Text Released to the Press
on 19 November 2001
An International Forum for India’s Heritage (IFIH) has been inaugurated in New Delhi on 18-19 November 2001 at a convention attended by over half of its 147 founder members.
IFIH consists of eminent scholars, professors, teachers, artists, scientists, social workers, thinkers and writers from India and abroad. We have come together to promote the timeless and universal values of India’s cultural heritage in all fields of national life. Those values are all the more needed in today’s world which, confronted with the deliberate negligence of ancient ideals, is increasingly devoid of purpose and in search of enduring goals and meanings.
Since Independence, there has been a systematic denigration of Indian culture, perhaps the only one left to offer humankind an alternative to blind materialism and self-destruction. We assert the birthright of every Indian man, woman and child to have full access to this cultural heritage in complete freedom — a freedom denied, for instance, by our alienated educational system. Only then can India’s ancient culture contribute positively to the changes the country must undergo in order to realize its full potential. To rely purely on dominant Western materialistic methods, however effective at first, can only lead to cultural nihilism and human degeneration, as the West itself is now realizing.
IFIH represents an unprecedented experiment in reaching out to millions of Indians and non-Indians who are concerned with this growing rootlessness and deculturization, and have understood the futility of expecting a positive change in human nature without nurturing deeper values that have stood the test of time. Because such Indians have largely been denied a medium of expression in today’s India, IFIH aims at giving them a common and effective voice. A strictly non-religious, non-ideological, apolitical body, IFIH will evolve and sponsor programmes to promote those cultural values on national and international levels, beginning with our educational system. It will, first of all, produce authentic quality material to promote the various aspects of India’s heritage.