Bharat Ek Khoj


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(Episode 53)

Nehru commented that science may be on the verge of discovering vital mysteries. Ignoring the 'way' of philosophy, science would go on asking 'how' giving greater content and meaning to life.

Nehru considered Vedas the earliest books that humanity possessed, behind which lay ahes of civilized existence, during which the Indus Valley civilization had grown. The visuals recapitulating the earlier episodes show, Nachiketa questioning: what is soul? What are space and time the death-god Yamareplies: Brahman is supreme, manifest in Om that is imperishable, in the epic Mahabharta, Arjuna trembles at the prospect of killing the relatives in War, till Krishna counsels him to forsake weakness and face the ordained duties. One's soul is everlasting and allows only the right of action in one's given life.

The Buddha preaches without any reference to God or another world. He relies on logic and experience, and asks people to seek the truth in their own minds. Ashoka is stricken which remorse in spite of his triumph in the Kalinga war and discusses the transience of everything before surrendering to the Buddha. The Bhakti movement with the saint-poets like Basavanna spread Saguna and Niguna songs among the masses. We move to the advent of Islam and the surge of Sufism with its message that puts love for men at par with love for God. Amir Khusro is seen singing Persian and Brajbhasha lyrics. Kabir appears with transcendental songs of wisdom and religion and shares mystic thoughts with the bemused Sultan. Akbar discourses on his newly found faith, Din-e-llahi. The scenario now captures the encounter between Aurangzeb and Shivaji.

During Tipu Sultan's reign in the 18th century, the Europeans power is on its way to become Indian rulers. Under the rule of the British, Bengal is plundered to support the industrial revolution in England. In the 1857 revolt, Mangal Pandey is seen to pull the first trigger, with the vow to throw the 'white' regime to the rivers. Rammohun Roy opposes Sati, and Swami Vivekanand raises a powerful voice against racial distinctions. Bal Gangadhar Tilak appears in the late 19th century with his Extremist faction and joins forces with Dadabhai Naoroji, in the latter's demand: freedom is our birthright. Now come Gandhi who radically re-defines non-violence to mean alleviation of suffering, rise of the lowest echelons of society, and decline of the British imperialism. The 1930 turmoil of India and the Ballia 'Bandh' lead to the spread of the battle cry of 'Do or Die' that reverberates throughout India in August 1942. in another half decade, India wins freedom on 15th August 1947.

Nehru concludes his epic saga of re-discovering his motherland with the powerful prayer by Tagore from Gitanjali: where the mind is without fear and the head held high; where knowledge is free; that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake.