Our Solar system has all the necessary resources to support life on Earth for billions of years. Life is a mysterious miracle going on and on through geological upheavals and cosmic blasts. We do not know exactly how life began. But we know that all life support systems are instinctive. From sex to conception to birth and later breathing, eating, digesting and expelling waste are all involuntary. As a beautiful icing on life’s cake, only one species is endowed with a rational brain that can reason and imagine- us, the homo-sapiens or wise men.
Nature’s bounty is so plentiful and organized that we invented a Creator to explain it and started fighting over His name. Though we mistook ourselves to be God’s deputy on Earth we acted more like Devil’s agents. We forgot our primary identity of the most rational species and made numerous divisions based on gender, race, class and caste and enforced it with brute power at our command. Subjugating the creative half of humanity, our women, was a grave sin against nature. Indian sages had said that gods dwell where women are respected. But we did the opposite. Now we are killing female fetus in the womb itself. The material poverty and misery we see in the world is mostly due to mental poverty of the privileged class down the ages.
India is the repository of very lofty thoughts and ideals, but, in practice, it is the most hypocritical society in the world. A large population of our society was declared as untouchables though the Scriptures say that everyone is a shudra by birth, only the deeds of an individual categorize him/her as a Brahmin, Kshatriya or Vaishya. The Vedic vision of spirituality in all aspects of human affairs is conspicuous by its absence. It is, therefore, no wonder that we suffered foreigners’ rules for so long in our recent history. Now we are trying to imitate the fundamentalism of revealed religions, Islam in particular in stark contrast to our ethos and culture of peaceful co-existence and tolerance.
This issue brings us closer to another lofty idea gone horribly wrong. Hinduism or its older nomenclature Sanatan is not a religion but a way of life with complete individual freedom in matters of faith. We can worship any god or opt to be an atheist or agnostic. There are three well defined paths to choose from – bhakti, karm or gyan, in keeping with our inclination. Now, bhakti path is being peddled as the only path available to us. Ram Janm-bhoomi and Rama Sethu testify to our hardening stand in favour of mythology and fundamentalism. Ideally, Hinduism or Sanatan has no issue with any religion as it gives pride of place to Spirituality over and above all religions and rituals.
It is relevant to say something about the Muslims too. Every fourth human being on earth is a Muslim and every fifth Indian is also a Muslim. Greater the number the greater is the responsibility. Who is discharging the responsibility of educating the followers about Islam? In most of the cases they are the orphans who get trained asmaulvies and mullahs in madarsas, devoid of science and current affairs. Isn’t deenor religion meant for duniya or this world? No wonder that triple talaq in one go was legal till a few years ago in India, but nowhere else in the world including Islamic countries. Islam is supposed to guarantee the rights of women and girls in society. Is it available to them? Terrorism is giving a bad name to Islam yet the liberal Muslims are afraid to speak their minds. Why the Muslims aren’t better off in a liberal democracy with the advantage of separate criminal and civil codes for them? The Catholic Church has accepted the biological evolution. Who will decide it for Muslims? Not the Taliban, we pray and hope.
India is a unique land on Earth as all ideas, old and new, co-exist here peacefully. No single idea could ever replace others as it did in China, Europe, or USA. This rich heritage of cultural diversity is facing a serious threat from cultural police of various sorts. They may cause breach of peace here and there but cannot succeed in painting the whole of India in one color, be it saffron or green. It is time that gyan yoga took charge to guide the society on rational as well as spiritual path.
A very tall talk and task indeed. The global village is already overflowing with ideas and ideologies; one more idea can hardly make any difference or impact. Yes, it is worth investigating why this plethora of ideas and ideologies failed to deliver us from imminent extinction or continuous strives and sufferings of one kind or the other. What went wrong and where? We have been constantly at war for establishing OUR brand of social, political, economic or religious ideologies but we are amazingly indifferent to its right implementation. The disaffection and unrest may lead to revolutions sometimes but the end result is always pathetic. One set of rulers is replaced by another under the garb of a newer and supposedly better ideology. The all powerful system remains as oppressive, corrupt and exploitative as before or even worse as in tin pot dictatorships.
Who can deliver true implementation of any ideology? Yes, the emphasis is on implementation. Some monarchies, in history, were better than many democracies of today. Right implementation holds the key to transparency and dynamism of an ideology and puts it on a self corrective course. Extraordinary situations demand extraordinary solutions. With the environmental disaster looming large on the horizon, we need a radical change in the quality of leadership that we can elect or select. We need the leaders who value earth and nature more than a nation or a race or community. Self serving army of politicians of all hues must go if we want to save ourselves. Now, the question worth 7 billion human heads arises. How do we find such leaders (ah, the Plato’s dream of a saint-philosopher)? How to test them? Could a lie-detection test be the first step or can we think of a better option? The voters may decide to vote the candidates who volunteer for and pass this test. Such MPs can amend the Constitution to bring bureaucrats/babus into its ambit. We need to think, discuss and debate these questions; otherwise we will lose everything including our freedom and self respect.
It is a given that our present lot of politicians will oppose its enactment into a law. But, voice of the people is the voice of god (nature for atheists and agnostics). We can demand that a simple lie-detection (polygraph or fMRI or both) be introduced in public life to eliminate corrupt leaders, bureaucrats and criminals. Without intruding into their personal lives, the social servers can be picked out and the self servers left out. Those selected will face stringer tests (narco analysis?)for involvement in any irregularity or scandal. The best part of this shift towards quality of leaders and other public servants is that some people may dislike it, but none may condemn it publicly. If taken to people the idea may catch people’s imagination because its time has come. There is no time really for vacillation or procrastination. Good implementation should take care of the ideology and will usher in peace and prosperity so that we begin to live like wise men and the Indian workers are as happy and secure as their counterparts in developed world.