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RETURN TO AN ANCIENT AND GLORIOUS TRYST

 

Foreword by Mr. TN Seshan

I have known Nixon for the last few years ever since he came over to intern with me and help with research leading to my autobiography. He is an alumnus of the MIT School of Government Pune which we put up to groom leaders and experts in government. Nixon’s shifting of focus from teaching Physics to studying about Government is apparently due to an attempt on his part to understand what ails India and to offer solutions. Over time, I have come to realize that he has developed strong views on this and his books on Vidarbha farmers’ suicides and on village self-rule reflect these views. So also this book on Hinduism—A return to an ancient and glorious tryst—which a reader will find delightfully insightful for a Catholic to write. His perspectives on the various aspects of Hinduism are well presented and he makes a convincing case for the reader to pay heed to the intellectual giants of ancient India. In my view this is an excellent book, and very briefly, it is a great tribute to Hinduism.

I have always held that anyone who calls himself an Indian is a Hindu. In this book Nixon has thrown light on what that essentially means. I may not agree with the way he has gone about it, but that is merely a matter of a difference in the way we think and approach any subject. He has, with quite clear reasoning, in his own way, handled the subject with firm conviction. And by the time the book concludes huge question marks appear on the sensibility of our current leaders’ approach to 1) the understanding of human nature coming to us from our ancients and 2) the solutions adopted to resolve national issues. 

Let me add my vote in favor of what the wise men of ancient India have said. Whenever I was faced with important questions that I had to handle in my life, I have always resorted to the silence of my mind. On the day before I finally signed the August 2 order of 1993 postponing all elections In India, I spent time reading Vikram Betal and the Bhagwad Gita. It gives me inner peace and clarity of thought and adds to my conviction that the crucial decisions I make are impersonal and pure. I have always loved the peace and tranquility of temple surroundings and these give my soul much relief. I have taken important personal decisions at the instructions of the sages from Kanchi, and though at points I may have felt a tinge of disappointment, I have never regretted going by their word. I have full conviction that there is enough and more guidance, pertaining to living sublime and successful lives, in the works of the ancient sages. 

In today’s India, the politics of shortsightedness deals essentially with the next electoral victory. It is a cesspool that sustains and amplifies ills like corruption, casteism, communalism and so many other attributes of public life that torment us today. There is obviously a need to re-think and re-direct the way we make progress—and no ready-made solution is at hand. But I am sure that India can be lead only by a leader who has true grasp of the indigenous culture. And definitely, despite all of Hinduism’s ills, I remain optimistic that it is in Hinduism’s nature to eventually come up with the answers and lead the way to global peace and prosperity.  

TN Seshan (IAS)

Former Chief Election Commissioner of India

Chennai,          Feb 2013

 
     
 
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Index

   
       
Foreword by Mr. TN Seshan (excerpts)    
Excerpts: the summary chapter