(1989) – The forward march of human beings requires an internal approach and an adjustment with external objectivities. That is, it requires an internal, spiritual approach, as well as an external approach which maintains balance, equilibrium and equipoise in the different arenas of our social, economic and cultural life.
Humanity is presently suffering from two problems — one is affluence or bountifulness, and the other is shortages of not only physical but also psychic pabula. Most of the developed countries suffer from bountifulness. If the flow of affluence is regulated, then an adjustment may be made so that physical shortages and psychic deficiencies can be minimized before they become chronic problems. In most countries of the world there is a tendency towards this type of adjustment. Everybody admits that there should be such an adjustment; consequently, you will find hardly any blind capitalism in the world today. Nevertheless, despite this tendency, there is still maladjustment and misutilization of resources in developed countries.
The second problem is shortages of physical and psychic pabula. As every intellectual knows, Marxism is a psychic ailment. Those who suffered from physical shortages or psychic deficiencies were once attracted by the high-sounding gospels of Marxism. Still today, the people living in Marxist countries suffer from these deficiencies because communism itself encourages them.
There is a worsening global situation and humanity is in danger because of these problems. Both the propounders and preachers of capitalism and communism suffer from psychic ailments, and both systems also suffer from physical shortages and psychic defects, although those living under communism are no doubt worse off. The whole world is victimized by capitalism and communism. In capitalism there is misutilization or misallocation of human energy, resources and money, and in communism people do not have free access to different types of resources to ensure their all-round development. The problem is one of social, economic and cultural maladjustment. So what should be done?
There are hundreds of millions of hunger-stricken people throughout the world. PROUT must come forward and do something concrete for them — we must give them substantial food, otherwise they will continue to suffer from malnutrition. We must give nutritious food; simply feeding them will not suffice. For instance, giving them sweet potatoes is of no use, since they have got very little food value. Sweet potato has less food value than tapioca. People will still suffer from malnutrition even though their bellies may be full.
In many parts of India, the major portion of China, and certain portions of South America and Africa, people suffer from hunger. The staple food of the people in the Purulia district of West Bengal for four to five months of the year is grass seeds. In major parts of Africa people live on rats and mice. In India, the seeds of grass, in Africa, rats and mice!
In India there are four main areas — east, west, north and south. In the east, there is maximum poverty. In Bengal the per capita position is number thirteen in India. Only seventeen percent of Bihar is developed. In the west, Ambikapur in Sarguja district and the Bilaspur and Baster districts of Madhya Pradesh are poor. In the north, there is Kumayun in Uttar Pradesh, as well as the hilly areas of Nepal. The Mirzapur district of eastern Uttar Pradesh is also poor. Only sixteen percent of Uttar Pradesh is developed. In the south, the poor regions include the tribal areas of Vizag district and the Telengana region in Andhra Pradesh. Tamil Nadu has coastal belts, but its plateau region is not so productive due to shortages of water and lack of a proper irrigation system. While most of Kerala has no shortage of water, there is population pressure and no industry. Water is scarce, however, in the northern border of Kerala and the southern portion of Tamil Nadu. The Malayalam speaking portion has no industry, while the Tamil speaking area has some industry. Kerala is more or less self-sufficient. Dharmapuri is backward, though the rural economic structure of Tamil Nadu is good.
Thus, the poverty belt of India includes Palamu district and Lohardaga in the Ranchi district of Bihar; Kalahandi and Koraput in Orissa; Bilaspur, Baster and Ambikapur in eastern Madhya Pradesh; Mirzapur in eastern Uttar Pradesh; the Telengana region of Andhra Pradesh; and Dharmapuri in Tamil Nadu.
In Orissa, Maharashtra and Ra’r’h in West Bengal, farmers sell the wheat and rice they grow and eat coarse grain and grass seeds instead. Consequently, they suffer from severe malnutrition, and as a result, leprosy. Purulia district is one of the main leprosy affected areas of India. Leprosy is mainly caused by malnutrition.
In Southeast Asia, Indonesia and Vietnam are poor, while Malaysia and Singapore are rich. Thailand’s condition is relatively good. In Indonesia, people live mostly on rice. Malnutrition is found throughout almost all of China. Soup is a food of the poor people.
There is not much malnutrition in North America. Mexico, in Central America, is poorer than India, and Honduras is also poor. In South America all the countries are poor. Venezuela is better off than the rest of South America, but unless it makes more effort to become self-sufficient it will face economic difficulty when its petrol runs out. Brazil, which is a large country, and Peru are the countries which are the worst off. There are also hungry people in Paraguay and Uruguay. In Peru rice is one of the staple foods.
In the Middle East, there is socio-cultural maladjustment in the oil producing countries, even though they have enough wealth.
In Africa, there is much poverty and suffering among large sections of the population. There are hungry people throughout all of Africa. In a few countries, the staple food is rice, but these days rice is mostly for the rich.
Even in Europe, in certain parts of Wales and central Scotland, there is an acute shortage of substantial food. The people live off potatoes, and when the crop fails they suffer from malnutrition.
We must do something concrete for these people, otherwise the hunger of these downtrodden and distressed people will destroy the peace and tranquillity of the entire globe. You must not forget this fact. There should be an immediate influx of food from outside to these malnourished areas.
When you are taking responsibility for the entire globe, solving the problem of malnutrition is also your sacred duty. What is the cause of this problem? The cause is irrational distribution in the economies of the world. The long-term solution to this economic problem is PROUT, but the immediate food shortages themselves must be solved as an urgent necessity. What are you doing about this? You cannot shirk your responsibility. The entire globe is waiting for you. It is our sacred responsibility.
Let us shoulder this responsibility
The only solution to the world-wide problem of malnutrition and of the maladjustment and misallocation of resources is to implement multi-purpose development schemes. Multi-purpose development schemes are based on the degree of poverty in a country and aim to immediately elevate the standard of living of the people and bring about integrated development throughout the world. Such schemes are for the entire globe, and include undertaking temporary and permanent relief and upgrading the standard of education wherever required. In Europe, for example, in Rumania, Albania and the Balkan states we should concentrate on temporary relief; in Portugal on permanent relief; and in Greenland on education. The Basque area of Spain is poor, while Greenland has few people. Work should start in the areas of greatest need and radiate out.
Italy is developed but not highly developed. It has crossed the threshold of a developing country — that is, the threshold of developing and developed. It is more developed than Portugal and almost as developed as Spain. Horticulture, forest resources and terranean wealth can be further developed. Sericulture, especially mulberry silk, can be developed. Oil can be found in the southern portion of Sicily and Sardinia. Italy is potentially rich in paddy production, and it should grow a little bit of wheat. The Po Valley is a paddy growing area.
The southern portion of Italy grows Mediterranean fruit. This industry can also be further developed. Large industries such as the oil and steel industries no doubt exist, but other big industries are imported from various countries.
So, how should we proceed? First, to solve the critical problems of the world, all-round service should be carried out in all the countries of the world without a single exception. But special stress should be given to solving the problems of all communist countries, as well as those capitalist countries where people are exploited because of physical and psychic shortages. These countries, or some portions of countries which fall into this category, should be selected as special places and receive special service because of shortages such as food.
Rendering all-round service to the people is an extension of the multi-purpose development schemes. Different types of service, both extensive and intensive, have to be done in all the poor countries. Extensive service means that service must be provided down to the village level, while intensive service means that as many people as possible must be benefited. This programme is necessary due to defective economic management in many parts of the world, and has nothing to do with party politics.
We have to help people in their local areas in times of calamity and distress. We can also take help from others who want to serve people selflessly. Mass feeding and cheap kitchens are appropriate everywhere, as are other items such as the distribution of clothes, medicines and school supplies, and special housing schemes for the poor, according to the situation. If you cannot enter a country immediately to render service, you can go to the border and the people will jump over.
We have shown by rendering all-round service the type of society governments should establish to elevate the standard of living of the common people. In this programme, essential items are provided to the poorest and most needy people in each locality. If any government follows the spirit of this programme it will be just like following our PROUT system.
Thus, for the all-round progress of society, we are to select all communist countries and the poor undeveloped and developing countries for this purpose. But as I have already said, we must not neglect the developed countries because they also suffer from shortages. By adopting such an extended and expanded approach to service, good people can do something for the suffering and downtrodden humanity. You will have to elevate the standard of both the downtrodden mass and the down moving mass. You should chalk out a plan and materialize it as soon as possible.
One of the most important reasons for psychic ailments, defects and deformities is the lack of proper education. Education means proper psychic training and exercise. This training is initially imparted by teaching literacy. That is, it is done through teaching the letters of the alphabet: A-B-C, etc. You can see that in most of the countries in the world — in almost the entire world — the vast percentage of the downtrodden people are illiterate. They are lagging behind in the realm of education. Everywhere, especially in Muslim countries, you will observe that the major portion of the population is downtrodden. Even where there is no shortage in wealth, in Muslim countries and certain other countries, the people are still in a downtrodden condition.
So, education is a must — education is mandatory — and you should do something to spread education in each and every village throughout the world. You should do something clear and concrete in the realm of education. Proper education means elevating the standard of downtrodden humanity.
Copyright Ananda Marga Publications 2011