We have all heard this word, being mentioned frequently in connection with the freedom struggle of India against the British.
The word Swatantrata connotes independence.
The word Swatantra has two components to it, “swa” and “tantra.”
“Swa” denotes self and “tantra” stands for sciences, techniques, practices of the land, the way we live. In consonance with our surroundings and nature in a sustainable manner.
It is obvious that Swatantrata is not just political independence. It stands for a higher level of freedom, a higher dimension of independence. It is the independence to practice one’s own indigenous lifestyle, that which is sustainable and in consonance with Nature – the nature of the land, the nature of the people, the nature of Nature – Dharma. It is to free oneself from all extraneous influences and act under one’s own will.
It thus stands for the notion of Independence, freedom.
So when our forefathers fought for Swarajya, it was not only a call for self-rule or just a political freedom of India but the overall call was for Swatantrata.
Are we really Swatantra today?
Swaraj is my Birthright
Rajya is to rule. Swa rajya is self rule. This slogan of Swarajya was made popular by one of India’s early freedom fighter, Lokamanya Balganagadhar Tilak, when he raised the clarion call,
“Swarajya is my birth right and I shall have it.”
Rajya is to rule.
Swarajya is self-rule.
This slogan of Swarajya was made popular by one of India’s early freedom fighter, Lokamanya Balganagadhar Tilak, when he raised the clarion call, “Swarajya is my birth right and I shall have it.”
Bal Gangadhar Lokmanya Tilak
This uprising in the common man’s mind due to the yearning for Swarajya, Swatantrata from the British was not a one off event. It was the turning point in the history of struggle for independence.
Another prominent example of such an uprising in the history waswhen Raja Chandragupta with the help of master tactician Chanakya, successfully threw off the yoke of repression of the Nanda tyranny in order that people could practice “their practices” freely.
Chanakya – an artist impression
Knowledge of tantra
For a group of people to be called a civilization or society, it is essential that they have their own set of indigenous practices. For a society or civilization to follow their own practices, they need to have the knowledge of what their practices are.
How did these practices come about?
How have these practices evolved and got refined through the ages?
Are these practices in consonance with Nature?
And how can these practices help them lead a sustainable, prosperous and happy life?
It is only when one is aware of these habits, practices, culture and ethos, does one begin to understand one’s society, civilization and culture.
It is only then, will one also know if one is practicing the tantra, scientific practices of one’s civilization.
Science is not just theory alone or laboratory experiments.
Science is nothing but the principles of the functioning of Nature, which includes man and his society. In short, science stretches right from the subtle rules that govern the creation of the cosmos to the conduct of every entity in the cosmos, whether living or non-living.
When a society or entity does not practice its own tantra, set of indigenous practices or a sustainable way of living, either out of repression or out of choice, the urge for swatantrata will eventually arise in that society, in the minds of the common man of that society.
Such a call for swatantrata could also result in the desired power to the society or group, to practice its own set of ways.
But when such a call for swatantrata is not further followed up with tantra of the cosmos, which can sustain the society, it will not be long before it leads to a call for another swatantratra once again.
On this Independence Day let us understand the real meaning of swatantrata- Society’s practice of its own indigenous way of living, in line with its history, geography, geology, topology, climatology, ecology, biology, cosmology and all other sciences, which go towards shaping the society and its culture.
Swarajya vs Swatantra
What we fought for and obtained from the British is swarajya, self-rule.
We have a long way to go to achieve our Swatantrata- the courage and will to practice our own, indigenous, proven and sustainable techniques.
To practice Swatantrata, Swarajya is a fundamental need. For, without self-governance it will not be possible to freely practice the practices of the land. As a corollary to the statement, if we have Swarajya, it does not naturally mean that we are practicing Swatantrata too.
Swarajya aids, helps in practicing Swatantrata. But to practise Swatantrata, Swarajya + Gnana is imperative.
Let us with this knowledge, Gnana and Vignana, march towards true Swatantrata, true Independence.