In a world connected as we are consensus is possible. But to arrive there the issues must be put to test.
We, in India have long held up the greatness of our ancestral achievements, as not for ourselves alone, but all of humanity. We have this lingering sense, that our ancients had uncovered it all, had attained it all, in so many fields, even the very path to freedom from life and death.
And so we mostly believe. And so we say to others when we can. But over these last fifty years or so, this claim has become to ring less and less true. The promise of the great Indian heritage, of its literature and sundry achievement, may have begun by such personages as Vivekananda, Krishnamurthy, Prabhupada, Chinmayananda. All talking of greatness lying as if in some cave, to be reached in, or only to be waited for a little longer - then amidst the thunder worthy of their oratory, it would come spewing forward. And the rest of us, would win the world's respect for simply being Indians. Heirs to the great achievements of our fore fathers.
I have certainly felt this sense of awe, if one can call it that, from foreigners, specially western ones. Not that there is nothing concrete that carries from the past into our present. Yoga for one, and Ayurveda. But even more compelling, the ability in the younger of us who when put alongside others of their age, shine with an extra-ordinariness that defies all explanation but of something like an ethnic inheritance.
And so, like waiting on the side of an oil-well for what ever else may be forthcoming, the world has sat back and watched and waited. Not that their own people also sat idly by. They had harnessed technology, and have taken it with strides from strength to strengths. They harnessed even the youthful Indian intellectualism to work at their ends. But theirs' is an open world, and those who joined their efforts have done so, convinced of their system's impartiality. The only thing it has been partial to is that, it has driven towards its own goal. And that is quite different from the one India of the past had.
And this is where we find ourselves now. I think you will agree that the ground has shifted from what it was just fifty to sixty years back. If we extrapolate to younger and younger people, and what are likely to be their realities; what are those things which will be describing the landscape for them; what is important more than others. Then, concerned that the great traditions we so revered might slip away, as they have in these decades past, we need to reverse that trend. By actual discovery and not oratory alone.