India is a very old civilization. If astronomical observations in some of the vedas are to be taken, then we have been a civilization for a minimum 6000 years old. We have diverse climate, soils, people and problems which required different approaches to managing our society and civilizations. In complexity, India is more than a continent. Like an old monkey, we have tried every trick in the form of social organization. Our proverbs, aphorism, myths, stories, epics and even humour are testimony to it.
In the field of management, we try to learn from past practices and mistakes so that we do not repeat the same. So people who want to become experts in management go to a Management School instead of trying everything afresh but in running societies and civilizations the same principle is not applied. Other civilizations instead of learning from us want to convert us into their untested ways. This is like running an Apple Macbook Pro not on Apple software but on a new and exciting software written by some new funded start up in Bangalore that started yesterday. The current tragedy is that you have tested software to run a civilization and from a vendor who is open source and willing to freely give tech support - and yet no one wants to learn and on the contrary they want to impose on us their untested software which is showing signs of great instability and may crash on that vendor !
In understanding concepts like marriage, family, rights, duties, clan, caste, war etc our understanding is very elevated. Not because we are smarter but we have done more mistakes than others too and moved on. Is it not true that one of our own tried out the ISIS type violence in Kalinga and lived to see the utter futility of violence without any meaningful results and gave it up completely ?
In the Hindu marriage, for example there is little place for romance in decision making. Romance may happen if you are lucky. Marriage is a institution to carry the family line forward. It is more about demographics and carrying forward genes, professions, knowledge etc than looking into someone's eye and feeling one with them which doesn't last too long. How did this knowledge come from - fiat, practices, observations ? Could the West have learnt from us in this aspect and saved themselves so much anguish ?
Many of things we consider "not politically correct" teachings of people like Chanakya are now corroborated by social research in America. The website the Fatherless generation pretty much says the same thing that Chanakya said i.e, that houses in which there are no men and women are leaders are likely to have severe problems and are to be avoided.
Why won't it ? Chanakya must have merely observed cause and effect of the same thing when it happened here hundreds of years ago. Is it not highly likely that at some point in time, India had run through same problems faced today by US and Chanakya had merely been a social scientist tabulating the results in pithy aphorisms !
Is it a coincidence that our study of health is called Ayurveda and not Aushadveda ? As citizens of this planet, do we really need to again struggle with Aushadveda like the US where medicine accounts for 1/5th of their GDP with no end in sight and then think of finding solutions which eliminate root causes - when this knowledge was present somewhere else a long time back ?
The objective of writing this post is to not to make the case that we are smarter than other civilisations. It is to make the case that we have tried out more things, run more betas, failed, succeeded and altered things more than others can even begin to imagine due to our long stint as a civilization.
FDA imposes strict methods on testing new molecules and drugs but rules to run a civilization are run as experiments in which neither past knowledge, experiences or precedents are taken into account !
In the same manner we send kids to schools and colleges not because all that they say is right but because they have a lot of knowledge and/or wisdom to offer, other civilizations would gain a lot and reduce their sufferings if they were to observe and learn from our long experience instead of dismissing us as a primitive, backward or unscientific society.
Even the response to westernization is so different in India and Islamic societies. We are trying to run with Westernization and see how we can fit some of it into our civilization. Our experience in absorbing democracy, technology, food and working with it stands testimony. We have the strength to run the program for sometime and finally even reject large parts of it as we have done in the past with programs that did not work !
This is the real reason India deserves to be the Jagat Guru. We are like the Silicon Valley of civilization. We have the openness to try a lot on on ourselves, learn and carry a lot of knowledge which is tested by time, place and numbers forward.
As individuals, the sooner we try to understand the extent of knowledge available in our country and try to make sense of it the the better for us - else even at a personal level we risk exhausting ourself making old mistakes again and turning ourself into more modern "case studies " for future generations !