On August 15th, 2021, Dr. Beloo Mehra from AuroBharati delivered a special lecture titled “Revisiting Nation, Nationalism and Culture in the Light of Sri Aurobindo” at an event organised by Sri Aurobindo Study Centre, Faculty of Arts at the Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda in association with the Maharaja Sayajirao University Union. This event marked the beginning of the university’s year-long celebrations of 150th Birth Anniversary Year of Sri Aurobindo.
The event began with Dr. Shaurya Brahmbhatt, coordinator of the Sri Aurobindo Study Center, MSU, welcoming everyone, followed by the university anthem. Dr. Reena Bhatia, President of the MSU Union gave a brief introduction to the objectives of the University Union which organises and promotes learning opportunities that engage the university students in cultural affairs.
Prof. Adhya Bharati Saxena, Dean of Faculty of Arts, provided some interesting historical details of the times when Sri Aurobindo was a professor at Baroda College. She also shared some fascinating facts about the historical building where the present Faculty of Arts is located which used to be the premises of the Baroda College.
Dr. Jigar Inamdar who is the Regional Director of Indian Council of Cultural Relations, Ministry of External Affairs, Govt. of India, and also a Senate and Syndicate member of the MSU, Baroda was the Chief Guest for the event. He spoke briefly about the great work of Sri Aurobindo in Indian Freedom Movement and congratulated the University for celebrating the 150th birth anniversary of Sri Aurobindo through various programmes.
The virtual group then had a short meditation with the Mother’s organ music, which was followed by Dr. Shaurya Brahmbhatt introducing the speaker, Dr. Beloo Mehra.
Dr. Mehra gave a brief outline of how Sri Aurobindo’s vision helps us understand the terms – nation, nationalism and culture in a more inside-out way. She highlighted some of the ways in which Sri Aurobindo’s intense self-immersion into the soul and spirit of Indian culture during his Baroda period was a significant factor in how he spoke about the truth of a nation and the religion of nationalism in his political writings and speeches.
Dr. Mehra also shared that after reading Sri Aurobindo’s writings on these topics of nation and nationalism, one thing we clearly discern is that Indian view of nation and nationalism can never be a limited, chauvinistic, jingoistic one. An important point Dr. Mehra brought during her talk was that it is important for Indian youth to reflect on the deeper Indian view of nation and nationalism before beginning to question the relevance of these in today’s age of globalism and internationalism. She pointed out that Sri Aurobindo always emphasised that India’s rise is for the larger world, for the benefit of all humanity. The cultural basis of Indian nation-hood and nationalism was also briefly discussed by highlighting some distinctive aspects of Indian culture.
Ms. Pragati Pandey, Team Leader, Public Lecture Series, MSU gave the vote of thanks. The programme concluded with the national anthem.