commerce and culture," the Assam Governor added.
He further said, " The Indian freedom struggle, which was inspired by Tilak, Gandhi, Aurobindo, Patel, Bose and others, had a clear vision of the civilization consciousness of our past. These leaders had directed the freedom movement, keeping the Indian ways and thoughts at the centre of their actions. They had the vision to reconstruct the political and economic institutions of India as an outcome of civilizational consciousness, which made India one country one people and one Nation."
Prof.Mukhi also said, "After achieving independence, the leaders at the helm of affairs seemed to have lost the spirit and the vision, which the freedom movement had evoked. They discarded the vision and adopted the institutional framework of administration created by the British which was quite alien to India's worldview. It is unfortunate that these leaders could not comprehend India's inner vitality, which was the main force responsible for India's survival despite several attacks and prolonged foreign rule. This parasitic view of the leaders during the country's independence from the British failed to rekindle the spirit of India."
The Assam Governor lauding the efforts of the present government said that after coming to the helm of affairs, efforts are being put to reorient the polity and the social system in consonance with those strong points of the Indian psyche to realise the future glory.
"We have kept the doors and windows open to have a clear understanding of the global scenario and how without destroying our uniqueness we can assimilate the best to regain our lost glory for our mission of Ek Bharat Shrestha Bharat," the Governor added. (ANI)