I am asked to present my thoughts on the subject of “Integral Humanism” in a series of talks beginning this evening. Last January at Vijayavada, Bharatiya Jana Sangh adopted the statement of “Principles & Policies” in which ‘Integral Humanism’ have also been accepted. There has been scattered discussions here and there on the subject. It is necessary that we consider Integral Humanism in all its aspects. So long as the country was under the yoke of the British rule, all the movements and policies in the country had one principal ‘aim to drive out the foreign rulers and to achieve independence’. But what would be the face of the new Bharat after independence? In which direction were we to advance? These questions were precisely thought out. It would not be correct to say that no thought was devoted to these aspects. There were people who even at that time had considered these questions. Gandhiji himself had set out his idea of the independent Bharat in his book “Hind Swaraj”. Prior to this Lokmanya Tilak discussed the philosophical basis of the rejuvenation of Bharat in his book ‘Gita Rahasya’. He gave a comparative discussion of various schools of thought current all over the world at that time.
Apart from these, the Congress and other political parties adopted various resolutions from time to time which contain references to this subject. However the subject requires much more serious study than was devoted to it at that time. It did not attract serious attention at that time because every one believed it was more important to think of ways to drive out the British and the other things could be discussed later on. It did not seem right to waste time in internal discussions while the foreign rule continued. Hence even if there might have been difference in views, they were shelved for the time being.
As a result, even those who held the view that socialism should be the basis of the future Bharat, worked inside the Congress as a socialist group. They did attempt to form as a separate party as such.
The revolutionaries too, were working for independence in their own way. All agreed, however, that the foremost task was to gain independence.
Having attained. Independence, the question naturally ought to have occurred to us, “Now that we are independent, what shall be the direction of our progress?” But it is amazing that serious thought has not been given to this question and today even after seventeen years of independence we cannot say that a definite direction has been decided upon.
From time to time, Congressmen or others have declared Welfare State, Socialism, Liberalism etc. as their aims. Slogans have been raised. But this ideology and slogans attached little significance to the philosophies, apart from the slogans. I am saying this on the basis of personal discussions. A leading gentleman once suggested during a conversation that a joint front should be formed against Congress, whereby a good fight can be given. Now a days political parties adopt this strategy. So, it was not surprising to put forward this suggestion. However, naturally, I asked, “What programme shall we adopt? If such a joint front is formed some idea of the programme is essential. What will be out economic policy? What will our foreign policy? These questions should also be broadly tackled.”
“Do not worry about it. Whatever you like you can adopt. We are ready to support, anything from extreme Marxist to downright capitalist program.” The reply came as if this was natural. He had no difficulty in adopting any programme. The only object was somehow Congress should be defeated. Even now some declare that Congress must be defeated even with the cooperation of communists and all the rest.
Recently elections were held in Kerala. During the elections, Communists, Muslim League, Swatantra Party, S.S.P. Rebel Congress known as Kerala Congress, Revolutionary Socialist Party etc. entered into a variety of bilateral of multiple alliances. As a result, it was difficult to imagine that any of these parties had a definite ideology, principles and aims. This is the situation as far as principles are concerned.
Congress too, is in a similar state. Even though the Congress has proclaimed democratic socialism as its goal, the behaviour of various Congress leaders shows one thing clearly that there are no definite principles, no single direction in Congress. There are staunch communists in Congress fold. There are also those who have faith in, Capitalism and oppose communism to the teeth. All brands of people are arrayed on Congress platform. If there can be a magic box which contains a cobra and a mangoose living together, it is Congress.
We must ponder whether we can progress under such conditions. If we stop to analyze the reasons for the problems facing the country we will find that the confusion about our goal and the direction is mainly responsible for the chaos. I realize that all the 450 million people of Bharat cannot agree on all or even on a single question. That is not possible in any country. Yet there is generally, what is called a more or less common desire of the people of any nation. If this popular longing is made the basis of our aims, the common man feels that the nation is moving in a proper direction, and that his own aspiration is reflected in the efforts of the nation. This also generates the greatest possible feeling of unity. The truth of the statement is borne out by the response of the people during the Chinese Invasion of October/November 1962. A wave of enthusiasm swept across the country. Action and sacrifice both obtained in abundance. There was no barrier between the government and the public or between various political parties. How did this happen? The external threat made us recognize ourselves. The government adopted that policy which reflected the widespread feeling in the people and which enhanced their sense of self-respect with a call for sacrifice. The result was we stood united.
The Root of Our Problems-Neglect of Self
It is essential that we think about our national identity. Without this identity there is no meaning. Of neither independence, nor can independence become the instrument of progress and happiness. As long as we are unaware of out national identity, we cannot recognize and develop all our potentialities. Under alien rule this identity is suppressed. That is why nations wish to remain independent so that they can progress according to their natural bent and can experience happiness in their endeavour. Nature is powerful. An attempt to go against nature or to disregard her leads to troubles. The natural instincts cannot be disregarded but it is possible to elevate this nature to the level of culture. Psychology informs us how by suppression of various natural instincts, different mental disorders ensue. Such a person remains restless and dejected. His abilities slowly deteriorate and become perverted. The Nation too like the individual becomes a prey to numerous ills when its natural instincts are disregarded. The basic cause of the problems facing Bharat is the neglect of its national identity.
To be continued…
1st Lecture on April 22, 1965