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Indian Mosaic and the Western Melting Pot

West has the lowest levels of ethnic, linguistic and religious diversity persecutes whatever little is left. E.g. Roma Gypsies.

The US Melting Pot

The US Melting Pot

“However, India’s nation-building process differed markedly from the classic 19th-century European model. European nations flattened diversities. We now know that at the time of the French Revolution, only 10-12 % of France spoke French. Over the next 100 years, public schools and conscription armies turned “peasants into Frenchmen”. France simply did not allow diversities to flourish. Everyone came to speak French.

Under Gandhi, India consciously embraced diversities. Even though Gandhi thought that Hindustani — a combination of Hindi and Urdu — might become India’s lingua franca, the idea that India would be a multilingual nation soon took control of his political thinking. And the notion of embracing diversities was quickly extended to religions and castes.

Experience told Gandhi that most Indians had at least two or three identities. They were Bengali and Indian, Tamil and Indian, Hindu and Indian, Muslim and Indian. To push either fragment too far was to go against the requirements of Indian nation-building. Building a classic European style nation was simply not a practical option.

Thus was born the Congress model of politics, which was indistinguishable from nation-building. Today, we call this the “mosaic” model of nationalism, as opposed to the “melting pot” model. The latter term is often used for the US, but recent scholarship makes it clear that France is the biggest melting pot in the world.” (via No place for extremes in the Indian mosaic – Special Report – Sunday TOI – NEWS – The Times of India).

Ashutosh Varshney, in the article linked above, makes the distinction between ‘mosaic’ and ‘melting pot’ very well. Looking deeper, one, however needs to qualify his thesis.

Lowest diversity vs.Biggest talk

The West today has the lowest levels of ethnic, linguistic and religious diversity – and persecutes whatever little is left, like the Roma Gypsies for example. Would critics like to mention any other country, where such a large minority Muslim population, has greater freedom and opportunity, than in India? Would you like to suggest France instead?

The US melting pot

The US melting pot

The language conundrum

India, has 15 official languages.

No other countries even had the courage to think of that. Various US state governments outlawed all languages – except English.

It was only in 1923, was this finally set aside after the matter reached the US Supreme Court (read Meyer vs Nebraska). The USA gathered some courage to start timidly with more than English only after seeing India’s success with 15 languages. Switzerland has only four. Sri Lanka’s Sinhalas do not want to accept Sri Lanka Tamils as full and equal citizens – hence the 20-year-old civil war.

In the thrall of One

The Western concept of nation building requires the cornerstones of Desert Bloc – One God, One Book, One Holy Day, One Prophet (Messiah), One Race, One People, One Country, One Authority, One Law, One Currency, One Set of Festivals. This tyranny of the ‘One’ is the root of most problems in the world. From this ‘Oneness’, we get the ‘One’ Currency, ‘One’ Language logic  – a fallacious syllogism. Once you accept ‘One’, you will accept all others.

Manick Sarkar - does magic with cartoons also

Manick Sarkar – does magic with cartoons also

Before finished saying M

While Ashutosh Varshney makes the distinction between ‘mosaic’ and ‘melting pot’ very well, he misses the beat, completely, by crediting Gandhiji for this Indic construct! When he says, “Under Gandhi, India consciously embraced diversities” is he implying that before Gandhiji, India was a mono-bloc society.

Was it under the thrall of ‘One’?

Would Gandhiji have become a Mahatma in India, if tried the ‘melting pot’ strategy?

I think not!

He would have been rejected, rubbished and trashed before he could have said M.

Of mosaic, melting or Mahatma.

  1. September 6, 2009 at 1:34 pm

    India has long back tradition of polytheism, advait and dvait debate in its core area of discussion: religious philosophy. There we have got diversity in the name of diverse religion and got caste discrmination sutras of Manu Smriti.. India still bonded together and not balkanized has completely thwatrted western thrall of one. I don’t about melting pot or mosaic concept in deep but population migration will measure our inter mingility with tolerance now in coming years..

  2. Alejandra
    April 28, 2013 at 7:31 pm

    i cannot understand what it says in the cartoon of the melting pot in the usa. can anyone help me please!!!

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