The Idea of India 2014
This auction started out with an idea. That the idea of India as our founding mothers and fathers had envisaged it is at the crossroads between liberalism, inclusion and tolerance in the one direction and discrimination, fundamentalism and hatred in the other.
Perhaps there has been no moment in our history more important than now to ask ourselves : What foundational principles were woven into India’s flag? What human values written into its Constitution? What unshakeable ethics scored into its national anthem? Countries don’t ask you love them. They ask you love the values that were fought for at the time of their birth. Nation builders don’t ask you unconditionally love the land that cradles you. They ask you remain ceaselessly vigilant as it grows. Watchful that it doesn’t lose the things that make you proud to be part of it. Values that make you stand tall in immigration queues. Qualities the world associates with you because of your history and your leaders. Leaders that make your chest swell with pride at their choice of what the country would stand for, fight for, die by. That we would always have space in our hearts to understand another’s suffering. That we would treat everybody with respect till they fell short of it. That our ears and minds were always open, even to those we disagreed with. That it would be impossible for us to knowingly crush someone’s hope or home. That the only time we would rise up defiant would be to uphold all of this and everything else that makes up the idea of India.
The sixteen persons who have donated to this auction are sixteen such Indians.
Indians who with both, their genius and their generosity, uphold the ideals that nest within the idea of India. Indians who with their intellect and world view, epitomize the Indian ethos. Indians who take India civilizationally forward, help nurture her evolution to a more inspirational, more productive, more inclusive place. Indians, in whose absence, the country would be diminished, our lives less joyous, less wise, less inspiring. These Indians have not donated just their memorabilia, some have donated a part of their history, others a part of their best work, some a piece of their greatest joy, others their most prized memory, all with unthinking selflessness and love. Thank you for this, thank you for embodying the idea of India.