Duty and the Hindu Identity
Hindu identity, in my opinion, is doing ones’ duty. It is belonging to a profession and doing ones’ best. The Bhagavad Gita was revealed by Lord Krishna because Arjuna, a warrior prince, did not want to fight a war because it would have entailed the killing of relatives, friends and teachers.
The entire Gita (18 chapters and 700 verses) was revealed to convince Arjuna to do his duty. Doing ones’ duty has much more to do with ones’ well-being than with the welfare of society. Sri Krishna revealed to Arjuna that his enemies were already destroyed. Krishna said: “If I cease to act for one moment the world will come to destruction.”
It is clear that Sri Krishna is charge and does not need our help to run the universe. Hence Hindus are saved from the compunction to fight crusades and jihads. In fact, Hindu society has never sponsored armies to conquer and subjugate people.
Doing ones’ duty to our dharma, family, community, nation and the world is central to a Hindu way of life. Hindus are enjoined to perform their task with diligence and devotion. Sri Satya Sai Baba said: “Work is worship, Duty is God.”
Viewing duty with worship and God only underlines the emphasis Hinduism places on duty. Many of us escape our duty by placing blame on others – parents, employers, teachers, politicians, etc. Too many foolishly engage in the blame game rather than take responsibility for their failure.
Yoga is now used loosely with different meanings for many. In the Bhagavad Gita, Sri Krishna said: “Yoga is excellence in action.” Striving for excellence should be central to our Hindu identity rather than debating the necessity of gobar in preparing the bedi (altar) for worship.
Engaging in idle talk about religion or race is not going to take us forward. It is a dead-end road for all who have gone that way. Only one thing matters according to Bhagavad Gita- to do one duty and never to be bothered with the results.
Putin is compelled by duty, not public opinion
The current Russian invasion of Ukraine was inevitable given the fact that Ukraine was being influenced to become a member of the NATO-North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Is there a need for NATO today after the fall of the USSR and the demise of the Warsaw Pact that existed to counteract NATO?
Why does the USA need to have 720 bases around the world? In Asia alone, the US has 120 military bases, the majority in Japan and 120 in South Korea along with 53,000 troops. Is that not silent bullying?
President Putin said that Ukraine has been on Russian soil for centuries and wants to keep Ukraine as a buffer zone between Russia and NATO member states to the West.
President Putin is doing what he considers his duty. With public opinion stacked against him, Putin has demonstrated that he has the conviction and courage to act decisively to protect the sovereignty of Russia and her people and would do his duty irrespective of the world’s opinion.
India’s right to neutrality
India has good reasons not to support Ukraine against Russia given recent history. Ukraine has not been fair to India. When India tested its first nuclear bomb, Ukraine was among those nations that condemned India. Ukraine is on record for joining hands with other nations demanding that dismantle its nuclear program.
India has every reason to remain neutral given its long and cordial history. In its hour of need when the west nations joined hands against India, Russia fearlessly stood at her side. For example, in 1971 when India was forced to intervene in East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) to stem the flood of refugees into India, the western powers surrounded India with battleships. It was the timely intervention of Russia that saved the day for India.
The liberation of Goa in 1961 was another case in point. India had to intervene to liberate the people despite western propaganda painting a story of Indian aggression. India simply did her duty to liberate a section of her land and people who continued to suffer under colonial bondage.
More recently, the world witnessed the Modi government removing Article 370, a temporary provision in the Indian constitution that granted special status and autonomy. Western governments -including Ukraine- and media were quick to condemn India. Provisions had to be made for parliamentarians to visit Kashmir to see firsthand that there were no mass murders and atrocities as were propagated by anti-India forces.
Indira Gandhi pursued her mission to liberate East Pakistan from the tyranny of West Pakistan. When Kalistani elements were killing innocent citizens in the Punjab Prime Minister Indira Gandhi did not turn a blind eye but took the bull by its horns at the cost of her life.
Despite the propaganda of western media, President Putin has acted fearlessly knowing fully the political and diplomatic implications. I would say that Putin did his duty-acting in the best interest of his country and people.