Nurturing Young Minds

Nurturing Young Minds

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Total Revolution or Sampoorn Kranti vs Integral Revolution or Samagra Kranti

Integral revolution or Samagra Kranti is a simple concept. It consists of two interrelated concepts: integral and revolution.
 We must first understand what a revolution is, and how it differs from evolution and development. Revolution, like evolution and development, is change. It is, however, rapid change. If the country achieves in 60 months what it achieved in the past 60 years, it would be called development, or, more appropriately, rapid development. If, however, what could not be achieved in 60 years is achieved in 60 weeks, it can legitimately be called a revolution.
Evolution of homo sapiens sapiens from homo erectus took billions of years. During this long course of evolution spanning milliions of years, Nature essentially worked on enlarging the brain of the two-legged species from three centimeters to around nine, adding many functions to the brain that were not yet available to other species, like self-awareness and logical reasoning. If, in the next ten years, through genetic engineering and other artificial means, further functions are added to the brain, like extra sensory perception that includes knowing events taking place at a distance, it would be a revolution. It is possible that natural evolution might have added this function in the normal course of evolution in another million years. If this course of change is made to shrink to a decade, it is without doubt a revolution.
Revolution, therefore, is very rapid change.
Both revolution and development imply change. However, in both cases, this change is in a direction which is considered by a vast number of people desirable and positive.  
Thanks to the quality of violence to attract attention, historians have been prone to portraying with greater vividness and interest such revolutionary changes that took place in human history as were induced by violent means. Due to the way the text books of history are prepared, it has often been presumed that whenever there is a revolution or a very rapid change in a desirable direction, it could only be through violence. The French Revolution was a product of violence. The Russian Revolution was also a product of huge organised violence. China underwent a revolution that changed the course of the history of nearly one-fifth of humanity again through violent methods. No wonder the word revolution is found carrying with it the odour of violence.
Till the 1940s, the average life expectancy of the people in most parts of the world was around 20 years. After the discovery of penicillin in the year 1926, combined with further developments in the medical sciences and health services, the average life expectancy has risen to 67 years in India, and around 90 years in Europe, America and Japan. What could not happen in several millennia has happened in a few decades. This is a revolution, a silent revolution, not induced by violent methods, but by application of human mind, and organised systematic endeavor. It may be said that technology is more amenable to peaceful revolutions than culture. However, there are instances in which great cultural changes have been induced through methods other than violence. The hierarchical caste system in India is one such instance. For more than a millennium the lower castes of India had to put up with lack of vertical mobility in social status, and, in certain cases, untouchability. In less than a century their social conditions have undergone a sea change. This has been partly because of social reform movements in India in the 19th and 20th centuries, stringent legal provisions against untouchability, and legal empowerment of those castes and communities. A similar revolutionary change can be seen in respect of apartheid in the USA. All this is nothing less than a revolution. And this cultural revolution did not come about through violence. Many historians would still insist that political domain is seldom amenable to revolutionary changes through non-violent methods. Such historians need to look into the vast political changes brought about through non-violent struggle in the not-so-distant past in India, under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi. Political changes do certainly need struggle, sometime intense and protracted struggle, but struggles need not necessarily be violent. The negative social cost of violent revolutions is very high. The Russian and Chinese revolutions claimed millions of lives. The women, children and parents of the ‘reactionary’ people killed, or the members of the bourgeois class butchered, survived only to suffer an intolerable existence full of depression, agony and multiple deprivations. Violence always arouses both among the perpetrators of violence and the victims of violence intense negative emotions that sap happiness and breed misery. True that Russia and China progressed a good deal after the violent revolutions, but India is not very far behind. The USSR, which forcibly cobbled together through revolutionary violence various nationalities into one union, has already crumbled. It is to be seen how long China is able to suppress freedom and democracy through violent means. In the long run violence as the agent of change may prove counterproductive. Ahimsa has been one of the principal norms set by all religions of Indian origin, and it is not surprising that the Indian civilisation is the only ancient civilization the flow of history of which never dried up through the millennia that it traversed. It has repeatedly proved it resilience, and its capacity to bounce back.
The point that is sought to be driven home is that revolutions can be non-violent. This platform for integral revolution, called the Samagra Kranti Manch, intends to bring about a non-violent revolution in India in the days to come. It seeks to bring about a change in months and years that could not happen in decades and centuries.
The Samagra Kranti Manch also intends to bring about an integral revolution or a Samagra Kranti. A Samagra Kranti or integral revolution is a rapid change across the gamut of human affairs, including the political system, economic affairs, the state of society, poverty, education, religious and spiritual consciousness, and all other important spheres. It envisages a revolution in the conditions of the minorities, the Dalits, and the scheduled Tribes. This cannot happen unless there is also a revolutionary change in the consciousness of the majority community.
A society is usually like an organic entity. Its different organs and systems are interrelated, and clearly influence each other. In the human body, a hand can move forward ahead of the body, when the body walks. But the rest of the body has to catch up before the hand can move further forward. The same applies to the body of the society. One organ of the society cannot move forward too far, leaving behind the rest of the body. If it does, serious anomalies and problems arise. In the case of India, naxalism is such a problem, which has arisen due to a section of Indians moving too far ahead without the rest of the Indians, especially those in the rural areas, catching up with them in the march of progress.
India has been moving in slow motion. It has to gain momentum. It has two switch modes – from evolution to revolution, from stagnation to rapid change. But if there is rapid change in one sphere, leaving other spheres and changed, serious anomalies and problems will arise. The only way to prevent these anomalies and problems is to aim at integral revolution, a revolution that encompasses all important domains and spheres of Indian life.
Total Revolution is sometimes understood as complete change in all spheres. In this sense, it is important to bear in mind that there is a significant difference between integral revolution and total revolution. Total revolution, in the sense of complete change, is sheer impossibility. At any time there cannot be a complete change in a culture or civilisation. Nor is it desirable. For any change to happen constructively, it has to be managed properly. Change without proper change management can be disastrous. A civilisation cannot be simply uprooted from its history and ethos. Whatever the pace of change, and howsoever great the pace of change, a civilisation has to grow from its roots. If it does not, again serious anomalies and problems may arise. This is already evident at this juncture of growth of Indian civilisation, which, under the impact of the West, appears to be crumbling under confusion of systems and values. Not that the Sitar and the Guitar cannot come together to produce good music. But they have to be closely synchronized.  Or else, shrilling noise may be the result. In any case the guitar cannot take away the beauty and depth of the Sitar’s serene notes.
Integral revolution is not total revolution in the sense elaborated above. It is huge change, great change, but not complete and total change. But it is integral change, a change integrating and encompassing all different spheres and domains.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Erasing the Poverty Line in 2 years: The Story of the Quest: Part 2

    I recall the day in Wakefield, England when I was waiting at the bus station for a boarding a bus to London. That was 1996. A Briton sitting next to me, who was also waiting for his bus, asked me which country I was from. “India”, I replied. He looked at the sky trying to recall where the country was located. After a few seconds, he was able to vaguely recall the country with some difficulty. “India.. that poor country?”, he murmured and then looked at me. I did not know precisely how to respond, since until then I had great ideas about my country. I had always thought the country must be known abroad as one of the oldest civilisations, which produced all marks of human advancement including poetry, mathematics, health sciences and surgery, music, a developed religion and philosophy much before today’s advanced  nations and the Greeks woke up to the light of civilisation. It was a rude shock to me to find that the most important thing about my country to mention was its poverty. Soon I realised that it was a matter-of-fact statement, not one inspired by malice, even though the questioner’s country itself was largely responsible for colonising, and impoverishing India.
    This incident instigated me to probe the issue of Indian poverty a little deeply when I returned to India after one and a half month of stay in England. Since then, seeing India poverty-free became one of the missions of my life. However, my interest in the phenomenon of Indian poverty was less academic than practical: it consisted in finding the action blueprint that would lead to making India free from poverty. Yet, there cannot be a solution to a complex problem until the problem is understood in detail, and in its various dimensions. Hence, I began the study of poverty in general and Indian poverty in particular.
    Before returning to India, I had been to a jail in West Yorkshire to see how the prisoners were trained for earning a living when they left the jail. The arrangements were remarkable; as remarkable as any arrangement based on common sense would be. They were, for example being trained in wall plastering. The plaster styles created by the prisoners were better than the ones found in five star hotels in India. Not that the prisoners themselves created it; they were given the right material and training for creating the styles. They were told about the best practices, and the bad practices; the all the do’s and don’ts. The plasters from the walls were regularly taken off, and fresh plastering done by new prisoners. The training to prisoners was expected to be such as would give them an edge when they went out in the open market to compete with other plaster-masons. That was the real training to help them with a profitable livelihood. In Indian jails, or elsewhere in India, I have seen nothing of the kind. Not that the technologies were not available in India: the Indians did not have the right attitude towards excellence in vocational training. 

Saturday, June 11, 2011

समग्र क्रांति की अवधारणा

(The Concept of Integral Revolution)

व्यक्ति का जीवन और लोक-जीवन दोनों ही एक शरीर की तरह हुआ करते हैं, जिनके एक अंग या पहलू का प्रभाव दूसरे अंग या पहलू पर कामो-बेश पडता ही है. एक अंग में हुई गम्भीर बीमारी तो कभी-कभी पूरे शरीर को नष्ट कर देती है. कैंसर अगर एक अंग में हो जाये, और उसका उचित उपचार न हो, तो सारे शरीर में फ़ैल कर उसे नष्ट कर देती है. आज राजनीति में भ्रष्टाचार का कैंसर केवल लोक-जीवन के एक अंग, राजनीति, को नष्ट नहीं कर रहा है, बल्कि लोक-जीवन के सभी अन्य अंगों को बुरी तरह प्रभावित कर रहा है. चूँकि मंत्रियों में भ्रष्टाचार है इस लिये अफसरशाहों में भी भ्रष्टाचार है. आखिर उन्हीं के सहयोग से तो मंत्री भ्रष्टाचार करते हैं. जब अफसरशाह भ्रष्ट होंगे तो उनके सभी अधीनस्थ छोटे अधिकारी और कर्मचारी भी भ्रष्टाचार के लिये स्वतंत्र होंगे ही. किसी बड़े अधिकारी को उनके भ्रष्टाचार को रोकने का नैतिक बल कहाँ होगा? इसका परिणाम वही होगा जो आज हो रहा है. गरीबी जाने का नाम नहीं लेती. किसान भूखे मर रहे हैं, और मजदूर खून के आँसू रो रहे हैं. जन-सामान्य पेशो-पेश में है.
    मगर सारा  दोष राजनीति को देना उचित नहीं होगा. अगर शिक्षा उचित होती और बच्चों को उचित संस्कार दिये गए होते, तो बड़े हो कर हर  राजनीतिज्ञ भ्रष्ट ही नही  होता, अधिकांश अफसर भ्रष्ट नहीं होते. धर्म और धर्म-गुरु जो लोक जीवन पर इतना गहरा प्रभाव रखते रहे हैं, अपने भक्तों को भ्रष्टाचार के लिये मना नहीं करते.  क्या यह उनका नैतिक भ्रष्टाचार नहीं है? ईश्वर और देवताओं की ऐसी छवि बनाना कि वे भी चढावे ले कर गलत- सही, उचित-अनुचित का विवेक ताक पर रख अपने भक्तों को धन-दौलत और पद-शोहरत दिया करते हैं, क्या भ्रष्टाचार नहीं है? क्या यह बात  जनता को और धर्म-गुरुओं को राजनीतिज्ञोंने सिखाई? नहीं! अर्थात दोष सिर्फ राजनीति का नहीं है. हमारे धर्म और हमारी संस्कृति भी में भी कहीं ना कहीं खोट है. शिक्षा-पद्धति में भी कहीं-न-कहीं समस्याएं हैं.
    कला और साहित्य सभ्यता के प्राचीनतम प्रतिमानों में से हैं. आज उनकी क्या दशा है देश में? देश के एक बड़े साहित्यकार का नाम ले सकते हैं आप? एक बड़े कवि का नाम जानते हैं आप? राजनीति ने माहौल जरूर खराब किया है, मगर सांस्कृतिक पुनरुत्थान की भी सारी जिमेदारी राजनीतिज्ञ पर ही है क्या ? सामजिक और सांस्कृतिक नेतृत्व कहाँ सोया रहा हमारा?
    संक्षेप में यह कि हमें लोक-जीवन को इतना खंड-खंड बाँट कर नहीं देखना है. राजनीतिज्ञों और भ्रष्टाचार के विरुद्ध लोक-शक्ति आज उठ रही है, संगठित हो रही है. यह एक शुभ लक्षण है. मगर इस लोक-जागरण को हमें  विस्तार देना है. समाज के हर वर्ग को और हर पीढ़ी को इस पनपती हुई क्रान्ति में समेटना है, और समग्र क्रान्ति की ओर मोडना है. हर गाँव में जीवन को उसके सम्पूर्णता में समेकित कर विकसित करना है – समेकित और सामग्र क्रांति करनी है! व्यक्ति के जीवन में भी यही सामाग्र क्रान्ति और सम्पूर्ण निर्माण हमें करना है. इस समेकित क्रांति और सम्पूर्ण निर्माण की रूप रेखा हमें धीरे-धीरे स्पष्ट रूप से समझनी पड़ेगी, और इसमें अपनी भूमिका ढूंढनी पड़ेगी.
आइये इस प्रयास में हम जुड़ें. जुड़ने का पहला तरीका होगा इस संवाद से जुड़ना. समग्र क्रान्ति मंच से जुड़ना.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Ramdev and Congress

रामलीला मैदान में सोये हुए लोगों पर लाठी चार्ज और स्वामी रामदेव के साथ अमानवीय व्यवहार स्वस्थ लोकतान्त्रिक परम्पराओं पर कुठाराघात है. भ्रष्टाचार में आकंठ डूबी हुयी राजनितिक पार्टियां भ्रष्टाचार की पोल खोले वाले अपने प्रतिपक्षियों के साथ ऐसा व्यवहार करें यह आश्चर्यजनक नहीं है. मगर यह निंदनीय है.

मगर बाबा रामदेव के विषय में भी विषय में कई बातें हैं जिन्हें बाबा और सत्याग्रह करने वाले सभी लोगों को समझनी जरूरी हैं. 

अनशन और सत्याग्रह नैतिक शस्त्र हैं. उन्हें करने वाले के पीछे सत्य और नैतिकता का पूरा बल होना चाहिए. व्यक्तिगत विद्वेष की भावना नहीं होनी चाहिए. क्रोध नहीं होना चाहिए. वाचालता नहीं होनी चाहिए. सत्याग्रही को दुराग्रही भी नहीं होना चाहिए. सत्याग्रह नाटक भी नहीं है जहाँ दोनों पक्षों के बीच गुप्त समझौते हो जाएँ और ऊपर से सत्याग्रह का नाटक चलता रहे. 

बाबा रामदेव की बातों से किसी के प्रति व्यक्तिगत विद्वेष की बू आ रही थी. दबाव में पत्र लिख देना और जनता से छुपा कर रखना एक सत्याग्रही के सत्यनिष्ठ और पारदर्शी आचरण का प्रमाण नहीं है. कैसा दबाव और कैसा भय? सत्याग्रही को तो प्राण का भी भय नहीं होता फिर किस भय से दबाव में सरकार को चिट्ठी लिखी गयी? सत्याग्रह स्थल से प्राण के भय से भागा क्यों गया

जिस उद्देश्य से सत्याग्रह शुरू किया गया वह मूलतः उचित था. काले धन का राष्ट्रीयकरण होना ही चाहिए. इस सम्बन्ध में सरकार की ढुल मुल नीति से देश अच्छी तरह परिचित हो गया है और यह संदेह गहराता ही जा रहा है कि विदेशों में जो काला धन पड़ा हुआ है उसका सम्बन्ध कहीं ना कहीं राजनेताओं और अफसरों से जरूर है.  मगर इस मुद्दे पर जो सत्याग्रह किया गया उसमें सत्याग्रह की भावना और स्वरुप में  शुचिता की कमी दीखी. यह लगभग सभी सुधी लोग महसूस कर रहे हैं. 

अभी  देश में क्रान्ति की जरूरत है, अहिंसक क्रांति की. मगर इस क्रान्ति का बीड़ा उठा कर जो लोग आगे आ रहे हैं, उनके पास देश के विषय में एक समग्र जीवन दृष्टि की कमी दीख रही है. उनकी सोच क्या है यह ठीक से जानने के लिये उनका कोई साहित्य भी नहीं है. भारत जैसे विशाल बहुसांस्कृतिक और पुराने इतिहास वाले  को एक  देश को एक वास्तविक क्रान्ति के पथ पर चलाने के लिये न केवल भावनात्मक गंभीरता बल्कि वैचारिक गहराई और विस्तार की भी जरूरत होगी. गांधी, नेहरु, राजेन्द्र प्रसाद, लोहिया  का साहित्य और उनका कर्तृत्व इस प्रकार  की वस्तुस्थिति का प्रमाण है. वैयक्तिक और राष्ट्र जीवन के प्रत्येक पहलू  पर गांधी ने सोचा और लिखा. केवल बोला नहीं. नेहरु के 'विश्व इतिहास की झलक' पर महान इतिहासकार  टायनबी ने लिखा कि इतना बड़ा मानसिक फलक एक राजनीतिज्ञ का हो यह विश्वास नहीं होता. भारतीय इतिहास के प्रवाह को मोड़ने के पहले इस प्रवाह को, इसके उत्स को, इसकी दिशा को,  समझने की जरूरत है. चिंतन और चिंतनपरक लेखन से विमुख आज के हमारे क्रियावादी और राजनेता  अगर इस प्रवाह के थपेडों से घायल हो कर इतिहास के  हाशिए पर चित हो  जाएँ तो ताज्जुब नहीं. 

एक लोकतंत्र में आमरण अनशन-परक सत्याग्रह अहिंसा का अंतिम अस्त्र है, ब्रह्मास्त्र है, और इसका अधिक प्रयोग अस्त्र की गरिमा और प्रभाव को कम कर देगा. लेकिन भ्रष्टाचार-निरोध के बहादुर योद्धा निराश न हों. यह एक छोटी हार है. बड़ा युद्ध हम जरूर जीतेंगे! भारतीय इतिहास की धारा मोड़ के कगार पर है. भारतीय  इतिहास की कोख से ही और भी शक्तियां उठेंगी और इतिहास की दिशा को बदलेंगी. 

Monday, June 6, 2011

Erasing the Poverty Line in 2 years: The Story of the Quest: Part 1

Once I went to make a presentation of ‘Erasing the Poverty Line in 2 Years’ paradigm to a government department in New Delhi. A bureaucrat with whom I sat for some time heard about the proposal. He wanted to know if the economists and planners who had been working for poverty alleviation for the last 60 years were all fools that they could not achieve in sixty years what it was possible to achieve in just 2 years. I could see indignation in his eyes. I only told him that I was presenting no mystical formula, and he could join the presentation session to see for himself if what I was proposing was feasible. However, his protest was stuck somewhere in my heart, since it was apparently a valid comment. I myself wondered how the planners and economists missed out such simple recipe while working with various complex recipes for poverty alleviation. I did not get an appropriate answer to this question until, after some time, a read an anecdote about Isaac Newton, the great scientist.
    Once Isaac Newton was working in his lab, absorbed in big ideas. He noticed that a family of mice was struggling to get out of a hole in the wall of his lab room. He found that the mice were many and the hole was one. He felt anxious as to how so many mice would get out through one hole. Therefore, he called his assistant and asked him to make more holes in the wall so that each of the several mice could get out through them.  
    It is not known how authentic the story is, but one thing in the story is very authentic. People, whose minds are occupied with big things, or absorbed hundred per cent in something else, sometimes fail to notice the small and the obvious. It did not strike Newton at that time that all the mice could one by one get out through the same one hole if only the hole was a little widened to facilitate entry of one mouse. Similarly, while the economists and the planners keep themselves busy finding complex recipes to bring prosperity to the nations, they often overlook a few very simple facts, which can help them remove poverty and erase the poverty line in just two to three years’ time. One honest bureaucrat told me that very few of these economists, planners, bureaucrats and politicians were truly in the game of removing poverty. They had their own different games to play. That was the reason poverty lingered on from decade to decade.
   What is then the simple recipe for poverty alleviation that I proposed? 
    Before I came to that simple recipe, I would like to narrate the journey of somebody, who was not a qualified economist, that took him to the destination where he thought he had found the way extreme poverty could be removed within a very short period from the poorer areas of the country and the world.  

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

New Ideas vs Old Ideologies.

The ideological schisms of the past represented by sharp divisions between socialism and capitalism are gradually being buried by all thinking people everywhere. We have seen Russia. The Unites States is now dubbed a ‘socialist’ country by many  because of the welfare orientation of the state. And China is being now called a capitalist country by some owing to the private ownership being granted on all the means of production, and due to the growing number of its High Networth Individuals. You would not be surprised to know that now everyone can own a private house in China for 70 years on lease and this lease can be inherited by the lessee’s children. In China of today you can own a car and everything that we can own in other places, with a fig leaf attached in some cases like housing. The role of private property, private initiative and freedom is increasingly being recognised in the communist block and the role of a welfare state is understood in the capitalist block countries.  From extremities of values, the ideologues and people are settling for a more acceptable balance of values. There is little doubt that finally there will be a near convergence in many senses. 

Humanity is maturing, and therefore political and conceptual fundamentalism is diminishing. Just as the evolution in the nature has been producing species that are often difficult to tag with a specific class and name, political  evolution is also generating unseen mix of ideas that can not be comprehended with the help of archaic and simplistic ideological concepts and adages, but which represent the evolving human reality better and are fitter to survive. What we need to prepare ourselves intellectually for is to comprehend and appreciate  the new ideological thought-species without wearing our old colored spectacles. 

In India too the age of ideologies may be on its way out, and what is going to set in is the age of ideas - a brave new world of ideas that conform to the contemporary reality better and that, at the same time, happen to cater better  to the ideals of human development. It is a matter of time that the adages like 'left', 'right' and 'center' would become irrelevant, and new terms of comprehension will have to be coined. It may however take some more time for those new tools of comprehension to be forged - maybe till Samagr Kranti takes roots in the Indian soil.