..Continuing from previous issue
Opprtunism Has Shaken the Confidence of People in Politics
A majority of those who lead the nation today as well as those who take active interest in the affairs of the country are not sufficiently aware of this root cause. Consequently opportunists with no principles reign in politics of our country. Parties and politicians have neither principles nor aims nor a standard code of conduct. A person feels nothing wrong in leaving one party and joining another. Even alliances and mergers of parties or their bifurcations are dictated not by agreement or by differences in principles by purely by gains in elections or in positions of power. In 1939 Shri Hafiz Mohammed Ibrahim was elected Muslim League ticket. Later when he joined Congress, in accordance with healthy principles of public conduct he resigned and sought re-election on Congress ticket and was once again elected. In 1948 when socialists left Congress and founded Socialist Party, all those who were members of legislature resigned and fought elections on socialist tickets. But thereafter this healthy tradition was forgotten. Now there is complete license in politics. As result, in public mind there is distrust for every one. There is hardly any reason whose Integrity is beyond doubt in the public mind. This situation must be changed.
What Should Be Our Direction?
The nation is at crossroads. Some people suggest that we must start from where we have left off one thousand years ago, when foreign invaders disrupted our life. But nation is not an inanimate object like a cloth so that weaving can be taken up after a gap in time. Besides it would not be rational to say that the thousand year old alien rule has interrupted the current of our national life so completely that from that time to this day we remained stationary and inactive. The nation has certainly put her genius to work, in the changing circumstances to meet the challenges thrown at her. We have struggled to continue our life forward and to wrest independence from the aliens. The current of our national life was not interrupted but has gone on ceaselessly. The task of turning the waters of Ganga back to some previous point would not be wise Ganga at Banaras may not be crystal clear as at Haridwar. But still it is the same holy Ganga. It has absorbed numerous rivulets with all their refuse. However, these have no separate existence but have become Ganga. The current Ganga must inevitably flow onwards. If this was all that happened it would still not be a big problem. But there are other nations in the world. They have made phenomenal progress in the past one thousand years. Our entire attention was engaged in fighting for independence or staving off new hordes of invaders. We have not been able to contribute to the world progress. Now when we are free, is it not paramount that we fill this deficiency at the earliest and stand shoulder to shoulder with other advanced nations of the world?
Up to this point there is no room for difference of opinion. The difficulty arises when we fail to discern the reasons of the spectacular advance of the West, its effects, real and, apparent. This is further complicated by the fact that Britishers a representative of the West, ruled this country for a century and, during this period adopted such measures whereby in the minds of our people a contempt for things Bharatiya and respect for everything Western were subtly created. Along with the scientific advance, their way of life, manners and food habits etc. came to this country. Not only material sciences but also their social, economic and political doctrines became our standards. Today the educated in this country clearly display this effect. We shall have to decide whether this effect is good or bad for us. We had taken pride in resisting things British while they ruled us, but strangely enough, now that the Britishers have left, westernisation has become synonymous with progress. It is true that a narrow sense of nationalism should not be allowed to obstruct the progress of the nation. However western science and the western way of life are two different things. Whereas western science is universal and must be absorbed by us if we wish to go forward, the same is not true about the western way of life and values. In fact thoughtless imitation of the West must be scrupulously discarded. There are those who consider economic and political doctrines of the West as epitome of progress and desire to transplant the same in our country. Therefore when we are trying to decide where wish to take our country and how, we must also take into consideration the basis of various economic and political doctrines of the west and their present position.
The Rise of European Nations
Among various “Isms” that affected the West, the principal ones are Nationalism, Democracy and Socialism. At the same time there have been some who cherish world unity and world peace and have made some efforts in that direction.
Among these, nationalism is the oldest and the strongest. After the fall of the Roman Empire and decline in the influence of the Catholic Church Europe witnessed rise of several nations. History of Europe in the past one thousand years is the history of the rise of and conflict among various nations. These nations extended their empires beyond the European continent and subjugated other independent countries. Nationalism brought nation and state together resulting in nation states. At the same time the decline in the influence of the Roman Catholic Church gave rise either to national churches or to complete disappearance of religious influence on politics. Anyway the concept of secular state arose out of this situation
Birth of Democracy in Europe
A revolutionary concept which made a deep impact on the political life of Europe is Democracy. In the beginning, every nation had a king as its head but there was gradual awakening in the minds of people against the autocracy of the royalty. The industrial revolution and the international trade resulted in the rise of a business community in all nations. Naturally there ensued a conflict between these new centres of power and the established kings and feudal lords. This conflict, adopted ‘democracy’ as its philosophical basis. The origin of democracy was sought in the Greek city republics. The common man was attracted by the lofty ideals of equality, fraternity and liberty of every citizen. France witnessed a bloody revolution. In England too, there were periodic movements. The idea of democracy gained foothold in the mind of common man. The royalty was either liquidated or their powers were drastically curbed and constitutional governments were established. Today democracy has been already accepted in Europe. Even those who have suppressed democracy do not denounce it. The dictators like Hitler, Mussolini and Stalin too paid lip service to democracy.
To be continued…
Lecture-1st , on April 22nd 1965