On January 4th falls the birth anniversary of a World Peace Lover.He was a visionary and missionary par excellent, whose love for world peace was not confined to mere talks, seminars and resolutions.He was Mahatma Gandhi’s Doctor of Village Industries who showed to the mankind as to how to organize one’s own life for peace.He literally translating the ideals of Mahatma Gandhi and he was truly “His Master’s Voice”.Like his Master Mahatma Gandhi, his words are also living words.
This is none other than Joseph Cornelius Kumarappa (JCK).He was born on January 4, 1892 and died on the martyrdom day of his master Mahatma Gandhi, on January 30, 1960.
I had no opportunity to meet both Mahatma Gandhi and J.C.Kumarappa, but their teachings continue to influence me even today.I am getting much convinced than ever before that only by organizing one’s own day-to-day life for peace mankind can individually and collectively help establish World Peace.
Why I say JCK’s words are living words as that of Mahatma Gandhi?In this connection I would love to quote here some extracts of what JCK said in his speech delivered before the World Congress for Peace at Vienna on January 24, 1953.
“The philosophy of non-violence and truth of Gandhiji has its deep roots in the way of life developed over thousands of years by the Hindus to lead us to peace.Hence to understand the Gandhian way of peace it is necessary to remind ourselves of this ancient background.
They held Truth is God and Dharma is purpose of existence of man.Nay, each creature – sentient and insentient – has its own Dharma.The Dharma of man is to express himself in peace.Dharma is neither religion nor duty as is often indifferently translated.These latter are but expressions of Dharma but not all of it.Just as to produce flowers is the nature of the rose plant and to exude fragrance is of the very nature of the rose, so should the production of peace be the very existence of man.We may say flowering is the Dharma of the rose and peace is the Dharma of man.Anything that produces conflict is Adharma.
The Dharma of the strong is the protection of the weak.The all powerful America, fighting small nations, is Adharma.It belongs to the animal kingdom.The Dharma of the tiger may be to kill but not that of man.
The malady the world is suffering from today is mainly due to economic factors.
If the way of Dharma leads to peace then any act that is Adharma will lead to violence.These global conflicts are not isolated incidents.They are the culminations of innumerable small acts performed by simple people innocently.Though the responsibility for wars may immediately be placed on some leaders, yet the real causes can be traced to our daily acts.For instance, city people buy milk without asking whether the calf has been fed or the children of the milkman have had their quota.When the milk we buy is not surplus but has been squeezed out of the mouths of calves and children with prior claims, our acts are Adharmic and we create violence, which, when accumulated, breaks out into world catastrophes.Hence we see the real remedy lies in the consumer being closely associated with the producer and the distributor.This means decentralization of production and a move towards self-sufficiency.This has been Gandhiji’s suggestion for banishing the causes of war.
On the production side today the goods are turned out on a mass scale with standardized methods, from raw materials secured from the ends of the earth from under-developed people.All this is Adharmic.Similarly, distribution has no natural urge but is stimulated by all manner of artificial multiplicity of wants.This again is Adharmic and leads to violence.
Because of these underlying causes the atmosphere is surcharged with a fear of acquisitive interests being upset by a spreading sense of social justice.The American bloc represents private property and individual profits, while Russia, China and associated countries stand for social justice.The handful of American vested interests desire to stop the ever-growing consciousness of the masses for a square deal.Here is the world situation in a nutshell.America attempts to cordon off the awakening of the masses along the political line starting from Korea, China, Burma, India, Iraq and Jordan etc. going on to West Germany.To this end the U.S.A. is moving heaven and earth to get a foothold on all these countries by fair means or foul – by wars, by finance, by pretended social service and goodwill etc.Let us be awake to the dangers around us and be forewarned.
The American way is heading directly towards international conflicts all along the line and their ultimate interest is financial.To call a halt we should resort to methods which are also Dharmic if we aim at permanence.Here also Gandhiji had indicated the way of non-violent non-co-operation with the offender which may finally result in the launching of a Sayagraha movement.
In the economic field this will result in a boycott of all trade transactions with the offender and thus isolating him from the rest of human society.If we apply this sanction all nations should stop dealing in American goods.
In this Congress over 70 nations are represented.If all these countries decide on one common course of action it cannot be long before the U.S.A. authorities can be called to order.On the other hand, a mere threat of armed might will only challenge them to a greater and more rapid production of armaments.This may even be an attraction to the manufacturers and merchants of death as an opportunity for acquiring greater wealth.
This course of action brings promotion of World Peace within the reach of every single one of us.We need not feel helpless before the great ones of the earth.Everyone can contribute his mite.This is a great privilege and a responsibility: It call for self-control and sacrifice in the cause of peace.Are we prepared to shoulder our share of work?”
How prophetic the above words of JCK were!The same went into deaf ears.What happened in Iraq recently JCK foresaw as early as in 1953.Let it not happen to India.Let Indian leadership take a leaf from the above lessons.
Joseph Cornelius Kumarappa was not a fanatic Hindu.He was born in an orthodox Christian family of Madurai in Tamilnadu State of India.His father S.D.Cornelius (1851-1917) was then an officer in the Public Works Department of the then Government of Madras.His mother Esther Rajanayakam (1856-1924) was not a learned woman in the sense of possessing a university education.She came of devout Christian stock of South India.She had read widely for her generation, especially in Tamil.She spent her life of comparative simplicity in the practice of the tenets of Jesus.Her piety, her sympathy for and love of her neighbors she expressed by her attempt, however humble it may have been, to help those in distress.Her life and actions made an impression on JCK’s child-mind much greater than many volumes of theology could have done.Her ways of inculcating religion were simple and unique.
Cornelius couple had total twelve children – six girls and six boys.The elder two boys died in childhood.The eldest daughter Dorachi who married Rev.G.Kantayya too died at an early age.Rest nine children lived.
JCK’s parents believed in giving the children, boy or girl the best of education and all their property was sun in education of their children.
Of the nine children who lived long, JCK (Joseph Cornelius Kumarappa) was the sixth child.He was M.A. (Columbia), B.Sc. (Business Administration)(Syracuse), F.S.A.A.(London).
The following are the other eight children:
1.Sornam Elizabeth, born in 1878.She was B.A. (Madras), served as member of the Senate of Madras University, was a member of the Madras City Corporation.She has travelled widely in the East and West.She founded “Vidyodays” Girls High School, at Tyagrayanagar, Madras.She married Paul Appasamy, who was the Chief Judge of the Madras Civil Court.
2.Jane Rajamani, born in 1892, educated in Medical College, Madras and practiced privately, married C. V. Narasiah, Barrister, practicing in Coimbatore.
3.Jagadisan Mohandas Kumarappa, born in 1886.He was M.A. (Harvard), S.T. (Boston), M.A., Ph.D.(Columbia).He was Emeritus Director of Tata’s Scholl of Social Sciences, Andheri, Mumbai.
4.James Thambithurai Cornelius, born in 1889.He was M.A. (Ohio), M.D. (Cincinatti), B.P.H. (Johns Hopkins), Ph.D. (London).He served as a Health Officer of Uttar Pradesh Government and after retirement served as Professor of Bacteriology and Hygiene in the Christian Medical College, Vellore.
5.Grace Pappammal, born in 1891.She was educated in Herkimer Folks Institute in New York.She married James W. Godfrey, a Barrister practicing in Durban in South Africa.
6.Kamala Gertrude, born in 1893.She was educated at the Pennsylvania Women’s College, Pittsburg, America.She served in Madras Christian College as Professor of Chemistry.Married Dr.Eddy Asirvatham, who was first Lecturer of Comparative Religions in the Boston University and then Head of the Political Science Department, Nagpur University.
7.Prema Margaret, born in 1895.She was L.M. (Rotunda-Dublin) and was practicing as a Physician.Later she joined Government Service and was the Women’s Health Officer in Coimbatore District.
8.Bharathan Kumarappa, born in 1896.He was B.A. (Hons) (Madras), B.D. (Hartford), Ph.D. (Edinburgh), Ph.D. (London).He was Professor of Philosophy in Madras Christian College.He was the Assistant Secretary of the All-India Village Industries Association for ten years.He also served the United Nations as India’s representative on the Social Commission.
After education Joseph Cornelius Kumarappa (JCK) worked as an Incorporated Accountant in London till 1919 and later in Bombay till he joined Gandhiji in 1929.
In 1927 Kumarappa went to USA on a holiday for a few months at the instance of his elder brother, who was in USA.After a month’s stay there, he wanted to do some solid work.He joined Syracuse University and took his B.Sc. degree in Business Administration in 1928.The next year on the advice of his profession he went over to the Columbia University to study public finance.For this he was preparing his Master’s Essay on the Bombay Municipal Finance.His Principal Professor Dr.E.R.A.Soligman had seen a press report in the New York Times of a casual lecture Kumarappa had delivered in a church “Why then is India poor?”.The Professor was so much taken up with it that he insister that Kumarappa’s Master’s Essay should be on the cause of Indian poverty through public finance.This study convinced Kumarappa of British injustice and exploitation and he turned a nationalist.With this change of heart, he wanted to be an Indian first and foremost and he, therefore, took up the original Hindu name of his family “Kumarappa”.
On his return to India from USA in 1929, it was suggested to Kumarappa that he should publish his study of Indian public finance and the story of the British exploitation in India through their taxation.He was negotiating with some publishers in India for the publication of his work.That time he was told that the subject was one in which Gandhiji would be intensely interested and he was urged to submit the manuscript to him first.Kumarappa welcomed this suggestion and showed the manuscript to Gandhiji.That was the first time he was meeting Gandhiji.This meeting ultimately dragged him to Gandhian work and in due course he turned out to be one of the closest associates of Gandhiji.Kumarappa did not mind leaving his lucrative practice of chartered accountancy and the western-style sophisticated life in order to join Gandhiji.
In 1929 at the instance of Gandhiji, Kumarappa carried out an economic survey of 50 villages in Gujarat.Later in 1930 he was made editorial in charge of the “Young India”.His writings landed him to one year’s imprisonment in 1931.He served as a convener of the Congress Select Committee which inquired into the financial obligations between Great Britain and India.Towards the end of 1931, he was placed again in the editorial charge of the “Young India”.The years 1932 and 1933 were spent by him in prison.In 1934 he worked on the Managing Committee of the Bihar Central Earthquake Relief Committee until the formation of the All India Village Industries Association towards the end of that year.
In the middle of December 1947 top-ranking constructive workers from Wardha went and met Bapu (Gandhiji) in Delhi.During the course of their discussions, the idea of forging a Lok Sevak Sangh took shape.When Kumarappa met Bapu on one of those days, Bapu explained his idea of the Lok Sevak Sangh and asked him to convene a meeting of all the prominent constructive workers in Sevagram on the 2nd of February, 1948.Gandhiji had also prepared an outline of the constitution of Lok Sevak Sangh which reads in parts as below:
“The Sangh shall affiliate the following autonomous bodies: All India Spinners Association, All India Village Industries Association, Hindustani Talimi Sangh, Harijan Sevak Sangh, Go Seva Sangh,……”.
Gandhiji died on 30th January, 1948, three days before the proposed meeting at Sevagram.That meeting was however held after some months.The heads of above said institutions met, but got into endless discussions.Many of the Congress leaders had also attended the meeting.
After the partition and independence, the country had plunged into an unprecedented blood-bath.There was gloom all round and under such circumstances it was hardly possible for the political leaders to leave their posts of responsibilities to take up the formation of Lok Seva Sangh.This was quite understandable.But the autonomous institutions especially mentioned by Gandhiji could have taken up the initiative in their hands to forge a Lok Sevak Sangh of Bapu’s conception.
Some of the constructive workers expected two of the eminent leaders, Shri Vinoba Bhave and Shri Kishorelal Mashruvala to guide them.Shri Vinoba Bhave was interested in a loose sort of a brotherhood.He wanted no organized institution.Shri Kishorelal Mashruwala simply pleaded his inability to take up the responsibility.After the refusal of both these stalwarts, confusion prevailed amongst the rank and file.No one had any love even for the name of ‘Lok Sevak Sangh’ handed down by Bapu.Many alternate names came to be suggested viz. Milapi Sangh, Samyukta Sangh, Sarvodaya Samatha, Satyagraha Samaj, Ahimsa Mandal and many other permutations and combinations.
After some meetings the nomenclature “Akhil Bharat Sarva Seva Sangh” finally came to be accepted.Even then there was an endless controversy as to whether the institutions mentioned above would merely defederate or merge.After some meetings and discussions, the idea of merger was accepted.JCK learnt to his great dismay that the constructive workers themselves stood in the way of advancing Gandhiji’s ideals.
All these contributed to a depressive feeling of JCK not being wanted in that circle any more.When such a feeling entered into the mind of a person like Kumarappa who was so active all his life giving birth to the All India Village Industries Association in the year 1934 and nurturing it so carefully for fourteen years, it was natural he wanted to remove himself away from this circle in the name of retirement.
In the beginning Kumarappa removed himself to a village about 18 miles away from Wardha and began to engage himself actively in Agrarian Research Work.This was a fundamental research work that Kumarappa wanted to pursue and complete in his life-time.For this project certain amount was first promised, but later as the work progressed the promised amount made itself scarce.This project thus got stifled and died still-born.
Ultimately in 1954 Kumarappa removed himself to Gandhiniketan Ashram at Kallupatti in Madurai District.He had been suffering from high blood pressure and this affected him many times during his retirement.He had to be in the hospital also for quite a long time.At this stage, it was conceived that as a humble homage his 69th birthday be celebrated on a nation wide scale on the 4th of January 1960.A national committee was formed for that purpose with the then Chief Minister of Madras Shri K. Kamaraj as its Chairman.In response to a public appeal made by this committee, Kumarappa’s 69th birthday was celebrated all over the country with all grandeur and solemnity.The main function was arranged in Rajaji Hall in Madras.Glowing tributes were showered praising the selfless services rendered by this Gandhian Economist.Kumarappa attended this meeting sitting silently on dias.He was overwhelmed and all the symptoms of ill health had temporarily taken leave and left him completely to enjoy himself.With a contended and happy heart and with all his ailments almost vanishing Kumarappa attained the feat of the Lord on the 30th of January 1960 just after 25 days of the celebrations and exactly on the same day after his Guru and mentor, Mahatma Gandhi fell a martyr to an assassin’s bullet.Thus came the end of a great man.
As a peace lover I pay my tributes to this great lover of World Peace, who has shown to mankind as to how to organize one’s own life for peace.I have taken pains to write the above so that the present generation and future generations at least learn that like Mahatma Gandhi such a man to walked on this earth with flesh and blood and his prophetic words went into deaf years.
Ancient undivided India lived through its hundreds of thousands of villages.Even today India lives through its villages – six lakhs of inhabited villages.Early twentieth century rural population in India was 89% and it got reduced to 72% by early twenty-first century.
Indian soul and spirit are in these villages.Here survives the time-tested ancient civilization.Spirituality is kept in tact here without getting much affected by the degenerating, war-mongering and materialism centered western civilization.Simple living and high think continue to remain the motto of one’s life in Indian villages.Mahatma Gandhi symbolized this.He understood Indian villages and its inhabitants much more than anyone else.He was the Spiritual Master of a Millennium than just a political leader who won for India political freedom from the British colonialists.
Mahatma Gandhi had the following dream to transform the villages in the independent India as follows:
“An ideal Indian village will be constructed as to lead itself to perfect sanitation.It will have cottages with sufficient light and ventilation built of material obtainable within a radius of five miles of it.The quarters will have courtyards enabling householders to plant vegetables for domestic use and to house their cattle.The village lanes and streets will be free of all available dust.It will have wells according to its needs and accessible to all.It will have houses of worship for all, also a common meeting place, a village common land for grazing its cattle, a co-operative diary, primary and secondary schools in which industrial education will be the central part, and it will have panchayaths for settling disputes.It will produce its own grains, vegetables and fruits and its own khadi.”
This remained unfulfilled as within six months of Indian independence Gandhiji fell victim to an assassin’s bullet.Post independent Indian leadership and bureaucracy had no thrill for the above.They found thrill in copying the material-centered western civilization.We are paying the price for this.
Mahatma Gandhi wrote in Hind Swaraj in 1908: “it is my deliberate opinion that India is being ground down not under the English heel, but under that of modern civilization.It is groaning under the monster’s terrible weight”.
Mahatma Gandhi’s words are living words – ageless and timeless.This sixty-two year old man had no opportunity to meet him personally.If Gandhiji lived I would have loved to meet him to sit at his feet and learn his invaluable teachings.Alas! Gandhiji’s words are living words.It is equally true of the words of Gandhiji’s doctor of village industries J. C. Kumarappa.
Hind Swaraj or Indian Home Rule was written by Gandhiji in 1908 during his return voyage from London and this was first published serially in the columns of the Indian Opinion.It was originally written in Gujarati and subsequently translated into Hindi, English and other languages.One-hundred years have just passed after Gandhiji’s writing this.This less than one-hundred page publication clears our doubts and provides answers to the present-day ills of the world from wars to terrorism as well as Global Warming to dreadful degenerative diseases like cancer.
As we all know Gopalakrishna Gokhale was Gandhiji’s “Rajya Guru” i.e. Political Guru.Gokhaleji only advised Gandhiji to spiritualize politics, which he literally did.But for that Gandhiji rose to become not just another man of the past millennium but truly the Spiritual Master of a millennium.It is unfortunate that in the present-day politics there is no spirituality or any principles.On the other hand religions got politicalized and lost spirituality.
In the year 1912 when Gokhaleji visited South Africa and saw the English translation of Hind Swaraj, he thought it so crude and hastily conceived that he prophesied that Gandhiji himself would destroy the book after spending a year in India.
Gokhaleji’s prediction failed.In 1921 writing about it Gandhiji said: “It teaches the gospel of love in place of that of hate.It replaces violence with self-sacrifice.It pits soul/l force against brute force.I withdraw nothing except one word of it, and that in deference to a lady friend.The booklet is a severe condemnation of modern civilization.It was written in 1908.My conviction is deeper today than ever.”
As a Youngman when I read it for the first time in 1966 I could not grasp much about it.When I re-read it in the midst of the present-day world problems, it is illuminating.My Bharath Yathra of 1999-2000, when I travelled criss-cross India from Kanyakumari to Kedarnath, saw with my own naked eyes the Indian villages and the living inhabitants sans language and religions barriers, I understood Gandhiji’s Hind Swaraj much better.
During early twentieth century India had 24 crores population and density per sq.km. was 77.After one-hundred years in early twenty-first century the population rose to 103 crores with density of population at 325 per sq.km.
Early twentieth century Indian urban population was 11% and it rose to 28% by early twenty-first century.In terms of population increase the urbanization is not that alarming.The least urbanized Indian state is Himachal Pradesh with 10% urban population.Delhi has the maximum of 93% followed by Chandigarh 90% and Pondicherry 67%.National Capital Territory Delhi is equally the Crime Capital of India, thanks to urbanization.
India today is not a Village Republic but a Republic with parliamentary democracy, copied from Great Britain.In Hind Swaraj Gandhiji wrote about British Parliament as follows:
“The condition of England at present is pitiable.I pray to God that India may never be in that plight.That which you consider to be Mother Parliaments is like a sterile woman and a prostitute.Both these are harsh terms, but exactly fit the case.That Parliament has not yet, of its own accord done a single good thing.Hence I have compared it to a sterile woman.The natural condition of that Parliament is such that, without outside pressure, it can do nothing.It is like a prostitute because it is under the control of ministers who change from time to time.
If the money and the time wasted by Parliament were entrusted to a few good men, the English nation would be occupying today a much higher platform.Parliament is simply a costly toy of the nation.These views are by no means peculiar to me.Some great English thinkers have expressed them.One of the members of that Parliament recently said that a true Christian could not become a member of it.Another said that it was a baby.And if it has remained a baby after an existence of seven hundred years, when will it outgrow its babyhood?”
Is Indian Parliament of to-day anything better?
As Gandhiji wrote the people of Europe learnt their lessons from the writings of the men of Greece or Rome, which exist no longer in their former glory.In trying to learn from them, the Europeans imagined that they will avoid the mistakes of Greece and Rome.That did not happen.Gandhiji believed that the civilization India has evolved is not to be beaten in the world.Nothing can equal the seeds sown by our ancestors.Rome went, Greece shared the same fate; the might of the Pharaohs was broken; Japan has become westernized and China followed them.As India lived though its villages it was on a sound foundation.Indian ancestors dissuaded us from luxuries and pleasures and we had no system of life-corroding competition.Each followed his own occupation or trade and charged a regulation wage.It was not that we did not know how to invent machinery, but our forefathers knew that, if we set our hearts after such things, we would become slaves and lose our moral fiber.They, therefore, after due deliberation decided that we should only do what we could with our hand and feet.They saw that our real happiness and health consisted in a proper use of our hands and feet.They further reasoned that large cities were a snare and a useless encumbrance and that people would not be happy in them, that there would be gangs of thieves and robbers, prostitution and vice flourishing in them and those poor men would be robbed by rich men.They were, therefore, satisfied with small villages.They saw that kings and their swords were inferior to the sword of ethics, and they, therefore, held the sovereigns of the earth to be interior to the Rishis and the Fakirs.A nation with a constitution like this is fitter to teach others than to learn from others.
How true Gandhiji was!In no party of the world, and under no civilization, have all men attained perfection.The tendency of the Indian civilization is to elevate the moral being, that of the Western civilization is to propagate immorality. The latter is Godless; the former is based on a belief in God.So understanding and so believing, it behooves every lover of India to cling to the old India civilization even as a child clings to the mother’s breast.
As Gandhiji writes violence breeds the results of violence, and once you start the game there is no limit to be drawn.Two World Wars to Cold Wars, Korean and Vietnam wars to Afghan and Iraq Wars, wars continue in one form or the other in the world even today.With benign sciences and malignant technologies, more than cure for dreadful degenerative diseases like cancer man acquired weapons like nuclear weapons and reached the dead-end of universal destruction.
Everyone knows how even a Chine child feared the Japanese.When a Chinese friend of Philip Mumford urged action on behalf of China, he wrote in the War Resister as follows:
“Your enemy is the Japanese Government and not the Japanese peasants and soldiers – unfortunate and uneducated people who do not even know why they are being asked to fight.Yet, if you use ordinary military methods of defending your country, it is these guiltless people who are not your real enemies whom you must kill.If only China would try and preserve herself by the non-violent tactics used by Gandhiji in India, tactics which are indeed far more in accordance with the teachings of her great religious leaders, she would, I venture to say, be far more successful than she will by copying the militarist methods of Europe.…. Surely it is a lesson to mankind in general that the Chinese, the most pacific people on earth, have preserved themselves and their civilization for a longer period of history than any of the warlike races. …. We believe that killing is evil in all circumstances and out of it good cannot come.Pacifism will not spare you from all suffering, but in the long run, it is, I believe, a more effective weapon against the would-be conqueror than all your fighting forces; and what is most important, it will keep alive the ideals of your race?”
It is not Indian and Chinese governments keep alive the ideals of their races and civilization, but the people living in villages.Ever increasing urbanization and aping the western civilization are bound to destroy this.Let India and China not have the same fate of Rome and Greece followed by Great Britain and now the United States of America.
It is worth remembering here what Colonel Thomas Munro who served in India for thirty-two years:
“If a good system of agriculture, unrivalled manufacturing skill, a capacity to produce whatever can contribute to convenience or luxury; schools established in every village, for teaching reading, writing and arithmetic; the general practice of hospitality and charity amongst each other; and above all, a treatment of the female sex, full of confidence, respect anddelicacy, are among the signs which denote a civilized people, then the Hindus are not inferior to the nations of Europe; and if civilization is to become an article of trade between the two countries, I am convinced that this country (England) will gain by the import cargo.”
It is time for the western type modern educated IT driven modern young Indian men and women to apply their mind on the above and avert the dangers ahead.Otherwise no one would be alive to mourn our own death.Let the following higher values of life rule our heart: (1) fearlessness, (2) wisdom, (3) honour, (4) compassion, (5) love, (6) truth, (7) non-violence, (8) beauty, (9) worship, and (10) life, the ultimate test, be our guiding forces.Cowardism, fear, greed and passions be of the past.Treat them as forgone, forgiven and forgotten.Then alone there can be a real Indian Home Rule.Any dispute on this?
Present Indian Home Rule through a Government of a few people, for a few people and by a few people.The ultimate time has come to transform this into a Government of the people, for the people and by the people with the art and science of mobilizing the entire physical, economic and spiritual sources of all the various sections of the people in the services of the common good of all.Such a government alone can bring in Hind Swaraj or Indian Home Ruleunder which everyone will enjoy the following freedom as beautifully explained by Poet Rabindranath Tagore:
“Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high;
Where knowledge is free;
Where the world has not been broken up into fragments by narrow domestic walls;
Where words come out from the depth of truth;
Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection;
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way into the hoary desert of dead habit;
Where the mind is led forward by thee into ever widening thought and action;
Into that heaven of freedom, my father, let my country awake.”
Peace is the true nature of this universe and it is equally true to each one of us if we care to go deep into each one of our inner-self through su-darshan.Those who face problem in it better learn su-darshan-kriya taught world over by the Art of Living Maestro Sri Sri Ravi Shankar Guru Dev.
The very structure of this universe and its inherent economic is for peace.The peace started eluding mankind with the advent of industrialization and the man getting displaced by machines.
The people of Europe and North America desire peace maintaining their multiplicity of wants and high standard of living.This is now equally true with city dwellers of developing nations including India.Modern fan failed to understand the truth that high standard of living and peace are incompatible.If Mahatma Gandhi’s works and teachings are read correctly, his most important message to the humanity was to organize one’s own day-to-day life for peace.This went into deaf ears even in India.
Let the message to humanity during this festive season of Christmas and New Year be to take up the cross of simple life and follow the life of a Satyagrahi i.e. truth seeker.After all Truth is God and God is Love.Mahatma Gandhi’s promoted Khadi and Village Industries helped one to organize one’s own life for peace.
During Mahatma Gandhi’s time, Maganwadi, Wardha, presently in the Maharashtra State of India was the capital for Khadi and Village Industries.Hundreds of thousands of workers from all over India got trained at Maganwadi for Khadi and Village Industries.
At Maganwadi at the entrance to the Industries Court there is a beautiful life-size representation of Jesus being taken down from the cross.This sculpture was made by Clara Quien Hopman and presented to the All India Village Industries Association of which Mahatma Gandhi’s doctor of village industries J. C. Kumarappa was the Secretary for a very long time.This symbolic sculpture was mounted at the gateway of the Industries Court with the following inscription in English, Urdu, Hindi and Marathi:
“Grama Sevaks who obtain their training in the various departments housed in this Udyog Bhavan are expected to be imbued with the spirit of a true Satyagrahi.They should go out to serve the villagers dedicating all they have to such service.In the pursuit of their ideal they should be prepared to lay down even their lives if need be.
“To symbolize this spirit of vicarious suffering and sacrifice that should be goal of all satyagrahis, this sculpture is erected depicting Jesus being taken down from the Cross on which he was crucified by the leaders of his day, because with his life of purity and unrelenting championship of truth, he proved an unbearable critic of the evil customs and traditions prevalent at that time.He laid down his life to fulfill his ideals.”
After Indian independence, Mahatma Gandhi’s assassination and J.C.Kumarappa’s leaving Maganwadi, its importance got reduced.In independent India when Khadi and Village Industries Commission was constituted, the Government of India chose to have its headquarters at Mumbai instead of at Maganwadi.It should have been quite appropriately be at Maganwadi.Unfortunately that did not happen.
Big powers of the world who literally deprive humanity the peace, always claimed to make schemes for peace.But peace always eluded mankind as no attempts were made to reduce one’s own wants and organizing one’s own day-to-day life for peace.
In July 1945 while writing on “World Security” in Gram Udyog Patrika, the journal for Village Industries, J.C.Kumarappa wrote the following:
“In Christendom the Church, not content with reserving for itself the moral power consequent on its spiritual leadership but with the help and allegiance of other temporal states and with the sanction of physical force and violence, tried for centuries to play the role of arbiter and restore the rule of reason amongst nations, but the savage and barbaric hordes of Europe reduced its efforts to futility s these recurring world wars have witnessed.The heart of man was not touched.
“The attempt made by Islam was through ethical means.They aimed at making humanity a brotherhood where all distinction of caste, colour and economic inequalities would be abolished.This method was much more successful, but as it confined itself only to the followers of the Prophet it did not naturally attain world-wide dimensions in practice.It has yet great unexplored possibilities.
“In India, the Hindus of old launched on an elaborate plan to sterilize greed and avarice by setting up cultural standards of values, which will reduce the evils of economic competition and lay emphasis on the value of the development of personality.By the Varnashrama Dharma the ones who exercised merely rights were put down as the lowest group.The profit seeking Vaisya had no high social status while the protector of the people, the Kshatriya, had a status all his own, independent of his wealth of material possessions.The dispossessed Brahmin, whose position of influence was based on the service of his fellowmen, occupied the pinnacle of respect.This system has also fallen short of its possibilities because of the course of time these distinguishing ideals were lost sight of and status was attached to birth rather than to the form of service rendered to society.”
It is to be remembered that J.C.Kumarappa belonged neither to Islam nor Sanadhana Dharma i.e. so called Hinduism.He belonged to a devout Christian family and he rose to greater spiritual heights under the influence of his Maestro Mahatma Gandhi.Truly J.C.Kumarappa’s was “His Master’s Voice”.
What a misfortune that Islam today is considered a religion that harbours terrorists and terrorism instead of making humanity a brotherhood.Western industrial lobby influenced oil explorations and marketing pushed the believers of Islam towards more materialism.This helped breed terrorists and terrorism.This must change and the truth should prevail.
American led wars in Afghanistan and Iraq killed hundreds and thousands of young American soldiers as well as innocent Afghan and Iraqi citizens.Deadly weapons freely gone into the hands of misguided youths and fanatics of both the countries as well as in the neighbourhood in countries like Pakistan.United Stated of America is solely responsible for this.Thanks to American President George Bush the United States of America is today a shattered economy with increasing unemployment.It is to be seen whether the new President can change this state of affairs.
This reminds this peace lover J.C.Kumarappa’s speech at World Congress for Peace at Vienna on January 24, 1953.That time he boldly said the following:
“America attempts to cordon off the awakening of the masses along the political line starting from Korea, China, Burma, India, Iraq and Jordania, etc. going onto West Germany.To this end the U.S.A. is moving heaven and earth to get a foot hold on all these countries by fair means or foul – by wars, by finance, by pretended social service and goodwill etc.Let us be awake to the dangers around us and be forewarned.”
No one grasped the above prophetic words of warning.America occupied Afghanistan and Iraq and succeeded in installing its own puppet Governments and continues to rule these countries by proxy.It is quite natural terrorism and terrorists increased the world over.
Peace as Dharma
In order to benefit the present day readers, especially the younger generation I consider it appropriate to quote hereunder the text of J.C.Kumarappa’s speech before the World Congress for Peace at Vienna in January 1953.
“As we are meeting here to explore all ways and means of attaining world peace, I wish to place before you for your consideration the methods worked out in India by Mahatma Gandhi and his analysis of the reasons for friction among nations and the way to smoothen international relations.
The philosophy of non-violence and truth of Gandhiji has its deep roots in the way of life developed over thousands of years by the Hindus to lead us to peace.Hence to understand the Gandhian way of peace it is necessary to remind ourselves of this ancient background.
They held Truth is God and Dharma is ht purpose of existence of man.Nay, each creature – sentient and insentient – has its own Dharma.The Dharma of man is to express himself in peace.Dharma is neither religion nor duty as is often indifferently translated.These latter are but expressions of Dharma but not all of it.Just as to produce flowers is the nature of the rose plant and to exude fragrance is of the very nature of the rose, so should the produce of peace be the very existence of man.We may say flowering is the Dharma of the rose and peace is the Dharma of man.Anything that produces conflict is Adharma.
Modern philosophy of life has turned man into an economic animal.It has made production of good the Dharma of man.This is a degradation of the mission in life of man.We may say, if we choose, that the Dharma of the machine is to produce goods.But man is something nobler.Life does not consist in the abundance of things we possess.Man does not live by bread alone and much less by unwanted things made into necessities by artificial pressure of salesmanship and advertising.Thus has man fallen from his Dharma and has brought conflict into the world of humanity by introducing false values and priorities.If we wish to restore peace we have to reorientate our own lives.This may involve foregoing many materials things which we have come to regard as essentials.In the restoration of Dharma lies the hope of World Peace.
The Dharma of the strong is the protection of the weak.The all powerful America fighting small nations like Korea, is Adharma.It belongs to the animal kingdom.The Dharma of the tiger may be to kill but not that of man.We have to diagnose this virus of poison that has entered human life and has produced this phenomenon of nation warning against nation and man’s personality being buried under a mountain of consumer goods.This finally leads man to seek a way out by blowing up this mountain by a ceaseless activity of producing instruments of destruction.To a cool thinker production of the atom bomb would seem the height of midsummer madness and what shall we say of hydrogen bombs and germ warfare!Man has thus fallen from his Dharma and wandered into the jungle of violence.Hence it is necessary to restore the values that make for human development and fuller expression of personality.To do this was Gandhi’s search for truth and the non-violent way of life.
The malady the world is suffering from today is mainly due to economic factors.We have forgotten the end of man in life and are running after things that do not matter.In the few minutes at our disposal I shall attempt an analysis of the situation from a practical point of view and see how we can remedy it and implement the suggestions.
If the way of Dharma leads to peace then any act that is Dharma will lead to violence.These global conflicts are not isolated incidents.They are the culminations of innumerable small acts performed by simple people innocently.Though the responsibility for wars may immediately by placed on some leaders, yet the real causes can be traced to our daily acts.For instance, city people buy milk without asking whether the calf has been fed or the children of the milkman have had their quota.When the milk we buy is not surplus but has been squeezed out of the mouths of calves and children with prior claims, our acts are Adharmic and we create violence, which, when accumulated, breaks out into world catastrophes.Hence we may see the real remedy lies in the consumer being closely associated with the produced and the distributor.This means decentralization of production and a move towards self-sufficiency.This has been Gandhiji’s suggestion for banishing the causes of war.
On the production side today the goods are turned out on a mass scale with standardized methods, from raw materials secured from the ends of the earth from under-developed people.All this is Adharmic.Similarly distribution has no natural urge but is stimulated by all manner of artificial multiplicity of wants.This again is Adharmic and leads to violence.
The pattern of consumption has no relation to real needs of the consumer, nor is it neither related one to another nor based on any priorities.The consumer pattern is calculated to sub serve the needs of the produced and distributor. Hence periodic explosions are called for to set the system on proper lines.These gain lead to wars.
As long as the capitalistic and imperialistic interests persist and production follows centralized and standardized methods, wars will form an integral part of human life and no amount of petitions and protests will bring about lasting peace.
Because of these underlying causes the atmosphere is surcharged with a fear of acquisitive interests being upset by a spreading sense of social justice.The American bloc represents private property and individual profits, while Russia, China and associated countries stand for social justice.The handful of American vested interests desire to stop the ever-growing consciousness of the masses for a square deal.Here is the world situation in a nutshell.America attempts to cordon off the awakening of the masses along the political line starting from Korea, China, Burma, India, Iraq and Jordania etc. going on to West Germany.To this end the U.S.A. is moving heaven and earth to get a foothold on all these countries by fair means or foul – by wars, by finance, by pretended social service and goodwill etc.Let us be awake to the dangers around us and be forewarned.
What then is the remedy?The causes themselves suggest the way out.We have already seen that Gandhiji had suggested self-sufficiency and decentralization of production.
Russia is working out the first by the Government taking over their foreign trade and by producing most of her needs within their borders.This is a healthy move.But they are still adhering to centralized methods of production which is also basically a cause of conflict as we diagnose the situation.
The American way is heading directly towards international conflicts all along the line and their ultimate interest is financial.To call a halt we should resort to methods which are also Dharmic if we aim at permanence.Here also Gandhiji had indicated the way of non-violent non-co-operation with the offender which may finally result in the launching of a Satyagraha movement.
In the economic field this will result in a boycott of all trade transactions with the offender and thus isolating him from the rest of human society.If we apply this sanction all nations should stop dealing in American goods.For instance, India is flood with American goods of all kinds—automobiles, electrical goods, fountain pens, drugs and cosmetic and all kinds of consumer goods.Therefore if an embargo is placed on these it will bring the Government of the U.S.A. to its senses quickly.
In this Congress over 70 nations are represented.If all these countries decide on one common course of action it cannot be long before the U.S.A. authorities can be called to order.On the other hand, a mere threat of armed might will only challenge them to a greater and more rapid production of armaments.This may even be an attraction to the manufacturers and merchants of death as an opportunity for acquiring greater wealth.
This course of action brings promotion of World Peace within the reach of every single one of us.We need not feel helpless before the great ones of the earth.Everyone can contribute his mite.This is a great privilege and a responsibility:It calls for self-control and sacrifice in the cause of peace.Are we prepared to shoulder our share of work?
All this is based on the assumption that we shall have enough basic character to organize each nation into behaving in co-operation with the rest of the world on a high level of more and spiritual standards.The education of the children must be recast to enable us to raise a nation of stalwarts who will depend on character rather than armaments to maintain peace.Only such peaceful relations, founded on co-operation, understanding and goodwill, will lead us to lasting peace.
In such a world there can be no exploitation of the weak by the strong, oppression of the under-developed by the highly organized, or over-powering of the small by the mighty.Such human relations alone can lead to peace of earth and goodwill towards men.”
How relevant the above words are even today!It is time to act.Better late than never.Let this not be deferred to or neglected to.Negligence of such things can do irreparable damage to humanity as has already happened.
In India as early as on 16th November, 1947 All India Congress Committee passed the following resolutions:
“The All India Congress Committee was noted with regret that there is a growing desire on the part of some organizations to build up private armies.Any such development is dangerous for the safety of the State and for the growth of corporate life in the nation.The State alone should have its defense forces or police or some guards or recognized armed volunteer force.The activities of the Muslim National Guards, the Rashtriya Swayam Sevak Sangh and the Akali Volunteers and such other organizations, in so far as they represent an endeavor to bring into being private armies, must be regarded as a menace to the hard-won freedom of the country.The A.I.C.C. therefore appeals to all these organizations to discontinue such activities and the Central and Provincial Governments to take necessary steps in this behalf.”
“Political independence having been achieved, the Congress must address itself to the next great task, namely and reestablishment of real democracy in the country and a society based on social justice and equality.Such a society must provide every man and woman with equality of opportunity and freedom to work for the unfettered development of his or her personality.This can only be realized when democracy extended from the political to the social and the economic spheres.”
The above resolutions remained merely in paper and these were not sincerely acted upon.Subsequent events including the assassinations of Mahatma Gandhi and Indira Gandhi and increasing number of terrorist attacks and terrorisms are history.
Similarly, in the United States of America as early as on 20th January 1993 the then
President Bill Clinton said the following:
“To renew America we must revitalize our democracy.This beautiful capital like every capital since the dawn of civilization is often a place of intrigue and calculation.Powerful people maneuver for position and worry endlessly about who is in and who is out, who is up and who is down, forgetting thosepeople whose toil and sweat send us here and pay our way………………………………………………….
Let us give this capital back to the people whom it belongs.”
President Bill Clinton too failed to sincerely act on the above even after holding two terms of the American Presidency.The rest is history.
Such negligences and mistakes have done irreparable damages to Indians and Americans in particular and humanity at large.Let us learn from our past mistakes and take care not to repeat the same, but work and help to leave behind for the younger generation a world worth living and they can be proud of inheriting a peaceful world.
Let Peace be our Dharma.In peace alone all round human development is possible and feasible.Any dispute on this?
We are today in an era of specialization and super specialization.To that an extant we have divided man, science including health science and even God.Where are we up to?
Not one will dispute the benefits to be obtained from a division of labour which makes for specialization and efficiency, especially for profit centered industries.At the same time this has done irreparable damages to mankind, visibly and invisibly.
In India such specialization through divisions has held sway since time immemorial and it has even gone to seed, having become hereditary and caste bound.This made easier for the invaders of the land including the Colonial Masters in their skill of “divide and rule”.After independence present day politicians too mastered and excelled in the art of “divide and rule” – both vertical and horizontal.Naturally humanbeings suffer and all livingbeings suffer, slowly drifting towards the dead-end of universal destruction.
The Supreme Creator God gave all livingbeings limbs and senses for proper and regular use and they are not for abuse or non-use.Limbs and senses primarily help one’s search for food as well as escape from dangers sensing one’s own enemy and possible dangers to life.To live healthy and urge to escape death is the true nature of all living beings.
Unlike other livingbeings humanbeings are provided a “higher faculty” by the creator, which continue to get abused.The result is the divisions.The division of the matter down to “atom” has done irreparable damages to not only mankind but all livingbeings and the universe as a whole.
Perhaps no other livingbeings do too much harm to one’s own fellow-beings as humanbeings do.This is against the law of true nature and the nature of all livingbeings.
It is now time for man to understand the life and the nature.Life when it is allowed to run its natural course is resourceful enough to provide for itself all it needs without any further conscious effort of our part.As Mahatma Gandhi rightly put it “Mother earth provides enough for everyone’s basic needs.But the greed of the few has deprived the majority of their basic needs.”
Such then is work and its function in life.It makes it possible for man to use his faculties and develop himself during his own life-time and leave behind him his personality indelibly stamped on the product of his work that which is the best part of him.
One has to work and perspire to get inspiration.There is no short-way to inspiration without perspiration.
Leisure is an integral part of work just as rest is an essential component of a musical note.The two cannot be taken apart.Leisure is not a complete cessation of all activities.That will be death.Neither is leisure idle time.Idleness leads to deterioration.Beneficial leisure provides rest to one faculty, which other parts of our personality are being exercised.A mental worker at his desk needs an active hobby like gardening to form a complement to the nervous strain caused by desk work.Any work to fulfill proper function as ordained by nature, and not mutilated by man, must contain these complementary parts in itself.
There are innumerable examples of faithful work well done in this manner.There is a steel pillar near the Kutub Minar at Delhi bearing an ancient inscription.This pillar has stood in the open exposed to sun and rain, heat and cold for centuries on end, yet, there is not a speck of rust on it.The composition of this alloy has confounded the best of modern metallurgists.The iron smiths of old who cast this wonderful pillar did not seek any shortcuts to produce this effect.They did not shirk the routine labour and discipline involved in manufacturing such metal.They took work as nature meant it to be.Hence we have this monument declaring that fact to us even today.
Before the work of a picture is launched hours of hard work for the skilful mixing of paints and blending of colours is absolutely necessary.The colours used at the Ajanta Caves must have taken decades to evolve to have attained such perfection as to have lasted all these many centuries.The artists of those times did not grudge the labour on it; and posterity pays its obeisance to them for their peerless gift.Those artists did not devise ways and means of obtaining the effect without the labour involved.Nature is a hard-task master. It never rewards permanence to grudgingly rendered work.Nature refused to be browbeater or cheated.
Similarly, a beautiful embed of devoted labour has been bequeathed to generations yet unborn by those creators who hewed out of living rock the whole edifice of a temple at Ellora.That sense of proportion and symmetry are not the result of an attempt to shirk work nor the outcome of seeking shortcuts so as to avoid labour.It is the product of an opportunity squarely faced.Labour properly directed blesses those who work and also the products of their labour.
Man’s constitution is not an inanimate machine.His system calls for a balance of operations which will exercise all his faculties.This condition can only be ensured by a wide enough unit of work.
This brings to my mind William Shakespeare’s words:“In nature there is no blemish but the mind; none can be called deformed but the unkind.”
It is no wonder that in most industrialized countries more and more people suffer from nervous disorders, mental diseases and most dreadful degenerative diseases like cancer.I remember having read somewhere decades back that in the United States of America one student out of every 16 at school will spend part of his/her life in an insane asylum.If one is of 15 years of age the chances are that 1 out of 20 will be confined in an institution for the mentally ill for 7 years of life.Mental diseases increase multifold and it may not be surprising if one day half the entire population will be in the insane asylums and the other half will be outside trying to support them by taxes.What a sign of progress/development for the so called developing nations to emulate!
World Health Organization (WHO) has recently declared that the disease cancer will overtake congenital heart diseases.
Indian sages and seers have given to mankind invaluable knowledges such as “Ayurveda” i.e. Life Science.It is unfortunate that has been reduced to medical sciences like “allopathy”, “homeopathy”, etc. and tries to complete with the rest of pharmaceutical and hospital industries.What a shame!What a crime!!
It is worth noting here what Mahatma Gandhi wrote in 1908 in his very famous book “HIND SWARAJ or INDIAN HOME RULE”:
“Doctors have almost unhinged us.Sometime I think that quacks are better than highly qualified doctors.Let us consider: the business of a doctor is to take care of the body, or, properly speaking, not even that.Their business is really to rid the body of diseases that may afflict it.How do these diseases arise?Surely by our negligence or indulgence.I overeat, I have indigestion.I go to a doctor, he gives me medicine.I am cured.I overeat again.I take his pills again.Had I not taken the pills in the first instance, I would have suffered the punishment deserved by me and I would not have overeaten again.The doctor intervened and helped me to indulge myself.My body thereby certainly felt more at ease; but my mind because weakened.A continuance of a course of medicine must, therefore, result in loss of control over the mind.
I have indulged in vice, I contract a disease, a doctor cures me; the odds are that I shall repeat the vice.Had the doctor not intervened, nature would have done its work, and I would have acquired mastery over myself, would have been freed from vice and would have become happy.”
As Mahatma Gandhi’s contemporary and economist J. C. Kumarappa wrote decades back before Indian independence:
“We have to restore work to its pristine glory as the molder of character and the developer of the best in human faculties.This can be done only by releasing work from its fetters and allowing it free scope to function naturally.
Man needs the fire of work to let him glow with the radiance of life.Proper work will radiate warmth, not only to the actual worker, but to all those around.When a devoted mother works hard for her children not only does she find her own happiness in it but the whole household comes under effect of her love and devotion.The children are well-looked after in body and in mind and they will grow up to be sturdy citizens.A nurse or a house-keeper, however efficient, cannot replace a mother in the home.”
Division and sub-division of labour in the pretext of specialization and super-specialization do divide and sub-divide the benefits derived into profits, salaries, wages, rent, interest etc. which effectively deprive the worker of the bulk of the fruits of his labour.The exploiter steps in and carries away a large slice of the benefits like the wax-moth in a honey-comb beating away the products of the activity of the bee.
Self-interest is the only incentive in nature for creatures to extend their cooperation to any activity.All efforts to nibble away such benefits lead to violence sooner or later.That is what continues to happen everywhere in this world.
Socialists/Communists, who aim at equitable distribution but plan on collecting the profits together first and then set about distributing, are going counter to their bountiful nature, which rewards directly.This sort of socialist/communist method also will spell violence in the long run.
It is necessary to fully understand the life and nature of this universe and plan products and production lives centered with a certain amount of attention paid to living wages than labour saving profit centered production of goods ignoring Life and Nature.
Even in the 21st century India continue to live through its thousands of villages.Villages and villagers live true to Nature and the village is life is inseparably one with the Nature.It continues to help remain elevated spiritually.Naturally the tendency of the Indian civilization is to elevate the moral being while the material centered, division of labour oriented, profit motive Western industrial civilization continue to propagate immorality.Indian urban places are also getting afflicted by this disease.As Mahatma Gandhi said in 1908: “The latter is godless, the former is based on a belief in God.So understanding and so believing, it behoves every lover of India to cling to the old Indian civilization even as a child clings to the mother’s breast”.
Peace is in peril.Freedom is fenced and curtailed.Cowardism is on the increase.Increasing number of terrorists and terrorism is the clear indication of this malignancy that has affected the humanity at large.What is the cure for this malignancy?Without care and cure this malignancy is bound to drift the universe to total destruction.Such a situation should be averted in the largest interest of humanity and all living beings.We older generation must leave behind for the younger generation a world worth living and they can ever be proud of.Let us not destroy the universe.Let us destroy all the weapons starting with nuclear weapons as well as remove from individual minds the hatred towards one another.Let the hate be converted into a heap of love and affection towards one another.
Pathetically modern man surrendered his freedom to his own created machine and lost the peace and harmony with his fellow human beings and all other living beings.Instead of the man controlling his own made machine, now we have the machines controlling the man.
The Supreme Creator God gave man the “higher faculty” for use and not for abuse and non-use.Such a higher faculty is not provided to other living beings.At the same time man inflict so much pain and sufferings to fellow human beings and other living beings which no living being does.
The people of the west, especially Europeans and Americans learnt their lessons from the writings of men of Greece or Rome, which exist no longer in their former glory.Rome went; Greece shared the same fate; the might of the Pharaohs was broken; Japan got westernized; China already on its way towards that and the present day India governed by the western educated leadership at all levels started helping India drift towards that.
India, the land of sages and seers, Vedas, Upanishads and Puranas, had little to learn from the west.Our ancestors set a limit to our indulgences as they knew that the mind is a restless bird; the more it gets the more it wants, and still remains unsatisfied.The more we indulge our passions the more unbridled they become.Our ancestors, therefore, set a limit to our indulgences.They strongly believed, practiced and advocated “simple living and high thinking”.Mahatma Gandhi was a living word.
Our ancestors saw that happiness was largely a mental condition.A man is not necessarily happy because he is rich or unhappy because he is poor.The rich are often seen to be unhappy, the poor to be happy.Millions will always remain poor in that way.Observing all this our ancestors dissuaded us from luxuries and pleasures.
As for machines, it was not that we did not know how to invent machinery, but our forefathers knew that, if we set our hearts after such things, we would become slaves and lose our moral fiber.Therefore, our ancestors decided that we should only do what we could with our hands and feet.They saw that our real happiness and health consisted in a proper use of our hands and feet.But for that we have still the same kind of plough as existed thousands of years ago.Also, we have retained the same kind of cottages that we had in former times and our indigenous education remained the same as before.We have had no system of life corroding competition.Our ancestors reasoned that large cities were a snare and a useless encumbrance and that people would not be happy in them, that there would be gangs of thieves and robbers, prostitution and vices flourishing in them and that poor men would be robbed by rich mean.They were, therefore, satisfied with small villages.These villages ever remained the live force of Indian Nation and the very key to open the door to spirituality, irrespective any religious bars.
The economic life of the village of old was a well-planned unit.The people were classified under four main castes – the Brahmin to be the spiritual leader of the commodity, having no property of his own, the Kshatriya to be the protector of the community for whichhe was to lay down his life, the Vaisya to acquire wealth through trade, and the Sudra to earn his daily bread through any service he could get.Each caste was necessary to the others and the whole was a closely-knit inter-dependent system.Instead of the Brahmin and Kshatriyas vying with Vaisyas and Sudras for lucrative jobs, as they did under the impact of western industrial civilization, each person in the village had his occupation determined by his caste, so that from generation to generation there was a properly proportioneddistribution of labour according to the needs of the village.The Brahmin did not become a shoe-maker, nor the shoe-maker an agriculturist, throwing the village economy out of joint, but each did the work allotted to him to meet the needs of the village and in return his needs were met by his neighbours.Production was regulated by a known demand so that there was economic stability, contentment and employment for all.
The administration of the village was managed by the villagers themselves in the form of a council of trusted men of the village - the Panchayath.They looked after what affected the village as a whole, e.g. settlement of dispute, construction and maintenance of roads, water-supply, irrigation, sanitation, education, policing and such like.
There is no reason why such indigenous form of economic organization and of self-government cannot be resorted to to-day to make the villages again strong, self-governing units with spiritual vibration.The advantage of reverting to such indigenous methods is that they form part of the culture of our people, who will, therefore, take to them with ease like fish to water.
In such a village republic the villagers saw to it that kings and their swords were inferior to the sword of ethics and they, therefore, held the sovereigns of the earth to be inferior to the Rishis and the Fakirs.
A nation with a constitution as above is fitter to teach others than to learn from others.This nation had courts, lawyers and doctors, but they were all within bounds.Everybody know that these professions were not particularly superior; moreover these vakils and vaidyas did not rob people; they were considered people’s dependants, not their masters.Justice was tolerably fair.The ordinary rule was to avoid courts.There were no touts to lure people into them.This evil, too, was noticeable only in and around capitals.The common people lived independently and followed their agricultural occupation.The people enjoyed true Home Rule with peace and freedom.
The cursed modern industrial civilization and colonial rulers damaged this and deprived villagers of their Home Rule with peace and freedom.They have thrusted on the people an education system to lure people for cheap labour work in factories and offices of the colonial masters.The colonial masters deprived the people of their natural wealth and systematically planted their type of governance in the form of democracy i.e. a government of a few people, for a few people and by a few people.What actually required was a government of the people for the people and by the people with the art and science of mobilizing the entire physical, economic and spiritual sources of all the various sections of the people in the services of the common good of all existed once in the ancient village republics.
Modern governance lack this element of “common good of all” which is possible only when there is spirituality and there is spirituality in politics.This is what Mahatma Gandhi tried in vain to do.As assassin’s bullet took away from our midst the physical body of Mahatma Gandhi but his spirit is still there to guide mankind for generations after generations.
Mankind today badly need peace and freedom.Man is today the slave of his own found benign sciences and malignant technologies.Cowardism is on the increase.Naturally terrorists and terrorism are on the increase.
What is this freedom?Is this freedom to do anything one like including taking up arms and doing terrorism?Freedom can be better understood from the following words of Late Poet Rabindranath Tagore:
“Where the mind is without fear, the head is held high;
Where knowledge is free;
Where the world has not been broken up into fragments by narrow domestic walls;
Where words come out from the depth of truth;
Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection.”
The world today and the humanity badly need the above freedom as there is no such freedom anywhere in the world.Peace is bound to elude mankind without such freedom.We have had enough of wars and terrors.Let us have peace and freedom, without which all of material development is of no use to mankind.
Sarveshaam Swastir Bhavatu
Sarveshaam Shantir Bhavatu,
Sarveshaam Purnam Bhavatu,
Sarveshaam Mangalam Bhavau.
[Goodwill unto all, Peace unto all, Perfection unto all, Prosperity unto all.]
Anger is a part of the nature of all living beings including that of air, fire and water. During present times we are seeing more anger in human beings. Perhaps only in the species human beings the anger is more towards one's own fellow beings. This is not the case with other species and not to this level of intensity in one pretext or the other.
We have to understand the universe and its basic elements. Take into consideration the cosmic rays. Just like the gunas of what we eat like satwik, rajasik and tamasik, the cosmic rays are also in three main classifications. Satwik rays are known as Goras and Tamadsik rays are known as Sarparas and the name for rajasik rays I do not remember. Group members may correct me wherever I am wrong. While in a group this is the advantage of getting corrected. The Supreme Creator and the Lord of Universe call it God the Almighty or in whatever name, his compensatory theory works well.
Why there are poisonous trees, plants, animals, birds, insects, reptiles, etc. These poisonous ones keep the Sarparas or Tamasik type of cosmic rays on check without affecting all the living beings. A selfish commercial minded man would wonder what the large banyan trees are going to do for man other than just providing shades. They are sources of more and more Goras or Satwik Rays accumulating species.
With the advent of industrialization, commercialization, urbanization and all the more ever increasing man's labour saving devices using machines and ever increasing use of generating and use/abuse of electricity, man has destroyed a great deal of poisonous species of all kinds. This could be one reason that the Tatwik or Sarparas type of Cosmic Rays are influencing human beings a lot and he is mentally getting more and more poisonous and kills his own species as well as does irreparable damages to other species and this universe itself. Who knows what is happening in the cosmos with so many rockets propelled by various sources of motive power going fast into the orbit and the satellites launched there throwing to the atmosphere so many rays. Science has its own limit as this is handled by just a human being. Hindus through the mythological stories knows about Siva and Siva retaining the poison Kalakoodavisha without others getting affected by it.
I am a sixty-one year old man. I am born and brought up in a village and in a thatched roof house. There were plenty of cobras and poisonous creatures around and still there were not much fear. All lived in harmony. Only when one encroached upon the other's domain and peace, problem aroused. Not otherwise. Look at the present day times with Concrete Structure Houses wherein no insects come in, including a lizard or spider or a fly or mosquitoe or a cockroach. Man is with readymade things to scare them away and kill them instantly. Nights are lit like the day and man without taking adequate rest at night in peace, struggles through the night in one way or the other including getting glued to the TV Sets.
In my childhood I remember each one fearing a poisonous cobra or a rabies affected mad dog. Now there is no such fear. But man fears man himself. What I am trying to tell is that the very man with his limited knowledge of destroying the other living beings damaged the universe's structure and the purpose of all creations which the Supreme Creator knows well.
Present day man lives on fear. He fears himself. He fears his parents. He fears his own wife. He fears his own children. He fears his own grandchildren. He fears his own subordinates. He fears his own senses and limbs and his own brain.
Just like the bird Dodo how many species of living beings got extinguished from this universe but for man? How many poisonous species of living beings got destroyed by man without knowing its real contribution to the universe and the rest of species?
This is bound to affect man. We have to be surprised only when there is no increase in anger and all that are going in and around the world and creating more and more destructive weapons for the man to kill himself and his own species.
I studied in Salvation Army High School, Kowdiar, and Trivandrum. Those times there used to be very good teachers. There was an old Malayalam Pundit, who was not a regular teacher of our classes, but he occasionally engaged vacant classes whenever a regular teacher was on leave. More than the text books taught, I still remember many stories and Malayalam Slokas that teacher taught us while engaging vacant classes. One such sloka I am quoting below and also giving its English meaning thereof:
Nee aaru pantha?
Ee kodunkottil vazhunnenthe?
Simhadiaakum mrigakulam thinmathinnagrahathal;
Enthinu nee ee nalla deham kalavathu?
Mrigam addheham mamsam bhujichittu,
Ennittu marthyamamsa rasathal chennu
Ellareyum konnu thinnumallo.
Meaning of this Malayalam sloka is like this: A dense forest. Sun is about to set. One traveller while crossing through the forest to reach his village far away before the sun set and it is dark, he saw a young man standing alone in the midst of the dense forest. He asked that man as to who he was and why he was standing there and he could join him and go out of the forest before sunset and darkness. The young man replied that he was going to stay there only. The traveler told him sun was to set and there were ferocious animals like Lion in that forest and at night they would come out and eat him at night. The young man replied that he was standing there just for the animals to come out and eat him. The traveler asked him why he was destroying his own good physical body like that. The youngman replied that at night when a lion come and eat him, it will have the taste of human blood, and then it will go out in to the surrounding villages and kill all human beings.
Exactly this is what is happening in the world today. American President Bush and British Prime Minister Blair saw in Saddam the danger. Saddam is no more. Did the problems get solved. Afghan to Iraq, there is continuous bleeding. All these is the curse of industrialization, the curse of labour saving devices, the curse of exploiting the mother nature for the greed of the few depriving the majority of their basic needs.
When will man learn that he is destroying himself? Will the revolution of Information Technology and use of internet facilities like this, help an internal transformation so that man corrected himself? Man learned little from the extinction of the bird Dodo. Perhaps he would love to see the destruction of the whole universe. Will he be there to see it himself?
A time has come we have to think cosmically and act locally and vice-versa. Even if we are able to do some activities of the Supreme Creator God, we cannot replace him. Of course we have replaced God in another way by making money the God.
I have written the above thoughts to add spice to the thoughts of others so that these collective thoughts and sharing the same will bring out some good action plan for the mankind to act swiftly for saving this universe and survival of mankind without self-destruction.
Incidentally all Hindu festivals and rituals have a direct connection with the Mother Nature and her invaluable gift to all living and non-living beings. Be it harvesting, sowing seeds, flowering season or fruiting season, cosmic changes and linking with everything we have one festival or the other. These festivals may be in different forms in different parts of the country. Festivals are celebrated lively and they are more colourful with active participation of all in the community, in Indian villages. If villages are not there, these festivals too will lose its charm.
We have to preserve our villages and contribute towards Gramodharanam for the very survival of mankind. Any dispute on it?
I have had no opportunity to meet Mahatma Gandhi. Of course I have had opportunities to read his writings, lived in the close vicinity of Sewagram Ashram and visited the Ashram very frequently and interacted with many of Gandhiji's contemporaries. During his days, I learnt, that he won't allow anybody to kill a cobra or any other poisonous insects. They are just driven away. Though Gandhiji did not, at least to my knowledge, speak out specifically of cosmic rays, probably he strongly believed that all creations of the Supreme Creator God are with specific purposes. If we on our own without valuing their presence, destroy them we are doing irreparable damages to ourselves.
What a Human Tragedy!What a crime to humanity by insane humen!!What a shame for the self-made World Policeman United States of America!!!What a sound justice for winding up the United Nations Organization and its most in-secured Security Council!!!!!Is there any moral fiber left in this universe as the threads have been first broken by the British Imperial Regime and Now by the last butcher of humanity i.e. the United States of America and its insane leaders?Better they quit this world for ever without even leaving a trail behind so that humanity survived.Better United Nations, United States and Nation States all over the world die so that humanity lives.
This is the feelings of this hapless peace loving citizen of information technology driven Global Village while in the net news pour in as to the plight of Palestinians living in Gaza.What a horrible crime!Starving Palestinians are shunted from Gaza to Egypt and back like lifeless empty rail rakes.Let this be stopped forthwith.
The most coward in the world today is the Israeli Regime and its monkey the leadership of United States of America.The threat to the humanity including those in Israel and United States of America is from this Monkey and its Master.It is time for the humanity to take courage and stop this monkey-game of the insane.
This monkey game is imperialist designed game.What is imperialism?Normally imperialism is understood as a state where one nation holds down another in bondage so as to obtain some benefit to itself at the cost of the subjugation of the other.We may have the spirit of such imperialism without having to cross national, political or geographical boundaries.Even in a single individual too the essence of imperialism can be founded.When reduced to its lowest terms it arises out of the desire to gain something for oneself at the cost of another.Wherever we find this we have the elements of imperialism.Why this Semitic race love so much imperialism?
This brings to my mind the words of Friedrich Max Muller.He wrote: “If I were to ask myself from what literature we here in Europe, we who have been nurtured almost exclusively on the thoughts of Greeks and Romans, and of one Semitic race, the Jewish, may draw that corrective which is most wanted in order to make our inner life more perfect, more comprehensive, more universal, in fact more truly human, a life, not for this life only, but a transfigures and eternal life – again I should point to India.”
What is happening in Gaza is a political disorder at all levels – local level to international level.
Why Max Muller pointto India?Not the present India which has literally copied the political disorder of the west. But the ancient India constituted of villages.This brings to my mind what Sir William Wedderburn Bart wrote:
“The Indian village has thus for centuries remained a bulwark against political disorder, and the home of the simple domestic and social virtues.No wonder, therefore, that philosophers and historians have always dwelt lovingly on this ancient institution which is the natural social unit and the best type of rural life: self-contained, industrious, peace-loving, conservative in the best sense of the word.I think you will agree with me that there is much that is both picturesque and attractive in this glimpse of social and domestic life in an Indian village.It is a harmless and happy form of human existence.Moreover, it is not without good practical outcome.”
The economic life of a Indian village of old was s well-planned unit.The people were classified under four main castes – the Brahmin to be the spiritual leader of the community, having no property of his own, the Kshatriya to be the protector of the community for which he has to lay down his life, the Vaisya to acquire wealth through trade, and the Sudra to earn his daily bread through any service he could get.Each caste was necessary to the others and the whole was a closely-knit inter-dependent system.Instead of the Brahmins and the Kshatriyas vying with Vyisya and Sudras for lucrative job, as they do at present under the impact of Western industrial civilization, each person in the village had his occupation determined by his caste, so that from generation to generation there was a properly proportioned distribution of labour according to the needs of the village.The Brahmin did not become a shoe-maker nor the shoe-maker an agriculturist, throwing the village economy out of joint, but each did the work allotted to him to meet the needs of the village and in return his needs were met by his neighbours.Production was regulated by a known demand so that there was economic stability, contentment and employment for all.
Such a well-planned economic unit i.e. the village helped organizing one’s own life for peace and not for wars as in the post industrial revolution countries the world over.
There is no reason why these indigenous forms of economic organization and of self-government cannot be resorted to to-day to make the villages again strong, self-governing units.The advantage of reverting to such indigenous methods is that they form part of the culture of our people, who will therefore take to them with ease, like fish to water.
The successive invaders, traders and rulers have totally destroyed the system beyond recognition.Mahatma Gandhi wanted to re-construct Indian village after independence, but he was taken away from our midst.
The world is to be made safer from onslaughts of greed and avarice and the continuing wars and making people fled from one area to another or from one country to another as refugees.
In Christendom, the Church, not content with reserving for itself the moral power consequent on its spiritual leadership but with the help and allegiance of other temporal states and with the sanction of physical force and violence, tried for centuries to play the role of arbiter and restore the rule of reason amongst nations, but the savage and barbaric hordes of Europe (now, United States of America too) reduced its efforts to futility as these recurring World Wars have witnessed.The heart of man was not touched.
The attempt made by Islam was through ethnical means.They aimed at making humanity a brotherhood where all distinction of caste, colour and economic inequalities would be abolished.This method was much more successful, but as it confined itself only to the followers of the Prophet it did not naturally attain world-wide dimensions in practice.It has yet great unexplored possibilities.
The above are the words of a true Christian and Humanist Late J. C. Kumarappa.As JCK himself wrote in 1945 “We have to accept the fact that all modern wars are caused by economic competition for raw materials and markets.This competition is made keener still by a complex standard of living built-up by a whole series of artificially created wants which do not satisfy any natural needs.This being so, there can no world security until this malady is attacked.The remedy cannot be mere physical force and restraint caused by fear.The real cause has to be grappled with, and a solution found by means of cultural forces which will counteract the acquisitive tendencies of man and crush his selfishness.This calls for the setting up of standards based on simplicity of life and building up of character and personality.Only by such means will it be possible to secure to the world composed of the weak and the strong, the simple and the sophisticated, a state of affairs where all can following their several avocations free from fear, want, and slavery, and enjoy freedom of thought and speech.In practice, to achieve this in the economic sphere it would be necessary to curb the profit motive and control the centralized industries and at the same time regular our consumption in the light of real needs.”
It is the greed of afew which are depriving the humanity as a whole their basic needs.Similarly religions are just the means to help man rise up in spirituality.Unfortunately that has fallen into the hands of greedy marketers and racketeers with low thinking and highly lavish lifestyle.
It is right time to put an end to this human tragedy and leave behind for future generations a world worth living and they can be proud up.
Did American leadership and people fought American War of Independence against the British Imperialists to get itself transformed to be the largest Imperialist?Let the younger generation of United States of America and Europe rise up to the occasion and put an end of imperialism of all kinds and learn to make peace with the whole humanity and live in total harmony with all living being, the Mother Nature (Earth)in particular and the Cosmic World in general.
The is the feeble voice and heartfelt appeal of a 61 year old citizen of this Global Village.I wish I lived long to see peace in the world as I wrote in 2002 as follows:
I wish I lived long,
To see peace in the world,
Already weary of hate and wars,
Blown hot and cold by seasonal wind.
I wish to live not to see wars,
But the warmthness of love and affection,
Mankind always longed for to live long,
Before the death knocked at one’s door step.
I wish to live not to get wounded,
But to wind up my life after living to its full length,
Fulfilling my worldly obligations as a whole,
To leave behind for children a world worth living.
Indian Republic is 58 year old.Birthday celebrations start with flag hoisting, arms and destructive weapons parade as well as some cultural plots and ends with beating the retreat.Is this worth the celebrations?Is the Republic worth its name and objects?East India Company rule to the present rule typical of Indian Commercial Corporation there is nothing worth celebration for the hapless millions who constitute India.The Chief Executive Officer of Indian Commercial Corporation is more an agent of British Common Wealth and the subordinate officers more British than the people of Great Britain themselves.This transformation is perhaps the achievement of 58 year old Indian Republic.
Indian Commercial Corporation has been hitherto changing and challenging.The same is metamorphosis and metastasis.
From a population of 35 crores it has grown to much over one hundred crores.Density of population of 117 per sq.km. it has grown to 325 per sq.km.It is a nuclear power today.It could boast of even sending an Israeli Spy satellite.A true sign and business acumen of Indian Commercial Corporation.
From less than two dozen members of Union Cabinet, India has grown to have more than six dozen members of Union Cabinet.A democracy is getting fast reduced to a government of a few people, for a few people and by a few people.A true democracy calls for a government of the people, for the people and by the people with the art and science of mobilizing the entire physical, economic and spiritual sources of all the various sections of the people in the services of the common good of all.The country badly needs leaders / political parties with long term objectives and not short term objectives just populist in nature.Then only the democracy can be meaningful and purposeful for one thousand million people of India.
India can today boast of having the richest persons in the world and sell itself to international markets to be a true Indian Commercial Corporation.Union Budget, Cabinets, Bureaucracy, Legislature, Judiciary and the fourth estate Media are commerce driven true replicas of Indian Commercial Corporation.
Strength of a chain is equivalent to the strength of the weakest its links.We have today millions of ill-fed and ill-clad people whereas tones of food materials get rotten in Food Corporation of India go-downs.Millions are ill-clad while millions and million yards of clothes are exported and rot in company go-downs.We have today hundreds of national and international banks and all banking for huge profits without tapping the hitherto unnoticed entrepreneurial and production skills of millions of Indians, who continue to be blindly depended upon Village Sahukars and Money Lenders for their daily needs.Banks are more for money and the bank employees and less for the common man.
This must change.The change is inevitable.The change should be for better and not to make life bitter.If the change is not voluntary, the change is bound to do irreparable damages.
The occasions brings to the mind of this hapless 61 year old Indian citizen what Lord Viscount Morley wrote in 1908 on his Indian Reform in his dispatch to the British Crown:
“The village in India (generally) has been the fundamental and indestructible unit of the social system, surviving the downfall of dynasty after dynasty.I desire your Excellency in Council to consider the best way of carrying out a policy that would make the village a starting point of public life.”
Writing about the so-called captive India when she had shaken off her chains, Lord Morley wrote as follows:
“Every antagonistic race-instinct within her would awake; every religious antipathy would take fire.The making of a nation under the tutelage of a Government, which strives to hold the balance even, would be marred.Whether a foreign foe stepped in and culled the fruit of fifty years, or whether internecine warfare arrested government and trampled the works of civilization down into the arid Indian soil, the effect would be the same.The educated Indian would impotently struggle with the old immortal forces, or he would go forth into exile.
Indian princes, eager for knowledge, like those other Eastern kings long ago, ibant stellam sequentes pracviamm and came to ask the West the secrets that would make them wise.They have been shown many things and might learn more by the only road to proficiency – that of practicing the lessons they have learnt, little by little, and step by step.In rejecting their masters, they cast from them the tongue the teaches and the hand that guides.A conviction of this truth, and a desire to follow the road upon which they have entered, may well take the place of a hope, that can have no realization in the form they wish.If loyalty to an alien ruler is an impossible passion, it may well be replaced by the nobler feeling, which desires the welfare of the whole Indian race.For this ideal, they can work in loyal co-operation with the great kingdom of the West, which is ready to pour out its blood and treasure and the wisdom of garnered years, in order to bear with courage and justice the burden of Imperial rule.”
It is in the same year 1908 M.K.Gandhi wrote “HIND SWARAJ or INDIAN HOME RULE on his way to South Africa from India.When his Political Guru Gopalakrishna Gokhale saw this on his visit to South Africa in 1912, he thought it so crude and hastily conceived that he prophesied that Gandhiji himself would destroy the book after spending a year in India.The same Gandhiji after spending a few years in India and plunged himself into Indian Freedom struggle wrote about it in 1921: “It teaches the gospel of love in place of that of hate.It replaces violence with self-sacrifice.It pits soul force against brute force.I withdraw nothing except one word of it, and that in deference to a lady friend.”HIND SWARAJ or INDIAN HOME RULE is a severe condemnation of‘modern civilization’.The same is more relevant today in 2008 than ever before.
Modern civilization is a machine centered inhuman civilization.It is a profit centered toiling humanity ignored civilization.When someone question Gandhiji whether he was against all machinery his quick reply was “How can I be when I know that even this body is a most delicate piece of machinery?The spinning wheel is a machine; a little toothpick is a machine.What I object to is the craze for machinery, not machinery as such.The craze is for what they call labour-saving machinery.Men go on ‘saving labour’ till thousands are without work and thrown on the open streets to die of starvation.I want to save time and labour not for a fraction of mankind but for all.I want the concentration of wealth, not in the hands of a few, but in the hands of all.Today machinery merely helps a few to ride on the backs of millions.The impetus behind it all is not the constitution of things that I am fighting with all my might….The supreme consideration is man.The machine should not tend to atrophy the limbs of man.For instance, I would make intelligent exceptions.Take the case of the Singer’s Sewing Machine.It is one of the few useful things ever invented, and there is a romance about the device itself.”
This is Mahatma Gandhi.This is what transformed M.K.Gandhi to Mahatma Gandhi.Taking the advice of his Political Guru Gandhiji spiritualized politics.He is more a Spiritual Master of a millennium than a Politician who won freedom for India from British Colonial Masters.
As per the preamble of Indian Constitution:
“We, the people of India, having solemnly resolved to constitute India into a Sovereign Socialist Secular Democratic Republic and to secure to all its citizens:
Justice, social, economic and political;
Liberty of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship;
Equality of status and of opportunity; and to promote among
Fraternity assuring the dignity of the individual and the
unity and integrity of the Nation.”
As the government is of a few people, for a few people and by a few people justice, liberty, equality and fraternity are also for a few people.For the majority justice, liberty, equality and fraternity are totally denied.Modern state caused injustices are getting more and more.
This must change and change for better and not bitter for the majority.This change is possible and feasible if the democracy is transformed to a government of the people, for the people and by the people with the art and science of mobilizing the entire physical, economic and spiritual sources of all the various sections of the people in the services of the common good of all.Who will care for it?Will the Executive care for it?Will the Legislature care for it?Will the Judiciary care for it?Will the Fourth Estate Media care for it?
Gandhiji wrote in his HIND SWARAJ in 1908: “Railways, lawyers and doctors have impoverished the country so much so that, if we do not wake up in time, we shall be ruined.”
Gandhiji wrote about Railways: “It must be manifesting to you that, but for the railways, the English could not have such a hold on India as they have.The railways, too, have spread the bubonic plague.Without them, the masses could not move from place to place.They are the carriers of plague germs.Formerly we had natural segregation.Railways have also increased the frequency of famines because, owing to facility of means of locomotion, people sell out their grains and it sent to the dearest markets.People become careless and so the pressure of famine increases.Railways accentuate the evil nature of man.Bad men fulfill their evil designs with greater rapidity.The holy places of India have become unholy.Formerly, people went to these places with very great difficulty.Generally, therefore, only the real devotees visited such places.Nowadays rogue visit them in order to practice their roguery.”
As for Lawyers Gandhi wrote: “My firm opinion is that the lawyers have enslaved India, have accentuated Hindu-Mohammedan dissension and have confirmed English authority.
The Lawyers, therefore, will as a rule, advance quarrels instead of repressing them.Moreover, men take up that profession, not in order to help others out of their miseries, but to enrich themselves.It is one of the avenues of becoming wealthy and their interest exists in multiplying disputes.It is within my knowledge that they are glad when men have disputes.Petty pleaders actually manufacture them.Their touts, like so many leeches, such the blood of the poor people.Lawyers are men who have little to do.Lazy people, in order to indulge in luxuries, take up such professions.This is a true statement.Any other argument is a mere pretension.It is the lawyers who have discovered that theirs is an honourable profession.They frame laws as they frame their own praises.They decide what fees they will charge and they put on so much side that poor people almost consider them to be heaven-born.”
As for Doctors Gandhi wrote:“Doctors have almost unhinged us.Sometimes I think that quacks are better than highly qualified doctors.Let us consider: the business of a doctor is to take care of body, or, properly speaking not even that.Their business is really to rid the body of diseases that may afflict it.How do these diseases arise?Surely by our negligence or indulgence.I overeat, I have indigestion.I go to a doctor, he gives me medicine, I am cured.I overeat again.I take his pills again.Had I not taken the pills in the first instance, I would have suffered the punishment deserve3d by me and I would not have overeater again.The doctor intervened and helped me to indulge myself.My body thereby certainly felt more at ease; but my mind became weakened.A continuance of a course of medicine must, therefore, result in loss of control over the mind.”
As for Civilization Gandhi wrote: “I believe that the civilization India has evolved is not to be beaten in the world.Nothing can equal the seeds sown by our ancestors.Rome went, Greece shared the same fate; the might of the Pharaohs was broken; Japan has become Westernized; of China nothing can be said; but India is still somehow or other, sound at the foundation.The people of Europe learn their lessons from the writings of the men of Greece or Rome, which exist no longer in their former glory.In trying to learn from them, the Europeans imagine that they will avoid the mistakes of Greece and Rome.Such is their pitiable condition.In the midst of all this India remains immovable and that is her glory.It is a charge against India that her people are uncivilized, ignorant and stolid, that it is not possible to induce them to adopt any changes.It is a charge really against our merit.What we have tested and found true on the anvil of experience, we dare not change.Many thrust their advice upon India, and she remains steady.This is her beauty; it is the sheet-anchor of our hope.
Civilization is that mode of conduct which points out to man the path of duty.Performance of duty and observance of morality are convertible terms.To observe morality is to attain mastery over our mind and our passions.So doing, we know ourselves.The Gujarati equivalent for civilization means ‘good conduct’.
If this definition be correct, then India, as so many writers have shown, has nothing to learn from anybody else, and this is as it should be.We notice that the mind is a restless bird; the more it gets the more it wants, and still remains unsatisfied.The more we indulge our passions the more unbridled they become.Our ancestors, therefore, set a limit to our indulgences.They saw that happiness was largely a mental condition.A man is not necessarily happy because he is rich, or unhappy because he is poor.The rich are often seen to be unhappy, the poor to be happy.Millions will always remain poor.Observing all this, our ancestors dissuaded us from luxuries and pleasur4es.We have managed with the same kind of plough as existed thousands of years ago.We have retained the same kind of cottages that we had in former times and our indigenous education remains the same as before.We have had no system of life-corrod9ing competition.Each followed his own occupation or trade and charged a regulation wage.It was not that we did not know how to invent machinery, but our forefathers knew that, if we set our hearts after such things, we would become slaves and lose our moral fiber..They, therefore, after due deliberation decided that we should only do what we could with our hands and feet.They saw that our real happiness and health consisted in a proper use of our hands and feet.They further reasoned that large cities were a snare and a useless encumbrance and that people would not be happy in them, that there would be gangs of thieves and robbers, prostitution and vice flourishing in them and that poor men would be robbed by rich men.They were, therefore, satisfied with small villages.They saw that kings and their swords were inferior to the sword of ethics, and they, therefore, held the sovereigns of earth to be inferior to the Rishis and the Fakirs.A nation with a constitution like this is fitter to teach others than to learn from others.”
Does 58 year old Indian Republic have a constitution like the above other than those borrowings from the British and the West?During these 58 years increasing urbanization destroyed Indian villages, the guardians of Indian civilization and spirituality.
Let the above be the thought of the day while celebrating the 58th anniversary of Indian Republic.
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