[Reader-list] fourth post

Abhik Samanta abhikauliya at googlemail.com
Tue Aug 21 20:09:11 IST 2007

This posting would attempt to explore the being that the textual commodities
of the Gita Press constitute. This being although not explicitly nationalist
is constituted in an affirmation that sees itself as a subject of the time
sense of being in a nation. As mentioned often before, especially in the
second posting the success that the press enjoyed since its founding in 1923
was the result of the efforts of two different types of engagement with the
mission defined by the press, that of Hanumanprasad Poddar and Jayadayal
Goyandaka. The commodity that was produced from this has to be understood in
the landscape of national commodities that had been produced till then. I
will take an example of an effort that predated the formation of the press
and the emergence of nationalism as a phenomenon of political mobilization.
The difference that I seek to outline lies in the way consumption of the
message as a commodity is constituted. A commodity is a term I really use to
understand issues of exchange and consumption as social acts which duplicate
as nationalist acts. The example is that of Swami Ramtirth (1873-1906) who
was known in his time as a man who gave extensive discourses on the nature
of ideal existence as a nationalist. Born in Gujranwalla district in the
Punjab he was a lecturer at Christian college at Lahore. After devoting
himself to studying Vedanta in mathematical terms he followed Swami
Vivekananda to USA on a preaching tour. The Swami did not undertake an
enterprise of print like the founders of the Gita Press but gave a message
in a form which I would like to use as characteristic of elite national
configurations of his time. The similarity with Swami Vivekananda is
striking in this regard. The text that is used here is called Bharatmata the
first half of which is an enumeration of the qualities of an ideal citizen.
The symbol blends in values of service and rationality through the
composition of a code of ethics. It begins with the assertion that the
nation is a realm beyond religion , an essential doorway to spiritual

1.      No man can feel one with the omnipotent God till he feels oneness
with the nation energizing him in every pore.

2.      See that all Bharatbarsha is embodied in every bharatbashi. Every
son of Bharat must be ready to serve Bharatbarsha at all times.

The outlining of the frame of the text introduces us to the role religion
plays in forming the ethical parameters of the nation. Worship of God is
equated with service to the nation through an array of ethical principles
that are essential for a member of the nation. Daivi vidhan or verdict of
the Gods is also used to justify these ethical parameters through a variety
of reference points. In the prose form of the tract , which are interposed
in a narrative located in contemporary forms of life. In the edict form
which occurs first there are 108 points which orient the reader to national
ethics. The effort is clearly to build a metaphor which serves as a language
with which to address the body of the reader. The man who utters this
metaphor is simultaneously distinguished from his utterance by placing
himself in a relationship of service, which holds the same for his
listeners, generating seva or service as part of the metaphor.

                         In India almost every city, river , mountain stone
or animal has an

                         imaginary representation of God, it is not time yet
to conceive of the                         entire motherland as deity and
the smallest depiction of this deity could fill us up with  devotion for the
entire country.

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