Preface to the third edition


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Not Equality but Harmony

Our philosophy, on the other hand, has pictured the highest state of society and offered for it a cogent explanation too. It is described as:

u jkT;« u p jktk··lhr

~ u n.M~;¨ u p nkf.Md% A

?ke¡sZ.kSo çtkLlokZ j{kfUr Le ijLije~ AA

(There existed no state, no king, no penalty and no criminal. All protected one another by virtue of dharma). Dharma is the universal code of right conduct that awakens the Common Inner Bond, restrains selfishness, and keeps the people together in that harmonious state even without external authority. There will be no selfishness, no hoarding and all men will live and work for the whole.

And it is dharma that is the distinguishing feature of human life

vkgkjfuækHk;eSFkqu« p LkkekU;esrRi'kqfHkuZjk.kke~ A

/ke¨Z fg rs"kkef/kd¨ fo'ks"k¨ /kesZ.k ghuk% i'kqfHk% lekuk% AA

(Food, sleep, fear and lust are common to both animal and man. The special attribute of man is dharma; without it he is no better than an animal)

It is through the full manifestation of dharma in human life that human beings will be able to live in that state of highest harmony in spite of the inherent disparities in nature. It is like the co-operation of a blind man with a lame man. The lame man gets a leg and the blind man an eye. The spirit of co-operation takes away the sting of disparity.

Our view of the relation between individual and society has always been not one of conflict but of harmony and co-operation born out of the consciousness of a single Reality running through all the individuals. The individual is a living limb of the corporate social personality. The individual and the society supplement and complement each other with the result that both get strengthened and benefited.

Mistaking Means for Ends

The essential point, therefore, is the moulding of individuals after the real image of man imbued with the sublime principles of innate oneness and harmony, i.e., of dharma. Indeed, a system works ill or well according as the men who work it out are bad or good. That is why, in the absence of men inspired with the right spirit, Democracy deteriorates into ‘mediocracy’ and is often reduced to ‘mobocracy’. The tragedy of the various theories and ‘isms’ propounded by the West is that they were taken to be the ends in themselves to the utter neglect of building the quality of man. They ignored the simple yet fundamental truth that systems and ‘isms’ are at best only means for the fulfillment of

man’s life. It is mistaking the means for the ends that has landed these attempts in results diametrically opposite to what they had prophesied or expected.

Even to this day, democratic countries are plagued by grave social problems arising out of this basic confusion of placing system above man. They system of Democracy that they have evolved breeds two evils – self-praise and vilification of others – which poison the peace and tranquility of the human mind and disrupt the mutual harmony of individuals in society. In the present set-up both these are to be freely indulged in during elections.

This is the reason why in our national tradition, we did not bother much about the external form of the government but concentrated upon the moulding of man as the chief guiding factor in all our systems. Many forms were tried here right from republic to monarchy. And we find that the monarchy, which bred such tyranny and gave rise to bloody revolutions in the West, was found to be a highly beneficial institution continuing for thousands of years showering peace and prosperity on the whole of our people, with the spirit of freedom alive in every sphere of life.


IV. For a Right Structure : Political and Economic

Present system of elections defective – True representatives do not come up – Couple territorial with functional representation – Make Panchayat election unanimous – socialism leads to slavery-Theory of trusteeship-Striking a balance between individual incentive and decentralisation of wealth-Hindu values, the backbone of success

Our country has now opted for the democratic structure. But if this arrangement has to succeed, it is essential that the common mass of people should be properly educated and enlightened. Making them mere literates will not serve the purpose. They have to be made aware of their role and responsibilities with respect to the various aspects of our national life such as politics, economics, etc.

Present Perversions

It is such an enlightened people alone who will be capable of electing the right type of representatives. If, on the other hand, the common people are uneducated and ignorant they can easily be swayed by the baser appeals of selfishness, parochial interests and vulgar inducements. Representatives elected by such an electorate would never be of a desirable type. And the people as a whole will have to suffer its bitter consequences-at least till the next elections. Such a failure will also result in disillusionment and scepticism about the efficacy of democracy itself.

The present system of electing representatives results in one more curious phenomenon. A doctor or an advocate or simply a "politician", who knows next to nothing about agriculture, gets elected as the spokesman of the rural electorate! The only qualification to get elected will be one’s skill and capacity to manipulate votes and win the elections. The coming up of the present new class of politicians and representatives – who are more of "politicians" than of "representatives" – over the last three decades is because of this defective system.

A Few Samples

I came across a shocking instance during the days of war with Pakistan in 1965. Then the canals on our side had dried up as water had not been allowed from the dam. The canals of Pakistan side were, however, flowing full. When I happened to meet a deputy minister in the defence ministry I asked him as to why the canals had been denied water, whether it would not result in the drying up of crops and shortage of foodgrains and slackening on the internal front. The minister replied that the water flowing in the canals would be a defence risk as that would cause reflections and become an easy target for the enemy planes. When I countered him with the fact of the canals on the Pakistan side flowing full and whether they did not run the risk, the minister had no answer. A few days later I chanced to meet a senior minister. I asked him whether the deputy minister’s explanation

was correct. He replied that it was totally baseless and the deputy minister was entirely ignorant of such matters.

This is how representatives who know nothing of their jobs come to occupy pivotal positions of responsibilities in those fields. And those who are actually in the know of things-the technical experts-will be helpless in such matters. They will have to only carry out the orders from "above". In Bihar, as everyone knows, floods play havoc every year. I asked a railway engineer, who was an authority on bridges, whether the fact of flooding of rivers flowing from the mountains had been taken into account while deciding the number and the length of railway bridges. He confessed that it was not. He also pleaded that in such matters decisions were often based on political and other considerations rather than on the opinion of the experts.

"Territorial" Plus "Functional"

This is one of the major obstacles, which the present system of elections has thrown up. What is the way out? One way could be to couple both types of representation: one, the territorial, on the population basis, as at present; and the other, functional, i.e., representatives elected from the various professions and avocations. The latter should include representatives from each important field of national life, the agricultural community being represented by an agriculturist, and so on. This will help, to a certain extent, to correct the imbalance and make the elected group capable of representing all the functions and needs of the society.

Panchayat – the Cornerstone

It is this system which has been in vogue in our country since ancient times. Gram Panchayats have been the cornerstones of our socio-economic system. It is these Panchayats which through widening circles of elections, finally elected the Ashta Pradhan Samitis, the eight-member cabinet which acted as the advisory council to the king. These Panchayats were functional in their character. Of course, in those days life was not so complicated as at present. There were, mainly, four functional groups at that time. The first group comprised those devoted to study and teaching of material and spiritual sciences; the second, those entrusted with the running of administration. The third were the traders, and the fourth, those engaged in agriculture and allied handicrafts. There was a fifth group also residing in forests and living on hunting and forest produce. This fifth group was called the Nishada. Representatives of all these five together were taken so as to represent the interests of the society as a whole.

How to Correct

These days the slogan of Panchayat-raj is often heard. But the whole system has become perverted. Groupism and casteism have displaced the functional scheme. Notorious goondas often get elected to the Panchayats. Appeal to casteism, lure of money, threats, physical assaults have become the deciding factors; functional expertise has been thrown to winds. However, these distortions will have to be corrected. Well meaning and socially

conscious persons in each field should be encouraged to come together and exert their influence so as to give a clean and effective rural base to the entire national edifice. Stipulating that elections to Panchayats shall be unanimous, or that there shall be no elections at all, would be a very useful step in this direction. Electoral rolls and rules of elections may be suitably modified so as to ensure such a healthy and purposeful structure at the base. If need be, the Constitution also may be suitably amended. This could help foster a spirit of greater co-operation among the various groups and harmonise their needs and interests. Of course, this approach is not all smooth sailing and does entail several obstacles. But this is an experiment worth trying and is likely to yield beneficial results and minimise the harmful effects of the present system.

Why Slavery to Words?

About the structuring of national economy also we have our traditional thought which lays emphasis not merely on the monetary aspect. We have called the Artha Shastra as Neeti Shastra. Today this neeti is limited to Rajneeti-Politics-only. But in our ancient view, both politics and economics came under that one word.

Today, economics has become the more important factor out of the two. And socialism is often held as an ideal in this regard. But there are so many brands of socialism that it has become well-nigh impossible to understand what exactly is its real nature and content. Guild Socialism, Anarchism, Syndicalism, Communism are all described as various forms of Socialism. Whatever it is, why should we become slaves to such words? It is best that we start afresh basing our thinking on the original concepts reflecting the genius of our own soil. Of course, if there are any positive elements, which we could usefully take up from other thoughts, we must necessarily do so.

Retreat of Over-Centralisation

The basic principle of socialism, for example, is decentralisation of economic power. Socialism also emphasises that this decentralisation should be just and equitable. So far, there can be no difference of opinion. But the differences start the moment the question crops up as to who should be empowered to see that the decentralisation is just and proper. Which is the agency? These days the trend is gaining ground, that for carrying out decentralisation, centralisation is necessary; that in place of many centres of economic power the State alone should concentrate all the powers in its hands; that political power should alone be the effective centre and that it alone should have the monopoly on all means of production.

Under such a state of affairs, political authority become all-powerful and the entire society is reduced to slavery to the political masters. Only that much of power, which is doled out by the State, will come to the lot of the people. The quantity, the timing, the nature of doling out will all be decided by the rulers. The people will have to be content with playing a second fiddle to the all-powerful State.

However, the various experiments carried out in foreign countries in this direction have failed to deliver the goods. In the first flush of experimentation they went so far as to plan community cooking and feeding in place of individual homes. They had also experimented with the idea that the children too belonged to the community and not to the individual parents. The infants would be fed and looked after en-masse. At regular intervals, the mother would go and feed her child. But where is the guarantee that the mother would find her own child in that multitude and at so short a time? There is no need even for that. She could feed the child, which she chanced to meet.

However, after all these experiments they have begun to learn, from bitter experience, that man is not a machine. Each individual has his own special characteristics, his own aptitudes and tastes. When this basic feature of human life was ignored and all were sought to be treated as parts of a lifeless machine, discontent grew. Conflicts ensued. Efficiency fell. And as a result they had to give up such experiments. No doubt, we can admire their spirit of exploration and experimentation. But it does not mean that we too should indulge in the same kind of the futile experiments!

Will Trusteeship Work?

We shall now independently and in the light of our own genius ponder over the problem of how best to bring into practice the basic principle of ensuring the just and proper decentralisation of economic power. Mahatma Gandhi has propounded the theory of trusteeship in the light of his perception of the tradition and life-philosophy of this land. In that concept, the human incentive for production is not crippled. He is urged to produce as much as possible. But he is not to look upon himself as the owner of all that wealth; it essentially belongs to the community. He is only to look upon himself as the trustee of that property in order to ensure its proper utilisation in the service of society.

No doubt this approach is in consonance with our ancient Hindu thought. But there is a serious handicap in this. In the present age, the human mind has been so much confused and twisted out of shape that man is unable to muster his will and capacity for work where he is not able to secure profit for himself. We have to take into consideration this factor also. Take for example income tax. The Government has taxed so high that after a certain slab is crossed the man who produces will be able to retain hardly Rs.2.50 out of 100. Under such conditions the producer would naturally feel that there is no use in producing to that pitch and that a much lesser production would save money for him. Which means he will either begin to put in less effort or indulge in evasion of tax. This has been the experience not only in our country, but elsewhere also.

The opposite example of West Germany is often quoted. After the Second World War its economy had almost collapsed. And so the economic experts there decided to do away with all the curbs on the incentive for production. All controls were removed. As a result, there was a phenomenal economic growth. Then, they also planned how best to decentralise the wealth. It has been reported that this method has helped West Germany stabilise its economy and march ahead. The experience in industries all over the world is

also not different. The labourers lose the incentive for work if they feel that they are not able to get suitable recompense.

Striking a Balance

So, we have to strike a balance in which the individual’s incentive is kept alive and at the same time decentralisation of the produced wealth is also brought about. For this purpose some restraints will have to be placed on the individual. The concept of personal freedom cannot be so narrowly construed as to harm the interests of the community at large. Freedom of the individual to amass and enjoy the wealth has to be kept within certain limits so as to ensure freedom for all others in the society to have same opportunities for leading a happy and prosperous material life.

Herein comes the genius of the Hindu viewpoint, which prepares the individual’s mind for this adjustment. He is educated and enlightened with regard to the true nature of happiness: the goal that is kept before him is not merely of physical enjoyment; that is not going to give him lasting happiness. For that he has to rise beyond his dependence on the physical objects, plunge into the depths of his own being and discover that eternal and boundless ocean of joy and bliss. He will then realise that the people around him are also manifestations of the same Spirit and that the enjoyment of the fruits of his labour by them is equivalent to his own enjoyment.

It is against the background of this life-attitude that a balance could be achieved. The individual could be assured of his right to property, which would enable him to meet the needs and responsibilities with regard to himself and his family. There should be some limited right to property (coupled with a ceiling on personal income) i.e., scope for fulfilling his desires for enjoyment to a limited degree, while at the same time stipulating his contribution towards fulfilling the needs of the other members of the community. Well, these could from the broad outlines for a pattern of economy, which could, in the present circumstances, ensure both the individual incentive and a just system of decentralisation.

Basis of Success

However, basic to the success of this system is the proper moulding of human attitudes. People should be imbued with the right philosophy of life. They should be able to check their self-centred propensities and be able to identify themselves with the joys and sorrows of their fellow beings. The spirit of self-discipline which alone will bring about this harmonious adjustment and co-operative effort for the all-round development of national prosperity is also to be inculcated. Thus, the building up of such a social structure in which the individuals are imbued with the right perspective regarding the supreme goal of their life, with love and affinity for the entire society and spirit of self-discipline, becomes the one great mission of every son and daughter of this soil.

V. Call of our National Soul

Revival, not reaction- Culture, indefinable yet all-absorbing- Nation as God- True spirit of service- Not rights but duty- Unity in diversity- To raise the average- Present perversions- Watering roots of immortality

Our concept of Hindu Nation is not a mere bundle of political and economic rights. It is essentially cultural. Our ancient and sublime cultural values of life form its life-breath. And it is only an intense rejuvenation of the spirit of our culture that can give us the true vision of our national life, and a fruitful direction to all our efforts in solving the innumerable problems confronting our nation today.

But these days, rejuvenation of culture is often dubbed as ‘revivalism’ and ‘reactionary’. Revival of old prejudices, superstitions or anti-social customs may be called reactionary, as that would result in fossilisation of society. But rejuvenation of eternal and ennobling values of life can never be reactionary. To dub it as reactionary merely because it is old only betrays intellectual bankruptcy and nothing else. By the term "rejuvenation of our culture" we mean the reanimating in our lives of those eternal life-ideals that have nourished and immortalised our national life all these millennia.

Too Fine to be Defined

People sometimes ask, "How do you define Hindu culture". Well, we feel it, though we cannot define it. There are some who deny it altogether merely because they cannot define it. They say, "What is the use of a thing which we cannot define?" But will this argument stand to reason? For example, the entire course of medical science is evolved in order to protect life. But even the most modern scientists have not been able to define what ‘life’ is. But that has not come in the way of the utility of medical science. The outward manifestation of ‘life’ and its impact on man is sufficient to convince us of its actuality.

So also, our sentiments, ideals and aspirations have a reality of their own and have a very vital role in our life even though they cannot be expressed in terms of definitions and mathematical equations. In fact, it is such subtle factors that form the real human personality rather than such gross things as can be measured and defined.

Truth Defies Denials

Our culture too, though defying definition, has left its indelible stamp on all walks of our life. We can recognise the element of culture in all such manifestations. There is an example in the life of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru. He used to view the problems of life mainly from the materialist standpoint. Things like God, religion, soul, transmigration of soul etc., had no meaning for him. Then a time came when unfortunately his wife, who was taken abroad for medical treatment, died. According to our custom her body was

cremated-not buried, but cremated. It was reduced to a small handful of ashes. What was to be done with it? An agnostic must say, "This is merely ash and its only profitable use is to put it in the field as manure". According to materialism there is no point in showing any consideration to mere ash". Dust thou art and to dust thou returnest" is all that it can say.

There was an intense tussle in Pandit Nehru’s mind-between the agnostic in him calling upon him to throw away the ashes in that foreign land and return, and the call of his ancient Hindu blood urging him to bring those sacred relics of his beloved wife and offer them in the bosom of Gangamata. Finally the ancient samskars won. The ashes were brought to our land and immersed at the holy confluence of Ganga, Yamuna and the invisible Saraswati at Prayag. As Pandit Nehru himself said later, his intellect, his modern education and training were all in revolt but something in him, something inexplicable, forced him to immerse the ashes in the Triveni-sangam. This is samskar, the imprint of culture.

What then are the manifestations of that culture in our national life? The Living God

The first and the most fundamental aspect is the urge for realisation of the Supreme Reality permeating the entire Universe-whatever the name given to it. Or in simple words, it is ‘to realise God’. But where is God? How can we know Him? How does He look? What are His appearances, His attributes, that we may meditate upon Him and realise Him? The description that He is nirakar (without form), nirguna (without attributes) and all that leads us nowhere. Various ways of worship are also evolved. People go to temples and try to concentrate on the idols taking them to be emblems of the Almighty. But all this does not satisfy us who are full of activity. We want a ‘living’ God. What is the use of a God who only hears but does not respond? These emblems neither weep nor smile nor show any reaction, unless of course of the persons are devotees of any reaction, unless of course the persons are devotees of extraordinary high merit. But for all ordinary persons they are non-feeling emblems of the Almighty. Therefore we want a ‘living’ God which will engross us in activity and invoke all the powers that reside in our being.

Our forefathers therefore said, "Our People are our God". Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, one of the greatest teachers of mankind, said, ‘Serve man’. His great disciple Swami Vivekananda also stated the same emphatically. But ‘man’, in the sense of the whole of humanity, is a very wide concept and as such, cannot be grasped easily as a single solid entity for us to see and feel. Therefore it is that so many who took up the idea of serving humanity ended in inanity and inaction. Hence our forefathers, understanding the limitations of the human mind and intellect, said, "Humanity and all that is all right, but before one can rise to that stage, one should take a view of the Almighty with certain limitations as it were, which one can understand, feel and serve". The Hindu People, they said, is the Virat Purusha, the Almighty manifesting Himself. Though they did not use the ‘Hindu’, it is clear from the following description of the Almighty in Purusha Sukta

wherein is stated that the sun and moon are His eyes, the stars and the skies are created from His nabhi (navel) and

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