“Integral Humanism”


…Continuing from previous issue

INDIVIDUAL WAS EXPLOITED
Every individual got a vote in the democratic setup. But real power stayed with those who had led the revolution. Industrial revolution had generated faith in the new methods of production. Instead of working in the freedom of home, workers had started working in the factories taking orders from the factory owners, the worker migrated from his home town to dwell in crowded cities. There was no provision of proper housing. There were hardly any rules in the factory to protect the worker. He was economically weak and not yet organized. He became a victim of exploitation, injustice and harassment. Those in whom political power was vested were members of the same group who exploited the workers. Hence there was no hope of redress from the state.
A number of persons led movements in protest against this injustice with the desire to improve the lot of workers. They called themselves socialists. Karl Marx was one of them. In an effort to lead the movement against t injustice, he studied the entire history and structure presented his analysis of the situation. He claimed to have given a scientific basis to his theories. All the subsequent socialists might not have agreed with Marx but they all considerably influenced by his ideas.
DICTATORSHIP OF THE PROLETARIAT
According to Marx analysis-dialectic materialism the root cause of exploitation lies in the private owners of the means of production. If these means are made the property of the society (for. the Marxist, the Society synonymous with the State) then there will be no further exploitation. But before this. The state should be redeemed from the hands of the exploiters and ensured against their influence in future. Towards this end, dictatorship of proletariat must be established. In order that people tolerate this dictatorship, it was held as an ideal that when the exploiter class has been finally liquidated, and possibility of its resurgence exists, the state will replaced by a classless, stateless society. Marx also attempted to show that capitalism contains seeds of own destruction and that socialism is inevitable.
In some countries of Europe there was social revolution. Even where, socialism was not accepted, politicians had to accept the rights of workers. “Welfare State” was accepted as an ideal. Nationalism, democracy, socialism or equality (equality is there at the root of socialism; equality is different from equability), these three doctrines have dominated European social political thinking. Every now and then apart from these ideals of world peace and world unity also cropped up. All these are good ideas. They reflect the higher aspirations mankind. But by itself each of these doctrines is incomplete. Not only that, each stands opposed to the rest in practice. Nationalism poses a threat to world peace. Democracy and capitalism join hands to give a free reign exploitation. Socialism replaced capitalism and brought with it and to democracy and individual freedom. Hence the West is present faced with the task of reconciling these good ideals. They have not succeeded to this day, in this task. They have tried combinations and permutations, by emphasis on one or the other ideal. England emphasized nationalism and democracy and developed her politico-social institutions along those lines, whereas France could not adopt the same. There, democracy resulted in political instability. The British Labour party wanted to reconcile socialism with democracy but people have raised doubts whether democracy will survive if socialism gains strength. Hence the labour party no longer supports socialism as strongly as the Marxist doctrines advocate. If socialism has been diluted considerably, Hitler and Mussolini adopted nationalist cum socialism and buried democracy. In the end socialism also became a tool for their nationalism which posed a great threat to world peace and unity. We may indeed seek some guidance from the western world but the fact is, it has no concrete suggestions to offer. It is itself at crossroads unable to decide what is good. Under such circumstances we cannot expect guidance from the West. On the contrary we must consider whether in this present state of the world, we can contribute something to resolve its dilemma. Having taken note of the progress of the world, can we add to the common store of Knowledge? As a member of the world community , we must discharge our responsibilities. If we possess some thing that may prove helpful to world progress we should not hesitate in imparting it to the world. In this era of adulteration, instead of adulterating ideas we must on the contrary scrutinize and improve upon them wherever possible before accepting them. Rather than being a burden on the world, we must attempt to resolve if possible the problems facing the world.
We must also consider what contribution our tradition and civilization make to the world culture. We shall consider this tomorrow evening.nations of the world?
Yesterday we had seen that even after 17 years of independence, we have still to decide what direction we should adopt to realize our cherished dream of all round development in the lives of our countrymen. Normally people are not prepared to seriously consider this question. They think only of the problems which they face from time to time. Sometimes economic problems are viewed with concern and an attempt is made to resolve them, and at other times social or political problems come to the forefront claiming attention. Not knowing fundamentally the direction in which we to go al these efforts are not accompanied by sufficient enthusiasm not do they give a feeling of satisfaction to the people engaged in these efforts. These efforts produce only a fraction of the results which they ought to have produced.
MODERN VERSUS ANCIENT
Those who advocates some define direction, include two distinct groups of people. There are some who suggest that we must go back to the position when we lost our independence and proceed from there. On the other hand there are people who would like to discard all that has originated here in Bharat and are not ready to think about it. They seem to think that western life and thoughts are the last word in progress and all of it should be imported here if we are to develop. Both these lines of thought are incorrect, thought they do represent partials truths and it will not be proper to discard them altogether.
Those who advocate starting from where we left off a thousand years ago, forget that whether it may or may not be desirable. It is definitely impossible. The flow of time can not be reversed.
THE PAST CANNOT BE DISOWNED
In the past one thousand years whatever we assimilated whether it was forced on us or we took with willingness cannot be discarded now. Besides, we too have created originality not a little. In the life of our society, we did not remain always mere passive witness to whatever new challenging situations arose; nor did we merely react to every alien action. We too have attempted to reshape our life as required to face the new situations. Therefore, it will not do, simply to close our eyes to all that has happened in the past one thousand years.
To be continued…
(Excerpts of the Speech delivered on “Integral Humanism” in Bombay on April 22nd – 25th, 1965 by Pt. Deendayal Upadhyaya in the form of four lectures.)