Sunday, February 22, 2009

The song of the soul - Nirvana Shatkam

Creative Commons License

Nirvana Shatkam

मनो बुद्धि अहंकार चित्तानी नाहं
नच श्रोत्र जिव्हे नच घ्राण नेत्रे
नच व्योम भूमि न तेजो न वायु
चिदानंद रूपः शिवोहम शिवोहम ||1||

I am not mind, Intellect, Ego, and Seat of consciousness. Neither I am ear and tongue nor I am nose and eyes. Neither I am sky or earth nor I am power or wind. I am the eternal bliss, I am Shiva, the Auspicious.||1||

नच प्राण संज्ञो न वै पञ्चवायुः
न वा सप्तधातु: नवा पञ्चकोशः
न वाक्पाणिपादौ न च उपस्थ पायुः
चिदानंदरूप: शिवोहम शिवोहम ||2||

I am not the state of being alive or the five type of Vayu. Neither I am the seven elements constituting the body (Dhatu) nor I am the five sheaths which invest the soul. Neither I am voice, hand, or leg nor I am Genitals. I am the eternal bliss, I am Shiva, the Auspicious.||2||

नमे द्वेषरागौ नमे लोभ मोहौ
मदों नैव मे नैव मात्सर्यभावः
न धर्मो नचार्थो न कामो न मोक्षः
चिदानंदरूप: शिवोहम शिवोहम ||3||

I have not envy and passion nor greed and attachment. Neither I am intoxication nor I am jealous. And I am neither Dharma (righteousness,Duty), nor Artha (Material Wealth), Nor Kama (Desire), nor Moksha (Liberation). I am the eternal bliss, I am Shiv,the Auspicious.||3||

न पुण्यं न पापं न सौख्यं न दु:खं
न मंत्रो न तीर्थं न वेदों न यज्ञः
अहम् भोजनं नैव भोज्यम न भोक्ता
चिदानंद रूप: शिवोहम शिवोहम ||4||

There is nothing Punya (Virtuous deed), Paap (Vicious Deed), Saukhya (Wellbeing/Happiness), or Dukha (Grief) for me. Neither I am Hymns nor any Holy Place nor I am the Veda nor the oblation. I am not the Experience, nor the Experiencer nor the Experienced. I am eternal bliss, I am Shiv,the Auspicious.||4||

नमे मृत्युशंका नमे जातिभेद:
पिता नैव मे नैव माता न जन्म
न बंधू: न मित्रं गुरु: नैव शिष्यं
चिदानंद रूप: शिवोहम शिवोहम ||5||

Neither I have the fear of death nor I have the difference between Races/Castes. Neither I have [any relation like] father, mother, nor I am born. I am not a relative, nor a friend, a teacher (Guru), or a student (Shisya) of anyone. I am the eternal bliss, I am Shiv,the Auspicious.||5||

अहम् निर्विकल्पो निराकार रूपो
विभुर्व्याप्य सर्वत्र सर्वेन्द्रियाणाम
सदा मे समत्वं न मुक्ति: न बंध:
चिदानंद रूप: शिवोहम शिवोहम ||6||

I am eternal and changeless, and lack all the qualities and form. I envelope all forms from all sides and am beyond the cognition of sense-organs. I am always in the state of equality — there is no liberation (Mukti) nor Bondage (Bandha). I am the eternal bliss state, I am Shiv, the Auspicious.||6||

- Adi Shankaracharya (8th century CE)

The depth of each word used in this masterpiece unravels as we go on learning the meanings of the verses. First 5 stanzas, Shankara describes all the attributes of physical and spritual world and says that the "I" of every person is beyond material and spiritual world. In last line of every stanza, poet says, "I" actually is - "चिदानंद रूप: शिवोहम शिवोहम" - "I am the eternal bliss state, I am Shiv, the Auspicious" .

If we look at the meaning of this recurring phrase closely, we face a deluge of information and we grasp the flight of the creativity of this man.

नन्द - Nanda - propitious
- Aa - Towards, from all sides

आनंद - Aananda - Propitiousness from all sides...

चित्त - Chitta - Derived from word root - चित् - Chit - to percieve.
Same word root forms the word - चेतना - Chetana which is power of perception.
चित्त - Chitta becomes faculty/tool of perception. Energy which makes perception possible is Chitta. It should be noted that there are two conditions for this. Perception is only possible in presence of
a) Subject (one who is percieving - self or "I")
b) Object (one which is being percieved - universe)

An energy which makes perception possible is the one which is responsible for existence of both a and b.

Is Chitta (चित्त) same as Maanas(मानस) or mind?
No... it is something which transcends mind... Perception is linked with ego ("I") OR ahamkar(अहंकार) OR aatman(आत्मा)... Without sense of 'I', there can be no perception... So, looking closely, chitta(चित्त) is that feature which enables perception, that is 'I' or the Aatman(आत्मा)... Chetana(चेतना) is power of perception which comes from 'Chitta'(चित्त) and enables us to 'Chit'(चित्) or to percieve.

रूप - Roop - Image

Shiva - शिव - Auspicious.

Thus, चिदानंद रूप: शिवोहम शिवोहम actually translates as "I am that auspicious form of Chitta (Energy) which is surrounded by propitiousness from all sides". In other words, state of complete and perfect equianimity where all duality vanishes and complete Advaita (Non-duality) is established with Kaivalya (Singularity).

One of the greatest philosophical gems ever produced in India and one of the masterpiece of Adi Shankaracharya....

Origin of Atheism in India

Creative Commons License

The origins of atheism and agnosticism are seen in Rgveda in following verses. These verses are present in 10th book of RgVed which is considered to be a last stage of Rgved composition and is conventionally dated around 1300 BC. Note the boldened and the underlined verses which exemplify their skepticism regarding existence of creator.

HiraNyagarbha Sukta (Rgved 10:121)

हिरण्यगर्भः समवर्तताग्रे भूतस्य जातः पतिरेकासीत | 
स दाधार पर्थिवीं दयामुतेमां कस्मै देवायहविषा विधेम || 
य आत्मदा बलदा यस्य विश्व उपासते परशिषं यस्यदेवाः | 
यस्य छायाम्र्तं यस्य मर्त्युः कस्मै देवायहविषा विधेम || 
यः पराणतो निमिषतो महित्वैक इद राजा जगतो बभूव | 
य ईशे अस्य दविपदश्चतुष्पदः कस्मै देवाय हविषाविधेम || 
यस्येमे हिमवन्तो महित्वा यस्य समुद्रं रसया सहाहुः | 
यस्येमाः परदिशो यस्य बाहू कस्मै देवाय हविषाविधेम || 
येन दयौरुग्रा पर्थिवी च दर्ळ्हा येन सव सतभितं येननाकः | 
यो अन्तरिक्षे रजसो विमानः कस्मै देवायहविषा विधेम || 
यं करन्दसी अवसा तस्तभाने अभ्यैक्षेतां मनसारेजमाने | 
यत्राधि सूर उदितो विभाति कस्मै देवायहविषा विधेम || 
आपो ह यद बर्हतीर्विश्वमायन गर्भं दधानाजनयन्तीरग्निम | 
ततो देवानां समवर्ततासुरेकःकस्मै देवाय हविषा विधेम || 
यश्चिदापो महिना पर्यपश्यद दक्षं दधानाजनयन्तीर्यज्ञम | 
यो देवेष्वधि देव एक आसीत कस्मैदेवाय हविषा विधेम || 
मा नो हिंसीज्जनिता यः पर्थिव्या यो वा दिवंसत्यधर्मा जजान | 
यश्चापश्चन्द्रा बर्हतीर्जजानकस्मै देवाय हविषा विधेम || 
परजापते न तवदेतान्यन्यो विश्वा जातानि परि ताबभूव | 
यत्कामास्ते जुहुमस्तन नो अस्तु वयं सयाम पतयोरयीणाम || 

Translation - 

1. IN the beginning rose Hiranyagarbha, born Only Lord of all created beings.
He fixed and holdeth up this earth and heaven. Which is a god like this whom shall we adore with our oblation?
2 Giver of vital breath, of power and vigour, he whose commandments all the Gods acknowledge -.
The Lord of death, whose shade is life immortal. Which is a god like this whom shall we adore with our oblation?
3 Who by his grandeur hath become Sole Ruler of all the moving world that breathes and slumbers;
He who is Loord of men and Lord of cattle. Which is a god like this whom shall we adore with our oblation?
4 His, through his might, are these snow-covered mountains, and men call sea and Rasā his possession:
His arms are these, his are these heavenly regions. Which is a god like this whom shall we adore with our oblation?
5 By him the heavens are strong and earth is stedfast, by him light's realm and sky-vault are supported:
By him the regions in mid-air were measured. Which is a god like this whom shall we adore with our oblation?
6 To him, supported by his help, two armies embattled look while trembling in their spirit,
When over them the risen Sun is shining. Is there any such god whom shall we adore with our oblation?
7 What time the mighty waters came, containing the universal germ, producing Agni,
Thence sprang the Gods’ one spirit into being. Which is a god like this whom shall we adore with our oblation?
8 He in his might surveyed the floods containing productive force and generating Worship.
He is the God of gods, and none beside him. Which is a god like this whom shall we adore with our oblation?
9 Neer may he harm us who is earth's Begetter, nor he whose laws are sure, the heavens' Creator,
He who brought forth the great and lucid waters. Which is a god like this whom shall we adore with our oblation?
10 Prajāpati! thou only comprehendest all these created things, and none beside thee.
Grant us our hearts' desire when we invoke thee: may we have store of riches in possession.

Nasadiya Sukta (Rigveda 10:129)

नासदासीन नो सदासीत तदानीं नासीद रजो नो वयोमापरो यत | 
किमावरीवः कुह कस्य शर्मन्नम्भः किमासीद गहनं गभीरम || 
न मर्त्युरासीदम्र्तं न तर्हि न रात्र्या अह्न आसीत्प्रकेतः | 
आनीदवातं सवधया तदेकं तस्माद्धान्यन न परः किं चनास || 
तम आसीत तमसा गूळमग्रे.अप्रकेतं सलिलं सर्वमािदम | 
तुछ्येनाभ्वपिहितं यदासीत तपसस्तन्महिनाजायतैकम || 
कामस्तदग्रे समवर्तताधि मनसो रेतः परथमं यदासीत | 
सतो बन्धुमसति निरविन्दन हर्दि परतीष्याकवयो मनीषा || 
तिरश्चीनो विततो रश्मिरेषामधः सविदासी.अ.अ.अत | 
रेतोधाासन महिमान आसन सवधा अवस्तात परयतिः परस्तात || 
को अद्धा वेद क इह पर वोचत कुत आजाता कुत इयंविस्र्ष्टिः | 
अर्वाग देवा अस्य विसर्जनेनाथा को वेद यताबभूव || 
इयं विस्र्ष्टिर्यत आबभूव यदि वा दधे यदि वा न | 
यो अस्याध्यक्षः परमे वयोमन सो अङग वेद यदि वा नवेद ||

Translation - 

1. THEN was not non-existent nor existent: there was no realm of air, no sky beyond it. 
What covered in, and where? and what gave shelter? Was water there, unfathomed depth of water?
2 Death was not then, nor was there aught immortal: no sign was there, the day's and night's divider.
That One Thing, breathless, breathed by its own nature: apart from it was nothing whatsoever.
3 Darkness there was: at first concealed in darkness this All was indiscriminated chaos.
All that existed then was void and form less: by the great power of Warmth was born that Unit.
4 Thereafter rose Desire in the beginning, Desire, the primal seed and germ of Spirit.
Sages who searched with their heart's thought discovered the existent's kinship in the non-existent.
5 Transversely was their severing line extended: what was above it then, and what below it?
There were begetters, there were mighty forces, free action here and energy up yonder
6 Who verily knows and who can here declare it, whence it was born and whence comes this creation?
The Gods are later than this world's production. Who knows then whence it first came into being?
7 He, the first origin of this creation, whether he formed it all or did not form it,
Whose eye controls this world in highest heaven, he verily knows it, or perhaps he knows not

There are few interesting observations about Nasadiya Sukta. Consider this verse in nasadiya hymn.

कामस्तदग्रे समवर्तताधि मनसो रेतः परथमं यदासीत | 
सतो बन्धुमसति निरविन्दन हर्दि परतीष्याकवयो मनीषा |

Thereafter rose Desire in the beginning, Desire, the primal seed and germ of Spirit.
Sages who searched with their heart's thought discovered the existent's kinship in the non-existent

The sages say that upon deep contemplation on the probable reason of creation, they found out that Sat (existence) is actually a sibling, a brother of Asat (Non-existence). Which means that both originated from same source simultaneously. This kind of makes sense because without the concept of existence, there can't a concept of non-existence.

However, this has a very interesting implication. In Indian philosophy, therea are three levels of reality.

1) Sat - One which exists or holds true in all times and all places. In other words, one which exists everywhere, all the time, without changing at all is Sat. Only Brahman OR the fundamental principle is considered as Sat. This is the basis for famous statement of Brahma satyam jagat Mithya.

2) Rutam - One which exists but not everywhere, all the time and which changes with change in space and/or time is Rutam. Everything apart from brahman is not constant and is hence Rutam. 

3) Asatya - Non-existence - one which does not exist at all is Asat.

Now, in first verse, Nasadiya says, - 

नासदासीन नो सदासीत तदानीं नासीद रजो नो वयोमापरो यत  - THEN was not non-existent nor existent: there was no realm of air, no sky beyond it.

In other words, there was no Sat (Brahman) nor there was Asat (non-existence) before creation of this universe. The very concepts of existence and non-existence were not present before creation.

This is where the atheism and free-rationalism of this verse show up. The concept which people believe as supreme and most fundamental of all, is said to be non-existent before creation of Universe. It became supreme after it came into existence. This everything starts making sense after a point when Brahman came into existence. Before that, nobody knows. And nobody can know.

The sages end this verse on the same note. They say - 

को अद्धा वेद क इह पर वोचत कुत आजाता कुत इयंविस्र्ष्टिः | 
अर्वाग देवा अस्य विसर्जनेनाथा को वेद यताबभूव || 
इयं विस्र्ष्टिर्यत आबभूव यदि वा दधे यदि वा न | 
यो अस्याध्यक्षः परमे वयोमन सो अङग वेद यदि वा नवेद ||

Who verily knows and who can here declare it, whence it was born and whence comes this creation?
The Gods are later than this world's production. Who knows then whence it first came into being?
He, the first origin of this creation, whether he formed it all or did not form it,
Whose eye controls this world in highest heaven, he verily knows it, or perhaps he knows not.

The composers acknowledge that it really can't be known how the universe came into existence and whether or not, there is a creator. All the demigods came into existence much later. The one who created the universe, perhaps only he knows or perhaps even he does not know because he does not exist.

Essence of Philosophy  and Concept of Brahman
Brahman is the STUFF universe is made up of.. whatever it is.. the most fundamental physical entity which makes up universe. Using modern physical analogy, it can be said that quantum fields which is hypothesized to make up everything in universe is Brahman... Now quantum fields may or may not be brahman... 

If it is proven that quatum fields do make up everything in this world including space-time and dimensions then it will be proven that quantum field is Brahman. If not, then perhaps there something even more fundamental in this universe than quantum fields. Indian philosophers did not inquire into the physical nature of that fundamental entity.. They just named the most fundamental entity as Brahman...

The aim is not to have information about this fundamental unity, but to KNOW it, experience it. As long as a person has ego (sense of "I" as separate identity), he can't experience the unity. The definition has to be open ended because if it is crystalline, it will resist any modification. And frankly, it is impossible to KNOW how far the chain goes.. Hence it is logical to remain open-ended. There is no crystalline concepts giving exact information, because it is impossible and bound to be wrong.

Exact information is God created heavens and earth in 6 days and he rested on 7th and he created man in his own image. This is exact, crystalline, clear and WRONG!!!

How can one expect an exact knowledge about origin of universe from bronze-age people? even today in space-age, we don't know the answer. science is working towards it. And is expected to reach a result which will most probably be the fundamental entity of world. Vedics simply named that expected fundamental entity as Brahman. 

The questions in life of everybody can't be answered by one scripture. Million people have million different natures and zillion different types of problems. It is impossible for a scripture to answer all of them. It is foolish to rely on scriptures. Vedic literature merely serve as signboards on journey, not as driver. For example, Yoga teaches how to control your mind and focus it on thing we want to. If we focus it on our problems, then we will get the solution depending upon the level of our intellect.. This does not mean that Patanjali answered all problems in his Yogsutras...

What vedic philosophy says is know one self.. once the knowledge of self comes, no problem is difficult to solve. 

Some questions asked to me by friends in course of discussion. 

What is the reason behind the composition of Veds?

They are chronicles of Vedic people over the period of time. everything they held true, believed in, thought about, throughout their creative years is Vedas. It is illogical to as a poet why does he compose poetry. There is no reason. It just is.

Why their are additions in Veds rather than separate work with a different name?

They are not separate books. They were just collection thoughts and ideas, memoirs. many pastoral societies who move about have such oral traditions which are passed on orally thorough generations. Later this tradition stopped for some reasons after they left their pastoral life-style and settled down. 

Why Veds are written by so many seers and all their work was called Veds?

explained above. It is compilation of thoughts and ideas of wise people from one civilization through the period of thousand years.

Do you accept everything which is written in Veds?? If not then what exactly you accept and what you don't?

I don't accept everything written in Vedas. If I feel it logical, relevant, and which can be explained without having to invoke divine idea, I am fine with it. Its not that I do not appreciate it.
I appreciate Vedas a lot and hold them in high esteem as they are remarkable feet of creativity in terms of language, grammar, philosophy, rationalism, History. But appreciation need not be reverence and blind acceptance. 

Conclusion - Vedas have left a mark on India that is impossible to remove. The very concept of Bhaarat is found in Vedas along with the record of steady evolution and expansion of that concept. Almost all philosophies produced in India by Indians are influenced by Vedas. Some accept their authority, some reject them, but none can ignore them, not even rabid hedonists like Charvakas. The origin of all the philsophical schools ranging from Monism to Pantheism to Diesm to Polytheism to Agnosticism and Atheism, all of these schools can be traced in Vedas. Truly, they have given India her very cultural identity.

As far as atheism and free-rationalism is concerned, it also finds its origin in Vedas. It was widely practised in pre-islamic India. As education percolates, atheism and free-rationalism will again be popular amongst Indian masses.

Jaziya tax as implemented in India

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 India License.

Jiziya Tax was imposed upon Hindus during Islamic rule of Delhi Sultanate, Mughal empire up to Akbar and then regime of Aurangjeb. Please understand whar Jizya actually is before considering it as just another tax.

Under Islamic law, jizya or jizyah is a per capita tax levied on the state's non-Muslim citizens. The tax was levied on able bodied men of military age,(with some exemptions, though these were discarded at various points in history). From the point of view of the Muslim rulers, jizya was a material proof of the non-Muslims' subjection, "just as for the inhabitants it was a concrete continuation of the taxes paid to earlier regimes." In return, non-Muslim citizens were permitted to practice their faith, to enjoy a measure of communal autonomy, to be entitled to Muslim protection from outside aggression, to be exempted from military service and taxes levied upon Muslim citizens. 

"Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold forbidden that which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizyah with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued." - Quran 9.29.

Though jizya was mandated specifically for other monotheistic faiths (Judaism, Christianity, Zoroastrianism), under the Maliki school of Fiqh jizya was extended to all non-Muslims. Thus some Muslim rulers (Delhi Sultanate, Mughal rulers upto Akbar and then Aurangjeb) also collected jizya from Hindus and Sikhs under their rule. In return for the tax, those who paid the jizya were permitted to keep their non-Muslim religion subject to their meeting certain conditions.

Here is the biggest catch. Conditions. Before I start the conditions, let me again make it clear that the word 'Hindu' was used in medieval times to denote any non-muslim person in India who belongs to Non-Abrahmic faith of Indian origin. That means Buddhists, Jains, Sikhs, Vedics, atheists like Charvaka, all fall under category of 'Hindu'.

The conditions which were applied for India during Islamic rule are as follows.

There were clauses in Jiziya Tax. These clauses were specifically tailormade for Indian scenarion as the Quranic Jiziya does not talk about most of the clauses which are mentioned below and were implemented in India. 
  • According to this tax Hindus are not allowed to build new temples. 
  • Nor are they allowed to repair the damaged ones. 
  • Muslims have complete right to stay in any of Hindu places of worship at their discretion. 
  • If it so happens that muslim has to stay at Hindu's place as a guest, Hindus should treat Muslim as a royal guest. 
  • Hindus are barred from naming their children with any muslim names. 
  • Hindus cannot bear arms. 
  • Nor can they bear any jewel studded rings. 
  • Hindus cannot stay very close to Muslim household. 
  • If someone dies in Hindu household, they are not allowed to carry out their funeral rights with all its elaboration, nor can they cry out loud. 
  • Hindus cannot celebrate their festivals with all their pomp and colour. 
  • They should pay stipulated amount of their income to Islamic state for permitting them to follow their infidel religion. 
  • Hindus should show utmost reverence and respect towards Muslims. 
  • Conversion of Hindus to Islam is a holy deed and is to be sponsered and supported by state. 
  • Reconversion from Islam to Hinduism is strictly prohibited and punishable by death penalty."

In short, Hindus were to be reduced to the status of secondary citizens in their own land.

According to pilgrimage tax, all hindus should pay specific amount to state to in order to visit the holy places in their religion. They cannot carry arms along with them. 

India has predominantly been a religious and emotional country. During those times, just economics was not as important as religion is. Jiziya and Pilgrimage tax are designed to change the demographics of they region conquered by Islam in the favor of Muslims. It was a part of psychological warfare to inculcate inferiority complex in minds of Hindus and making them think that it is not profitable, nor worthwhile to remain as Hindus. 

Please understand the relationship between hinduism and India. Without Hinduism, India would be like persia/Iran with all its Zoroastrian heritage wiped out. Like Egypt with all the heritage of pharohs and ptolemy wiped out. To such an extent that Egyptians started considering themselves as Arabs. All of the religious and cultural heritage of North Africa, Carthage, lost due to such extreme proselytization. So is the case of Central Asia and Afghanistan and our very own neighbour Pakistan. Pakistan teaches to its small children that it was never really a part of India and that Mohd bin Qasim brought message of Peace (Islam) to India and liberated Pakistanis from influence of idolators

Jiziya was not just another tax levied upon non muslims. It was an important part of system which was designed to make the very existence of Non-muslims unaffordable, non-profitable. Jiziya should be considered as a means of forcible conversion. Compelling someone to change his faith in such a way is nothing short of forcible conversions.

Akbar abolished this tax from India. That is why his popularity boosted so much in India despite of the fact that he was not very much different than other tyrants and have had his share of Hindu Massacres to elevate him to the status of Ghazi. Many contemporary Hindus spoke highly of him just because he abolished Jiziya and pilgrim tax.

This is because, Jiziya was not just another tax...


*Musalmani Riyasat, volume two, Popular Prakashan, Mumbai and Marathi Riyasat by G S Sardesai

* New history of the Marathas by Govind Sakharam Sardesai; Phoenix Publications, 1946-1986. OCLC:36593825

Friday, February 20, 2009

Rural Empowerment of India - a dream, a vision

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 India License.

Human being is evolved to live in small groups, not bigger than 1000 people. Urbanization curbs lot many basic instincts of human beings. Furthermore the institution of village is extremely important in Indian scenarion.  

India and Hinduism have historically been de-centralized entities. The village makes up the fundamental structural and functional unit of Indian civilization even today. It must be known that for 4800 years out of 5000 years of Indian history, India has been among the largest of all economies in world. India lost her prosperity when institution of village was destroyed by British. This needs to be reversed. 

Also, since the population will be scattered around, there won't be many casualties in case of nuclear fall-out. Also, the burden on cities like Mumbai will decrease a bit and economy won't be hit as badly as it will be now.

* The social security of a closely knit community of a village is higher than nuclear families in city.

* Since everybody knows everybody ( or rather most of the people know most of the people), it is rather difficult to do something bad and go unnoticed. The Log Kya Kahenge (LKK) syndrome is higher in rural communities, and hence higher degree of righteous behaviour which is ultimately good for person, community and species.

* The cost of living is very low

* India has a very well developed concept of Panchayat Raj which was practised for centuries making every village an autonomous entity. 

* Curiously, the oppression of untouchables must be less in small villages as compared to urban India in medieval times. Not many cities after Indus Valley civilization showed the vision of having a sewage system for public sanitation in India until british times. Some forts, some big cities like Vijaynagar had sewage system. But 99% of cities in India did not have sewage system and hence the need of maintaining large number of untouchables to do the menial jobs. 

* In villages, people usually defecated in fields, which was beneficial for agriculture as humid and hot climate of India ensures that manure decomposes in not more than 1-1.5 days. Also, since the population was low, it was in synchronisation with nature. No need of maintaining high population of untouchable community and thus, not as high degree of Dalit Oppression as compared to one happening in cities. In fact, if we look at small villages of 100 people to slightly larger villages of 1000 people, the caste system, at least in early medieval ages, might have worked in benefit so that every body was assured job and means of survival.

* The point I want to convey is, rural empowerment will not only increase our economic abilities, but also decrease social tensions - both religious and caste-based.

* And I do not think it is that utopian ideal. All we need to do is supply every village with electricity, good schools until 10+2 level (higher secondary). Before British intrusion, every village had a lake OR set of wells. They had code about usage of water (qualitative and Quantitative). And last thing is Roads. If we provide good road access and uninterrupted power supply to every village, every thing else will follow. Banks and insurance companies will open their offices in villages. Telephone companies will bring internet. A city educated graduate could earn respectably in spite of living in his village, and would not need to live in crowded city. Software programmers from villages can write softwares, thus keeping the cost low and maintaining the edge of India in IT. Same goes with BPO and KPO industry.

* Small scale production plants will arise everywhere. More money to spend, boost to economy.

* Banks can inculcate the e-banking among majority of people in villages, thus making it popular mode of transaction. This will decrease the black money in the system. More black money is tapped, lesser needs GOI has to apply indirect taxes. When indirect taxes are lifted, the prices of commodities will go down.

* Most importantly, village empowerment will make it easier to have and efficiently maintain personal identification number system and Social security system in India.

* Common village biogas plants can make almost every village a self sustaining entity in terms of cooking gas and fertilizers. If we add to this utilization of Solar energy, the sustainability will further increase.

* Of course Urbanization is essential and has some salient features which cannot be denied at all. Just that, not every one wishes to live in crowded human jungle. In rurally empowered India, only those who need to live cities will live in cities. There won't be large scale migrations from villages to cities due to lack of opportunities to earn money in villages. Whoever will choose to leave his village will do so out of choice and not out of compulsion. Thus, the overall happiness in the society will increase.

* Demographically, the communities which most probably live in urban India after rural empowerment are Muslims and Brahmins. Brahmins, especially those in western India, have left villages long ago. Still, I am not sure about brahmin community; they might prove me wrong as well. Muslims of urban India will not move back to villages as easily as they came. of course this is my humble opinion.

There are millions of small things which I dream of.. and nothing utopian about them, very much doable in span of 10 years.

In words of Ghalib -

हजारों ख्वाहिशें ऐसी कि हर ख्वाहिश पे दम निकले
बहुत निकले मेरे अरमाँ, लेकिन फिर भी कम निकले ....