Ajit Doval: India is a civilisational state where languages, ethnicities and faiths coexist

In what he said was “among his rare public appearances in the last eight years”, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval recently delivered the keynote address at a book launch in New Delhi, which he said he chose to attend because “he wanted to share his concept on the idea of India” despite being a “hardcore security man”. He called India a civilisational state.

“Why are we a nation-state? Maybe many of us are still wondering why India is a nation if we have different ethnicities, languages, dresses, food habits. Do we have something which is our collective unique common consciousness? And if it is so, where does it come from?” Doval said at the launch of Ganga: The River of Sanatan Civilisation by author-historian Neera Misra on May 20.

“A nation is built by the collective consciousness of the people who identify themselves as a unique entity—they take pride in their past and dream of a future together. This is how a nation is different from a state—which has a territory, a flag and an army.”

Elaborating on his idea, the NSA said, “Before 1947, the Jews had no state, but their nationhood is 2,000 years old. They continued their struggle (for nationhood) because they had a unique identity. Even if a Jew was living in Cochin or Poland, he always thought of their nation on the basis of their culture and civilisation.”

“The states have been created on the basis of geographical interests or historical incidents or economic interest, ideology, ethnicity or languages,” he said, adding, “But a nation-state has a common consciousness at its core”.

“India is a civilisational state. Its bedrock is the common civilisation where every language, ethnicity and faith coexists. Our common heritage is thousands of years old. A commonly shared civilisation can have differences in thoughts, ideologies, beliefs, languages and ethnicity. This concept of a nation may not be accepted by many people as of now, but they will also realise when India will reach its potential,” Doval said. He called on the citizens to preserve the culture and civilisation and pass them on to the next generation. “We must preserve our tangible and intangible culture for the next generation,” he said.

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Talking about the Ganga, the subject of the book, he said, “The Ganga holds a significant role in our civilisation. Its journey from a stream in the Himalayas and to a delta in Sunderbans is key to our civilisation. It is on the bank of the Ganga we saw the growth of a civilisation, we saw the rise of cultures, we saw the rise of cities which led to the development of modern India.”

At the event, “Draupadi Samman Patras” were awarded to people who contributed towards researching, raising awareness on or promoting Indian heritage and history. The awardees included the late General Bipin Rawat (accepted by his daughter Tarini Rawat); former Archaeological Survey of India director-general BB Lal; Justice Sudhir Agarwal, member of the National Green Tribunal; Shreejana Rana, president of the Nepal India Chamber of Commerce and Industry; and Sanjay Manjul, joint director-general of the ASI.

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