Anwar Shaikh reviews Keshav Dev
The Question of Culture
The above book consists of 318 pages, and has
been published by the University Resources Press, P. O. Box 55111, Washington DC
20016. It has also a branch at B-1/1050A Vasant Kunj, New Delhi - 110070.
"The author studied Owlish literature and
Sociology at the universities of Lucknow and Chicago, and taught at some of the
most prestigious universities in the United States, Canada and Germany. He has
written extensively on a vast variety of subjects and is known for his original
research works in history, politics, economics, sociology and Sanskrit. Winner
of numerous awards, he is recognized as one of the foremost thinkers of our
Professor Sharma is also the author of India's new
Constitution for the Second Republic, and is a candidate for election as
President of India in 1997.
In this book, Professor Sharma observes:
"Often political expedience leads to an assumption
that the conditions under which a person is born constitute his/her culture
which for unexplained-reasons must be preserved and perpetuated from generation
to generation. If culture of our forefathers were to be preserved in the 'given
format' we would all still be living in the hunting and gathering stage."
"People are creative and they evolve better
methods of solving problems and move from one kind of culture to another. No
culture, except the one based on natural law, is sacrosanct. "
Again, as no two cultures are the same, "conflict
among different cultures is unavoidable. But a modern democratic nation-state
can grant opportunity to co-exist to all cultures except those that are violent
and which are destructive of the nation-state itself."
Professor Sharma is quite right in diagnosing that
India's troubles spring from cultural malaise, and he holds the Muslims as the
chief culprits. Though there is a lot of truth in his analysis, this is not the
whole truth. The Hindu faith, which is originally based on reason and valor, has
suffered major setback through Ahimsa and Caste System. if the purpose is to
diagnose the disease, one has to state its causes neutrally and boldly,
otherwise, the right remedy cannot be prescribed. Therefore, as a compliment to
professor Sharma's laudable effort, I have discussed both the Islamic
Culture and the Hindu Culture so
that the reader can see the truth through comparative study.