By Shrii Prabhat Rainjan Sarkar
(14 September 1959, Motihari, Bihar)
Normally between the ages of sixteen and twenty-four human beings have abundant vital energy (práńa shakti). This is the period of their student life. Though there is plenty of vital energy during this period, due to intellectual underdevelopment the physical and intellectual waves are unable to adjust together properly. Hence those with a developed intellect, cunning political leaders, cast a net of high-sounding, illusory theories and exploit the vital energy of students to achieve their selfish political goals. Because of their underdeveloped intellect, the student community remains unaware of such exploitation.
"Let non-party persons be student leaders."
In democratic countries the mundane goal of party leaders is merely to obtain ministerial posts. To achieve this they propagate so-called ideologies which attract students, and thus they utilize the vital energy of students to fulfil their selfish aims.
The question is, how should the vital energy of students be utilized? With the first stir in the vital energy an extraordinary state occurs, and it becomes difficult to judge what to do and what not to do. Cunning people mobilize students in such a state to achieve their objectives.
Students have vibrant vital energy. If it is not used for constructive activities, it is bound to become engaged in destructive works. Vital energy cannot sit idle. When students do not have any constructive plans before them, they get deceived by the illusions created by such selfish opportunitsts and feel a misplaced pride in allowing themselves to serve as their instruments.
The ideal of human beings is not to extrovert but to introvert the vital energy. In the process of introverting the vital energy, adjustment between the vital energy and the intellectual wave brings progress in a proper direction. Improper use of the extroversial momentum will certainly engage the vital energy in destructive activities.
"Spirited students should be zealous and ever-ready to wage war against economic injustice, immorality and corruption."
When pondering the history of the student community in India, we find that the vital energy of students in pre-independence India has mostly been properly utilized. Before the nineteenth century education in this country was personal, whether in traditional Vedic schools (catuśpát́hiis) through the medium of Sanskrit, or in Muslim schools (maktabas) through the medium of Urdu or Persian. It had not attained a social dimension at that time. There were students, but there was no student community. After the middle of the nineteenth century, due to the use of the English language and India's contact with westerners, gradually a class of students emerged in India. A class feeling developed in the students when thousands of them came in contact with English education. Political consciousness among Indian students is a direct and beneficial result of English education.
At the beginning of the independence struggle, senior students used to guide and instruct the juniors.
During the twentieth century the student community discovered a meaningful slogan in the fight for independence, and a way to utilize their vital energy. This movement was not non-violent. The very character of vital energy is to wage a war against opposing forces. By fighting against opposing forces, the vital energy creates a resultant. It can never be non-violent. To be non-violent one would have to avoid clash. Non-violence is against dharma, hence it is against reason too. It may serve a pretentious policy, but it cannot be a principle.
The first quarter of the twentieth century was a period of direct clash where the vital energy of the students was fully utilized. That was appropriate for chátras. Chátra does not mean “students”; chátra means “jurisdiction”. People living within the jurisdiction of a particular teacher used to receive and to follow guidance from that teacher, hence they were called his or her chátras. These days students and professors in colleges differ in their opinions, hence the students are not chátras in the real sense of the term.
When the vital energy of youths does not find scope for expression within the prevalent system, it starts waging a war against that system. According to this principle, the youths’ fight for independence was certainly justified.
After the first quarter of the twentieth century, the faint light of independence became visible. Those leaders who understood the implications of the initial struggle started to calculate the possibility of gaining power after independence, which they considered to be their right. Power politics started with speculation about who would hold higher ministerial posts and who would hold lower posts. Although the struggle itself was highly justified, the power politics was completely unjustified.
"They should remain alert and guard against the exploitation of their vital energy, and should carefully judge whether they are opposing immorality and corruption, or whether they are joining forces with a particular party."
Chátras who become involved in power politics spoil their careers and lives while working to install a person or a group in ministerial office. This has become more evident since independence. Joining party politics today means destroying oneself for political leaders. Hence, this is not a proper direction for students.
Chátras will have to adopt a natural course for the expression of their vital energy. The immorality which permeates social life certainly hinders the natural growth of chátras’ vital energy. Hence spirited students should be zealous and ever-ready to wage war against economic injustice, immorality and corruption, whatever the type, which causes shortages of clothing, the adulteration of foodstuffs, etc. This is the way to properly utilize their vital energy.
A particular political party opposes the misconduct and corruption of the ruling party, but it becomes involved in the same activities when it attains power. Favouring a party implies linking oneself with the inherent defects and the mistakes of that party, which is not proper.
The proper use of vital energy lies in fighting against injustice. The ruling British class obstructed the natural growth of the psychic propensities of a particular group, hence it was proper for the chátras to fight and gain independence.
In the changed circumstances of today, chátras should remain alert and guard against the exploitation of their vital energy. They should carefully judge whether they are opposing immorality and corruption, or whether they are joining forces with a particular party. If their vital energy is being utilized to fight against immorality, it is proper.
Chátras may have various student organizations, but the purpose should be to create movements which do not favour any party or ism. One of the students should be the leader so that external leaders from political parties do not get the opportunity to exploit them. Let non-party persons be student leaders.
By Ida V. Överland
Pol. Sci. Cand., University of Stockholm, Sweden
Democracy today is by and large identified with the representative party system. People have been given the right to vote for candidates selected by various political parties. The question is whether this is an optimal form of democracy – and do we have indications that it is about to change?
“How may we reduce and not increase differences between political candidates and the electorate?”
To most, participating in the election of representatives may appear to be essentially democratic. This feeling may be supported by the historical fact that general voting rights are a modern development. For instance, not long ago, voting was the sole privilege of the aristocracy and males. Even, in ancient Athens they did not always conduct straightforward elections but rather drew lots to decide on the distribution of certain powers.(1)
The question we may raise today is whether people (demo-) really rule (-cracy) or whether other forces are at work via a class of professional politicians.
Electoral rights in the representative system appear to be a matter of the right to consent, by voting, rather than one of actually ruling. By and large this is how democracy has been practiced in the West since the fall of absolute monarchies, the Enlightenment and the revolutions of France and the United States. The democratic element of drawing lots has not been practised since these momentous events.
Why has voting come to be seen as the democratic way to go? While drawing lots is random and takes place between the candidates, being subjected to popular voting requires a good deal more from those who want to participate in governance. As a political candidate one will be greatly benefited from having an outstanding personality, exceptional personal traits, ample funds, and available time. Not to mention today’s need for media skills.
Now, the ability to stand out from the rest is what results in an aristocracy. Hence today we have a superior political class with ample time, money, connections and education at their disposal. Apparently, members of this elevated political class have a greater chance than others to make an impression on the electorate.
One may have thought that with the introduction of universal suffrage the historical critique and concern about the aristocratic element of the political system became a thing of the past. Where there are two and more parties fielding candidates, several groups or sections of the populace are represented, one would think. Moreover, political parties are themselves mini-democracies that allow for the most suitable members to rise through the ranks and attain powers and positions for getting elected to high office.
If this was the case, then why is membership of political parties in decline? In the UK, 3.9 million people were members of the two largest political parties during the 1950s. Today, those two parties claim a total membership of 360,000 between them, that is a reduction of more than 90 per cent.(2) In Sweden, a country viewed by many as the most democratic and socially conscious of all, the number of citizens who are in a position to influence the selection of candidates within political parties has decreased from 19% in 1979 to less than 3% in 2011.(3) This trend seems to be universal; in recent decades all mature Western democracies have seen a drastic reduction of real political participation.
Needed political reform
One way of stimulating voter participation has been by opening up for individual candidates lists and giving voters the option to move an individual up or down the party list instead of having to vote only for a ready-made lists. While this measure may be said to increase electoral influence over party machinations, to some extent it does not truly address the problem of declining day-to-day political participation.
Rather, where membership is decreasing other elements are flowing in to fill the vacuum. In the absence of large-scale physical attendance – media, money and marketing have become increasingly important for political parties in order for them to maintain their popularity. When fewer people are directly active in the political system, we get what has been called an “audience democracy” where the media become the most important platform for the politicians.(4) The electorate becomes an audience to be persuaded about merits of candidates and demerits of opponents as portrayed in media.
Whether the party system has already played out its role or not is up for debate. In any case it may be useful to reflect on the merits and principles of a post-party system. There is no denying that democracy has changed over time and it seems likely that it will continue to do so in order to be of use to the people.
What would a workable alternative be like? If we go for a system based on individual candidatures we might again be moving towards a more aristocratic system. But assuming we do not want to be represented by parties and also that we do not want to draw randomized lots between persons, individual candidature might become one alternative. And if so, we would most probably have to define the basic merits that we want to see in a political candidate. In such a system, candidates would represent others in broad sense and not just stand for a constituency, a social group or some other grouping.
Moreover, if we are no longer looking for the merits of right-left ideology or social class we may just as well draw up a fresh set of points of merit: basic universal values, how well those values have been put in practice (such as genuine service to society), level and type of education, know-how, political-economic and social awareness, etc. Depending on how well the candidate meets such criteria, we may be able to determine whether he or she is a more or less suitable candidate.
The role of the electorate
On the other hand we have the electorate. Should voters also embody particular merits, other than attaining a certain age, that is? The electorate is really the other side of the coin. In an effort to nurture capable democratic leadership, having a more knowledgeable electorate becomes as important as having qualified candidates. After all, it is the people who elect leaders in a democracy, and we all want the best possible result. Do we not want an electorate who are knowledgeable, aware and one who are able to scrutinize arguments and see through political agendas?
Here the issue of differences between the electorate and the candidates arises. How can we allow differences between them to grow and not decrease? As the electorate should be able to identify the best candidates among themselves, the emergence of a new aristocracy or any difference between the two groups should be made to diminish rather than grow, in order for the former to competently decide about the latter. If the difference between the electorate and the elected is too wide it becomes difficult to see how good elections may be held.
In order to improve the quality of voters, society must first of all make high standard education available to all regardless of social status, gender or ethnicity. This education should emphasize a broader awareness of politics, economics and social issues. And if education and awareness form the merits which we use to judge a good electorate, then why not remove the age barrier? Why not let everybody who possesses these basic educational merits be allowed to vote and elect candidates?
The idea of a voter’s qualification based on knowledge and awareness might sound controversial and elitist. But one may also ask the question of how well the age qualification really serves democracy. As political philosopher P.R. Sarkar points out, applying the simple criterion of age results in that “people may cast their ballots without proper understanding and knowledge” while at the same time “educated and politically conscious people are debarred from voting because of their age”.(5) Would such an approach seem fair to young individuals armed with political awareness – would this be a good way to obtain high quality leadership?
In order to avoid elitist or aristocratic tendencies resulting from a voter’s test, strategies to diminish any such tendencies must be introduced beforehand. Clearly the most important prerequisite to be achieved is the ability of society to shoulder the responsibility of providing and maintaining the necessary level of education for everyone. Given that this kind of responsibility is achieved by society (and preferably formulated in the constitution) a requirement of knowledge does not have to be seen as a source of elitism or aristocracy, instead it can become a counterweight to such an issue.
The exact definitions of merits and demerits of candidates, the level and content of knowledge and awareness of the electorate, have to be more precisely defined according to the time and place and people. The essential issue is that an introduction of definite merits on candidates as well as on the electorate should not promote exclusion stemming from social class, gender or ethnicity. It should promote the welfare of the whole of society and not of an elite.
If we are to take democracy seriously, we first need to take the electorate seriously. The quality of our leaders can only be a reflection of how well the electorate have been able to define the merits and demerits of the former and of how well they have identified suitable candidates accordingly.
Let us make the electorate the largest political “class” ever in history – and see if that will reflect the quality of our elected leaders and of our democracy.
The younger generation usually has greater knowledge than the older generation of how circumstances will change in the future, because it is their nature to look ahead, and consequently they focus more attention on the future than their elders. I am not referring here to adolescent sentimentality, but to how far an understanding of the present momentum can help to prepare for the future. The sentimentality of adolescents and very young adults is nothing but impetuosity. This impetuosity itself does not help in determining future policies. Nevertheless I cannot deny that those who are impetuous understand the nature of this impetuosity better than anybody else. This also gives them a greater right than anybody else to determine policies. How much can those who lie inert like a lump of clay understand of the significance of this impetuosity?
When the main aim is to keep formulating policies for social progress, experience cannot be the sole prerequisite for this work. Rather a combination of the past experiences of the older generation and the creative zeal of the young should determine the speed of social progress. We cannot afford to neglect either group. The human race must attain glory by giving due recognition and justice to all.
A society whose leaders have a strong tendency to denigrate others will suffer a great catastrophe. The tendency to look down upon others does not always result from a superiority complex. Many people treat others with contempt to hide their own ignorance. The superiority complex is harmful to society, and this treating others with contempt to hide one’s ignorance is even more harmful. Everyone, irrespective of their education, intellectual attainment, external appearance, internal qualities, social status or age, must remember that those whom they consider inferior know more about many things than they do.
Although I have said this before, I will say it again: seventy-five per cent of the evils in society are the result of the injustices that people commit against each other.
Excerpted from Human Society 1 (1959), "Social Justice".
Copyright Ananda Marga Publications 2013
(March 2012) – President Obama’s healthcare law has sparked a lot of debate in the U.S., and predictably his critics on the right have used it to weigh in against the dangers of “Big Government.”
For many of Obama’s opponents, the possibility that the government might help people to get affordable medical care is a catastrophe signaling the end of “freedom” in America. “Once all of you are now looking to Washington to stay alive, they’ve got you,” says Republican Rick Santorum.
Santorum and others believe that an unfettered free market will provide the goods and services that people need, and that the main enemy of freedom and prosperity is the government. They have nothing bad to say about the rich individuals and corporations who acquire vast amounts of wealth while their fellow citizens are jobless, homeless and without medical care.
All of this is of course predictable and even understandable given the right wing’s belief in Adam Smith’s notion that the individual pursuit of selfish interests will bring about the well-being of society and their nostalgia for Thomas Jefferson’s America, when a weak government presided over a sparsely populated rural country.
What is surprising is to find the same kind of rhetoric on the left. I recently attended the Left Forum in New York City. The Left Forum is a yearly meeting of diverse individuals and organizations ranging from anarchists to liberals. This year the Forum was colored by the Occupy Wall Street movement, and the focus was on finding an alternative to capitalism. I somehow got the idea that for the Left, the enemy is clearly the capitalists, the one percent of the population which has amassed as much wealth as the remaining 99%.
I was wrong. I attended a panel meeting and one professor identified government as the “enemy.” When the question and answer period came I questioned him on this and said, “Aren’t the capitalists the enemy?” He replied by giving the example of the New England community where he resided, saying that its “town meeting” style of government is the ideal form of government and that big government is the problem.
Maybe local government in New England can be trusted to give provide a fair shake to everyone, but what about a local government in the Deep South, where African Americans have been tormented for years at the hands of their white neighbors? I didn’t get a chance to ask him this.
Actually, I shouldn’t have been surprised by the professor’s position. Karl Marx himself believed that the state would wither away in some distant future. Anarchists too, who were well represented at the Left Forum, also despise government.
So it seems that some people on both the left and right of the political spectrum have idealistic visions of society that prevent them from seeing things for what they are. PROUT presents a more practical answer to the problem. It calls for a democratic and decentralized economy but understands that a government composed of ethical and moral people is needed to make sure that fundamental human rights are upheld in all corners of a state, and indeed, in all corners of the world. This kind of government would not be an enemy of human social progress. Rather, it will ensure that noble ideas and policies come into fruition.
Originally published in Gurukula Network, Issue No 30, May 2011
1. Wave of Social Unrest due to Governmental authoritarianism, massive corruption, economic woes and gross disparities between rich and poor
Friday February 11 was a historic day in Cairo, when Egypt’s President Hosni Mubarak resigned as president and handed over governance control to the military, after being 29 years in power. He had finally bowed down to an incessant demand for him to step down, from an 18-day pro-democracy demonstration wave by hundreds of thousands of Egyptians in Cairo, primarily in the Central Tahrir Square. Fireworks and joyous celebrations filled this city of 18 million, after Vice President Omar Suleiman made the announcement on national TV just after nightfall. Tens of thousands of Egyptians chanted outside Hosni Mubarak’s presidential palace in Cairo, that the people had ousted the president. In Cairo’s Central Tahrir Square, several hundred thousand protesters exploded into joy, cheering and waving Egyptian flags.
Hosni Mubarak had tried to cling to power and to pacify the people, by handing over some of his governance authorities to Vice President Suleiman, while keeping his president title. However, following an explosion of people’s protests on Friday rejecting his appeasement move, it appeared that the Military had forced him to resign. Hundreds of thousands of Egyptians marched throughout the day in cities across Egypt, while soldiers stood by, surrounding Hosni Mubarak’s palace in Cairo and Alexandria and the State TV building.
Friday was the biggest day of protests yet in this historic people’s upheaval, that began on Jan. 25. Growing from youth activists working on the Internet, it developed into a mass movement of widespread protest on Mubarak’s authoritarian lock on power, corruption, economic woes and widespread disparities between rich and poor. Finally, the people of Egypt were able to voice their discontent in public. Nobel Peace laureate Mohammed ElBaradei, whose young supporters were among the organizers of the protest movement, summed up the people’s feelings when he told the Associated Press that this was the greatest day of his life, that the country had been liberated after decades of repression, and that he expected a beautiful transition of power.
The world will not soon forget the scene in Cairo’s Central Tahrir Square on Friday, the day that President Hosni Mubarak announced he was stepping down from his 30-year rule after 18 days of protests. Surrounded by celebrants, NBC’s Ron Allen shouted from the Square that this is what freedom looks like, that people cannot contain themselves as this is the moment that they have waited for.
From Egypt, to Tunisia to Algeria to Libya, this liberation wave has spread along Northern Africa. On the other side of the seas, the relatively wealthier Gulf State of Bahrain has also joined Yemen and Jordan among the growing list of dissatisfied citizens demanding governmental changes. So now what should the political governance change consist of, so that community development and people’s socio-economic security are the prime considerations? Can we propose to Nobel Peace laureate Mohammed ElBaradei a governance system for the people by the people, a truly civilian democracy, which even the world has not hitherto known ! So, let us hence examine the concepts involved in this neo-governance system.
2. Political Governance and Economic System required for Peoples Welfare
For the society (of a community) to be considered to be progressive, it must be able to provide to its people a reasonable quality-of-life and a reasonable degree of happiness factors:
Equity (for all communities and races) in having equal access to basic living needs and community services (such as education and healthcare);
Social security, food and water security;
Social justice, and constitutionally guaranteed charter of human rights to basic necessities of living;
Social economy (for peoples economic empowerment) backed by a Democratic civilian governance system;
Conducive environment for physical, psychic and spiritual development.
A society that is able to maintain such a progressive state can be labeled as being civilized. When this civilized societal state and development can be sustained in a community, we can term this state to be sustainable development. Thus, sustainable development implies sustainability in all the above mentioned quality-of-life and happiness factors of human living. The aims and measures of sustainable development as well as its components need to encompass all segments of society and reach down to the poorest segments.
Hence, in Developing countries, it can be advocated that poverty reduction be undertaken as a priority, rather than just focusing on an increase in productivity and output or burgeoning of the middle class. Obviously in terms of social justice, one cannot accept sustainable development which continues to maintain the wide gap between the rich and the poor, between the G-7 countries and the developing countries. Let us hence walk down the lane of such a Sustainable community, and analyze the social, economic and political factors required for (i) poverty alleviation, (ii) adequate peoples purchasing power for produced goods, (iii) opportunity for everyone to fully develop and utilize their potentialities, and (iv) resulting improvement in the quality of life for all people.
3. Sustainable Community Development
For a community to be sustainable, it should have (i) a universal social outlook, which will provide a binding force for its different ethnic and cultural groups, (ii) a cooperative (or peoples participatory) economic system, (iii) and a peoples empowerment providing civilian democratic political system. In other words, a community should have socio-cultural, economic and political sustainability.
The Sustainability triangle is our new concept, whereby we bring together the minimum set of three requisite factors for a balanced (stable) system, and apply it to social systems, governance systems, production systems, community-sectorial system, etc. It is based on the concept that the minimum number of components of a stable system is three, based on the concept of equilibrium of forces acting on a structure.
4. Neo-Social Outlook (Neo-Humanism) for a Sustainable Community
Generally, people are influenced by and attached to narrow group sentimentality of culture, race and religion, to favor their own group. This causes polarization in society, to the extent that people having religious or ethnic background different from the main stream population get marginalized. How can we rise above this type of narrow sentimentality? Because of Consciousness being deemed to be the fundamental source and constituent of human mind, all human beings can be considered to be bound together by common ties of fraternity. Furthermore, the destinies of all human beings are inter-linked. The important idea, from a social view point, is that human society is one and indivisible. This concept of universal social outlook is based on the doctrine of Neo-humanism, propounded by the great sage Prabhat Ranjan Sarkar. Neohumanism inspires us to raise our consciousness above narrow sentimentality by recognition of the divine origin of all human beings. The key to global peace is, hence, for all people and all nations to accept and imbibe the universal social outlook, and develop public policies based on the concept of one for all and all for one.
5. Neo Socio-Economic Order based on Co-operative Economics, for a Sustainable Community
There are invariably many obstacles in the implementation of such a progressive neo-humanistic social outlook, caused by a great majority of the people in the world not having the basic necessities (food, shelter, clothing, health-care, education), as well as other requisite physical amenities to save time spent in physical chores. This points to the need of a Neo Socio-Economic Order, to foster a conducive environment for optimal development and distribution of human and earth resource to: (i) enable all human beings to afford the basic necessities of living, (ii) be materialistically comfortable by meriting emoluments commensurate to the significance of their work in society, and (iii) (at the same time) be able to develop their parapsychic (and spiritual) potentialities. So then, let us enunciate some of the tenets of our new Cooperative Economics Model, based on the socio-economic-political theory called Prout (Progressive Utilization Theory), propounded by preceptor Prabhat Ranjan Sarkar. The first tenet is the common patrimony (along with rational consumption, equitable distribution and maximum utilization) of the natural resources of the planet. The second tenet is that, for individual security and societal stability, the minimal necessities of living (housing, clothing, food, healthcare and education) need to be guaranteed through 100% employment and minimal wage. The third tenet is that the remuneration for ones contribution at work and to society needs to be proportional to the importance and value of the contributions. The fourth tenet is that the productivity of commodities be proportional to the collective need, and that prices be kept stable; this will help augment purchasing capacity and standard-of-living. The fifth tenet is that the Socio-Economic system should foster the development of physical, intellectual and parapsychic (or spiritual) human potentialities as well as their implementation for collective welfare. These economic tenets are summarized and are represented in the Socio-Economic System triangle in Figure 1.
Figure 1: Socio-Economic-system triangle for our Co-operative Economics system model
Finally, as a sixth tenet, we are advocating that all businesses be cooperatively structured and managed, so that all employees who contribute to revenue generation also share the profits. This equitable economic model can be termed as Cooperative (or Collective) Economics, as opposed to Corporate Capitalism (or Free-reigning Market Capitalism) in which: (1) self-interested groups and individuals maximize their own welfare (in a free-market environment) at the expense of the general public; (2) bank agents unscrupulously induce people to buy homes that are above their means for mortgage payments; (3) bank heads resort to enterprise banking by investing in company stocks, while risking the bank clients monies; (4) corporation heads have ridiculously disproportionately huge salaries compared to other employees. In fact one of the main causes of today’s economy debacle is this unchecked capital-grabbing by self-interested groups and individuals. We are hence advocating that our concept of cooperative capitalism replace corporate (or free-market) capitalism.
6. Peoples Political System: Civilian Democratic Political System (CDPS)
Why do we need an alternative political system? What is wrong with our present-day widely touted Democratic system? The present-day Democratic system is essentially Political Party governance, instead of Peoples Democratic governance; it is hence totally undemocratic. In other words, the elected governing parties impose their own policies, agenda and biases on the people. Political parties are like corporations, and the elected political party essentially controls the state assets during its ruling period. In Developing countries, this is the time for the ministers (who are members of the governing party) to make money (for their families and next generation) through corrupt practices. The next disadvantage is that the ministers and cabinet members are appointed from among the members of the governing party. So there is no appropriate match between their backgrounds and their portfolios. The biggest objection to this Political Party-based Democracy is the total waste of time and public money caused by (i) the governing party wanting to pass legislations according to their party policies, and (ii) the opposition parties finding faults with the legislations and preventing them from being passed, often at the expense of peoples benefit (as is the case with health reform in US). So then what are we advocating? In the community sustainability triangle (of figure 1), the three balanced components are (i) Universal social outlook (presented in section 4), (ii) Multi-faceted economy (discussed in section 5), and (iii) Peoples political system which is our new concept of Civilian Democracy, without political parties. The basis of CDPS is that the direct link of government with the grass-roots people is through the various sectors of the community, such as the education sector, healthcare sector, legal sector, agricultural sector, industrial sector, finance and banking sector, transportation sector, etc. Each sector can be represented by an association, such as the association of school teachers, association of doctors, association of lawyers, farmers association, association of industrialists, association of bankers, miners association, etc. Each sector is concerned with promoting its optimal function, such that the sector serves the people in the best possible way, and the interests of people working in the sector are also served. Hence, if each sectors association elects its most competent representative to the state legislative assembly or government, then this representative would be in the best position to enable the sector to best serve the people as well as look after the interests of the people working in the sector. This is the basis of the Civilian Democratic Political system (CDPS). Herein, the government is composed of elected representatives of all the sectors of the community or state. Thus the State health minister, elected by the state healthcare association, would be a healthcare professional; s/he would hence be in the best position to know how the healthcare delivery system and policy should be structured and budgeted, such that people get the best healthcare that the state can afford to provide. Likewise, the state education minister, elected by the association of educators, would be an educationist and would hence be best able to develop the state education system (so as to best serve the education needs of the state). Also, as a representative of the association of educators, s/he would also be able to look after the welfare of school and college teachers. The Civilian Democratic Political System (CDPS) would also be most fair and economical, because it would be eliminate corporate financial support of costly election campaigns of political candidates, who in turn are obliged to frame public policies favoring these business groups. It would also eliminate partisan politics and governance policies being shaped by the biases of political parties. Thus, the Civilian Democratic Political System (CDPS) can truly be termed as the Peoples Political System (PPS).
7. Towards a Stable Economy
It is to be noted that a stable financial system of a community is linked to its economic and political systems and policies. There is no reason why we should have ongoing alternating inflations and depressions. Our proposed CDPS (or PPS) would ensure a political-economic policy which is in the best interests of the people, and thereby also safeguard the economy and peoples assets. In the context of the current financial crisis plaguing the world today, two prime factors (aside from fraudulent banking practices at the expense of their clients) behind this crisis are (i) the big unethical disparities in wealth promoted by the capitalist system, thereby money having lost its capacity to be the unit of socio-economic equilibrium and stability, and (ii) investment of wealth in enterprises of non-yielding returns, such as in excessive defence spending and unjustified wars, which do not earn any income in return. Our people’s political system would prevent such a flawed political-economic policy and wastage of people’s assets, and hence contribute to a stable economy.
8. Governance System for all Countries
This is verily the Civilian Democratic Political System (CDPS), as the People’s Political Governance System (PPS), that we are proposing for Egypt to Nobel Peace laureate Mohammed ElBaradei. In years to come, this could well be the starting point of a new ‘people wave’ sweeping across the world to replace the present-day Political Party Democracy by Civilian Democracy, which the people of the world have never before known but will come to love as it will give them socio-economic security and a fulfilling life.
The beauty of this governance system is that it would suit and could be adopted by countries with all systems of Government: (i) Presidential republics, such as Brazil, Nigeria, Philippines, USA, (ii) Parliamentary republics, such as Czech Republic, Germany, Greece, India and Ireland, (iii) Constitutional monarchies with ceremonial monarchs, such as Belgium, Denmark, Netherlands, Thailand, United Kingdom, (iv) Constitutional monarchies with active monarchs, such as Bahrain, Bhutan, Jordon, and United Arab Emirates. Thus, all countries can come to adopt this Civilian Democratic Political System (CDPS), which will bring about political, social and economic stability due to people’s satisfaction.
1. Ghista, D.N., Socio-economic Democracy and the World Government: Collective Capitalism, Depovertisation, Human Rights, Template for Sustainable Peace; World Scientific Publishing Co, Singapore 596224, 2004.
2. Sarkar, P.R., Proutist Economics: Discourses on Economic Liberation; Ananda Marga Publications, Tilgala, Calcutta 700039, India, 1992
3. Sarkar, P.R., Human Society. Ananda Marga Publications; Tilgala, Calcutta 700039, India, 1999
4. Ghista, D.N and Sanyal, S., Sustainable Development of Developing countries: A Holistic Socio-Economic-Political Approach; Journal of Environmental, Cultural, Economic and Social Sustainability, Vol 3 (1), 2007.
Susmit Kumar, PhD
Although individual corruption is low in the US, as persons who commit illegal acts may very well be caught, a corrupt political-business nexus does exist. This corruption is different from the one we typically find in everyday life in India and other Third World countries. As politicians in the US need a lot of money to run for an elected post, they have to accept donations from multinationals and the ultra-wealthy. Once elected, politicians work more for these multinationals and the ultra-wealthy, and less for the benefit for the average citizen.
Though politicians receive only peanuts—a few thousands of dollars—in donations, their benefactors get millions, if not billions, of dollars from them in budgets and other government provisions like tax breaks and no-bid contracts. The American political system has forced politicians to become corrupt in this way, which can better be described as systemic rather than the personal form it takes in some developing countries. Allegations of large-scale government corruption in advanced democracies like Italy and Japan have been responsible for the fall of governments as well.
This type of corruption is similar to the political corruption in Third World countries like India, except that in the US politicians legally give government funds to multinationals and the ultra-wealthy via legislative procedures. Nevertheless, in spite of this superficial legality, this money should go the development of the country, decreasing the budget deficit, or paying down the national debt, instead of to those who are already well-off.
Although the Republicans are at the forefront of this type of corruption, most Democrats also have to engage in it as they need money to get elected. This is one of the main reasons why large corporations have been successful in sending millions of jobs overseas irrespective of whether the presidency and Congress are controlled by Republicans or Democrats: They have purchased the collusion of political office-holders even before they take office.
Although the common people elect the government and legislatures, the government and legislatures do not work for the common people because they need money to win elections and for this very reason, they work for ultra-rich and trans-national corporations.
From Dr. Susmit Kumar’s forthcoming book Casino Capitalism and the Collapse of the American Economy, Leading to the Emergence of Islamic Empire. Visit: www.susmitkumar.net
Ac. Krtashivananda Avt.
Two kinds of democratic states can be recognized in the Islamic countries. The basis of this distinction has to do with how comprehensively Islam is incorporated into the affairs of the state:
A democratic state which recognizes Islam as state religion, such as Malaysia, Pakistan Algeria,or Bangladesh. Some religious values are incorporated into public life, but Islam is not the only source of law.
A democratic state which endeavours to institute Sharia. It is also called as Islamist democracy. Islamist democracy offers more comprehensive inclusion of Islam into the affairs of the state. Islamist democracy is a highly controversial topic.
The compatibility of Islam and democracy
Most Islamic democracies fall under the first definition, leading many analysts to dismiss the compatibility of Islam with democracy. Critics of the concept of Islamic democracy argue that Islam and democracy are opposite forces, that theocracy is incompatible with democracy, and that Muslim culture lacks the liberal social attitudes of democratic societies.
It is to be remembered that efforts to combine democracy with an all-out Islamisation program have failed so far.
The democratic ideal of a “government by the people” is compatible with the notion of an Islamic democracy. Deliberations of the Caliphates were not democratic in the modern sense. Rather, decision-making power lay with a council of notables or clan patriarchs. They show that some appeals for popular consent are permissible within Islam.
In the early Islamic Caliphates, the head of state, the Caliph had a position based on the notion of a successor to Muhammad’s political authority, who, according to Sunnis, were ideally elected by the people or their representatives. After the Rashidun Caliphs later Caliphates had a lesser degree of democratic participation, but since “no one is superior to anyone else except on the basis of piety and virtue” in Islam, and following the example of Muhammad, later Islamic rulers often held public consultation with the people in their affairs.
Much debate occurs on the subject of which Islamic traditions are fixed principles, and which are subject to democratic change, or other forms of modification in view of changing circumstances. Some Muslims allude to an “Islamic” style of democracy which would recognize such distinctions. . Another sensitive issue involves the status of monarchs and other leaders, the degree of loyalty which Muslims owe such people, and what to do in case of a conflicting loyalties (e.g., if a monarch disagrees with an imam).
According to the Shi’a understanding, the Prophet Muhammad named as his successor (as leader, not as prophet; Muhammad being the final prophet), his son-in-law Ali. Therefore the first three of the four “Rightly Guided” Caliphs recognized by Sunnis (Ali being the fourth), are considered usurpers, notwithstanding their having been “elected” through some sort of consular deliberation. The largest Shi’a grouping — the Twelvers branch which rules Iran — recognizes a series of Twelve Imams, the last of which (the Hidden Imam) is still alive and the Shi’as are waiting for his reappearance. The second-largest Shi’ia sect, the Ismaili, recognizes a different lineage of Imams.
Since the revolution in Iran, Twelver Shi’a political thought has been dominated by the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. Imam Khomeini argued that in the absence of the Hidden Imam and other divinely-appointed figures (in whom ultimate political authority rests), Muslims have not only the right, but also the obligation, to establish an “Islamic state.” To that end they must turn to scholars of Islamic law (Fiqh) who are qualified to interpret the Qur’an and the writings of the imams.
Khomeini divides the Islamic commandments or Ahkam into three branches:
The primary commandments
The secondary commandments
The state commandments
This last includes all commandments which relate to public affairs, such as constitution, social security, insurance, bank, labour law, taxation, election, congress etc. etc. Some of these codes may not strictly or implicitly pointed out in the Quran and generally in the Sunnah.
Khomeini emphasized that the Islamic state has absolute right to enact state commandments, even if it violates the primary or secondary commandments of Islam. For example an Islamic state can ratify (according to some constitution) mandatory insurance of employees to all employers being Muslim or not even if it violates mutual consent between them. This shows the compatibility of Islam with modern forms of social codes for present and future life as various countries and nations may have different kinds of constitutions now and will may have new ones in future.
The Muslim scholar, philosopher and poet Muhammad Iqbal (1877-1938) claimed that Islam had the “germs of an economic and democratic organisation of society” and that this growth was stunted by the idea of Islamic conquest and Islamic empire. Islam thus became political Islam, and its democratic essence disappeared.
Today, two groups prevent the genuine reform movement seeking religious democracy. One group consists of those who think the less freedom a society enjoys, the stronger religion will be. They oppose the democratic process. The second group includes those who believe that religion should be put aside from the scene of life in order to establish democracy and freedom.
Two major arguments against the possibility of a democratic Islamic state are as follow:
The Secularist argument is that democracy requires that the people be sovereign and that religion and state be separated. Without this separation there can be no freedom from tyranny.
The Legalist argument is that, democracy may be accepted in a Christian, Buddhist, Hindu, etc. society but it can never enjoy a general acceptance in an Islamic society, because non-Muslim societies do not have Sharia, the comprehensive system of life to which its adherents should be committed. In this view anything outside of the rigid, but pervasive, interpretation of the Sharia is rejected and the absolute sovereignty of God prevails such that there is no role for the sovereignty of people.
Islamic democratic systems have the same human rights issues as other democracies, but some matters which may cause friction include appeasing anti-democratic Islamists, non-Muslim religious minorities, the role of Islam in state education (especially with regard to Sunni and Shi’a traditions), women’s rights.This is further complicated by the deriving of punishments from Fiqh, or Islamic jurisprudence, where, as in other legal systems, precedent assists the judiciary to come to a decision. Since the judiciary is not independent of a system of religious codes that are essentially the collective reasoning of often highly conservative scholars, the system is inherently conservative, and thus is less flexible and able to adapt to developing views of the subjects listed above.
To control political power, wealth and domination over women is the essence of political Islam; spirituality is not an essential concern. They do not want encroachment over their space — economical, political, social or cultural. Cultural pluralism or political pluralism is a contradiction to political Islam. Hence in such a mental make-up democratic values cannot flourish.
According to the definition in vogue today, democracy is defined as the government of the people, by the people and for the people. Adult suffrage plays an important role in democracy. In the name of forming a democratic government, different political and communal parties throw their hats into the election ring. Every party issues its own election manifesto to influence the people in order to carry the laurels in the ensuing election battle. Besides, different parties entice the voters through election propaganda. Where educated people are in the majority and political consciousness is adequate, it is not very difficult for people to weigh the pros and cons of the manifesto of a particular party and to ascertain what is in the best interests of the people. But where there is a dearth of education and political consciousness, and where people fail to understand the reality of the manifesto and are misled by wrong propaganda, they cast their ballots in favour of parties whose ideals go contrary to the social interest. Consequently, parties that go against the interests of the people are installed in power.
In the present democratic system, the right to cast a vote depends on age. Suppose people get the right of suffrage at the age of 21. This assumes that all persons attaining the age of 21 have an understanding of the basic problems of the people, but in reality many people above the age of 21 remain ignorant of these problems for want of political consciousness. So the right of suffrage should not be based on age. This right should be vested in those who are educated and politically conscious. Conferring voting rights on the basis of age means that people may cast their ballots without proper understanding and knowledge, while many educated and politically conscious people are debarred from voting because of their age. This is the greatest lacuna of democracy.
The second lacuna is that in the democratic system people have to hear lengthy, insubstantial lectures, which are also often misleading. Leaders have to canvass all and sundry to get votes. They have to placate thieves, dacoits and hypocrites because the latter command great voting power. That is why democracy is the government of thieves, dacoits and hypocrites. The government cannot take action against them because a government that curbs their nefarious activities cannot last long.
It is possible in a democratic government that the members or the elected representatives comprise more than fifty percent of the total number of candidates winning at the hustings while the total votes secured by their party may be less than fifty per cent. In such a condition the government is said to be of a majority party, but in reality it is the government of a particular minority party. As a particular party forms the government the opinion of another party or other parties is not respected in the legislature. Though all parties participate in passing legislation, bills are passed according to the wishes of the party that is in the majority. When a particular party passes acts, that party often derives benefit from the enacted law while the people at large do not derive much benefit from it at all.
As a particular party forms the government, the independence of the government servants is also impaired. The members and leaders of the ruling party interfere with the work of the executive and force it to tow the party line. Under duress work is done which benefits a particular party but harms the interests of the people at large. In the democratic system government officials cannot go against the wishes of the government leaders as the former work under the direction of the secretariat, which is headed by the cabinet formed by the ruling party.
In so-called democracies even the judiciary cannot function independently as the ruling party pressurizes judges and judicial officers. Thus judgements are sometimes delivered which strangulate justice.
Independence of the audit department, too, is indispensable for the proper functioning of the public exchequer. But owing to the pressure of the party in power, it often fails to act independently. For want of proper auditing, public funds are squandered and misused. Consequently nation-building activity is not carried out properly. A government is to govern and serve the people, but it is not possible to govern in the democratic system, for who is there to be governed? The public is placated in order to secure votes which makes the would-be-rulers unfit to rule. And the would-be-rulers are themselves incompetent, immoral, hypocritical exploiters or how else would they get elected? They take recourse to devious strategies and the power of money. That is why there is no one to provide worthy leadership. And as far as the question of the people is concerned, that is meaningless in a democracy. In this system the party and the leaders serve themselves in all possible ways.
Thus, it is crystal clear that the democratic form of government is riddled with lacunae. Without removing them it is impossible to properly run the administration of a country.
Needed Democratic Reforms
Now let us discuss some reforms to democracy. Democracy cannot succeed in countries where people are illiterate, immoral, or backward. Countries like England, the U.S.A. and France are suitable for democracy, but even these countries need to introduce some reforms.
First, legislators in the states and at the centre should be elected on the recommendations of the people at large. At the time of electing representatives the people should pay heed to their education, moral standard and sacrifice for the society etc. If the representatives are elected keeping in view these factors, they will not be guided by party interests but by collective interests. In their minds the interests of the entire human race and society will dominate, and not any class interests. They will be able to enact laws keeping in mind the problems of all and sundry, thereby accelerating the speed of social reconstruction. Their impartial service will bring happiness to all.
The voting rights should be vested in educated persons who have political consciousness and awareness of people’s problems. Age should not be a bar to voting right. If illiterate people are given voting rights there is the possibility of anti-social and incompetent representatives being elected.
To provide a fearless and independent ambience to the administration, the secretariat should be kept free from pressures from the cabinet. The cabinet should confine itself to legislation, the passage and passing of the budget, the implementation of its plans and policies, defence etc. The power of ministers should remain confined to the parliament and they should not poke their nose into the workings of the secretariat. The chief secretary should not be under the president or the prime minister but should act independently as the executive head. All the secretaries should work under the chief secretary. Free from cabinet pressures, every department will serve the people well.
In the present system the judiciary functions under a cabinet minister, and pressure from the minister may impair its independent functioning. To remove this defect and to ensure impartial justice, the judiciary should have the right to function independently. In no case should the chief justice be treated as inferior to the president or the prime minister. Only moralists and honest persons should be installed on the hallowed seat of justice. If people fail to keep this issue under their close scrutiny, injustice will take the place of justice.
Finally, for the proper utilization of the public exchequer, the independence of the audit department too, is a must. The auditor general should be independent of the sceptre of the president or the prime minister. Only an independent audit department can keep proper accounts of every department.
Thus, there should be four compartments in a properly constituted democracy – legislature, executive, judiciary and public exchequer – and all of them should be independent from one another. But in such a situation there is still the possibility of injustice and exploitation. So to supervise or monitor the function of all these compartments, the benevolent dictatorship of the board of sadvipras is required so that spirituality will reign supreme. The ascendancy of spirituality will sound the death-knell of parliamentary democracy.
What three factors are essential for establishing a well-knit social order?
The three factors essential for establishing a well-knit social order are:
First, there must be proper ideological inspiration for individual and collective progress. Society must be based on universal principles which are also a part of the socio-economic structure. The second factor is discipline. When there is no discipline in individual and collective life, societies and countries lose their power. Third, there must be economic stability. This entails proper plans and programs.
It means that any development that supports or aims at psycho-spiritual welfare may be termed as progress but other development is not progress. Ordinary physical development, for example the development from mass transportation by boat to airplane, is not progress in the proutistic sense, as the drawbacks of air transport outweigh its benefits. Similarly, in the mental sphere intellectual progress has its drawbacks and limitations in the form of recurring mental complications, tiredness, etc. Real progress, free of any negative effect or reaction, can only take place in the spiritual sphere of the Absolute. Therefore, development should be psycho-spiritually motivated in order to minimize negative effects and reactions in any sphere of individual and collective life.
What happens to economic and political power in PROUT’s economic democracy?
They are bifurcated. PROUT advocates political centralization and economic decentralization. Political power is to be given to moralists elected by politically-conscious voters, whereas economic power is to be given to the local people. The primary goal of the political administration will be to ensure that the economic needs of all people are met while the primary aim of the economy is to guarantee the minimum requirements of life to all members of society.
What is the difference between the liberty of PROUT and that of capitalism?
Capitalism deems it proper to allow any individual to act at liberty in the economic sphere. This policy is of catastrophic consequences as material resources are but limited. PROUT ensures the economic liberation of all by allowing all to progress at a maximum in all spheres. After all, economic development is not the final goal of life. In the physical sphere accumulation must be subject to collective permission or approval. If not, the all-round progress of the majority will be impossible due to the waxing greed of the economic ruling minority that emerges under such a system.
Why does PROUT promote less individual liberty?
By “less individual liberty” PROUT means liberty in the physical sphere. Material resources are limited and should be made subject to regulation while continuous efforts are being made to utilize them at a maximum and distribute them on a rational basis. Mental and spiritual resources are available in unlimited quantity and should be made subject to maximum utilization and rational distribution on that basis; i.e. everyone should be encouraged to progress maximum, educate him- or herself and reach the Supreme goal of life.
Is PROUT’s concept of class based on occupation or economic status?
Neither; PROUT’s concept of class is based on socio-existential mentality. A person who is ruled by the environment is proletarian (shudra; Sanskrit), while a person who rules the physical environment on the strength of his or her physical capabilities is a warrior (ksattriya). A person who rules the environment on the strength of his or her mental faculties is an intellectual (vipra), and a person who rules the environment on the strength of his or her capability to amass and control physical wealth is a capitalist (vaeshya). The collective form of each one of these four socio-existential mentalities form the particular class based on that respective mentality. There is no rigid social system attached to PROUT’s system of class. It is based on psycho-sociological realities and it is dynamic. A person’s fundamental social outlook and cast of personality is the key.
According to PROUT, why is leadership needed?
Human beings are social beings. Moreover, modern society has made it impossible to remain away from others; no one can shun the responsibility of being a member of society, and almost all of us recognize our common need to stay in touch. On the other hand no one is equal or identical to another. Where people meet, some are bound to know more about some things while others know more about other things. In order to give the direction for those who are in the dark as far as their welfare is concerned those who know more about the subtle needs and potentials of their fellow human beings should take the lead. The one subtlest need and potential of all human beings is the spiritual. Spirituality is all-embracing and those who have established their life on true spirituality should understand their responsibility and take up the lead for the good and happiness of all.
What is a sadvipra? Sat (Sanskrit: Cosmic Truth) + vipra (intellect) = sadvipra. It means one whose intellect is ensconced in Cosmic Truth. The four ordinary classes – proletarian, warrior, intellectual and capitalist – dominate society in turn and are motivated by their respective social mentality. Sadvipras however are de-classed people who strive for the good of all. They have no own agenda except liberation for self and service to the creation. They are morally and spiritually conscious and possess all the qualities of the four classes without being dominated by any of them.
What is the main duty of this morally and spiritually enlightened leadership?
Their only duty is to make people more conscious so that the progress of all is always accelerated.
How will sadvipras emerge?
Spiritually and ethically conscious leaders – sadvipras – will be recognized by their exemplary conduct, service-mindedness and spiritual zeal. Their moral promptness and non-compromising attitude will lead the people in their efforts to get rid of corruption and exploitation and establish progressive welfare for all living beings. History bears testimony to this truth – great spiritual men and women has always been regarded as sources of inspiration. How often have we not heard that, “If only there had been many more of such-and-such great spiritual personalities, then the world would have been a better place.” The world will soon sanction the rule of sadvipras and will regard their universal benevolence as the natural and most social order of things.
How will PROUT’s morally and spiritually enlightened leadership be able to function?
Sadvipras will establish their own structure parallell to the democratically elected structure. Their duty will be to monitor proceedings and feed back to the people. Their source of power is their social and spiritual merit earned by their self-less service. On the basis of their social and spiritual merit people will recognize the sadvipras as true benefactors of society and therefore offer them support. The rapport between sadvipras and the people will be sustained by this confidence only.
Will there be elections in a proutistic society?
There will certainly be elections and candidates will need to produce their program in black and white. Candidates will furthermore be required to stick to their program; if they don’t they may be tried in court. If found guilty of deceiving the public legislators will not be entitled to stand in the forthcoming elections. The electoral right will be subject to a certain standard of political awareness. Democracy where illiteracy prevails becomes a farce.
What is the historical cause of state constitutions?
A state constitution is a guidebook for the proper conduct of a state; it is the written guarantee of democracy. Constitutions emerged in response to the irrational rule of tyrannical sovereigns.
What are PROUT’s minimum essentials for a world bill of rights
PROUT proposes that the following four rights go into a world constitution:
Complete security should be guaranteed to all the plants and animals on the planet.
Each country must guarantee purchasing power to all its citizens.
The constitution should guarantee four fundamental rights – spiritual practice or dharma; cultural legacy; education; and indigenous linguistic expression.
If the practice of any of these rights conflicts with cardinal human values then that practice should be immediately curtailed.
Why must animals’ and plants’ rights be included in the world constitution?
The sentiment of ordinary humanism discriminates against other groups of living beings; it has created environmental disaster. The environmental crisis is not first and foremost a problem of welfare of human beings. By enshrining the dignity and rights of one group – human beings – while mercilessly exploiting other groups – animals, plants and even the inanimate world – ordinary humanist sentiment has sowed the seeds of inter-species war directly and the seeds of intra-species fratricidal war indirectly. In a subtle way the discriminating sentiment of ordinary humanism even bodes for socio-sentiment as it is but an enlarged version of it. In short, neohumanism dictates us to guarantee the security of all living beings in order to protect dharma.
What sort of world government does PROUT advocate?
In the words of Sarkar:
“The world government has to be strengthened step by step and not suddenly. For example, two houses may be formed for an unspecified period for administration. The lower house will comprise representatives from parts of the world elected on the basis of population, while members of the upper house will be elected country wise. By this arrangement those countries which cannot send a single representative to the lower house due to their small population, will benefit by expressing their opinions before the people of the world by sending their representatives to the upper house. The upper house cannot adopt any resolution unless the lower house has ratified it, but it will enjoy the privilege of disallowing the decisions of the lower house. In the first stage this world government may act only as a law framing body. The world government will be vested with framing the rights of implementation or non-implementation of any particular law in any particular region. In the beginning when the world government is being established, the government of different countries will have only administrative power. As they will not have any power to enact any laws arbitrarily; it will not be easy for any government to inflict atrocities on its linguistic, religious, or political minorities according to the whims of the governing majority.” (Problems of the Day)
What is PROUT’s concept of nuclear revolution?
The nucleus of all is the Supreme. Any movement should be guided towards that nucleus. A revolution is needed when stagnancy has set in and where the movement towards the nucleus has come to halt. The inspiration from the nucleus is the positive force that will get the movement going again. Therefore, PROUT advocates the concept of revolution inspired by that nuclear force of spiritual inspiration.
Jiitendra Singh (MD)
(June 2011) – Anna Hazare’s campaign against corruption in India will fail just as Gandhi’s rosy dream of India did, albeit due to no fault of his own. It will fail not because of lack of sincerity and substance but because of reasons beyond his control:
Corruption is not confined to bribes and financial misappropriation
Lack of understanding of the psycho-dynamics of corruption
The innovative power and ferociousness of the corrupt mind
Even if Hazare should succeed, the achievements would be piecemeal and very short-lived. That is not to say that his movement is of no value. It has certainly woken the masses from a deep slumber and apathy, at least for some time. Make no mistake, the corrupt are experts at diffusing and destroying any anti-corruption movement. Emotions will die out soon. Mass hysteria has a very short shell life. This is what the corrupt count on. They muddy the water by launching accusations and counter-accusations and play their game in the playground of cheap sentiments. Only rationality will sustain. This is why they are afraid of rational debate.
Corruption is omnipresent, it is found all over the world. But in some countries it has impacted on the daily life of its citizens far and wide. This is the case in India where corruption is now a multi-headed hydra. You crush one head, it grows three more. There are myriads of ways in which it manifests because it has permeated deep into the Indian psyche.
Dowry; hypocrisy; exploitation of the weak, poor and illiterate; illegitimate relationships; unlawful polygamy; taking and selling intoxicants; destroying the moral fabric of society; distortion of history and of scriptures as reflected in the caste system – are all of these not corruption? The list goes on and on. Generations of Indians have grown up in an environment saturated with corruption. Their body and mind has transmuted in order to accept corruption as a normal way of life. It is only the magnitude of scams and scandals now that has broken the slumber and started the masses.
What is corruption?
Dictionaries offer numerous interpretations of the word, such as dishonesty for personal gain, depravity, altered form, bribery, fraud and so on. However, the most inclusive definition seems to be “vice”.
Are any of the aforementioned conducts not a vice? Corruption is a vice that slots in many practices; bribe is just one of them. Personal gain does not have to be only financial. It may be for name, fame and reputation or just convenience. Many intellectuals, scientists and social leaders have been susceptible to this type of corruption. It may be as small as doing or getting favours from others such as complementary lunches and dinners, freebies and gifts (as many calls them) or as big as national and international scams and scandals.
There are numerous altered forms of corruptions that have permeated deep into the Indian psyche as well. Take for example dowry. It is the most notorious of corruptions that has impacted tremendously on the individual character and collective consciousness of Indian society. Its implications range from selling of assets to bride burning, from black money laundering to infanticide of female foetuses. Yet, we accept it as a normal way of life in spite of the well-advertised law against it, which is never enforced anyway.
With the changes in time corruption only changes its form. Most of the cars and motorbikes that we see on the road today are the fruits of dowry. With rising wealth, houses and apartments are built for grooms and their families. Yet, lies, deceptions and exaggerations abound in arranged marriage negotiations. If not corruption, then what is it?
It is such relatively minor forms of sleaze that have altered the Indian psyche over several decades and institutionalised corruption. They are the mothers of all scams and scandals. All of us are partaking, knowingly or unknowingly, in these smaller corruptions and the irony is that the same people among us are also most vocal in protesting against corruption when we find ourselves at the wrong end of it.
Corrupt people are the products of the same society that we all help create. The bigger we are, the bigger the corruption we are involved in. But we are all responsible; rather we all contribute to scams and scandals. Each one of us has the seed of corruption inherent in our minds. An increasing number of these seeds are now germinating. Yet, we have not developed the safeguards from the plants that grow out of it. The only safeguard that will work on such a deeply permeated psychic ailment is to eliminate the very urge of all vices from the individual mind.
In the last sixty years we have done the reverse. Like a hungry beast we have pounced on the carcass of new-found wealth, as soon as it came along after a period of starvation, at the cost of the moral fabric of society. The blindness of wealth and megalomania of statistics prevent us from having a clear view of ourselves as a nation. There is no constructive ideal in front of us and no spirit of benevolent service within us. We fight for the sake of fight.
We inadvertently aid exploiters by not having a constructive ideal. As we go on criticising, they go on inventing more shrewd and sophisticated tactics for exploitation. That is how Gandhism fell. The solution needs a thorough understanding of the psycho-dynamics of corruption.
Psycho-dynamics of corruption
Corruption is mental ailment. It is powered by a tendency to accumulate in order to quench one’s physical thirst. Indulgence, greed and jealousy do not allow this thirst to be quenched. Rather they heighten it more and more. For instance, greatly improved pay scale of teachers has not improved the quality of education an iota. Rather it has transformed the staff room into a stock exchange. Is it not corruption to turn one’s back to one’s duty?
When insecurity creeps in problems get out of control. Most small scale corruptions start of with gratification of one’s needs but end up with greed, indulgence, exploitation and sometimes even with murder as physical thirst knows no limit. Countries with more sound social security systems have relatively lower rates of corruptions that impact on the day to day life of their citizens. Nevertheless, social security is no panacea against corruption as numerous cases of severe misutilization of that system in those countries have shown.
Accumulation is a base propensity of human mind stemming from the feeling of insecurity. It is this propensity that drives us to corruption. It generates the psychology of “us vs. them” and “me vs. the world”. Grab whatever you can! As we grow, this tendency grows with us. We want to capitalize on everything till we become a capitalist, a compulsive accumulator, incessantly trying to quench the physical thirst. Ultimately corruption becomes entrenched in the social psyche as an accepted way of life through the process of institutionalisation.
Biological sciences teach us that environmental influences increase the complexity of the human body. The problems of ancient and modern people are by no means identical. In an effort to keep pace with the changing speed of life, the human body and mind have gradually become more complicated. The physical structure of ancient people would have certainly been unfit for solving many of today’s problems. As the mind becomes more complex, its direct centres, the nerve cells, and its indirect centres, the glands, undergo corresponding changes. Human brain rewires and glands modify their output. Over the past six decades since India got its independence it seems that insecurity, greed, envy and indulgence have rewired the Indian brain right from childhood and regulated the glandular secretion of Indians.
With modern media and superfast communications that perverse wiring is now being powerfully strengthened. What was purely a psychic problem has become a biological problem as well. The outcome is a corrupt society mighty rich in breeding corrupt individuals. No amount of protest or crowd is going to alter these wirings.
Does that mean that we are set in concrete and are doomed? Most certainly not. Philosophical treatises inform us that conflicts in the psychic sphere gradually awaken dormant human potentialities. As the nature problems change, the human mind becomes engaged in making new scientific discoveries. The neuroscience of recent years gives us hope and reasons for optimism. I a series of brilliant experiments, neuroscientists have demonstrated that we can design ourselves a new brain and may alter the secretions of our nerve juices. They call it neuroplasticity. There are however certain prerequisites to this transformation. These are benevolent motivation, sustained attention and constructive goal. They provide the strong mental vibration required for the rewiring of the brain and alteration in the glandular secretions. Then only will the human conduct change. The question remains – what process can provide these gemstones?
There are three main methods to check corruption:
Violence – Middle East style
Strict ombudsman (“Lokpal”) bills
In a democratic society we cannot get the third item fully without sacrificing the fundamental principles of democracy. There is no scope for the second item without violating human rights. However, laws can be used as an adjunct to the humane approach in appropriate doses. When the ruling class becomes totalitarian, intransigent and unyielding mass violence remains the only option as is currently happening in Arab countries.
Three essentials of humane approach
The humane approach requires three essential factors in order to work efficiently:
Moral (not just honest) leadership
Spirit of benevolence
Those who lead society should be dynamic moralists. Morally enlightened persons are proactive against all sorts of vices. Not only are they honest, they also display humility, nobility, benevolence and dedication. They stand steadfast against the ruthless counter-attacks of immoralists without caring for their own prestige and reputation. Driven by the motive of collective welfare they do not run away when the going gets tough. In other words, they are the servant leaders of the people and not the ruling masters. That is possible only if they genuinely love people and that is possible only if they see all as the progeny of the same invisible force. Give it a name of your liking. They are the benevolent intellectuals. In Sanskrit they are called [weaver_popup_link href=’http://www.proutglobe.org/2011/08/prout-globe-dictionary/#sadvipra’ h=300 w=700]sadvipras[/weaver_popup_link]. They do not come ready-made. They need to be cultivated and nurtured by a process that is contributed by parents, teachers, the education system, educational policies and social leaders. Do we have such a process in place in India today?
This process should be inherent in the education system, in the policies and politicians and in the social fabric. A system that has moralist parents, moralist teachers, moral educational policies and moral leaders is paramount to fight corruption.
While fighting corruption there should be a constructive ideal. Different civic movements in India have failed to give benevolent service because they lacked a constructive ideal. Therefore it is necessary that the ideal should be first, the ideal second and the ideal always.
Corruption has become synonymous with capitalism. The leftist groups are engaged in criticising the capitalists. Their fight for the sake of fight bears no fruitful result. The capitalists on their side have captured power by influencing the ruling party and adjusting their approaches and policies according to the ongoing criticism they meet. Is it not the condition in India today?
Our approach should be to adopt a constructive ideal. The most constructive ideal is to form a classless society. All classes will have to unite in a society free from class warfare and strive to implement a common ideal on a common platform.
We should wage a ceaseless and pactless struggle against all anti-human and anti-social factors. We are to fight capitalism and not capitalists. We need to annihilate the corruptive tendency of the mind by promoting and materialising our constructive ideal. If simply suppressed it will only rise again as another vice.
Capitalists suffer from a sort of mental ailment, which is to want infinite wealth in a limited physical world at the cost of the suffering of others. It is our duty to radically cure them by diverting their physical thirst toward psychic and spiritual pursuits. Then only can we see the back of corruption. Only benevolent moralists can do it. The education system should produce such moralists and society should nurture them.
Dr. Jitendra Singh (M. Med.) set with his seminal Biopsychology – A New Science of Body, Mind and Soul new standards for the science of bio-psychology. Singh is considered to be a world-leading expert on the relationship between body and mind. He received his MBBS from the University of Lucknow and Master of Medicine from University of Melbourne.