In our 5000 years known history, unity of Indians was never so vital as it is at this juncture.
In the Buddhist text ‘Maha Parinirvana Sutra’ it is mentioned that when King Ajatshatru of Magadha was planning to attack the Vajjian democracy he sent a messenger to the Buddha for his opinion. Instead of speaking to this messenger, the Buddha said to one of his disciples ” Have you heard Ananda, that the Vajjians foregather often and frequent the public meetings of their clan ? So long Ananda, as the Vajjians so foregather, and so frequent, the public meetings of their clan, so long they may be expected not to decline, but to prosper.”
What did the Buddha mean ? He meant to convey a message to King Ajatshatru that a united people can never be destroyed, and the Vajjians were a united people.
Similarly, in the Shantiparva of the Mahabharat, Bheeshma Pitamah tells Yudhishthir :
” Bhedey ganaa vinashyanti bhinnaastu sujayaah paraih
Tasmaat sanghyaatayegen prayateran ganaah sada ”
” Republics have been destroyed only because of internal divisions
among its people.
It is only when there are internal divisions among the people that
an enemy can destroy it.
Hence a Republic should always try to achieve unity and good
relations among its people ”
( Shantiparva of Mahabharata, Chapter 107/108, shloka 14 ).
Why do I say that unity is vital for Indians today, more vital than it has ever been in our long history ?
It is because we are today poised for a historical breakthrough–from the ranks of the poor nations, to that of the prosperous ones.
We have today two of the three essential requirements for becoming a modern, highly industrialised giant, like China : (1) a huge pool of technical talent, and (2) immense natural resources.
However, we lack the third, which is unity among our people. We are often fighting each other on caste and communal basis, thereby wasting our resources and strength. Unless we unite, we will never achieve that historical breakthrough, which will give our people a high standard of living and decent lives.
I make it clear that unity does not mean that people have to give up their own religion, language or culture. They may retain them, and yet be united, if instead of hostility there is amity and brotherhood.
A garden is beautiful because it has flowers of different colours. It would not look beautiful if it had flowers of only one colour.
Diversity is a rule of nature. No two individuals are alike in every respect, no even identical twins. In fact even a single individual has diversity within himself. Sometimes he thinks or behaves in one way, and at other times in other ways.
USA has become the most powerful and prosperous country in the world, and one of the reasons for this was its great diversity. People from all over the world, Europeans, Asians, Africans and Latin Americans have come here, having different religions, customs, languages, ethnicity, etc, and made it their home. But far from creating obstacles to progress, this diversity has greatly accelerated it, since each group of immigrants brought their own technical skills and knowledge, and when these were pooled together there was rapid advance.
Similarly, India’s tremendous diversity can be a great asset, instead of being a liability, provided there are good and friendly relations between all, instead of hostility. The real ani-nationals are therefore those who try to polarise society and create hatred and hostility between our people.