(Dharmic Way of Enlightened Living and Livelihood)
Lack of fully developed ideology for living and livelihood is a major lacuna for all the right wing political parties in our country. I suppose this is true in the case of all democracies in the world. Though unworkable and unrealistic, the theocratic parties have their religious books and leftists have their international standards in the form of Das Kapital and Communist Manifesto.
Barring some stern positions in few contentious issues, none of the rightist politicians venture to spell out their ideology about aspects that affect the living and livelihood of ordinary folks.
The lone exception to this serious shortfall was the outstanding effort by Pundit Deendayal Uapadhya. His unique thesis on Integral Humanism, given in a series of speeches in Bombay from 22nd to 25th April, 1965, form the basis of a system of governance that is suited to the Indian nation and its people, regardless of caste, religion or region, as the alternative for all round human development. India lost one of its best right wing brains with his untimely demise in 1968.
The brilliant pundit had summarized the essence of Integral Humanism as follows:
- Further increase above this minimum standard of living whereby the individual and the Nation acquire the means to contribute to world progress on the basis of its own Chiti.
- To provide meaningful employment to every able-bodied citizen, by which the above two objectives can be realized, and to avoid waste and extravagance in utilizing natural resources.
- To develop machines suited to Bharatiya conditions (Bharatiya technology), taking note of the availability and nature of the various factors of production (Seven Ms).
- This system must help, and not disregard the human being – the individual. It must protect the cultural and other values of life. This is a requirement which cannot be violated except at the risk of great peril.
- The ownership, state, private or any other form, of various industries must be decided on a pragmatic and practical basis.
He would have developed and modified it further, and India would have been firmly under the control of a right wing ideology by end of twentieth century. But it was not to be so. It should now be the solemn duty of each and every right thinking Indian national to contribute his or her ideas for the development of such a full fledged socio-economic-political ideology that can take us to the top of the world once again. Here is my own, which I would call as the Philosophy of DWELL (Dharmic Way of Enlightened Living and Livelihood). Some brief outlines on the most important aspects of life would provide the directions to proceed and develop further.
The basic tenet of any form of social governance in India must be Dharma. And Dharma is that which sustains. Dharma Rajya must ensure religious freedom, and must not be a theocratic State. Dharma is something that is very basic to human nature and it has nothing to do with any religious faith or belief. We should always bear in might that what is right or wrong is often different from what is dharmic or adharmic. As an example, it is always wrong to kill, but it is dharmic for a soldier or butcher to kill. Hindu Rashtra or Ram Rajya may be objectionable to many Indians, but Dharma Rajya must be acceptable to all Indian nationals. By the way, a nation does not spring up from mere co-habitation. As indicated by Punditji “When a group of persons live with a goal, an ideal, a mission and look upon a particular piece of land as their own, this group constitutes a Nation. A lot of trouble in the West is due to the fact that they confused the State with the Nation, they considered the State synonymous with the Nation.”
Modern India and ancient Bharat have a unique meeting point in the land of Dharma, and if we do not utilize this basis we are digging our own graves. For a Dharma Rajya to dawn, our legislations, socio-economic systems and government policies must undergo the litmus test of Dharma. Only those which are Dharmic must be allowed to be passed and practiced. In a truly democratic and secular set up, it will be difficult to have disputes regarding dharma and adharma. If at all there are cases where such disputes arise, a Dharma Sabha comprising of spiritual leaders from all religions in direct proportion to their population must be convened to reach a consensus decision.
Dharmic livelihood is equally important as dharmic living. There are many who lead religious, generous and selfless lives with money generated from adharmic sources. We have heard of smugglers and robbers who are more popular among laymen than righteous leaders. Then there are corrupt politicians who have turned Gandhians after the loot. In a Dharma Rajya these scenarios must never be encouraged. Dharmic living must be necessarily coming from dharmic means of livelihood. Occupation of all types must pass the digital test of Dharma, which gives either a positive or negative result. There is nothing like a half-dharmic or somewhat-dharmic job. All sorts of adharmic occupations must be banned, discouraged and looked down upon by the society.
Enlightenment must be the declared goal of all individuals in a Dharma Rajya. There are enlightened individuals in all sections of the society and they should be recognized as such. Enlightenment is something that is attained and not inherited. Truth is God and learning to know the truth is the path to enlightenment. Swamis, Moulavis, Clergy, scientists, artists, leaders and in fact all of us are in such a path of enlightenment, but at different stages depending upon our caliber and efforts. It is important to recognize and respect those who are ahead of us in the path.
‘Nation first and notions next’ must be the key slogan for management of human resources in a nation. In India, it must be the feeling of Indian Nation that should be first and foremost in the minds of all Indian nationals. All other notions of religious, regional and linguistic divide must become subordinate to our national feelings. We must be willing to give up all other identities if they are against our Indian nationality. Cross-border fraternity and international brotherhood must be secondary to the feeling of co-nationality in a Dharma Rajya.
Distribution of Wealth
It is the duty of a responsible state to provide legal and transparent channels for distribution of wealth. The unconditional acceptance of inequality among individuals is the distinguishing feature that differentiates the rightists from leftists. In any society of unequals, there should be provisions for those at the top to contribute their might for the upliftment of those left behind. Helping and charity are in the basic nature of any human being, and it should be more so in a dharmic society. Given an opportunity for parting with reasonable part of income for helping others, it is natural for any normal individual to oblige. A dharmic society must always provide such avenues for sharing.
In India there is nothing better than a drastic re-definition for the religious places of worship to achieve this. Temples, mosques and churches should become the authorized centers for compulsory distribution of wealth. There should be comprehensive legislations that should ban any place of worship from accumulating wealth beyond its own reasonable operating costs. The underlying dharmic principle is very simple – omnipotent and omnipresent Ishwar does not need any material wealth. All wealth and income accumulating in any place of worship must be distributed among its own users on an equal per-capita basis without any discrimination (those who do not need can always decline).
Reservation and Minorities
In a Dharma Rajya, there is no place for minority status for any one. All are equal, equally important and equally responsible. There should be any form of reservation only for the following:
• Mentally or physically challenged
• Adivasis (i.e. people who would prefer to live in forests)
However, the State should guarantee minimum requirements of food, clothing, shelter and primary education to each and every individual Indian national. The best option before the government is to provide a minimum quality life assurance coverage policy to each Indian national when he or she attains the age of say 5 years. For those who do well later in life the same policy can be used to yield higher annuity returns when required.
Population & Control
India as a nation has existence only till the time the demography is preserved at least in the current proportions. Otherwise it will go the way Pakistan or Bangladesh or East Timor or Kosova. To avoid this disaster, religious conversions in all forms must be banned. Individuals should be allowed to covert from one religion to another, in a highly difficult manner, only if they want to marry into another religion and that too only once in their lifetime.
Modern India and Indians have a lot to learn from our own much boasted family planning campaign in the past and how such good intentional programs have been cleverly undermined by some sections of the society. It is widely believed that the sabotage had the full blessings of those who initiated the same. The fact that almost all the educated Catholics in India (and uneducated others) have at least three children speaks volumes about the amount of ‘family planning’ that has gone into the silent exercise of making a fool of others. In Dharma Rajya there should be no scope for such dirty tricks - there should be no state control or guidelines for procreation. Even while providing all modern facilities for birth controls it should be purely left to the individuals to decide on the number of children they should have.
Education & Sports
A dharmic society must encourage only dharmic education, which should equip individuals with ability to understand and develop skills for a livelihood. To become a good Hindu, Muslim, Christian etc., one has to become a good Man first. Learning the truly secular ways of getting knowledge and skills for livelihood are pre-requisites to enter any path of enlightenment. Any form of religious education before of the age of ten is useless and fifteen is counter-productive to the intended objectives. Children should necessarily attend their own religious classes only after attaining the age of fifteen. By that time they would have become good human beings and good Indian nationals too.
State intervention in sports and games is welcome when there are unhealthy trends developing in these fields. The disproportionate and unhealthy interest in the gambling game of cricket presents such a scenario in India now. Games & sports must be oriented towards development of physical health. Football, hockey, kabadi etc., must be encouraged at all costs.
Agriculture & Industry
In a broad sense, it is agriculture that has always sustained culture and it is the mother of all that we call as our culture. Emphasis given to sustainable methods of agriculture must be very high and a minimum of 25% budget allocation must be made every year for sustaining agriculture in our country. Loan facilities given to those in the agricultural sector must be liberalized and capping should be always made on the rate of interest chargeable. Performance of banks must be based on KPIs related to quantum of loans made and recovered, and not on the basis of profits. Industrial sector must always subsidize the agricultural sector, under the basic argument that agriculture is something very basic to human existence. There should be no conflict and competition between the two. In short, it is the basic dharma of industry to sustain agriculture.
There are many who indulge in false propaganda that rightist ideologies are reactionary and anti-development. Nothing can be further away from truth than this propaganda by followers of failed ideologies. Ancient Indian concepts of Dharma are proving their relevance in modern times almost every moment. All the modern and evolving concepts of sustainability, social justice, eco-friendliness, renewable energy etc., fit in very well into a social system that is based on Dharma. Our India will be a much better place to live in for all sections of our society if we can voluntarily opt for an Indian way of living. In any case the days of DWELL Philosophy are not very far in India.