It is a tragic order of nature that whenever a great leader comes to serve human society then and there he is opposed, criticized, humiliated, tortured, arrested, convicted and even put to death. P.R. Sarkar was not spared either but had to face the onslaught stages against him by vested interests.
Sarkar became controversial and the target of attacks from every side, because he gave PROUT, a socio-economic theory. In response to this ideology, in the early days some groups of persons in India were inspired to disseminate the ideals of PROUT and accordingly they formed an organization named Proutist Forum of India, which was a socio-cultural organization, in the year 1963, four years after the formulation of PROUT. Within a short span of three years the organization attracted many intellectuals, students from different schools, colleges, universities and other walks of life throughout India. The growing progress of the organization was an eyesore to those self-motivated interests that were affected by its rationality. Consequently, very malicious propaganda was launched by the same vested interests just to cover their weaknesses by defaming the noble mission.
PROUT basically stands against any “isms” which are detrimental for human progress, and instead advocates universalism, world fraternity and a cosmic society. The capitalists branded the members of the organization as communist agents, while the communists branded them as CIA agents. The other political parties branded the organization as fascist while orthodox religious people declared it to be anti-faith, anti-religion and anti-God. But all the vicious propaganda against the mission was baseless. Capitalism, communism, power-monger political parties and churches without any rationality are following extreme paths, and have divided society into innumerable segments. All such divisional isms lack a constructive program through which they may unify human social diversities towards universalism. Hence, PROUT stands against any narrow sentiments and creates an atmosphere to rejuvenate the intellectual, social, political, educational and spiritual values of life.
Finally, Sarkar was arrested in December 1971 on false murder charges. The government attempted to kill him in jail while administering barbiturate poisoning on February 12th 1973, but Sarkar could save himself out of his strong spiritual power. Judicial enquiry was demanded to probe the poisoning case, but the government paid a deaf ear. There was no alternative for him but to decide an indefinite fast to protest against the inhuman attitude of the then government.
All democratic means were utilized to restore justice to Sarkar throughout the world, but all peaceful demonstrations were turned down with brute force in India. Even seven of his disciples in India, Germany, Switzerland, the U.S. and Philippines committed self-immolation just to evoke the conscience of the good people throughout the world, against the inhuman treatment meted out Sarkar in jail. But alas all the international and social agencies remained as a silent spectator. In an nutshell, all sorts of oppressive ways were utilized by the government of India just to eliminate the PROUT organization.
The political situation in India was deteriorating due to extreme corruption, bureaucracy and exploitation in all the government agencies. This paved the path for growing restlessness among the masses. The situation of course became a challenge for the Congress party of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi for its political survival. In June 1975 the Government of India thus declared emergency. Press, paper and all other liberties were curtailed. India became deaf, dumb and blind in those days. After two weeks the PROUT organization was banned. All property was confiscated, thousands and thousands of members of the organization were thrown behind the bars without any legal justification.
It was unfortunate that in this emergency period Sarkar’s trial was conducted and he was convicted on November 26th 1976 for life. In January 1977 the emergency was revoked and fresh elections were proposed. The people of India demonstrated their anger against the tyrannical leadership by voting the Congress party out of power. The caretaker government immediately revoked the ban order on the PROUT organization and cadres and members were all duly released from jail. Within a short time the organization was rebuilt to its pre-Emergency state. Simultaneously it became clear that the organization ha spread to more than 60 overseas countries during the time of its trials in India.
Sarkar’s case was appealed in the High Court against the session court’s one-sided verdict in the Emergency period. The neutral High Court declared Sarkar faultless and proceedings were dismissed. Sarkar remained more than seven years in jail out of which he was fasting five years and six months simply by drinking two cups of buttermilk a day. His story adds abundant proof to the fact that great personalities are always opposed from every corner but finally they stand victorious.
From the Foreword to PROUT’s Concept of Politics and Economics, Ravi Batra, Proutist Universal Global Office, 1979.
P.R. Sarkar main page
Socio-economic Teachings of P.R. Sarkar
A Brief Assessment of P.R. Sarkar’s Work