The previous parts of the series can be accessed here Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3. This is part 4 of the series…
Ideology plays an important role in building the psychology of communities, nations and Governments. In fact, ideology defines our character, our belief and our behaviour. Ideology and Philosophy may sound little identical but there is a difference between them. The principal difference being – action. While ideology is Philosophy in Action, Philosophy is the reason behind the action. Philosophy may help to reason, understand the cause & effect and define us. When that philosophy is taught to people and they start to think accordingly, then that becomes an ideology. That thought process generates ideas, innovation, politics, love, hatred, wars according to that ideology. Ideology then becomes the characteristic of everything that group does. It defines everything and reason for everything. Narratives are built to protect the ideology. This ideology plays an important role in everything. On a personal level ideology can transform itself into principles. Every major faith in the world has an ideology. For example, Hinduism’s ideology is Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam which means the world is one family.
Acceptance of a common path ensures a direction in which a solution for all can be obtained
Ideology comes from
- Common History
- Civilization, and
- Sacred Scriptures
- State policies
- Judicial system
- Economy, and
- Military doctrines
The USA has a Judeo-Christian ideology that permeates their entire society. Every literature, school, textbooks, political discourse follows that ideology. In addition, they have added capitalism as their chief economic ideology. Again their economic models follow a theme. That defines their national character. Even though the USA has freedom of choice of religion, however, their way of life is strictly driven by their ideology. Their military operations are also driven by the same ideology to protect their interests. Their narrative can change from event to event but everything connects them to their main ideology. Their foreign policy, internal politics and economics follow that ideology. Similarly, Israel also has an ideology based on Judaism that defines everything Israel stands for.
For any nation or community to succeed the ideology helps them frame a narrative to defend against any event. Ideologies may clash from time to time. Often times ideologies are civilizational. The core ethics drive the ideology over generations. India being the oldest surviving civilization has an ideology that has survived millennia. An ideology of India is called Sanatana Dharma. Multitudes of faiths that have originated in India follow the same ideology. For example, Sikhism, Jainism, Hinduism, Buddhism all share a common ideological basis coming from Sanatana Dharma. It is a very unique system that permeates almost 50% of humanity. Culture, economy, defence, religion, faith and thought process connect to that common ideology. The spirituality of India that permeates every part of India comes from that ideology.
Ideologies are as much living in their non-manifest state as living beings are. Just like humans clash, ideologies may also clash. Ideologies may be easily manipulated to induce people of those ideologies to hate one another. So just like we physically defend ourselves, we also have to defend ideologies. Because when ideologies clash the violence can become uncontrolled. Therefore a leading Indian thinker, Chanakya says, ”homogeneity of common cultures must be maintained”. In situations of ideological differences, the physical costs of keeping security can be very very high. Therefore most countries of planet identify themselves a common ideology on which the state functions. Acceptance of a common path ensures a direction in which a solution for all can be obtained. In absence of common ideology, the institutions cannot be built on a solid footing. Ideologies can be predatorial. There are ideologies that want to eliminate other ideologies. Therefore sometimes, they cannot exist together no matter what.
Coexistence is possible only when there is homogeneity in the society or where there is a strong justice system that is relevant to the majority of population from a particular ideological group
Secularism is also an experimental thought of amalgamation of all ideologies. But if the original ideologies clash then secularism as an amalgamation of ideologies may not work. For secularism to work all competing ideologies have to adopt a common framework to work with one another. Otherwise, it can be very chaotic. For example, India whose principal ideology is Sanatana Dharma has multiple civilizations that have survived over millennia. Competing ideologies foreign to India have attacked it and often times the coexistence of competing ideologies has been chaotic, to say the least. It’s goes to the credit of the resilience of India’s core ideology that it has survived the attacks over centuries. Not only it has survived but also it has flourished. Even though secularism concept has often been misused against Sanatana Dharma, but it has nonetheless come victorious. When the majority of people follow a particular ideology that defines that ideology.
For society to run peacefully, the principal ideology of the land needs to be defined and protected against all attacks. Secularism as an ideology cannot be imposed selectively on a group of people because secularism itself is not an ideology. It works only well when there are not any competing ideologies. Expecting only Hindus to be secular while everyone else from competing ideologies follows their own is a gross injustice to them.
To summarize, every land must define their ideology and build nation states around that ideology. Competing ideologies make society unstable and vulnerable to violence. Secularism must also be guided on the original ideology of the land. Coexistence is possible only when there is homogeneity in the society or where there is a strong justice system that is relevant to the majority of the population from a particular ideological group. Secularism as an amalgamation of ideologies is successful only if it caters to the needs of the major ideology. Respecting the ideology is the need of the hour today. For India to succeed and become a superpower in the 21st century, they must openly proclaim their original ideology and build all institutions based on that common set of values. Jai Hind !!
1. The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of PGurus.