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Social and political Values and Systems in India.

Politics without principle is a sin

Politics without Principle is a sin

“A good physician treats the disease; the great physician treats the patient who has disease.”           William Osler

“Don’t find faults, find remedies.” Henry Ford

Introduction – Democracy is the “government of the people, for the people and by the people.’ Elections at frequent intervals is the life-line of any democratic government. People choose their representatives through elections and delegate them the authority to form a government and  look after the welfare of the people, and development of the society and nation as a whole. 

Vote-bank politics tend them not focus their attention on real issues. Their failure to diagnose the disease properly and do sincere efforts to cure it. They are neither able to treat the disease (real issues) nor the patient (development of the nation). How can the disease of maladministration be cured, if elections are not fought with fair objectives. Many politicians’ fight  election just to gain political power by hook or crook, and control the destiny of millions of people in their own interest  or the interests of their followers.

Principles of separation of power and checks and balances – Democracy works on the principle of defining with clarity the role of different organs of the government. Most of the elected representatives of the people in legislatures are supposed to legislate, lay down policies, and monitor its implementation. Executive is there to supervise the bureaucracy to execute its plans and policies, Opposition parties role is to criticize the wrong decisions/actions of party in power. Each one keeps a control on the arbitrariness of others.  If each one does its job properly, there won’t be much problem. 

However, for winning the elections and rule the nation, politicians, divide the electorate  shamelessly into numerous watertight compartments on the basis of their diverse identities  and interests. Then they woo voters and create vote-banks for themselves. They appease specific section/sections. They pursue sectional interests, giving least attention to the welfare of the society/nation as a whole. In such a situation how can function  efficiently and effectively in a democratic state?

What is Democracy – According to Lincoln, “Democracy is the government of the people, for the people and by the people”. The word ‘democracy is derived from two ancient Greek words: demos (the people)and katos (strength). In a democracy political power is ultimately in the hands of the whole adult people. A democratic government may be Direct or Indirect.

Direct Democracy – In a direct democracy, people themselves make policies and execute them. In modern times, the most successful and long-term experience of it is Switzerland, where a host of ordinary policy questions are routinely put to the electorate, following a tradition dating to the 16th century.

Earlier in city state, it was possible for people to rule themselves directly through –

  • Initiative – It is a method whereby a group of citizens can put a legislative proposal directly – may be to enact a new law, or to repeal an existing law or to amend it – for determination in referendum.
  • Referendum – It is a method of referring a question or set of questions to the electorate directly rather than allowing them to be settled by people’s representatives in the legislature.
  • Plebiscite – Plebiscites are referendums, a system for allowing the whole of the electorate to give their opinion on some political question.

Indirect Democracy  – Indirect rule by representatives of the majority of the electorate is known as indirect democracy. In this system, people vote for representatives. The main instrument of choosing the representatives is periodical elections. Political decision -making is done by this small number of people’s representatives,  elected by the whole electorate.

Representative Democracy is usually equated with Liberal Democracy which describes the political system which originated in the USA and Western Europe. It has subsequently been adopted by Third World countries. Indirect democratic regimes may be classified as either Presidential or Parliamentary systems.

Indirect democracies are based upon several interrelated principles:

  1. the existence of regular, free, fair elections based upon universal suffrage and secret ballots;
  2. the existence of competing political parties offering electoral choice;
  3. the existence of electoral laws supervised by an independent judiciary;
  4. freedom of speech and association ;
  5. freedom to stand as an election candidate;
  6. “reasonable” relationships between votes cast and representatives elected;
  7. availability of accurate unbiased political information.

The major problem with this kind of democracy is that quite often it leads to negative electoral-politics, as voters do not have any choice in selecting the candidates, who fight elections. Churchil once said, “Democracy is the worst of all systems except for alternatives” To strengthen democracy is needed a civil society. People are becoming very insensitive in tolerating dissent views these days especially in political arena. And also that, Americans will do the right thing after they have exhausted all the alternatives.

It is the job of rival political parties to select the candidates and woo the voters to vote for their prospective candidates.

India’s experiment on Democracy and electoral politics – When India got Independence from British rule in 1947, it chose Since then Democracy is the backbone of our country. The Constitution of India is founded on the principle that all voices should be heard. Institutions are established here for the benefit of nation and its citizens. The thinking that legislators can make any law, they want and impose it on people, or executive can execute in any manner, it likes, is absurd.

Situation that led to electoral-politics – The introduction of electoral politics, in the beginning of the 20th century gave rise to Power in numbers. Through modern education system, British imperialists created differences between different castes and communities, and developed a complex in Indian minds about their heritage and social values and systems.

Factors that led to electoral-politics in India – The British gathered information, exploited material relating to social, demographic, linguistics, religious and cultural diversities of India.  It gave political leverage to the non-Brahmin castes on account of their numerical strength. Since then, their influence in politics has been growing continuously.

  • Discrediting Indian values and systems – British rulers exaggerated the distortions developed into the system during century’s after the decay of Hindu Raj. They carefully avoided telling the whole truth or strengths of Indian thoughts and its social systems.  They depicted the Indian culture and practices as discriminatory barbarous, uncivilized and its social system highly stratified”, where multiplicity of communities and their cultures were exploiting each other for their own advantage.  They forcefully implanted in the minds of people, the real and imaginary, evils of Hindu practices.  The European teachers, missionaries, bureaucrats and British easily put all the blame on Social-structure of India for masses poverty, misery,  deprivation and exploitation
  • Introduction of Modern education system – During British rule Modern education system, people got access to the enlightened spirit of many liberal thinkers, like Locke, Mill Rossseau, Voltaire, Spencer and Burke; and the knowledge about English, French, American revolutions, through modern education. It offered to Indian intelligentsia, the key to the treasures of scientific and democratic thought of Modern West. It opened up the doors of knowledge and widened the mental horizons of Indian intelligentsia. Modern means of transport and communications shortened distances and made mobility faster and easier, Every thing together had destroyed the local character of governance. Small local castes, confined within a small area earlier, grew in size, embracing a much wider area than before.
  • Census operation – After consolidating its position, the British Government in India made an effort to know about the people, whom they want to rule and chalk out strategies for the colonial governance. A systematic and modern population census, in its present form was conducted non synchronously between 1865 and 1872 in different parts of the country. This effort culminating in 1872 has been popularly labeled as the first population census of India. However, the first synchronous census in India was held in 1881.                                                                                British anthropologists worked very hard to collect data. For the first time, the Census operations drew the attention of the rulers, intelligentsia and public to the diversity of Indian society and multiplicity of castes and sub-castes throughout India.                                                                     Earlier, the Hindu Society was classified into four Varnas embracing numerous castes and sub-castes within its fold.  Census operations divided it into five and created new unbridgeable compartments within Indian social structure. – Backward caste, forward caste (caste Hindus), untouchable or scheduled caste, scheduled tribes and minority.  Through legal process, they gave each one a new separate and distinct identity.                                                                                               It changed the older system in a fundamental way, giving rigidity to social stratification and hierarchical ranking. It led to casteism in politics. Dr. GS Ghurya says, The activities of the British Government has done very little toward the solution of the problem of caste.  Most of these activities, as must be evident, were dictated by prudence of administration and not by desire to reduce the rigidity of caste.  On the whole, the British rulers of India, who have throughout professed to be the trustees of the welfare of the country, never seem to have given much thought to the problem of caste, in so far as it affects the nationhood of India… Their measures generally have been promulgated piece-meal and with due regard to the safety of British domination.” (Dr. Ghurye GS, Caste and Class in India, pp 283-84.)
    Importance of numbers in elections –  The introduction of electoral politics, in the beginning of the 20th century gave rise to Power in numbers. While introducing elections in India, the British very diplomatically divided the Hindu population into two uncompromising groups viz. `We the Non-Brahmins and `They the Brahmins and caste Hindus. They instilled deeply in the minds of millions of unlettered Hindus, venom against each other.
  • Leverage to Non-Brahmins in politics – Power of numbers in elections gave political leverage to the non-Brahmin castes on account of their numerical strength.  Earlier non-Brahmin movements had economic and social thrusts demanding education and land for backwards and freedom from caste rigidities. Later, it resisted the hold of Brahmins in the spheres of education and jobs in government. Non-Brahmins’ demand for a share in modern callings was quickly recognized by the British. They acquired considerable amount of political clout, in early 20th century, with the introduction of electoral politics. Since then, their influence in politics has grown enormously.

Preparation of grounds for electoral-politics – Various communities feared that Hindu majority government would dominate them.[i] Leaders of non-Brahmin community united numerous endogamous jatis into region wise alliances, increased in size and emerged as powerful pressure groups in different regions.

Justice Party in Bombay in 1917, and South Indian Liberation Federation in Madras in 1916, united the lower and intermediate castes.  In Maharashtra, Phule and Ambedkar challenged the influence of Brahmins and Marathas. In Tamil Nadu and other Southern States, lower and intermediate castes got united under the leadership of Periyar by fusing in them Dravida and Tamil identities and led anti Brahmins movement.  They regarded lower and middle castes as descendants of the original non- Aryans natives of India, who believed in egalitarian pattern of society.  Aryans conquered them and through caste system, Brahmins established their superiority over them.

In AP and Karnataka, intermediate peasant castes like Reddy, Kammas, Lingayats, Vokkaligas came forward against Brahmins.  In Kerala, caste identities became rallying points for class like party formation starting with Ezhawwas, at one time the most depressed of all communities.  In Gujarat, ground level consolidation of Dalits, Adivasis and minorities rose.

The leaders of Non-Brahmins like Mahatma Phule, Ambedkar or Gopal Ganesh vehemently criticized Hindu hierarchical structure, and regarded untouchability as an inevitable concomitant of caste system. Therefore, eradication of caste system became their major plank. They taught the lower castes to get united and work for abolition of caste system as it was responsible for treating them as lesser human beings. It engaged them to forced labor or unsavory jobs, imposing many restrictions on them, preventing them from joining the mainstream of the society; and the subjugating them with the help of the religion. They also attacked the hypocrisy of Brahminism and emphasized reforms and spread of education.

Being non-militant by nature and very small in number, comprising only 3% of the total population, the Brahmins in South yielded to the pressures of non-Brahmins without much resistance and moved out from there to other parts of the country, where non-Brahmin movement was either weak or non-existent.

There was another group led by non-Brahmin political leaders, who wanted a share in the power-structure, special attention and intervention of the British government in electoral politics and government jobs, and thus improve the position of Backwards. In the South and Bombay Presidency, the non-Brahmin leaders voiced forcefully against the domination of Brahmins in government jobs and other modern callings. British had full sympathy with them.   This demand ultimately gave birth to the policy of Reservation. Electoral policy, Census operations, and Reservation Policy. Together, these policies were responsible for the entry of casteism and communalism into the political life of the country, which was non-existent hitherto.

In 1918, Mysore Government denominated all communities, but Brahmins, as backward and gave the backwards special protection in the form of scholarship, admission in educational institutions, quota in jobs and other concessions and benefits.  Special Government officers were appointed to look after their welfare.  Madras and Bombay Presidencies followed their example.

Government of India Act, 1919, accorded special representation by granting a few nominated seats, in the Legislative Assembly, for depressed classes.  Legislative regulations and administrative orders declared denial of access to untouchables to schools, well, roads and public places as illegal.  So far, untouchable activities were combined with the non-Brahmin movement.

By 1928, untouchables separated themselves from the intermediate caste and established their independent identity at national level. Until 1932, the Government of India avoided itself from stigmatizing any group, by official acknowledgement, of their low social status and considered it unfair because Owing to the social disabilities, to which members of the depressed classes are exposed, it would be in the highest degree undesirable that any official authorization might appear to extend such qualification. The fluidity of social distinctions and the efforts of the classes lowest in the scale, aided by social reformers, to improve their status make it more desirable, that government should abstain from doing anything, which would tend to give rigidity to these distinctions.(Indian Statutory Commission, 1930, VI, p 341)

The joint Select Committee of the British Parliament, while reviewing the South Borough Report on measures to secure representation of minorities or of Backward classes for Indian Constitutional Reforms 1919, commented that they attached importance to the educational advancement of the depressed and Backward classes. (Mukherjee P, Indian Constitution and all Relevant Documents relating to Indian Constitutional Reforms of 1990, p 528).

In 1930, Starte Committee suggested to sub-divide the backward classes into untouchables, aboriginal hill tribes and other backward class.  Political expediency and imperial designs to keep balance of power got victory over rational thinking.

Through Communal Award 1932, British created a permanent split in Hindu Society. It perpetuated casteism and made impossible the assimilation of different castes under one fold.  Dr. Rajendra Prasad said, The principle of dividing population into communal groups, which had been adopted in the Minto Morley reforms had been considerably extended, even beyond what had been done by Montagu Chelmsford Reforms… The electorate in 1919 was broken up into ten parts, now it is fragmented into seventeen unequal bits… Hindu community was further weakened by giving separate representation to Scheduled castes. Division on the basis of religion, occupation and service were made.  Every possible cross division was introduced by the British.(Cited in Mehta and Patwardhan, The Communal Triangle, p72). The Communal Award strengthened the roots of casteism in politics.

By the end of the 19th century, the concern for the downtrodden and the movement against the hold of the Brahmins on land, wealth, and education was turned into a political movement. It aimed at obtaining legal rights and position of power through government intervention, Dr. Ambedkar made it abundantly clear that through political power, untouchables were to find their solution, not through acceptance by Hindus.

Ironically, as their political power increased, they insisted on their separate identity. They sought special legal protection and share in politics and administration on the basis of caste. By 1920’s, numerous caste organizations, especially in the South and West, organised themselves into larger collectiveness by keeping contacts and alliances with their counterparts at other places; formed associations and federations at local and regional levels and emerged as a powerful political force.

Beginning of electoral politics – Granting separate Muslim electorate through Government of India Act 1909,  (Minto Morley Reforms) brought the idea of communal electorate to the forefront. Granting special electorate to Muslims made the numbers important.

Around 1909, the non-Brahmin Community was divided into two – Backwards and Untouchables.  For the first time, the lowest strata of Hindu Community were conceptualized under the name of untouchables in the political circles.

New dimension to electoral politics – In 1908, the untouchables comprised about 24% of the Hindu Population and 16% of the total population. The suggestion of Census Commission, to exclude untouchables from Hindu group, gave a new dimension to casteism in politics. The suggestion of Census Commissioner to exclude untouchables from Hindu fold, in the forthcoming 1911 census, immediately increased the importance of untouchables in political circle, in social circle, and in their own eyes too.

Such a move alerted national leaders. This was not acceptable to Hindu leaders at any cost. Their fear proved to be right  as the number of Hindus has fallen down continuously. The following chart, based on various censuses, establishes this fact: Hindu population was 73.3% in 1881, 72.3% in in 1891, 70.3% in 1901, 69.3% in 1911, 68.4 in 1921, 68.2 in 1931 and 65.9 in 1941.

In order to overcome the problem, the Hindu leaders gave top most priority to the abolition of untouchability. They interpreted Vedas liberally and said that purified Varna System expressed equality. The reformers pointed out that untouchability was neither an outcome of caste system nor an integral part of Hinduism, but an external impurity and sinful blot on Hinduism.  They were clear that segregation of lower castes in Hindu Society was not based on economic status or their incapability to do any intellectual work, but on cultural grounds – unclean habits, undisciplined  life style, speaking foul and abusive language etc.  They tried to improve the status of untouchables through Sanskritisation. The emphasis was on education, moral regeneration and philanthropic uplift.[ii]

From historical facts, above, it is clear that the British fanned casteism and communalism in electoral-politics for political reasons. Earlier, though there were few stray incidents of violence, the nation was largely free from caste wars or class clashes.  However, the sectionanal interests aroused the agitation among different castes and communities all over the nation.  There started a cut-throat competition for scarce positions of power and prestige under British Raj.

Conclusion – The seeds of casteism and communalism, which were sown by the British, blossomed to its full in the electoral politics of independent India.

May 22, 2019 Posted by | General, Social and political values and systems | , | Leave a comment

A Summary Of Bhagvat Gita

A Summary Of  Bhagvat Gita

   By  

Late Justice Shanker Dayal Khare, Allahabad,

Published in 28.10.1975                           

INTRODUCTION

We seek happiness.We desire that happiness may last for ever. Do we succeed? Do we get peace of mind?

Gita throws light on these subjects. We may find its philosophy interesting and useful. There is no harm in giving exercise to our minds in the same manner as we give yogic exercises to our bodies.

Philosophy is simple: – ‘Rely on (your own) Laws and Traditions. Keep on doing deeds as you have been doing them. Do your deeds without hesitation and with complete devotion towards God, and achieve what is generally achieved by such deeds.

If you want peace of mind try not to feel elated with the feeling that you are the doer of the deeds. Dedicate the results of all your deeds to God. Then you should not have any attachment towards the results of your deeds.

In that manner you should reach beyond the scope of the three qualities – (saintly, worldly lethargic).

Have complete faith in the Creator and He will help you in establishing such faith in Himself.

I shall feel happy if some people, like me, find this summary useful.

Allahabad                                                                                          S.D.Khare

28-10-75                                                    

                                                           CHAPTER ONE

    DESPONDENCY

 After both the parties had drawn themselves up in battle array, Arjun, accompanied by Lord Krishna, went to the battle field to see those who have come to oppose the Pandavas (party with just cause) and to support Kaurvas (party with an unjust cause). For Arjun it was most disheartening to see that even his own kith and kin, and very near relations were supporting the unjust cause and opposing the just cause. Was it proper for him to fight all those people, who had come to oppose him? Arjun, in retrospect, said, “NO”. He observed that in such circumstances it was better to be killed than be the killer. The situation being very confusing Arjun asked for the advice of Lord Krishna.

Lesson to be learnt: Attatchment is the root cause of all distress.

                                                         CHAPTER TWO

PROCESS OF REASONING

Arjun was advised to put up a fight, because –

  1. Being a member of the fighting community, it was his duty to fight for the right cause. In such a fight death secured Heaven and survival the pleasures of this world.
  2. It was foolish to think of destroying others in the process. Soul is undestructable. None of the five elements (fire, air, water, earth or sky) is capable of destroying it. Body is, no doubt, destructible. This body, however, does not retain its original form or shape even during one life time. It keeps on changing from childhood to young age and from young age to old age. Death merely changes the form of the body.
  3. People regard you invincible. You shall fall in their estimates in case you refuse to fight. They shall call you a coward. That shall be worse than death.
  4. Why worry about the result of the fight? How can the result of any deed be controlled? It is always the best to do a deed and leave the result of the deed to God. That is a well recognized method (of doing deeds without feeling attached to them). It is par excellent. The practice of this method shall lead one to detachment and to the attainment of Salvation. Such deeds bear no fruits, piety or sin.

Arjun asked: – “Can a person firmly established in this method of doing deeds be spotted out?”

Lord Krishna replied: – “Yes! Such a person is always fully satisfied with his own soul. Pleasure nor pain, good luck nor bad luck, can ever perturb him. He withdraws his senses from all objects of pleasure and is without any feeling of attachment, fear and anger. Ontrol over mind and practice lead to such a state. Such person devotes himself fully towards God.”

Lesson to be learnt from this chapter: (Fight for right cause in life is the ultimate solution to all problems)

CHAPTER THREE

PROCESS OF DEEDS

Arjun asked again: – “When acquisition of wisdom is supreme, why should one do deeds, the results of some of which might be dreadful?”

Lord Krishna replied: – The universe and the deeds were created at one and the same time. Everything has to be achieved through deeds. One’s quality determines the nature nature of one’s deeds. One’s existence even for a moment, is not possible without doing deeds.

One should do only the natural and the prescribed deeds, that should keep him free from the feeling of attachment and envy.

Arjun thereupon asked: – When people do deeds perforce (according their quality) why should those deeds saddle them with sins?”

Lord Krishna replied: – Attachment and envy, born of worldly quality, lead people to partake in sin. Attachment has its abode in senses, mind and intellect. Attachment, with the help of all these three, eclipses wisdom. Senses are strong, mind is stronger and the intellect is strongest of the three. Soul is even more powerful than intellect.

Concentrating on soul, taking the help of one’s intellect and controlling one’s mind and senses, one can destroy ATTACHMENT, which is the supreme enemy.  

Lesson to be Learnt: Detachment is the way to progress and prosperity.

CHAPTER FOUR

TRUE WISDOM

“I had told about this method (of doing deeds without any feeling of attachment towards them) to Sun, when the Universe started. Sun passed on that knowledge to some of his descendents. However for a very long time that method had been forgotten. The same method is repeates to you, my devotee.”

Arjun asked how Lord Krishna could be there at the time the universe started. The reply of Lord Krishna was: –

“God and soul have always existed. God, however, revealed himself only in each era to give relief to the pious minded and destroy the evil-minded. The apparent birth and deeds of God Almighty are most unusual.

Four classifications have been made for the doers of all sorts of deeds. The scriptures (Vedas) contain a description of different kinds of deeds. The attainment of True Knowledge is the ultimate aim of all such deeds. True knowledge can be attained only by devotion service and honest questioning. Those who have already acquired true knowledge must guide others. True knowledge is like a huge ball of fire. It destroys the feeling of attachment and burns out all sins, which are merely the results of attachment. The soul which has acquired True Knowledge gets absolute peace and qualifies for God realization.

After being free from the feeling of attachment and envy, one should remain content with whatever comes in stride. Happiness or unhappiness, or attainment or nonattainmentof his objects should not stir him in the least. Ultimately he is bound to get absolute peace.

Lesson to be learnt from this chapter: The attainment of True Knowledge is the ultimate aim of all such deeds.

CHAPTER FIVE

OF DOING DEEDS WITHOUT ATTACHMENT

Asked Arjun: – Which of the two is better – the Process of Reasoning or the Process of Deeds?”

The reply was: – Both are equally good and lead to the same result. However the Process of Deeds may be said to be the better of the two. True Knowledge can also be acquired by means of Deeds done without any feeling of attachment. When a person has full control over his mind and body, when his soul has become pure and when he is totally bereft of ego and remains unattached while doing deeds, he can not be bound down to the fruits of his deeds and can never commit any sin. He attains peace.

The doer of deeds without any feeling of attachment keeps on doing deeds for the purification of his soul, but all the time his senses, mind, body and intellect remain free from attachment.

One must consider everybody alike and remain moderate inhabit and behavior. He must remain firm in his belief and strive hard to attain True Knowledge.

The attainment of salvation leads to unending peace and happiness. The quest for worldly pleasures is futile. Worldly pleasures are innumerable, perishable and in themselves sourses of unhappiness. Only those persons can attain peace who are free from the feeling of attachment and envy and who have control over their senses, mind, body and intellect.

Lesson to be learnt from this chapter: Renounce the ego and attain salvation leading to unending peace and happiness.

CHAPTER SIX

UPLIFTING OF SOUL

Lord Krishna said: – A person, who does deeds without any feeling of attatchment, is both a Renouncer and a Doer of Deeds. A person, who has control over his senses, mind, body and intellect has no real interest in preserving or amassing wealth. His continuous effort is only to uplift the Soul.

For purification of Soul practice has to be done in a proper manner. Everything (eating, sleeping. Rest) should be done in moderation. One’s state of mind should be that of a lamp kept at a place where there is no breeze. One must always have faith in his belief and should never feel bored. He is bound to discern the existence of the Supreme Being in all the objects.”

Arjun observed: – “It is not easy to control one’s mind. To attain mastery in such practice must, therefore, be very very difficult”.

The reply was: – “Yes! That is so. But by constant practice one may master it.”

Asked Arjuna: – “That being a long and drawn out process, will not a person engaged in such practice get lost and annihilated in the same manner as a cloud, which disintegrates into nothing?”

Lord Krishna replied: – “No. Each stage reached by constant practice, remains secure. One starts from that stage in the next birth.”

Lesson to be learnt from this chapter: Every act should be done in moderation. 

CHAPTER SEVEN

                                     KNOWLEDGE DIVINE

“The acquisition of no other knowledge can be compared to the attainment of Divine Knowledge. It is something grand. One should know what God is.

Every person has two components – the body and the soul. The body is made up of eight elements (earth, water, air, sky, fire, mind, intellect and ego). The other component, which gives life to the system is different.

God is the Creator and the Destroyer of the entire universe. God is present in all the objects. Even the feelings, which beget the three qualities (Saintly, worldly and lethargic) are created by God. A grand illusion is the result of the interplay of these qualities. No one can escape that illusion unless he worships God continuously. One, whose wisdom is eclipsed by illusion, does not worship God.

Four kinds of people worship God. These are of: –

  1. People in quest of worldly objects,
  2. People anxious to avert unhappy events,
  3. People desirous of knowing God, and
  4. People whose every deed is dedicated to God.

Out of them the fourth class is the best.

People desirous of getting rid of the pangs of rebirth and death must depend only on God.Their faith in Him must be firm. Such a person is not likely to forget God even at the time of his death.

Lesson to be learnt: Connect to higher consciousness daily.

                                              CHAPTER EIGHT

COMMUNION WITH GOD

“A person, who can manage to remember God even at the time of his death, attain salvation. What one thinks during the last moments of his life, determines his status after death. A person, who can restrain his senses from drifting towards the objects of pleasure, who stations his mind firmly in his heart, and his life force in his forehead, who remains firmly established in such practice, thinks of God only and, at the time of his death pronounce His name (OM) is bound to attain Salvation.

The doer of deeds with feeling of attachment towards them can go upto heaven only. He returns to earth after the effect of his pious deeds is over. But one who attains Salvation is not born again. The stage of salvation can be reached only by continuous practice and devotion.

What is time? One day of Supreme Being is equivalent to one thousand eras. Similarly one night of the Supreme Being is also equal to one thousand eras. The Universe was created when the day of the Supreme Being started. It shall get annihilated when the night of Supreme Being starts. The process shall keep on repeating. The Supreme Being alone is undestructable.

There are two clear-cut paths – one leading to God and other leading to ancestors. A doer of deeds, without any feeling of attachment, takes the first path and does not come back to earth. A doer of deeds with a feeling of attachment takes to the second path and comes back to the earth.

A person, who fully knows all this, does not get attached to the results of his deeds. He continuously exercises his mind for the attainment of God. The attainment of this True Knowledge is far Superior to the knowledge of the Sacred Scripts and the doing of penance and charity.”

Lesson to be learnt: True Knowledge is far Superior to the knowledge of the Sacred Scripts.

                                               CHAPTER NINE

SUPREME FAITH… MOST SACRED

Supreme faith is the king of all other faiths. It is most sacred, very pure, very nice, consistent with everybody’s code of conduct, easy to follow, good for all times and capable of yielding quick results.

The entire universe is full of the Supreme Being in the same manner as ice is full of water. However, neither the Supreme Being is stationed in worldly objects nor are the worldly objects stationed in the Supreme Being.

The Supreme Being is the creator of all worldly objects. It holds them and feeds them. But the Supreme Being is not Stationed in them. To affirm that all the objects are stationed in the Supreme Being is tantamount to affirming that air is stationed in the sky.

The grand illusion, which is the creation of the inter-ply of the three qualities (saintly, worldly and lethargic), coupled with the Grace of God create all worldly objects.

Foolish people, relying on vain hopes, indulging in vain deeds, and attaining vain knowledge, acquire the quality of the demons. They feel attracted by those qualities and adopt them. But saintly people, being of saintly quality, do not do so. On the other hand they worship God with full faith and devotion – either with the feeling of oneness with God, or with a variety of other feelins, such as of master and servant or of the lover and the beloved.

The doer of deeds with a feeling of attachment towards the deeds worships god of his choice and attains his object soon. He can even reach heaven. Ultimately he must return to earth. One worshipping god with full faith attains Salvation. God helps him in establishing his faith in Him.

Faith and continuous devotion turn one into perfect saint. Even a worst sinner may hope to become a saint.

Lesson to be learnt from this chapter:Faith and continuous devotion lead to attains salvation/perfection.

CHAPTER TEN

GOD’S GLORY

 “God is the creator of all and, therefore, no one can know about the origin of God. It was as a result of a resolve of God that the seven Rishis, the four Sankads and the fourteen Manus, all who control this world, were created. Even the feelings such as wisdom, forgiveness, happiness, power of control over senses and contentment have been created by God.

It is only with the help of one’s own soul stationed in his own heart that he may realize God. God is the beginning, the middle and the end of all. One may realize God by looking at things that are remarkable, full of glory and full of power. All such objects have been created by a fragment of God’s glory. The grand illusion created by him holds the entire universe.          

Thus one may reaize the glory of God by thinking of Varun amongst the sons of Aditya, of Sun amongst astrologers, of Shanker amongst the eleven Rudras, of fire amongst the eight Vasus, of sea amongst water, of king amongst men and so on.

The act of continuously repeating the name of God is the king of all the deeds.

Lesson to be learnt from this chapter: See divinity all around.

CHAPTER ELEVEN

GOD REALIZATION

Asked Arjun: – Is it possible that I may see you in your true form with all your power, grace and Glory?”

The reply was: – “Yes. But not with the mortal eyes. You can see Me with the divine eyes bestowed by Me.”

The Form then revealed to Arjun had many faces and many eyes. It consisted of a variety of strange forms, all dressed in divine apparels, fully decorated and armed with all sorts of weapons. The entire form looked strange and Limitless. All over it was divine perfume. The brilliance of one thousand suns put together could hardly equal its brilliance. All parts of the universe could be seen in that Form. The Supreme Being, the Rishis and the divine serpants were also in that Form. One could neither see nor perceive its beginning, its middle and its end. Arjun described it thus: –

“I cannot see its beginning, its middle or its end. Eyes are like Sun and Moon. Mouths are like burning fires. It contains the Earth, the Heaven, the intervening sky and all the directions. Everybody is getting afraid after seeing this Limitless Form. It has many facets, is very bright and touches the sky. All that can be seen around is annihilation. All the known warriors are seen entering its fierce mouths and getting perished therein. Who are you?” asked Arjun.

The reply was: – “I am Time (the destroyer) and am here to annihilate this world. All these warriors are bound to be killed. Be the means, attain victory and rule your kingdom.”  

Arjun told Lord Krishna that like others he too had lost his bearings and was not finding peace and solace. He requested him to show his Chaturbhuj (Human with four hands) Form.

Lord Krishna revealed to him his Chaturbhuj Form also and told him that none had seen it before and none of two forms could be seen by Penance, Charity, practice or knowledge of scriptures.

Lesson to be learnt from this chapter: Have enough devotion/intellect to see the truth as it is.

CHAPTER TWELVE

PERFECT DEVOTION

Arjun asked: – “What is better … worship of the abstract or the worship of God after ascribing him a Form?

The reply was: – “The first is more advanced form of meditation and therefore, more difficult. People, who themselves have forms, find it easier to worship God after ascribing to Him a Form. Otherwise both the methods are correct.

There is yet another method which is simpler and easier. Have perfect faith in God, devote yourself to God and dedicate all your deeds to God. Very soon you will be relieved from this turmoil of the sea of death.

Try to have perfect devotion with the aid of Mind and intellect. Mind should be applied towards devotion by continuous practice. If that process is difficult try to do all your deeds for the sake of God only. If you find that process also difficult try to feel no attachment towards the results of the deeds. That, by itself, will result in the attainment of peace.

Do not think ill of others. Have love for others without regard of personal gain. There should be no ego. Happiness and unhappiness should be considered alike. Try to forgive even your enemy. Be content. Have control over senses, mind and body. Have absolute faith in God and fully devote your mind and intellect to Him.

Do not stir commotion in others. Do not permit others to stir any commotion in you. Be free from ambition and grief. Do not take sides. Complete the work for which you are destined.

Avoid feeling exceedingly happy about anything. Avoid feeling envious. Have no desire. Never repent. Leave the fruits… good or bad … of all your deeds to God.

Remain steady whether you be among friends or amongst enemies. Regard honour or dishonor alike. Have no craving for heat or cold, happiness or unhappiness. Be free from attachment. Regard praise and abuse alike. Remain content. Have a steady mind. That should be your code of conduct.”

Lesson to be learnt from this chapter: Always remain steady.

CHAPTER THIRTEEN

BODY AND SOUL…. DIFFERENCE  

“So many questions crop up. What are you? Are you the body or are you the soul? Is your body part of something bigger, brighter and better? Why has it been seperated from bigger body? Wherin lies the salvation of soul?

What is body? What is soul? How body and soul get together? What is the cause of rebirth?

True knowledge is to know the answers of these questions.                               

The body cinsists of five elements (earth, water, fire, air and sky), ego plus intellect plus the illusion created by the interplay of the three qualities (Saintly. Worldly and Letargic), plus ten organs (skin, smell, taste, speacg, ears, eyes, hands, feet, genital organs and anus), plus the feelings (desire, jealousy, happiness, unhappiness, awareness and aim), plus rest of the body. The forms may be different, but these component parts in each body are the same.     

It is the Supreme Being, who puts life into the body. The Supreme Being has no beginning and no end and is beyond the scope of three qualities and the ten senses enumerated above. But He knows their working. The Supreme Being is all pervading but without any (feeling of) attachment. It is all pervading like the sky or the rays of the sun.

Life is created when the Supreme Being comes into contact with body. The part of the Supreme Being that enters body, gets attached to the body by means of the three qualities (saintly, worldly, Lethargic) to which it has become firmly attaced.

The Supreme Being is beyond the scope and the influence of the aforesaid three qualities. The separate flame of life (soul) in order to be one with the Supreme Being, has to attain similar status – it has also to reach beyond the scope of three qualities. Then only the Salvation is possible.  

Lesson to be learnt from this chapter :Detach from illusions and attach to Divine

CHAPTER FOURTEEN

DIVISION INTO THREE QUALITIES

“What is your aim?” True wisdom or right course of action? If that be so follow the course of saintly quality and all that it implies. It will lead you to contentment and wisdom. After death you shall attain Heaven and coming back to this earth you shall be born in good family.

In case your aim is to attain worldly objects follow the course of ‘Worldly’ quality and attain all it implies. It will create greed in you, make you work hard for the attainment of your objects. Take you through the illusion of success and ultimately leave you unhappy. After death you eill be born amongst the people of the same quality.

In case you cannot raise yourself beyond useless efforts and seek lethargic or idle pleasure, follow the course of ‘Lethargic’ quality and all that it implies. If you die in that stage, you may be born low, even as an insect or a cattle.

By making effort you can change over from one quality to another. Suppress ‘worldly’ quality and ‘Lethargic quality in yourself and you will attain ‘Saintly’ quality in abundance. Similarly if you suppress the ‘saintly” quality and the ‘Lethargic’ quality in yourself, you will get the ‘worldly quality in abundance. Suppress both the ‘saintly’ quality and the ‘worldly’ quality in yourself and much of what would be left in you would be the ‘Lethargic’ quality.

If your aim is to achieve Supreme Nector, Supreme righteousness and the everlasting Bliss, try to be one with God. For that you have got to leave the feeling of attatchment behind and go beyond the ambit of the three qualities. One need not hate or despise any of these three qualities. However, to be one with God and attain everlasting Bliss, one has just to leave them behind.

Lesson to be learnt from this chapter: Live a simple life-style that matches your vision.

CHAPTER FIFTEEN

TO BE ONE WITH THE SUPREME BEING

 “If you have a look at the tree of life, you will find everything topsy turvy.The roots are above and the branches are below. Down below the growth is luxurious and it spreads in all directions. But there is no firmness in the branches.

 The root is the Supreme Being. The branches, spreading downwards, are watered by the  three qualities and their growth reaches all directions.

The main branches are of saintly people, of worldly people and of Lethargic people, Desire, attachment and ego keep the people of each branch fastened to their own branch, and its subsidiary growths. The directions of these growths is determined by the deeds of the people. Mind and senses are the feeders of these branches.

One should never forget his main root and keep on thinking what is best for him. He should prune all the unnecessary growths. For that the only weapon available is the feeling of non attachment. After having finished the pruning you shall be able to concentrate on the main root.

Soul is eternal. Body is perishable. God alone is worth knowing. Take the help of scriptures, purify yourself and make further effort. It is only then that you can attain True Knowledge. Without purifying oneself it is not possible to attain True Knowledge. Effort otherwise is useless.

After one has got away from the unrealities of life and become one with the Supreme Being, there can be no rebirth.”

Lesson to be learnt from this chapter: Give priority to Divinity

CHAPTER SIXTEEN

NATURE …DIVINE AND DEMONLIKE

“One should always act according to Laws and Traditions, and take their guidance, otherwise nothing shall be achieved. The feelings of attachment, greed and anger are tree doors that lead to Hell. Avoid them.

The saintly nature consists of :- (1) Fearlessness, (2) Cleanliness of mind and body, (3) Devotion towards God, (4) Acquisition of true knowledge, (5) Suppression of the senses, (6) Study of scriptures, (7) Recitation of God’s name, (8) Taking pain in following one’s own code of conduct, (9) Simplicity of mind, inner self and senses, (10)Non-violence in all its forms, (11) Speaking Truth in a pleasant manner, (12) Absense of anger, (13) Non attachment, (14) Peace of mind, (15) Not speaking ill of others, (16) Kindness towards all, (17) Forgiveness, (18) Patience, (19) Lack of ego and (20) Feeling ashamed while doing something against Laws or Traditions.

The demonlike nature manifests itself in (1) the show off, (2) pride, (3) ego, (4) anger, (5) harsh words, (6) lack of knowledge and (7) falsehood.

People having the nature of demons think that there is no one on whom they can rely, that the world is without any Truth and without any Supreme Being, that the main object of life is to enjoy, and it is because men and women get together that children are born. The acquisition of wealt is their main aim and they are unmindful of the means, which may be fair or foul.They remain very attached towards the results of their deeds. They remain tied down to the ropes of vain hopes. They seek happiness but in its place they get worry and restlessness. They feel that they are strong and shall be able to subjugate their enemies. They consider themselves superior to others. They act even against Laws and traditions. They are sinful and cruel towards others. They are the cause of their own degradation and go down towards dirty Hell.

Saintly Nature leads to Salvation and demon like nature to bondage.

Lesson to be learnt from this chapter: Being good is a reward in itself.

CHAPTER SEVENTEEN

THREE KINDS OF FAITH

Arjun asked, “Why is it that one should act according to Laws and Traditions? Is perfect faith and devotion not quite enough? What is the quality of a person having perfect faith and devotion?

Lord Krishna replied: – Perfect faith (confidence) or devotion (sincerity) is a must for the achievement of any object…be it for this world or for the next. It is better if it is of saintly quality. The quality of a person determines also the nature of his faith and devotion. A saintly person, while doing deeds according to his own code of conduct, follows Laws and Traditions.

 Food habits and deeds of persons of three different qualities are of three different kinds.

  1. A saintly person will eat saintly food, do saintly deeds, penance and charity and have saintly faith and devotion.
  2. A worldly quality will eat worldly food, do worldly deeds, penance and charity, and have worldly faith and devotion.
  3. A person of Lethargic quality will prefer food creating lethargy, do lethargic deeds, penance and charity and lethargic faith and devotion.

Thus the faith and devotion of persons of each class will differ materially from the faith and devotion of other two classes. In each sphere a member of any particular class will follow the pattern of his own quality.

 The Supreme Being is called by three names. When a good deed is started in His name, He is called “Om”. When one dedicates his deeds to God, he calls Him by the name “Tat”. In ultimate analysis, the name of the Supreme Being is “Sat” (Truth).

Lesson to be learnt from this chapter: Choosing the right over the pleasant is a sign of power.

CHAPTER EIGHTEEN

SALVATION BY RENUNCIATION

“There need not be renunciation of deeds. It is enough if renunciation is of the feeling (1) that one himself is the door of the deeds and (2) of attachment towards the results of the deeds. This latter kind of renunciation is excellent and most desirable.

Penance and Charity, being good acts, need not be given up. Such acts, if done in a saintly manner, purify the inner self. Other deeds may have defects. But they too need not be given up. It is enough if the feeling of attachment towards the results of those deeds is given up. And renounced. There after those deeds become non-deeds and yield no result – nether piety nor sin.

Even the renunciation of the feeling of attachment towards the results of the deeds is of three kinds. Similarly the deeds, the doer, the intellect, the aim and the happiness are of three kinds each.

If doing a saintly deed, there is no pride in the doer, and there is no wish for the results of the deeds. It is done without any feeling of attachment and without any anger.

The effect of these three qualities on the Society has been to divide it into four classes – the intelligentia, the warrior class, the traders and the doers of rough work. The work of each class is different, but in itself, it is neither good nor bad. Any person, to whatever classification, he belongs, may attain salvation while doing deeds according to his own code of conduct. The method, which shall have to be adopted, is to convert deeds into non-deeds by giving up the feeling of attachment towards the results of his deeds. When that stage is reached, the deed of that person will turn into a big zero resulting for him neither in piety nor in sin.

As long as one confines himself to deeds strictly in accordance with his own code of conduct, he cannot commit any sin. However, if he tries to deeds according to the code of conduct meant for others, all that he will experience is fear. One should follow well his own code of conduct.Thet is the easiest method of achieving salvation.

Remain unattached and thereby convert all your deeds into non deeds, acquire pure wisdom, lead quiet and healthy life, eat light food, be the master of your mind, body and speech, give up anger, control the innerself and devote yourself to God. Give up pride, reliance on body force, ego, desire and anger. Thus, even while doing all sorts of deeds according to your own code of conduct, you shall attain inner peace and ultimately salvation.”

Closing the sermon, Lord Krishna asked: – “Have you got rid of your false notions? You will not be able to rise above your inherent quality because of these false notions. You are of warrior class and that quality of yours will assert itself and lead you to war.

Listen to my teachings once again. Think of me alone. Have faith only in Me. Have respect for Me always. I love you, I promise that ultimately you shall attain salvation.”

Arjun replied: – “All my false notions are gone. I have become wise. I shall act as directed by you.”

Lesson to be learnt from this chapter: Let go, let us move to union with God.

…………….

Note – Karma Yog leads to Yoga Budhhi (True intellect) and Yoga Budhhi to Sankhya Budhhi (Salvation). Karma Yog includes in itself – (1) Balanced mind (Samatva Budhhi), (2) Path of righteousness (Sva-dharma Buddhi), (3) Devotion (Samarpan Budhhi), work not to satisfy ones own ego or anybody else’s, (4) Detatchment (Asang Budhhi) and (5) Whatever comes, accept it (Prasaad Buddhi).    

May 19, 2019 Posted by | General, Social and political values and systems | Leave a comment

Issue of Population explosion and unbalanced population growth

“Har taraf, har jagah beshumaar aadmi, Phir bhi tanhaiyan ka shikar aadmi”  Nida Fazil

Introduction – India is a developing country, desires to move fast towards progress. the second most populous nation in the world. China being on the top.  However, unchecked population explosion has neutralized all its developmental activities, efforts done so far for its economic, social and infrastructural development.

Big strain on already loaded system – Unchecked population explosion has put severe strain on the already over loaded system. It has aggravated many problems in almost all the spheres, like poverty, low per capita income, food availability, pressure on land, burden on education, medical care, housing, unemployment, underemployment, rapid depletion of natural resources and environment. It has prolonged poverty and misery of millions of people.

 Question purely of ‘Demand and Supply ‘- There is constant pressure on infrastructure and civic services. Electricity and water-supply, sewage and drainage systems are not able to meet the growing demands. Population explosion has aggravated many problems such as poverty, low per capita income, food availability, pressure on land, burden on education, medical care, housing, unemployment, underemployment, rapid depletion of natural resources, etc.

Attention diverted from solving the basic issues to grab political power – One of the reason for failure to check population growth is that in electoral politics numerical strength of a section of society assumes great importance. Realising the worth of family planning, educated persons have started having small families. However, the population of illiterate, ignorant and superstitious masses is continuously increasing. They do not have much faith in following family planning measures. For them, more the number, better it is.

More stress on empowerment rather than on enlightenment – In the present atmosphere of power-politics, the focus of both, the people and government authorities is on empowerment and not on enlightenment. The whole history of twentieth century is full of the concerns and efforts to uplift the underclass or to benefit marginalized sections of society.  The main issue after the independence was that of ‘Roti (enough food for everyone), Kapda (clothes) aur Makaan (place to live) ‘.

The fight started for land, better medical facilities, food, employment/jobs, education and other opportunities to ensure security, progress and social status. Later on the fight has moved from the margins to center stage of politics and aimed to provide them a wider base in the power structure of a nation.

Family planning plans already being initiated since 1050, but with no result – The government has initiated a number of well-meaning projects and programs to control the population explosion. However, they could not succeed to yield the desired results. Realizing an urgent need to control the population, the Indian Government launched Family Planning Programs right through its first five-year Plan (1951`-56).  However, the population of India has continuously grown, un-checked. It could not get any success on this issue. Countries like Indonesia, Thailand, South Korea etc. which took inspiration from India and started similar programs, much later than India, have already stabilized their population growth.

Population growth responsible for changing demographic balance – The rapid population growth has changed the demographic balance. A huge social churning is going on the margins of the society. It is leading to distress migration within country as well as abroad.

Formation of Pressure groups to pursue sectional interests – During 20thbcentury many pressure groups have emerged all over India to put pressure on government to accept their demands/proposals. Some caste-groups have become very powerful either on the basis of their numerical strength or networking with other castes living in other villages and towns. Most of them are listed officially under the category of SC (Scheduled Castes), ST (Scheduled tribes), OBC (Other Backward Castes} or Non-SC/ST/OBC upper castes.

Negligible population growth till 1921 – The year 1921 is referred to as the year of the great divide. Before 1921, the population growth was almost negligible and balanced, because of high death rate due to lack of medical facilities, famines, epidemics and other natural calamities.  However, after 1921, there has been a rapid increase in population due to developed medical science, relatively slow death rate, immigration and control over natural calamities. The trends in population growth can be seen from the table given below: –

Population Growth rate since 1921

Year Period Population in Millions Birth rate Death rate Average Growth rate  
1901 240.0
1921 1911-21 259.9 49.0 49.0 0.30
1951 1941-51 361.1 47.0 37.0 1.26
1961 1951-61 439.2 44.0 26.0 1.98
1971 1961-71 548.2 42.0 20.0 2.20
1981 1971-81 683.3 31.0 15.0 2.25
1991 1981-89 844.3 30.9 10.2 2.11

Over last two decades Indian population has grown enormously. In 2001 India’s population was 102.9 crore, in 2004 108 crore, in 2009 116 crore and expected to be 124 crore by 2020. (Source: Census Reports of respective years)

Unbalanced population growth in addition to rapid population Growth – The present problem is not only of rapid population growth, but also of an unbalanced population growth. Level of education and income has a definite impact on population growth. There seems to be a correlation between the birth rate and literacy. Higher the levels of education lower the birth rate and vice verse. The population growth has been contained amongst educated class. But the number of poor, illiterate and unproductive hands is continuously increasing.

Trend of increase in the numerical strength of SC/ST and OBC population – It is observed that over decades population of SCs, STs and OBCs has been continuously growing. There appears to be no reason for them to control their population. The protective policies, preferences and allowances under various Welfare Schemes seem to work as incentive for not adopting  family planning measures. Rather they are encouraged to increase their numerical strength for increasing their influence and role in electoral politics.

According to 1991 Census, while the total population in the country, excluding Assam and J&K, grew by 23.79%, it was 30.90% in the case of SC, 25.67% in the case of ST and 22.11% in the case of non-SCT.

Region-wise growth of different sections of society – Region-wise, highest growth rate has been recorded by SC population in Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Manipur, Meghalaya Mizoram, Orissa and W Bengal. This is followed by ST, followed by Non SC/ST population. In Gujarat, Rajasthan, Tripura, Dadar and Nagar Haveli, ST population followed by SC, followed by NON SC/ST population has recorded highest growth rate. In Goa, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Sikkim, Tamil Nadu and Daman and Diu, the growth rate is highest among SC population, followed by Non SC/ST, followed by ST population. In Kerala, highest growth rate is among ST population followed by Non SC/ST and then SC population. In Arunachal Pradesh, Bihar and UP the growth rate is highest among Non SC/ST followed by SC and then ST population. The Non – SC/ST growth rate in most populous states like UP and Bihar appears to be mainly due to rapid rise in the population of OBC people.

Data on Non SC/ST and OBCs Population – Though, as per government’s census policy, no published data is available about Backward Class’s population growth, the 1951 Census authorities gave to the First Backward Class Commission, two sets of figures in respect of Backward class population. These were 678.39 lakhs (18.9%) and the other estimated at 20.5% of the total population. In 1956, the Commission raised it to 1135.10 lakhs (31.8%). The Mandal Commission, in 1980, further raised it to 52%. The increase in its number is both due to inclusion of additional castes in the backward list as also due to increase in the birth rate among them. The unbalanced growth is more pronounced in the case of Muslims. The 1991 census reports an increase from 11% in 1951 to 13% in 1990, in respect of Muslim population.

The growth of Muslims is higher than any other religious group. The recorded growth in Muslim population shows an increase of 32.78% as against 22.78% in the Hindu population. This increase is again due to increase in birth rate as well as migration.

Close relation between women literacy and population growth – Women literacy has led to lower birth rate as well as lower infant mortality rate. For example, in Kerala, having cent percent literacy, the birth rate is much lower than UP, Bihar or Rajasthan, where the literacy rate is lower, and the population of agrarian community and poor people is increasing unchecked. They suffer from illiteracy, superstitions, desire of male child, high mortality rate among children, or lack of awareness. They do not consider children as a problem, but an asset and insurance for old age.

Conclusion – Though percent-wise, unbalanced growth of various sections does not seem much percentwise, but in absolute number, it is alarming. Tough competition between different sections for growth has created a gulf between different sections of society, each one pursuing its sectional interests. It gives rise to new equations in power echelons. The wider the gulf, larger the problem for the Government The welfare schemes for such a large population puts an extra economic burden on government.

The problem can not be sorted out by coercive methods. Literacy helps in bringing down fertility substantially among all the sections. People especially poor and marginalized should be encouraged to have a small but happy and healthy family by choice. Attention needs to be paid the problems like high numbers of maternal and infant deaths, by improving the quality of health services, meeting un-met needs of family planning services and linking population programmes with reasonable incentives as well as disincentives for having a large family.

May 14, 2019 Posted by | General | Leave a comment

Ambedkar, ‘Father/Maker of the Constitution of India’?

 “ Without equality, liberty would produce the supremacy of the few over the many. Equality without liberty would kill individual initiative. Without fraternity, liberty would produce the supremacy of the few over the many.“ Ambedkar

Introduction –Baba Sahib Ambedkar was a genius.  He was basically a humanist. He was academically a highly qualified and very well educated person. Many surviving old-timers feel that present day politicians over -estimate the role of Ambedkar in making of the constitution. Ambedkar himself considered idolization as an act leading to destruction. But somehow, at present, politicians idolize him by calling him “The Father/Maker of Indian Constitution” and  Rescuer of Dalits. The try to ignore the contribution of other national leaders and intellectuals, lawyers of that time like Dr. Rajendra Prasad, Pt. Nehru and Sardar Patel and many others.

It is unfortunate, not to understand Dr Ambedkar correctly – It is unfortunate that instead of remembering Ambedkar as a thinker, both his followers and critics could neither understand or analyse his thoughts about social justice, inclusive society, women’s empowerment, federalism and economy in right perspective. .Ambedkar dreamt of an inclusive society, where everybody could live in harmony.

Vested interests of present day politicians – Present day politicians are not telling correctly about his visions/teachings/messages without bias to present youth and also to coming generation. Both his followers as well as critics tell only half-truths to the people and coming generations. They interpret Ambedkar’s teachings, the way that  suits/benefits them. By declaring themselves the followers of Ambedkar, they try to convince the poor that only they are their true well-wishers. In the name of Ambedkar, they can create Dalit vote-bank in their favour and grab political power.

Political leaders of 21st century ignore the ground realities and changes that has  happened socially, economically and politically in the position of Dalit community during 20th and 21st centuries.  

Path to serve a double purpose, shown by British rulers– While laying down the foundation of some democratic institutions and policies, the British rulers taught well the politicians of Independent India as  how
development measures could serve a double purpose – get credit of amelioration and protection of poor masses as well as keep a balance of power through distributing the fruits of development on caste/communal basis. And also as to how policies of great scope can be used for serving their own vested interests. The present day politicians have become experts now to use political systems for pacifying the poor masses, create vote-banks, win elections and get hold on political power. (Quoted from “Policy of Divide And Rule India – Past and Present’, from website: latasinha.wordpress.com)

Part I

About Dr Ambedkar – It is said that during his life-time, Dr Ambedkar, had recognition as an intellectual, having his own philosophy and interpretations. But he lacked leadership qualities and mass appeal.

Ambedkar’s followers portray him as a sufferer of caste system. They say  that during his life time Ambedkar had suffered a lot as a political leader because he belonged to Mahar community of Maharashtra. It put obstacles in furthering his social status, educational and political career. It is not wholly correct.

Life is not a bed of roses for any human being. Everyone has to struggle in life to achieve one’s goals and face ups and downs. So did Dr Ambedkar. He rose up to the top everywhere, because of his hard work, determination, intelligence and vision.

Ambedkar’s childhood – Being a son of an army personnel, his childhood was safe and secure.  The Father and grandfather of Dr Ambedkar, were the employees of the British Army working as SM Sahib, when he was a child. The position of SM sahib is very influential within a Unit of Indian Army. It had  ensured a good education and respectable social life for him, while living in army campus.

Ambedkar’s student life – Dr Ambedkar was fortunate to get best possible education at the time when literacy rate in Bombay was 11.6% (M) and 0.9% (F). During his student life,  he received the best possible education available either within India or abroad. After passing Matriculation examination from Bombay, Ambedkar continued his further studies in prestigious Elphinstone High School and Elphinstone College. Maharaja Gaekwad of Baroda, Bhimrao (‘Rao’ is added to names in Maharashtra as a sign of respect) had given him a monthly scholarship to do his graduation. In 1912, he graduated in Political Science and Economics from Bombay University and got a job in Baroda.

Again he was lucky to get admission for further studies in the world-famous elite University of Columbia, New York. In 1913, Maharaja of Baroda helped him and awarded scholarship to Bhimrao Ambedkar to complete his studies there. It was with a condition that he would serve Baroda state for ten years on finishing his studies.

The freedom and equality he experienced in America made a very strong impression on Bhimrao. There he attained a degree in Master of Arts and a Doctorate in Philosophy from Columbia University in 1916 for his thesis “National Dividend for India: A Historical and Analytical Study.” Maharaja of Baroda appointed Dr Ambedkar as his political secretary.

In 1917 Bhimrao Ambedkar returned to Bombay. In 1918, he became a lecturer at Sydenham College in Bombay. There, he got the reputation as a brilliant teacher and scholar. In 1920, after accumulating sufficient funds, Ambedkar went back to London to complete his studies in Economics at LSE. He also enrolled to study as a Barrister at Gray’s Inn and became a barrister-at- law. In 1923, Bhimrao returned to India with a Doctorate in Economics from the LSE – he was perhaps the first Indian to have a Doctorate from this world-famous institution.

Ambedkar’s political career – He got recognition as a powerful leader untouchable community during Imperial rule in India. After Independence, he was recognized as a national leader, influential orator and an expert in legal matters. He was selected as the Chairman of Drafting Committee of Constituent Assembly of Independent India.  He was nominated as the first Law Minister of Independent India.

Before Independence

With the help of Shahu Maharaj of Kolhapur, he started a fortnightly newspaper, the “Mooknayak” (Dumb Hero) on January 31, 1920. That was the start of his political career.

After coming back to India, in July 1924, Dr Ambedkar was well equipped to be a leader of the Dalit community. He founded the Bahishkrit Hitkaraini Sabha (Outcastes Welfare Association). The aim of the Sabha was to uplift the downtrodden socially and politically and bring them back to the mainstream of the Indian society.

In 1930, when a Round Table Conference was held by the British Government in London to decide the future of India, Babasaheb represented the ‘untouchables’. He was very clear about the objective of his political career that Attempt to uplift my community rather than to win Swaraj for the nation is my goal.” As between the country and myself, the country will have precedence, as between the country and the depressed classes, the depressed classes will have precedence.”

Earlier he said that  Depressed Classes of India would also join in the demand for replacing the British Government by a Government of the people and by the people. “Our wrongs have remained as open sores and have not been righted although 150 years of British rule have rolled away. Of what good is such a Government to anybody?” Gandhiji appreciated that.

But later on, he made the controversial decision to co-operate with the all-British Simon Commission. He attended Simon Commission’s debates as a representative of depressed classes during. When Congress party decided to boycott the Commission and drafted its own version of a constitution for free India, he attended all the three Round Table Conferences in London and forcefully argued for the welfare of the “untouchables”.

He said very clearly, I will leave no doubt in the minds of the people of this country that I have another loyalty, … .. the loyalty is to the community of the untouchables; in which I am born, to which I belong…. Whenever there is any conflict of interests between the country and the untouchables, so far as I am concerned, the untouchable interests will take precedence over the interests of the country. I am not going to support a tyranny of the majority, simply because it happens to speak in the name of the country.”

He succeeded in getting a separate electorate for the depressed classes under Ramsay McDonald ‘Communal Award’. The famous Poona Pact replaced the separate electorate demand with special concessions like reserved seats in the regional legislative assemblies and Central Council of States.

Dr. B.R. Ambedkar set up the “Independent Labor Party” in August 1936 to contest the elections in the Bombay province. He and many candidates of his party were elected to the Bombay Legislative Assembly.

In 1937, a Bill was introduced to abolish the “khoti” system of land tenure in the Konkan region, the serfdom of agricultural tenants and the Mahar “watan” system of working for the Government as slaves. A clause of an agrarian bill referred to the depressed classes as “Harijans,” or people of God. Bhimrao was strongly opposed to this title for the untouchables. But the Indian National Congress succeeded in introducing the term Harijan.

During the Second World War, Babasaheb was appointed Labour Minister by the Viceroy. The All-India Scheduled Castes Federation was formed in 1942 to gather all ‘untouchables’ into a united political party.

Ambedkar role in politics after Independence

In 1947, Dr Ambedkar was elected as a Member of the Constituent Assembly from Bengal. The Constituent Assembly made him chairman of the committee appointed to draft the constitution for the world’s largest democracy. He became the First Law Minister of Independent India in Nehru’s cabinet.

In October 1948, Dr. Ambedkar submitted the Hindu Code Bill to the Constituent Assembly in an attempt to codify the Hindu law. The Bill caused great divisions even in the Congress party. Consideration for the bill was postponed to September 1951. When the Bill was taken up it was truncated. A dejected Ambedkar relinquished his position as Law Minister.

Ambedkar as a visionary thinker  – Ambedkar was a man of legal acumen, untiring industry, consummate skill and firmness, tempered with modernization. He dreamt of inclusive society, where everybody could live peacefully and harmoniously. Following are some of his ideas on different issues –

He could visualize difficulties, after independence, India as a nation could face in future by saying, “On 26th January 1950, we are going to enter into a life of contradictions. In politics we will have equality, and in social and economic life we will have inequality. …. If our social and economic structure continues to deny the principle of one man one value how long shall we continue to live this life of contradictions? How long shall we continue to deny equality in our social and economic life?” He warned the nation at that time ” We must remove this contradiction at the earliest possible moment or else those who suffer from inequality will blow up the structure of political democracy, which this assembly has so laboriously built up.

Believed in Cultural unity of India – Ambedkar believed in India’s cultural unity and the need for the political unification of India based on that spiritual-cultural basis. He wanted to annihilate caste system not by revenge, hatred and violence, but by rethinking, reason and reformation. He, therefore, taught untouchables To organize, educate and agitate with an aim to finishing caste prejudices, the arrogance, and the Holier than thou’ attitude of Brahmins. He wanted his people to improve their condition by education, enlightenment and enterprise not by animosity, anger and abuse. It is quite understandable that he did not hate Brahmins as he was happily married to a Brahmin lady. He had a great respect for Justice Ranade.

Rejected the linguistic basis of the nation-state – While arguing for linguistic states, Dr Ambedkar rejected the linguistic basis of the nation-state. He stated, “The formula one language, one State means that all people speaking one language should be brought under one Government irrespective of area, population and dissimilarity of conditions among the people speaking the language. This is the idea that underlies the agitation for a united Maharashtra with Bombay. This is an absurd formula and has no precedent for it. It must be abandoned. A people speaking one language may be cut up into many States as is done in other parts of the world.”

Ambedkar was a true Democrat –     “In an ideal society, there should be many interests consciously communicated and shared.”.. “Democracy is not merely a form of Government. It is primarily a mode of associated living, of conjoint communicated experience. It is essentially an attitude of respect and reverence towards fellow men. E.V. Ramaswamy, Periyar said that, “in a nation with different languages, religions, and castes with low literacy democracy cannot in any way bring any progress.” But Dr. Ambedkar believed that “Social democracy means a way of life, which recognizes liberty, equality and fraternity as the principle of life.” Dr Ambedkar strongly supported universal suffrage and thought ‘the exercise of vote was itself an education’.

Advised to make political democracy, a social democracy –      Ambedkar believed Where a majority of population is denied its share in actual power, there exists no democracy.Ambedkar had said that “We must make our political democracy a social democracy as well. Political democracy cannot last unless there lies at the base of it social democracy. What does social democracy mean? It means a way of life which recognizes liberty, equality and fraternity as the principles of life.”

Turned the wheel of law towards social justice –  He turned the wheel of law towards social justice for all. Dr. Ambedkar stated that “Social democracy means a way of life, which recognizes liberty, equality and fraternity as the principle of life.” Ambedkar firmly believed that “ Without equality, liberty would produce the supremacy of the few over the many. Equality without liberty would kill individual initiative. Without fraternity, liberty would produce the supremacy of the few over the many”.

Ambedkar did not agree with Periyar’s Aryan race theory and racial interpretation of Indian society. He believed that All Indians are one people.  “Fraternity means a sense of common brotherhood of all Indians-if Indians being one people. It is the principle which gives unity and solidarity to social life.”

“If anthropometry is a science which can be depended upon to determine the race of a people…(then its) measurements establish that the Brahmins and the Untouchables belong to the same race. From this it follows that if the Brahmins are Aryans the Untouchables are also Aryans. If the Brahmins are Dravidians, the Untouchables are also Dravidians….“Faith in Indic values rather than European roots – While calling for the destruction of Smrithi and Sruthi based religion, Dr Ambedkar also specifically stated that – “For such religious principles as will be in consonance with Liberty, Equality and Fraternity, it may not be necessary for you to borrow from foreign sources, and that you could draw for such principles on the Upanishads.” Hindus should adapt their religion to modern situation transforming it into a religion of liberty, equality and fraternity based on the principles present in Upanishads. He always considered these important values as having Indic rather than European roots.

Frustrated with discriminatory nature of Hinduism –  Later on, Ambedkar got fed-up with rigid and discriminatory practices of Hinduism. He regarded caste system as great obstacles to Hindu Unity”. In 1935 at Yeola, for the first time Babasaheb advised his people to convert from Hinduism, because Hindu society treated them as ‘untouchables’.  He used to say, My self-respect cannot assimilate Hinduism…The religion that does not recognize you as human beings…is not worthy to be called a religion.He said, “Hinduism has given us only insults, misery, and humiliation.”…“We have not been able to secure the barest of human rights… I am born a Hindu. I couldn’t help it, but I solemnly assure you that I will not die a Hindu.” About a month before his death (December 6, 1956), on 0ctober 14, 1956 he himself embraced Buddhism along with many of his followers.

Ambedkar’s mindset while attending Simon Commission –  – Ambedkar thought Attempt to uplift my community rather than to win Swaraj for the nation is my goal.” … “I will leave no doubt in the minds of the people of this country that I have another loyalty, to which I am bound and which I can never for-sake. The loyalty is to the community of the untouchables; in which I am born, to which I belong and which I hope, I shall never desert. And I say this…. as strongly as I possibly can that whenever there is any conflict of interests between the country and the untouchables, so far as I am concerned, the untouchable interests will take precedence over the interests of the country. I am not going to support a tyranny of the majority, simply because it happens to speak in the name of the country…. As between the country and myself, the country will have precedence, as between the country and the depressed classes, the depressed classes will have precedence.

Dr Ambedkar, while representing untouchables in Simon Commission proceedings, demanded separate electorate, reserved seats for untouchables in legislative bodies, special educational concessions, and recruitment to Government posts on preferential basis, laws against discrimination and a special department to look after the welfare of untouchables. These demands were readily accepted through Communal Award of 1932.

Gandhiji along with other National leaders regarded it as the Unkindest cut of all, which would create a permanent split in Hindu Society, perpetuate casteism and make impossible the assimilation of untouchables in mainstream. Dr. Rajendra Prasad said, The principle of dividing population into communal groups, which had been adopted in the Minto Morely Reforms, had been considerably extended, even beyond what had been done by Montagu Chelmsford Reforms…. “The electorate in 1919 was broken up into ten parts, now it is fragmented into seventeen unequal bits… Giving separate representations to Schedule Castes further weakened Hindu community. Division on the basis of religion, occupation and service were made. The British introduced every possible cross division.iii Lal Bahadur Shastri denounced the whole happenings As a shameless episode of the National History of the Country.

Ambedkar on Reservation Policy – During Constituent Assembly Debates, Ambedkar advocated the policy of Reservation. According to Ambedkar, Reservation is not aimed at economic uplift or alleviation of poverty. But it is a provision made for the entry of certain castes, which have so far been outside the administration. Hence the need for their adequate representation in State Services. Adequacy should be judged not by their presence in the lower rung of the services, but their entry into the higher echelons, the corridor of power.

Later in life, as a socialist and humanist, who had the long-range interests of untouchables at heart, had developed doubts about advisability and efficacy of Reservation Policy. Pr. Balraj Madhok mentioned that later in life, Ambedkar realized that SC and ST would not be able to stand on their own feet, so long as they depended on the crutches of Reservation. Reservation, Dr. Ambedkar said, Encouraged backwardness, inefficiency and lack of competitive merit among them barring a few stray cases. Therefore, when he launched the Republican Party of India, he incorporated this view in the Manifesto, according to which the party was committed itself to abolish all kinds of Reservations based on caste and birth.

 Chowdhary Charan Singh also said, Ambedkar himself declared in a speech sometime before his death that the provision of Reservation in service should not extend beyond 1960/61.

During his last days, Ambedkar himself realized that I have not been able to fulfil my mission. I wanted to do more for the SC people and to see them as governing class in my life. I could have succeeded, but my own people have deceived me. Whatever I have been able to do, is being enjoyed by the educated people and they are the worst fools. I now want to divert my attention to the uneducated masses, but life seems short. The second worry to my mind is that I wanted that somebody from the SC should come forward and take the responsibilities from me. There, however, seems none to shoulder such a heavy responsibility. All are selfish and quarrel themselves on petty matters.

Wrath of a section of intelligentsia – Ambedkar has earned the wrath of a section of intelligentsia and political leaders during pre-Independence period because: –

  • He, himself, was a beneficiary of social reform movement in Maharashtra led by nationalist leaders and reformers mostly belonging to caste Hindus. But in his speeches, he regarded caste Hindus as his enemy.
  • The intelligentsia regarded his move for separate electorates for untouchable as an act to split Hindu society permanently. It is alleged that he could not rise beyond his caste identity.
  • He was criticized for his association with Simon Commission proceedings, First Round Table Conference and Viceroy’s Executive Committee as member, with an intention to cooperate with British rulers, at the time, when national leaders were fighting British rulers for Independence;
  • His anguish against Hinduism and caste system and his act of burning Hindu-script, which he regarded as great obstacles to the Indian unity, annoyed many.
  • Many people did not like his confrontation with Gandhi. Ambedkar, like Jinnah was against Hindu majority rule, Congress Party and Gandhi. Both of them reacted against the above three in similar manner most of the times and preferred continuance of British rule.

Part II

Dr Ambedkar, ‘Father/maker’ of the Constitution of India? – There is no doubt that Dr Ambedkar’s was as an undisputed leader of untouchables and the Doyen of Dalit politics. His emergence on the political scene provided with the required leadership and needed stimulus to untouchable movement during late twenties and early thirties. But since then times have changed. In contemporary politics,  there has been a massive shift politically in favour of Dalits and backward communities. Now Dalits and OBCs have emerged as a powerful vote-bank and king-makers. Different political parties, pressure groups and political leaders are desperately trying  to win the favour of different sections of society, capture their vote-banks and thus create their own separate empires in national politics. All political parties woo Dalits community (comprising of about 19% of Indian population) desperately. They praise Ambedkar as the ‘Father/maker of Indian Constitution’ especially to get Dalit votes. The trend of putting Ambedkar’s name at the top as the maker of the constitution was at the peak during 1980s and1990s.

After the disappearance  of Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi from political scenario in 80’s, no single political party could get clear majority in general elections to form a stable government. The trend of forming coalition government was started. There was an atmosphere of political instability. Different political parties were trying hard to get a clear majority. They have learnt it well from British rulers, how to play their cards to enlarge their vote-banks, by using three powerful democratic weapons i.e. Electoral politics, Census operations, education system Reservation Policy etc. From that time onwards, almost all political parties concentrated on pursuing sectional interests to get a clear majority by hook or crook. If unable to succeed in getting clear mandate, then they formed coalition governments. There also, to play the role of king-maker they were required to get capture enough votes.

Imperial rulers had set an example of how policies of great scope can be used for serving one’s own vested interests. Since then, political leaders, political parties and pressure groups follow the footsteps of British rulers. They have learnt well from British rulers, how to play their cards for their own advantage and enlarge their vote-banks. They generally use the three powerful democratic weapons i.e. Electoral politics, Census operations, and Reservation Policy to ‘divide’ the Indian masses  on caste and communal basis and grab political power. Day in and day out, they play with public emotions/sentiments/aspirations.  They tell people half-truths and make false promises during elections. They focus their attention and make efforts to serve sectional interests and enlarge its vote-bank, rather than thinking of the development of nation or betterment of the  society as a whole.

Almost all the political leaders, political parties and pressure groups try to be one up. To attract the attention and favour of  Dalit voters, they use Ambedkar’s name. There is a cut-throat competition between different political parties, who can glorify Ambedkar’s name more and convince Dalit voters that they, only they are the true followers of Dr Ambedkar and like him true well-wisher of Dalit community.

Inappropriate to single out Dr Ambedkar as father of the Constitution – There are many intellectuals, jurists, experts on Constitutional law and surviving knowledgeable old timers with wisdom, who believe that the credit of making the Constitution of India should not go to Ambedkar only. Pr. K.V. Rao, an expert of Constitutional Law, said, No doubt, Ambedkar, a man of legal acumen, untiring industry, consummate skill and firmness, tempered with modernization, made substantial contribution to the framing of the Constitution…My reading of the Constitution makes me feel that it is inappropriate to call Dr Ambedkar, the father of the Constitution. If any people are entitled to be called so, they are Nehru, Patel and Prasad , but I would like to call them the “Presiding Deities”, the sources of all the ideas of the Constitution, the real makers of the Constitution. I would like to attribute father-hood to them as well as to the members of the Drafting Committee in common, but I would not like to single out Dr Ambedkar for this honour.

Famous Historian Bipin Chandra and intelligentsia of those days observed that in the making of Indian Constitution, Pt. Nehru, Dr Rajendra Prasad and Sardar Patel played a very important role. Pt. Nehru spelt out the philosophy and basic features of the consti­tution as “the first task of this Assembly is to free India through a constitution, to feed the starving people, and to clothe the naked masses, and to give every Indian the fullest opportunity to develop himself according to his capacity”. Sardar Patel played the decisive role in bringing in the representatives of the erstwhile princely states into the Constituent Assembly, and how to run smoothly the administration of the newly created nation – India. Rajendra Prasad was appreciated for his simplicity, impartiality and dignity as President of the Assembly as well as first President of Independent India. Maulana Azad brought his formidable scholarship and philo­sophical mind to bear on many issues of grave importance”. Therefore, not only Ambedkar, but all these leaders jointly, should be called “The Father of Indian Constitution”.

Opinion of Critics  – There is a section of people which considers that Ambedkar was planted into Indian politics purposely by British rulers. During British rule, rulers laid down the foundation of some democratic institutions and policies like Electoral policy, Census operations, and Reservation Policy. They took full advantage of these weapons   to ‘divide and rule India’ for economic exploitation as long as possible. The suggestion of the Census Commission for 1911 Census, to exclude untouchables, comprising about 24% of Hindu population and 16% of the total population in 1908, from Hinduism, had made position of untouchables prominent in Indian political scene.

Part III

Making of the Constitution of India

Constituent Assembly – A Constituent Assembly was founded‎: ‎6 December 1946 under the Cabinet Mission Plan on 16 May 1946 to write the Constitution of India, which drafted the Constitution of India between the years 1946 to 1950. Its first session was convened on 9 December, 1946. The Constitution of India, became operative from 26 January, 1950.

Members of the Constituent Assembly – The Constitution of India was framed by a Constituent Assembly set up under the Cabinet Mission Plan of 1946. The Assembly consisted of 389 members representing provinces (292), states (93), the Chief Commissioner Provinces (3) and Baluchistan (1). They were elected by the provincial assemblies by a single, transferable-vote system of proportional representation.  Initially, its total membership was kept 389. After partition, the Constituent Assembly of India had 299 representatives, from provinces and 70 from princely states. Prominent National leaders like Nehru, Patel, Rajendra Prasad and Maulana took extra care to make it a wide representative body. The Assembly had included  as many as possible, well known, eminent political leaders, lawyers, academicians and other eminent/brilliant persons from nearly all walks of life including some of those, who opposed the Congress like Dr Syama Prasad Mookerjee. B.R. Ambedkar, Sanjay Phakey, Nehru, Raj Gopalachari, Rajendra Prasad, Sardar Patel, Ganesh Mavalanker, Kanaiya Lal Maneklal Munshi, , Sandipkumar Patel, Abul Kalam Azad, Shyama Prasad Mukherji, Nalini Ranjan Ghosh, and Balwantrai Mehta were key figures in the assembly, It had over 30 representatives of the Scheduled Classes. Frank Anthony represented Anglo-Indian community.Parsis were represented by H. P. Modi. Bahadur Gurung represented the Gorkha community. Judges, such as Alladi Krishnaswamy Iyer, B. N. Rau, etc. were members of the assembly. Female members included Sarojini Naido, Hansa Mehta, Durgabai Deshmukh, Amrit Kaur and Vijay Laxmi Pandit.

Sachchidananda Sinha‎, ‎INC, was the Temporary Chairman‎ and Vice President‎ was ‎Harendra Coomar Mookerjeeof the Constituent Assembly of Independent India. On 11 December, Dr. Rajendra Prasad was elected as the first permanent Chairman.

Number of Committees formed in the Constituent Assembly – The Constituent Assembly set up 13 committees on different issues for framing the constitution. One prepared material and proposals for the constitution under the chairmanship of Pt Nehru.  Another was formed to work on integration of about 650 princely state under the chairmanship of Sardar Patel etc. Harendra Coomar Mookerjee, a Christian assembly vice-president, chaired the minorities committee and represented non-Anglo-Indian Christians.

In his letter of 30th June 1947, Dr Rajendra Prasad, President of the Constituent Assembly, had requested BG Kher, the then Prime Minister of Bombay, to elect Dr Ambedkar immediately. Incidentally, the Congress had earlier opposed tooth and nail, Ambedkar’s entry into the Constituent Assembly. Later on, the Congress party had to accept.

Drafting Committee of the Constituent Assembly – The Drafting Committee of Constituent Assembly was headed by Dr Ambedkar. All Seven members, Sir BN Rau,  KM Munshi, N Gopalaswamy Ayyangar, Alladi Krishnaswamy Ayyar, Syed Mohammad Saadullah, N Madhava Rau. were legal experts or administrative luminaries.

Drafting of Constitution required patience, negotiating skills and a flexibility to accommodate diverse opinions. Legislation and solidification of freedom would not be easy without the services of Dr Ambedkar.  Ambedkar was chosen as the head of Drafting Committee, because he had already been in various sub-committees like the Advisory Committee, Fundamental Rights Sub-Committee and Minorities Sub-Committee of the Constitutional Assembly. He submitted a memorandum with very valid suggestions to the Fundamental Rights Sub-Committee. This memorandum was later published for wider circulation under the title ‘States and minorities, their rights and how to secure them in the Constitution of free India’. 

In his last speech In the Constituent Assembly, Ambedkar appealed  to the Nation,“On the 26th of January 1950, we are going to enter into a life of contradictions. In politics we will have equality and in social and economic life we will have inequality. In politics we will be recognizing the principle of one man one vote and one vote one value. In our social and economic life, we shall, by reason of our social and economic structure, continue to deny the principle of one man one value. How long shall we continue to live this life of contradictions? How long shall we continue to deny equality in our social and economic life? If we continue to deny it for long, we will do so only by putting our political democracy in peril. We must remove this contradiction at the earliest possible moment or else those who suffer from inequality will blow up the structure of political democracy which is Assembly has to laboriously built up.”

The basic structure of the Constitution – The constitution replaced the Government of India Act, 1935, as the country’s fundamental governing document, and the Dominion of India became the Republic of India. Its basic structure was based on the Government of India Act of 1935. Many improvements into it were made by following the good features of other consti­tutions like from US constitution, Irish constitution, the time tested conventions of the British Parliament etc.

Biggest brain behind drafting the Indian ConstitutionThere is no doubt that Drafting Committee of the  Indian Constitution Constituent Assembly was headed by Dr Ambedkar. But it is also well-known then, that the real place of work of making the Indian Constitution was the Congress Working Committee, which took all the important decisions. Its prominent members were leaders like Nehru, Patel, Rajendra Prasad (Chairperson of Constituent Assembly) or Constitutional jurists like Alladi Krishna Swami Ayyar, K.M. Munshi, G B Pant and others. It was frankly admitted by Dr Ambedkar himself  along with Mahavir Tyagi, one of the members of Drafting Committee that their hands were tied and they were only carrying out the wishes of the majority.

Some people say that the biggest brain behind drafting the Constitution was that of Mr BN Rau. He was not a member of the Constitutional Assembly but was appointed as the adviser to the Constituent Assembly. He did the most job and worked out the democratic framework of the Constitution. He was the most important expert who did the primary thinking and writing. But he has been religiously ignored by frontline politicians. The political bosses of today have not given the due space to the contributions of both Menon or Rau in the history of making of  independent India. Most of them do not even know who he was?

Rau is the principal framer of the Indian Constitution; others only did the cosmetic jobs here and there. He single handedly prepared the initial draft by February 1948, to be debated, revised and finally adopted by the team on November 26, 1949. The Drafting Committee, under the chairmanship of Ambedkar, declared that the ‘Draft Constitution’ was being scrutinized thoroughly by adviser BN Rau for making it one of the world’s best Constitutions. President of Constituent Assembly Rajendra Prasad, just before signing the Constitution on November 26, 1949, thanked Rau profusely for having “worked honorarily” assisting the assembly not only with his knowledge and erudition but enabling the other members to perform their duties with thorough prudence.

Conclusion – It is unfortunate that Followers of Dr Ambedkar appear not to have done justice to him. They have misunderstood Ambedkar. They have used his name ruthlessly for their selfish motive and political ends. They idolized Ambedkar as Rescuer of Dalits. The trend in 90s of idolization of Ambedkar or attempts of Ambedkarisation of the nation exposed the intentions of his followers, especially when he himself considered idolization as an act leading to destruction. Today agitated Dalit leaders are, but their agitation is far away from being a positive or constructive one. It has turned into a negative militancy against caste Hindu.

Ambedkar rose as the political icon. His life is a classic and most inspiring example of what a man can achieve through hard work, knowledge, vision and clear-cut priorities. He himself struggled and worked hard to achieve his objectives and success. He gave a required boost to Dalit movement to move forward at  right time. He played a significant role in national politics and as the Chairman of drafting Committee of Indian Constitution.

Ambedkarites seems to have been proved shallow in understanding his aim for social transformation with SC’s being the base. They do not seem to have understood Ambedkar in right perspective. He wanted to annihilate caste system not by revenge, hatred and violence, but by rethinking, reason and reformation. He, therefore, taught untouchables To organize, educate and agitate with an aim to finishing caste prejudices, the arrogance, and the Holier than thou’ attitude of Brahmins. He wanted his people to improve their condition by education, enlightenment and enterprise not by animosity, anger and abuse. It is quite understandable that he did not hate Brahmins as he was happily married to a Brahmin lady. He had a great respect for Justice Ranade.

Present day political leaders try to ignore the realities of the India of twenty-first century – a massive shift has already taken place in favour of Dalits socially, politically and economically all-over India.

May 13, 2019 Posted by | General | | Leave a comment

Democracy -Past and present

Politics without principle is a sin.

“What is the difference between a priest, a lawyer and a politician? A priest wouldn’t tell a lie, a lawyer couldn’t tell the truth and a politician doesn’t know the difference.” R K Laxman, “A vote for laughter

        “A good physician treats the disease; the great physician treats the patient who has disease.”           William Osler

“Don’t find faults, find remedies.” Henry Ford

Introduction – Democracy(rule of many) is far greater than any other form of government, be it Monarchy ( Rule of one), Aristocracy (rule of few) ot Dictatorship. According to Lincoln, “Democracy is the government of the people, for the people and by the people”. The word ‘democracy is derived from two ancient Greek words: demos (the people) and katos (strength). In a democracy political power is ultimately in the hands of the whole adult people. A democratic government may be Direct or Indirect.

Direct Democracy – In a direct democracy, people themselves legislate and execute them. In modern times, the most successful and long-term experience of it is Switzerland, where a host of ordinary policy questions are routinely put to the electorate, following a tradition dating to the 16th century. Earlier in city state, it was possible for people to rule themselves directly. In modern age, democratic government governs the nation through the representatives of the people.

Direct democracy depends on the following methods for its functioning –

  • Initiative – It is a method whereby a group of citizens can put a legislative proposal directly – may be to enact a new law, or to repeal an existing law or to amend it – for determination in referendum.
  • Referendum – It is a method of referring a question or set of questions to the electorate directly rather than allowing them to be settled by people’s representatives in the legislature.
  • Plebiscite – Plebiscites are referendums, a system for allowing the whole of the electorate to give their opinion on some political question.

Indirect Democracy  – Indirect rule by representatives of the majority of the electorate is known as indirect democracy. In this system, people vote for representatives. The main instrument of choosing the representatives is periodical elections. Political decision -making is done by this small number of people’s representatives,  elected by the whole electorate.

Representative Democracy is usually equated with Liberal Democracy which describes the political system which originated in the USA and Western Europe. It has subsequently been adopted by Third World countries. Indirect democratic regimes may be classified as either Presidential or Parliamentary systems.

Indirect democracies are based upon several interrelated principles:

  1. the existence of regular, free, fair elections based upon universal suffrage and secret ballots;
  2. the existence of competing political parties offering electoral choice;
  3. the existence of electoral laws supervised by an independent judiciary;
  4. freedom of speech and association ;
  5. freedom to stand as an election candidate;
  6. “reasonable” relationships between votes cast and representatives elected;
  7. availability of accurate unbiased political information.

A civil society is needed to strengthen Democracy. Democratic way of life. healthy democratic practices and systems can be developed created in disciplined atmosphere  only.

Diagnosis of the disease of electoral politics – Today, Democracy has become the most difficult form of government. It has been successful only in a very few nations that too in in developed countries.  In developing or underdeveloped democratic countries, one of the main reason of chaos is its electoral politics and vested interests of its political leaders. Democratic practices are at its lowest ebb these days. They have become very complicated. People in power echelons are becoming very insensitive in tolerating dissent views. They take  right decisions only after they have exhausted all other alternatives.

The major problem with this kind of democracy is that quite often it leads to negative electoral-politics, as voters do not have any choice in selecting the candidates. It is the job of rival political parties to select the candidates and woo the voters to vote for their prospective candidates.

No system of choosing the representatives of the people through elections can be fool-proof in any democratic nation. At present many ill-practices have developed in the electoral politics like –

  • A politician can fight elections from two seats, but a citizen can’t vote from two places.
  • One has to be a graduate to get a job in government at supervisory level (class III, II or class one job). But there is no educational qualification for a political leader for fighting an election. Even an illiterate politician can become a minister.
  • A politician can fight elections while in jail. No citizen can enter into the government service, or can continue in any government service, if he has ever been convicted and imprisoned in jail continuously for more than two-three days in a criminal case or case of financial irregularity  But a politician can occupy even a post of PM, CM or minister even after being in jail for criminal or economic crime several times.

It is a big problem at present, how to elect true representatives, who can serve the masses  honestly and sincerely. Electoral politics has led to slow development in the position of poor masses. It is a matter of great concern how to cure mal-practices developed in the electoral system, especially when the elections are not fought with fair objectives. People usually fight  elections to gain political power by hook or crook, and control the destiny of millions of people. It makes it easy for them to serve their own personal interest  or interests of their followers.

It has been seen that usually most of the elected representatives in legislatures do not understand what to legislate, how to lay down policies, because of the lack of understanding of real issues  and monitor its implementation properly. Executive lacks the ability to supervise the functioning of bureaucracy/execution of plans and policies. effectively and efficiently. Members of Opposition parties are more busy in criticizing all the time functioning of party in power with negative mindset and do not allow the government institution to function in public interest.

For winning the elections or creating votebanks for themselves, political leaders adopt ‘policy of divide and rule’.  They  shamelessly divide the electorate on the basis of their diverse identities and create numerous watertight compartments, appease different sections of society, give priority to sectional interests over national interest and thus woo the voters.. In such a situation how can government maintain law and order  in the country or function efficiently and effectively in a democratic state?

Till the people in power echelons understand the reasons, why electoral system has got derailed and think about the ways and means to remove the shortcomings, developed of present electoral process, neither the government would be able to treat the disease nor the patient. it will be difficult to elect deserving candidates to run the government. It is necessary to diagnose the disease correctly before working for its cure.

People wish to see in their political-leaders maturity, dynamism, positive approach to tackle problems, mannerism and unbiased grasp of the problems/needs of all communities and cultures.

India’s experiment on Democracy and electoral politics – When India got Independence from British rule in 1947, it chose democracy. Since then Democracy is the backbone of our country. The Constitution of India is founded on the principle that all voices should be heard. Institutions are established here for the benefit of nation and its citizens. The thinking that legislators can make any law, they want and impose it on people, or executive can execute in any manner, it likes, is absurd.

Historical Background

While laying down the foundation of democratic institutions in India, British Imperial rulers had very cleverly and diplomatically  served a double purpose – on one hand they got the credit for the amelioration of the Indian society. And on the other, they devised a unique method to distribute the political power, to keep balance of power in such a way that could prolong their rule in India and keep the natives busy in their in-fights.

Preparing grounds for electoral-politics The introduction of electoral politics, in the beginning of the 20th century gave rise to Power in numbers. Through modern education system, British imperialists created differences between different castes and communities, and developed a complex in Indian minds about their heritage and social values and systems.

Factors that led to electoral-politics in India – Following were the measures taken by the British rulers, promulgated in piece-meal and with due regard to the safety of British domination –

  1. Discrediting Indian values and systems –   First of all, Imperial British rulers had exaggerated the distortions developed into the system during almost 500 years of Muslim rule and 200 years of British  rule, after the decay of Hindu Raj around 8th century. Under British rule, many rulers, European teachers & philosophers, missionaries, and bureaucrats had purposely  blamed the Social-structure of India and held it responsible for poverty, misery,  deprivation and exploitation of millions of its people. They depicted the Indian culture and practices as discriminatory barbarous, uncivilized and its social system highly stratified”, where multiplicity of communities and their cultures were exploiting each other for their own advantage.” They carefully avoided telling the strong points of Indian philosophy, systems and social values.  .   
  2. Modern education system – Next step was Modern education system introduced by Macaulay. On one hand, Indians got access to the enlightened spirit of many liberal thinkers, like Locke, Mill, Rousseau, Voltaire, Spencer and Burke; and the knowledge about English, French, American revolutions, through modern education. It offered to Indian intelligentsia, the key to the treasures of scientific and democratic thought of Modern West. It opened up the doors of knowledge and widened the mental horizons of Indian intelligentsia. They attracted the attention of the minds of educated people, national leaders and reformers towards  rigid attitude, social evils and practices, which had developed in the system to preserve their Hindu identity under Muslim and British rule. On the other hand, a group of emerging political leaders, as well as of some intellectuals deeply influenced by Western thinking  doubted the efficacy of the sayings/teachings of Hindu epics/scriptures like Vedas, story of Ramayana-Mahabharata etc. They have developed a doubt/complex about its rationality.
  3. Census Operations – After consolidating its position, the British Government in India made an effort to know about the people, whom they want to rule and chalk out strategies for the colonial governance. British anthropologists worked very hard to collect data. For the first time, the Census operations drew the attention of the rulers, intelligentsia and public to the multiplicity of castes and sub-castes and diversity of Indian society. A systematic and modern population census, in its present form was conducted non synchronously between 1865 and 1872 in different parts of the country. This effort culminating in 1872 has been popularly labeled as the first population census of India. However, the first synchronous census in India was held in 1881.

The rulers exploited material/information  gathered through census operations, relating to social, demographic, linguistics, religious and cultural diversities of India. The knowledge of such diversity of Indian society and multiplicity of castes and sub-castes helped the rulers to instigate caste consciousness, caste animosities and make caste a tool in political, religious and cultural battles that Hindus fought among themselves from now on-wards without any sign of relief even as of today.

It changed the older system in a fundamental way, giving rigidity to social stratification and hierarchical ranking. It led to caste-ism in politics. Middleton, a Census Superintendent remarked, We pigeonholed everyone by caste and community. We deplore its effect on social and economic problems. But we are largely responsible for the system…Our land records and official documents have added iron-bonds to the old rigidity of caste…. The government’s act for labels and pigeon-holes had led to a crystallization of the caste system, which, except amongst the aristocratic caste, was really very fluid under indigenous rule.”

Earlier, the Hindu Society was classified into four Varnas embracing numerous castes and sub-castes within its fold.  Census operations divided it into five and created new unbridgeable compartments within Indian social structure. – Backward caste, forward caste (caste Hindus), untouchable or scheduled caste, scheduled tribes and minority.  Through legal process, they gave each one a new separate and distinct identity.

The British authorities knew well that, in the Hindu society, caste opinion and caste loyalties always remained a cohesive regulatory force and the easiest, quickest and the most powerful mode to communicate.  They were also aware of the influence of Brahmins over the whole society.

While introducing electoral politics in India, the British successfully divided the Hindu population into two uncompromising groups viz. `We the Non-Brahmins and `They the Brahmins and caste Hindus. They instilled deeply in the minds of millions of unlettered Hindus, venom against caste-system and the Brahmin community.  The introduction of electoral politics, in the beginning of the 20th century gave rise to Power in numbers. It gave political leverage to the non-Brahmin castes on account of their numerical strength. Since then, their influence in politics has been growing continuously.

Leverage to Non-Brahmins in politics – Pigeonholing everyone by caste and community gave political leverage to the non-Brahmin castes on account of their numerical strength. Infights amongst natives among various castes and communities started.

Hindu population was divided into two uncompromising groups viz. `We the Non-Brahmins and `They the Brahmins and caste Hindus. The submerged sections of society developed in their hearts venom against each other. They feared that Hindu Bramins’/caste-Hindus’ majority in government would dominate them.

Leaders of non-Brahmin community united numerous endogamous jatis into region wise alliances, increased in size and emerged as powerful pressure groups in different regions. Modern means of transport and communications shortened distances and made mobility faster and easier, Every thing together had destroyed the local character of governance. Small local castes, confined within a small area earlier, grew in size, embracing a much wider area than before.

Earlier non-Brahmin movements had economic and social thrusts demanding education and land for backwards and freedom from caste rigidities. Till the end of the 19th century, Backward castes resisted the hold of Brahmins in the spheres of land, wealth, and education.

Later on,  some non-Brahmin political leaders demanded a share in the power-structure, special attention and intervention of the British government in electoral politics and government jobs, and thus improve the position of Backwards. Non-Brahmins’ demand for a share in modern callings turned into a political movement. In the South and Bombay Presidency, the non-Brahmin leaders voiced forcefully against the domination of Brahmins in government jobs and other modern callings. They  demanded enough space in education and jobs in government. British had full sympathy with them.

Their demands were quickly accepted by the British. These demands gave birth to caste-politics in elections, creation of vote-banks vote-banks through protectionist and appeasement policies and quota system in education and government jobs. Non-Brahmins acquired considerable amount of political clout ever since the beginning of 20th century,. With the introduction of electoral politics,, their influence in politics continuously grew.

Start of General elections in India –  While introducing system of general elections in India, the British very diplomatically divided the Hindus along caste-lines. The first  General elections in the history of India was held in 1920 to elect members to the Imperial Legislative Council and the Provincial Councils. With it grew the importance of numbers. The beginning of the system of elections to elect the representatives of the people through adult franchise gave importance to Power in numbers. In the name of amelioration of the backward sections of society, the British government gave political leverage to the non-Brahmin castes on account of their numerical strength. Since then, their influence in politics has been growing continuously.

Justice Party in Bombay in 1917, and South Indian Liberation Federation in Madras in 1916, united the lower and intermediate castes.  In Maharashtra, Phule and Ambedkar challenged the influence of Brahmins and Marathas. In Tamil Nadu and other Southern States, lower and intermediate castes got united under the leadership of Periyar by fusing in them Dravida and Tamil identities and led anti Brahmins movement.  They regarded lower and middle castes as descendants of the original non- Aryans natives of India, who believed in egalitarian pattern of society.  Aryans conquered them and through caste system, Brahmins established their superiority over them.

In AP and Karnataka, intermediate peasant castes like Reddy, Kammas, Lingayats, Vokkaligas came forward against Brahmins.  In Kerala, caste identities became rallying points for class like party formation starting with Ezhawwas, at one time the most depressed of all communities.  In Gujarat, ground level consolidation of Dalits, Adivasis and minorities rose.

The leaders of Non-Brahmins like Mahatma Phule, Ambedkar or Gopal Ganesh vehemently criticized Hindu hierarchical structure, and regarded untouchability as an inevitable concomitant of caste system. Therefore, eradication of caste system became their major plank. They taught the lower castes to get united and work for abolition of caste system as it was responsible for treating them as lesser human beings. It engaged them to forced labor or unsavory jobs, imposing many restrictions on them, preventing them from joining the mainstream of the society; and the subjugating them with the help of the religion. They also attacked the hypocrisy of Brahminism and emphasized reforms and spread of education.

Being non-militant by nature and very small in number, comprising only 3% of the total population, the Brahmins in South yielded to the pressures of non-Brahmins without much resistance and moved out from there to other parts of the country, where non-Brahmin movement was either weak or non-existent.

“Importance in numbers in elections” – The suggestion of Census Commissioner to exclude untouchables from Hindu fold in the coming 1911 census immediately increased the importance of untouchables in political circle, in social circle, and in their own eyes too. Around 1909, the non-Brahmin Community, which resented the Brahmins hold in modern occupations, was divided into two Backwards and untouchables. For the first time, the lowest layer of Hindu Community was conceptualized under the name of ‘untouchabes’ in the political circles.

Together, all these measures led to electoral politics of vote-banks along caste and communal lines. Casteism and communalism, which was almost non-existent hitherto, established its firm roots in the political life of the country.

Steps taken by the government which inflamed electoral politics of Vote-banks before Independence –

  • Granting separate Muslim electorate through Government of India Act 1909,  (Minto Morley Reforms) brought the idea of communal electorate to the forefront. Granting special electorate to Muslims made the numbers important.
  • Around 1909, the non-Brahmin Community was divided into two – Backwards and Untouchables.  For the first time, the lowest strata of Hindu Community were conceptualized under the name of untouchables in the political circles.
  • In 1908, the untouchables comprised about 24% of the Hindu Population and 16% of the total population. The suggestion of Census Commission, to exclude untouchables from Hindu group, gave a new dimension to casteism in politics. The suggestion of Census Commissioner to exclude untouchables from Hindu fold, in the forthcoming 1911 census, immediately increased the importance of untouchables in political circle, in social circle, and in their own eyes too.
  • Such a move alerted national leaders. This was not acceptable to Hindu leaders at any cost. Their fear proved to be right  as the number of Hindus has fallen down continuously. The following chart, based on various censuses, establishes this fact: Hindu population was 73.3% in 1881, 72.3% in in 1891, 70.3% in 1901, 69.3% in 1911, 68.4 in 1921, 68.2 in 1931 and 65.9 in 1941.

In order to overcome the problem, the Hindu leaders gave top most priority to the abolition of untouchability. They interpreted Vedas liberally and said that purified Varna System expressed equality. The reformers pointed out that untouchability was neither an outcome of caste system nor an integral part of Hinduism, but an external impurity and sinful blot on Hinduism.  They were clear that segregation of lower castes in Hindu Society was not based on economic status or their incapability to do any intellectual work, but on cultural grounds – unclean habits, undisciplined  life style, speaking foul and abusive language etc.  They tried to improve the status of untouchables through Sanskritisation. The emphasis was on education, moral regeneration and philanthropic uplift.[ii]

Steps taken during the British rule

  • In 1918, Mysore Government denominated all communities, but Brahmins, as backward and gave the backwards special protection in the form of scholarship, admission in educational institutions, quota in jobs and other concessions and benefits.  Special Government officers were appointed to look after their welfare.  Madras and Bombay Presidencies followed their example.
  • Government of India Act, 1919, accorded special representation by granting a few nominated seats, in the Legislative Assembly, for depressed classes.  Legislative regulations and administrative orders declared denial of access to untouchables to schools, well, roads and public places as illegal.  So far, untouchable activities were combined with the non-Brahmin movement.
  • By 1928, untouchables separated themselves from the intermediate caste and established their independent identity at national level. Until 1932, the Government of India avoided itself from stigmatizing any group, by official acknowledgement, of their low social status and considered it unfair because Owing to the social disabilities, to which members of the depressed classes are exposed, it would be in the highest degree undesirable that any official authorization might appear to extend such qualification. The fluidity of social distinctions and the efforts of the classes lowest in the scale, aided by social reformers, to improve their status make it more desirable, that government should abstain from doing anything, which would tend to give rigidity to these distinctions.(Indian Statutory Commission, 1930, VI, p 341)
  • The joint Select Committee of the British Parliament, while reviewing the South Borough Report on measures to secure representation of minorities or of Backward classes for Indian Constitutional Reforms 1919, commented that they attached importance to the educational advancement of the depressed and Backward classes. (Mukherjee P, Indian Constitution and all Relevant Documents relating to Indian Constitutional Reforms of 1990, p 528).
  • In 1930, Starte Committee suggested to sub-divide the backward classes into untouchables, aboriginal hill tribes and other backward class.  Political expediency and imperial designs to keep balance of power got victory over rational thinking.
  • Through Communal Award 1932, British created a permanent split in Hindu Society. It perpetuated casteism and made impossible the assimilation of different castes under one fold.  Dr. Rajendra Prasad said, The principle of dividing population into communal groups, which had been adopted in the Minto Morley reforms had been considerably extended, even beyond what had been done by Montagu Chelmsford Reforms… The electorate in 1919 was broken up into ten parts, now it is fragmented into seventeen unequal bits… Hindu community was further weakened by giving separate representation to Scheduled castes. Division on the basis of religion, occupation and service were made.  Every possible cross division was introduced by the British.(Cited in Mehta and Patwardhan, The Communal Triangle, p72). The Communal Award strengthened the roots of casteism in politics.

After Independence – Democracy and people’s rights should go side by side. But the way political leaders have perceived and claimed to promote people’s interests, is neither beneficial for the country, society nor the poor. Indian reform movements took a long time to dilute the rigidities of caste practices developed especially during the alien rule. But after Independence, for winning the elections, and remaining one up as long as possible, entry of caste into national politics has given a new lease of life to casteism. The politics have principles have been reduced to street-level politics.

For political leaders of the day, winning elections is everything. Every election gives a chance to shift  political power from one political party to another. For each political party the most important is to usurp political power by hook or crook, so that  they can control the destiny of the people as well as the treasury of the nation and serve their own vested interests.

They do everything in their power to strengthen their vote banks. For it,  populist policies are promoted, appeasement measures are taken and  sectional interests are pursued to build a team of their supporters/followers. They just don’t care about the social imbalances and tensions, such actions cause. Agitations,  violence and sectarianism on the basis of caste and community are continuously on increase.

To serve their vested interests, political leaders and their parties have divided the Indian society into uncompromising watertight compartments on the basis of caste and community more rigidly than it was ever before. With an eye on coming General Election of 1919, all national and regional political parties have, once again, started playing the cards of caste and reservation to win the battle of ballots.

In provinces, some castes, which are given benefit of reservation by the concerned state, are quite vocal to get recognition and be included preferably in SC and  ST lists, or otherwise, at least in OBC list of central government. As it entitles beneficiary caste to get advantage of over-protective policies and plans of government all-over India.

Promoting sectional interests and giving special benefits to some social  group/groups invite conflicts, because the interest of one group is promoted at the expense of others. Equal treatment to all citizens encourages co-ordination and co-operation, but preferential treatment to some and taking away the legitimate rights of others generate resentment and heart-burning.

After Independence, sectional interests have aroused the agitation among different castes and communities all over the nation.  There started a cut-throat competition for scarce positions of power and prestige.

From historical facts, above, it is clear that the British fanned casteism and communalism in electoral-politics for political reasons. Earlier, though there were few stray incidents of violence, the nation was largely free from caste wars or class clashes.

Conclusion – The seeds of casteism and communalism, which were sown by the British, blossomed to its full in the electoral politics of independent India.

July 5, 2018 Posted by | General | | Leave a comment

Secondary School education in Government schools and Teenagers

“There is no requirement of atom bombs or long range missiles.Lowering the quality of educational system, is enough to destroy any nation.”

Education for All – In India, according to Right of Children to free and Compulsory Education Act 2009 instruct government schools to give admission to all children above six years of age. According to described in DRTE Rules 2011, “It is to be ensured that the student gets admission in a school within 14 working days from the date of the submission of application as per neighborhood criteria.”

Connection between Secondary education and Adolescence – Special focus of Government should be on Secondary education (class VI to Class XII), when adolescent children (in the age group of 12 to 18) learn and develop their personality in negative or positive way. Adolescence is a transitional stage of physical and psychological development that generally occurs during the period from puberty to legal adulthood (age of majority). It is the most creative, energetic and impressive age in human life also. This is the time, when the minds of growing up children are in a formative stage. This period should be utilized to increase knowledge, understanding of growing up children and develop attitudes, which could help them to move ahead and get better adjusted to their working environment. They should be facilitated by the government’s educational system to learn, how to acquire and apply their knowledge and skills in the world of realities. Secondary School’s education should develop power of observation and thought-process, mental and moral faculties of growing-up children in a positive way. 

Secondary education, the weakest link of Indian education system – However, Secondary school education is the weakest link of Indian education system, which allows a large number of teenagers/adolescent boys and girls out of school. It is not good for their personality development of in right direction. Empty mind is devil’s workshop. To earn money by hook or crook is their basic necessity to survive. It is easier for them to adopt the wrong way. Bad company, poverty or charm of consumerist world drives them towards wrong direction.

In order to spend their spare time, a large number of teenagers join criminal world just for the sake of thrill they get, to get handsome amount of money from the local Dons. Some of them choose the path of violence, snatching, stealing etc. Other option for them is to remain poor forever and join the band of unemployable, unskilled labor-force, work as daily-wagers.

One of the root causes of increasing number of juvenile crimes is inability of the Government schools to give admissions to all adolescent children in schools. In order to earn easy money, some of them join the gangs who are busy in snatching, stealing. Some boys and girls join the world of crimes/violence.

Dependence of poor on government schools – For middle class and upper class people, there is not much of a problem, because they can spend  money to educate their children in good private/publc schools, where the fees is very high. But to educate their children, poor people solely depend on government schools.

Upper Age limit for Non-Plan Admissions in Govt. secondary schools – Admissions In government secondary schools are done –

  • Under ‘Planned Scheme’ and
  • Under non planned Scheme

Under ‘Planned Scheme’ – Under ‘Planned Scheme’, there is no problem in admission for students coming from primary feeder schools, regardless of their age or academic qualification. Remaining available seats are from standard VI to VIII are filled under non planned Scheme.

Under non planned Scheme – However, for Admission under ‘Non-Planned Scheme’, the circular issued by GOVERNMENT OF NATIONAL CAPITAL TERRITORY OF DELHI, Directorate of Education; School Branch, Old Secretariat: Delhi-110054, No. DE.23 (363)/Sch.Br./2016/1553, Dt. 19.09.2018 fixes upper age limit criteria for admissions in government schools. Many children are announced ineligible for getting admissions in Secondary schools because of their being overage as per the circular mentioned above.

Age bar in admissions for Non-Plan admissions according to this circular – According to the above mentioned circular, appropriate age should be at the time of school admissions in primary and secondary schools on 31st March of the year 2018 is as follows –

  • Class 1  – Age 4+, but less than 5 years.
  •   ”      II –  Age 5+, but less than 6 years and so on and so forth.

 For admissions in Secondary schools –

  •   Class  VI –  10+, But less than 12 years,
  • ,   ”      VII – 11+, But less than 13 years,
  •    ”       VIII – 12+, But Less than 14 Years.

Denial of right to be admitted in Government schools under the law of ‘education to all’ –  According to this circular, school authorities are not allowed to admit an admission-seeker, even though there  are vacant seats there. Only 6 months age relaxation can be given to an overage candidate seeking admission in a government’s secondary school. But Government does not mind giving age relaxation up to 10 years at the time of recruitment in Government jobs to backward sections of society (OBC, SC & ST candidates). Is there any rationality in giving age-relaxation of only 6 months in education and when it comes to giving government-jobs and empowering weaker sections of society, the government gives them age relaxation up to 10 years?

Government Circulars like this issued from time to time denies right to education to poor, SC, & ST children in govt. schools.  Upper-age limit criteria type circulars or notifications are not good for the creation of an inclusive society for the sustainable development nation. It continuously deprives a large number of teenagers belonging to poor, rural and deprived sections of society to remain outside the regular schools. It is a ground reality that children of these sections of society start their education rather late. They are still far away from the mainstream of the nation. The creamy layer of the Scheduled castes, Scheduled tribes  and Other Backward Castes take advantage of all such protective schemes initiated by the government to uplift thousands of poor economically weak families. Quality of education also suffers, because the focus is on age of student. School authorities are instructed not to detain students till class VIII.

Provision of open schools – Open school system does not serve the purpose. It is not a viable alternative for the growing up adolescent children, still in their formative period of life. In regular schools, children remain busy throughout the day. They hardly get spare time to get trapped in bad company. Initially Open Schools were initially opened for already employed persons, desirous to increase their educational qualifications. Their busy schedule at work place does not give enough time to join regular schools.

Social issues linked with poor quality of education – Many social evils/burning problems are linked with a large number of adolescent children remaining out of school throughout the day, like –

  • Quality of education –  Along with many other measure to be taken for providing quality of education to all its future citizens, the first step is to give admissions to students in different grades or classes should be on the basis of child’s ability to understand and grasp, what is being taught and level of knowledge one’s about ‘3 R’s’.
  • Increasing number of juvenile crimes – Mostly adolescent boys and girls, who are not mature enough to take right decisions, get trapped in criminal or terrorists activities. Therefore, it is very necessary to keep them busy throughout the day in creative activities.
  • Reservations – Providing more than 50% reservations in education and government jobs stops their natural growth, doing their own efforts to stand on their own feet. Instead of making youth self-dependent, reservation makes a large number people dependent on crutches of government support forever.
  • Brain-drain – A large number of talented youth are either joining private sector helping rich to become richer or shift every year to foreign lands, in search of better working atmosphere, better career prospects and fatter salaries.
  • Problem of providing proper care, safety and security to the senior citizens, as it is difficult to manage their basic needs economically or get themselves adjusted emotionally in foreign lands.

Conclusion – Amongst all the challenges, the most crucial one is about improving the education system. Children of present day need to learn  independent thinking. Education system should not focus only on giving information and knowledge. Children of present day need to learn  independent thinking , but it also give importance to self-efforts for improving their calibre , creativity, wisdom and experience as well.  To nip negative feelings and criminal mindset right in the bud, sound system of education and training is very necessary, which could keep the minds of the growing up children occupied throughout the day.

Weaknesses of secondary school system are neither good for the sustainable development of adolescent boys and girls of the poor and deprived sections of society, who start their education late, nor for society or the nation. To improve the quality of education, first thing to do is that upper age for giving admissions in different grades or classes should be finished and admissions be done on the basis of child’s ability to understand and grasp, what is being taught and level of knowledge one’s about ‘3 R’s’.

 

 

 

May 22, 2018 Posted by | Education and training of civil services, General | Leave a comment

Ambedkar, The Father of the Constitution of India?

Introduction – It is unfortunate that present day politicians (neither the followers, nor critics) have failed to understand Baba Sahib Ambedkar’s role in national politics, or his teachings in right perspective.   Politicians of the day ignore many historical facts/developments, happened during first half of the 20th century.  Political leaders of the day ignore the changes that has  happened socially, economically and politically in the position of Dalit community in recent past. They interpret Ambedkar’s teachings, the way that  suits/benefits them to show that only they are their true well-wishers. In the name of Ambedkar, they try to create Dalit vote-bank in their favour and grab political power. 

Dr Ambedkar as ‘The Father of the Indian Constitution’?  – All political parties put the name of Dr Ambedkar at the top, as the ‘Father of Indian Constitution’, thereby sending out a strong political message to Dalit voters that only they are the true followers of Dr Ambedkar and true well-wisher of Dalit community. 1990’s witnessed a wave of Ambedkarization or glorification of Ambedkar’s name to woo Dalit voters. Many politicians described Ambedkar as the Father or The maker of Indian Constitution.

Biggest brain behind the making of Indian Constitution – Some experts on Constitutional law and surviving knowledgeable senior citizens with wisdom, who knew the India of those days of olden days believe that that the biggest brain behind making the Constitution was that that of Mr BN Rau, who was appointed as the adviser to the Constituent Assembly. He was the expert, who did the most job and worked out the democratic framework of the Constitution. He singlehandedly prepared the initial draft by February 1948, to be debated, revised and finally adopted by the team on November 26, 1949. The Drafting Committee, under the chairmanship of Ambedkar, declared that the ‘Draft Constitution’ was being scrutinised thoroughly by adviser BN Rau for making it one of the world’s best Constitutions.

President of Constituent Assembly Rajendra Prasad, just before signing the Constitution on November 26, 1949, thanked Rau profusely for having “worked honorarily” assisting the assembly not only with his knowledge and erudition but enabling the other members to perform their duties with thorough prudence. Rau was not a member of the Constitutional Assembly but was the most important expert who did the primary thinking and writing. He has been religiously ignored by frontline politicians who never gave him his due space in history. Rau is the principal framer of the Indian Constitution; others only did the cosmetic jobs here and there. like they have forgotten VP Menon, Secretary of States, who drafted the ‘instrument of accession’ to force the 564 Princely States to merge with the Union of India, Rau is not remembered by the political bosses of today. Most of them do not even know who he is by name.

Besides, there is no doubt that drafting of the  Indian Constitution Constituent Assembly was done by Drafting Committee, headed by Dr Ambedkar. But it was well-known then, that the real place of work of making the Indian Constitution was the Congress Working Committee, which took all the important decisions. There, the prominent role was played by leaders like Nehru, Patel, Rajendra Prasad (Chair person of Constituent Assembly) or Constitutional jurists like Alladi Krishna Swami Ayyar, K.M. Munshi, G B Pant and others. It was frankly admitted by Dr Ambedkar himself  along with Mahavir Tyagi, one of the members of Drafting Committee that their hands were tied and they were only carrying out the wishes of the majority.

Pr. K.V. Rao, an expert of Constitutional Law, said, No doubt, Ambedkar, a man of legal acumen, untiring industry, consummate skill and firmness, tempered with modernization, made substantial contribution to the framing of the Constitution…My reading of the Constitution makes me feel that it is inappropriate to call Dr Ambedkar, the father of the Constitution. If any people are entitled to be called so, they are Nehru, Patel and Prasad , but I would like to call them the “Presiding Deities”, the sources of all the ideas of the Constitution, the real makers of the Constitution. I would like to attribute father-hood to them as well as to the members of the Drafting Committee in common, but I would not like to single out Dr Ambedkar for this honour.

Famous Historian Bipin Chandra and intelligentsia of those days observed that in the making of Indian Constitution, Pt. Nehru, Dr. Rajendra Prasad and Sardar Patel played a very important role. Pt. Nehru spelt out the philosophy and basic features of the consti­tution as “the first task of this Assembly is to free India through a constitution, to feed the starving people, and to clothe the naked masses, and to give every Indian the fullest opportunity to develop himself according to his capacity”. Sardar Patel played the decisive role in bringing in the representatives of the erstwhile princely states into the Constituent Assembly, and how to run smoothly the administration of the newly created nation – India. Rajendra Prasad was appreciated for his simplicity, impartiality and dignity as President of the Assembly as well as first President of Independent India. Maulana Azad brought his formidable scholarship and philo­sophical mind to bear on many issues of grave importance”. Therefore, not only Ambedkar, but all these leaders jointly, should be called “The Father of Indian Constitution”.

Dr Ambedkar, during his life-time, had recognition as an intellectual having his own philosophy and interpretations, but he lacked leadership qualities and mass appeal. 

About Constituent Assembly – Constituent Assembly was founded‎: ‎6 December 1946 under the Cabinet Mission Plan on 16 May 1946 to write the Constitution of India, which drafted the Constitution of India between the years 1946 to 1950. Its first session was convened on 9 December, 1946. The Constitution of India, became operative from 26 January, 1950. 

Members of the Constituent Assembly were elected by the provincial assemblies by a single, transferable-vote system of proportional representation.  Prominent National leaders like Nehru, Patel, Rajendra Prasad and Maulana took extra care to make it a wide representative body. The Assembly had included  as many as possible, well known, eminent political leaders, lawyers, academicians and other eminent/brilliant persons from nearly all walks of life including some of those, who opposed the Congress like Dr Syama Prasad Mookerjee.

Sachchidananda Sinha‎, ‎INC, was the Temporary Chairman‎ and Vice President‎: ‎Harendra Coomar Mookerjee of the Constituent Assembly of Independent India. On 11 December, Dr. Rajendra Prasad was elected as the first permanent Chairman.

Drafting Committee of the Constituent Assembly – Different Committees were formed on different issues within Constituent Assembly such as one to prepare material and proposals for the constitution under the chairmanship of Pt Nehru, another for the integration of all princely state under the chairmanship of Sardar Patel etc. The Drafting Committee of Constituent Assembly was headed by Dr Ambedkar. This core committee had seven experts. All were legal experts or administrative luminaries including Sir BN Rau,  KM Munshi, N Gopalaswamy Ayyangar, Alladi Krishnaswamy Ayyar, Syed Mohammad Saadullah, N Madhava Rau. Incidentally, the Congress had earlier opposed tooth and nail Ambedkar’s entry into the Constituent Assembly. In his letter of 30th June 1947, Dr Rajendra Prasad, President of the Constituent Assembly, had requested BG Kher, the then Prime Minister of Bombay, to elect Dr Ambedkar immediately.

Later on, the Congress party had to accept that drafting of Constitution required patience, negotiating skills and a flexibility to accommodate diverse opinions. Legislation and solidification of freedom would not be easy without the services of Dr Ambedkar.  Ambedkar was chosen as the head of Drafting Committee, because he had already been in various sub-committees like the Advisory Committee, Fundamental Rights Sub-Committee and Minorities Sub-Committee of the Constitutional Assembly. He submitted a memorandum with very valid suggestions to the Fundamental Rights Sub-Committee. This memorandum was later published for wider circulation under the title ‘States and minorities, their rights and how to secure them in the Constitution of free India’. 

 The basic structure of the Constitution was based on the Government of India Act of 1935. Many improvements into it were made by following the good features of other consti­tutions like from US constitution, Irish constitution, the time tested conventions of the British Parliament etc.

Ambedkar as a thinker Dada Sahib Ambedkar was a highly qualified person and a visionary thinker, whose thoughts about social justice, women’s empowerment, federalism and economy have been neither analysed without bias nor understood correctly either by his followers or by the critics. He dreamt of inclusive society, where everybody could live peacefully and harmoniously.

“On 26th January 1950, we are going to enter into a life of contradictions. In politics we will have equality, and in social and economic life we will have inequality. …. If our social and economic structure continues to deny the principle of one man one value how long shall we continue to live this life of contradictions? How long shall we continue to deny equality in our social and economic life?” …” We must remove this contradiction at the earliest possible moment or else those who suffer from inequality will blow up the structure of political democracy, which this assembly has so laboriously built up. ” How correct is it to call Ambedkar aviation of caste system?

Ambedkar’s followers – Ambedkar’s followers regard him as Doyen of Contemporary Dalit Politic and an undisputed leader of untouchables and backwards only. There has been a massive shift in favour of Dalits and backward communities during the second half of the 20th century. Now in the contemporary politics Dalits and OBCs have emerged as a powerful vote-bank and king-makers, whom every political party woos to win the elections.

Also, followers do not accept honestly that Ambedkar’s belonging to Mahar community of Maharashtra, did not put obstacles in furthering his social status or educational or political career, before or after Independence.

Ambedkar’s childhood – Being a son of an army personnel, his childhood was safe and secure.  The Father and grandfather of Dr. Ambedkar, were the employees of the British Army working as SM Sahib, when he was a child. The position of SM sahib is very influential within a Unit of Indian Army. It had  ensured a good education and respectable social life for him within army campus.

Educational background – During his student life,  he received the best possible education available either in India or abroad. He got recognition of the powerful leader untouchable community during Imperial rule in India. After Independence, he was recognized as a national leader, influential orator and an expert in legal matters. He was selected as the Chairman of Drafting Committee of Constituent Assembly of Independent India.  He was nominated as the first Law Minister of Independent India.

Ambedkar’s student life

Ambedkar had passed his Matriculation examination from Bombay. He continued his further studies. He joined the Elphinstone High School and Elphinstone College for further education – one of the elite educational institutions of Maharashtra. With the help of a monthly scholarship given by Maharaja Gaekwad of Baroda, Bhimrao (‘Rao’ is added to names in Maharashtra as a sign of respect) passed his B.A. in 1912.

In 1912, he graduated in Political Science and Economics from Bombay University and got a job in Baroda. In 1913, Maharaja of Baroda awarded scholarship to Bhim Rao Ambedkar for further studies at the world-famous elite University of Columbia, New York. It was with a condition that he would serve Baroda state for ten years on finishing his studies. The freedom and equality he experienced in America made a very strong impression on Bhimrao. There he attained a degree in Master of Arts and a Doctorate in Philosophy from Columbia University in 1916 for his thesis “National Dividend for India: A Historical and Analytical Study.” The Maharaja of Baroda appointed Dr. Ambedkar as his political secretary.

Career-profile  of Dr. Ambedkar

In 1917 Bhimrao Ambedkar returned to Bombay. In 1918, he became a lecturer at Sydenham College in Bombay. There, he got the reputation as a brilliant teacher and scholar. With the help of Shahu Maharaj of Kolhapur, he started a fortnightly newspaper, the “Mooknayak” (Dumb Hero) on January 31, 1920. That was the start of his political career.

In 1920, after accumulating sufficient funds, Ambedkar went back to London to complete his studies in Economics at LSE. He also enrolled to study as a Barrister at Gray’s Inn and became a barrister-at- law. In 1923, Bhimrao returned to India with a Doctorate in Economics from the LSE – he was perhaps the first Indian to have a Doctorate from this world-famous institution.

Ambedkar’s political career

Now Dr. Ambedkar was well equipped to be a leader of the Dalit community. After coming back to India, in July 1924, he founded the Bahishkrit Hitkaraini Sabha (Outcastes Welfare Association). The aim of the Sabha was to uplift the downtrodden socially and politically and bring them to the level of the others in the Indian society.

In 1930, when a Round Table Conference was held by the British Government in London to decide the future of India, Babasaheb represented the ‘untouchables’. He was very clear about the objective of his political career that Attempt to uplift my community rather than to win Swaraj for the nation is my goal.” As between the country and myself, the country will have precedence, as between the country and the depressed classes, the depressed classes will have precedence.”

Earlier, as a representative of depressed classes during Simon Commission’s debates, He said that  Depressed Classes of India would also join in the demand for replacing the British Government by a Government of the people and by the people. “Our wrongs have remained as open sores and have not been righted although 150 years of British rule have rolled away. Of what good is such a Government to anybody?” Gandhiji appreciated that.

But later on, he made the controversial decision to co-operate with the all-British Simon Commission. When Congress party decided to boycott the Commission and drafted its own version of a constitution for free India, he attended all the three Round Table Conferences in London and forcefully argued for the welfare of the “untouchables”. He said very clearly, I will leave no doubt in the minds of the people of this country that I have another loyalty, … .. the loyalty is to the community of the untouchables; in which I am born, to which I belong…. Whenever there is any conflict of interests between the country and the untouchables, so far as I am concerned, the untouchable interests will take precedence over the interests of the country. I am not going to support a tyranny of the majority, simply because it happens to speak in the name of the country

A separate electorate was announced for the depressed classes under Ramsay McDonald ‘Communal Award’. The famous Poona Pact replaced the separate electorate demand with special concessions like reserved seats in the regional legislative assemblies and Central Council of States.

Dr. B.R. Ambedkar set up the “Independent Labor Party” in August 1936 to contest the elections in the Bombay province. He and many candidates of his party were elected to the Bombay Legislative Assembly.

In 1937, a Bill was introduced to abolish the “khoti” system of land tenure in the Konkan region, the serfdom of agricultural tenants and the Mahar “watan” system of working for the Government as slaves. A clause of an agrarian bill referred to the depressed classes as “Harijans,” or people of God. Bhimrao was strongly opposed to this title for the untouchables. But the Indian National Congress succeeded in introducing the term Harijan. During the Second World War, Babasaheb was appointed Labour Minister by the Viceroy.

The All-India Scheduled Castes Federation was formed in 1942 to gather all ‘untouchables’ into a united political party.

Ambedkar after Independence

In 1947, Dr. Ambedkar was elected as a Member of the Constituent Assembly from Bengal. The Constituent Assembly made him chairman of the committee appointed to draft the constitution for the world’s largest democracy. He became the First Law Minister of Independent India in Nehru’s cabinet.

In October 1948, Dr. Ambedkar submitted the Hindu Code Bill to the Constituent Assembly in an attempt to codify the Hindu law. The Bill caused great divisions even in the Congress party. Consideration for the bill was postponed to September 1951. When the Bill was taken up it was truncated. A dejected Ambedkar relinquished his position as Law Minister.

Anathema against Hinduism –  In 1935 at Yeola, for the first time Babasaheb advised his people to convert from Hinduism, because Hindu society treated them as ‘untouchables’.  He used to say, My self-respect can not assimilate Hinduism…The religion that does not recognize you as human beings…is not worthy to be called a religion.He said, “Hinduism has given us only insults, misery, and humiliation.”…“We have not been able to secure the barest of human rights… I am born a Hindu. I couldn’t help it, but I solemnly assure you that I will not die a Hindu.” About a month before his death (December 6, 1956), on 0ctober 14, 1956 he himself embraced Buddhism along with many of his followers.

Ambedkar and his beliefs – According to Ambedkar: –

  •  Reservation is not aimed at economic uplift or alleviation of poverty. But it is a provision made for the entry of certain castes, which have so far been outside the administration. Hence the need for their adequate representation in State Services. Adequacy should be judged not by their presence in the lower rung of the services, but their entry into the higher echelons, the corridor of power.
  •  Where a majority of population is denied its share in actual power, there exists no democracy.
  • Attempt to uplift my community rather than to win Swaraj for the nation is my goal.
  • I will leave no doubt in the minds of the people of this country that I have another loyalty, to which I am bound and which I can never for-sake. The loyalty is to the community of the untouchables; in which I am born, to which I belong and which I hope, I shall never desert. And I say this…. as strongly as I possibly can that whenever there is any conflict of interests between the country and the untouchables, so far as I am concerned, the untouchable interests will take precedence over the interests of the country. I am not going to support a tyranny of the majority, simply because it happens to speak in the name of the country…. As between the country and myself, the country will have precedence, as between the country and the depressed classes, the depressed classes will have precedence.
  • He regarded Hinduism and caste system as great obstacles to Hindu Unity
  • My self-respect can not assimilate Hinduism…The religion that does not recognize you as human beings…is not worthy to be called a religion.
  • In an ideal society, there should be many interests consciously communicated and shared.”.. “Democracy is not merely a form of Government. It is primarily a mode of associated living, of conjoint communicated experience. It is essentially an attitude of respect and reverence towards fellow men.

Ambedkar and Reservation Policy – During Constituent Assembly Debates, Ambedkar advocated the policy of Reservation. But later on, as a socialist and humanist, who had the long-range interests of untouchables at heart, had developed doubts about advisability and efficacy of Reservation Policy. Chowdhary Charan Singh said,Ambedkar himself declared in a speech sometime before his death that the provision of Reservation in service should not extend beyond 1960/61.

Pr. Balraj Madhok had also pointed out that later in life, Ambedkar realized that SC and ST would not be able to stand on their own feet, so long as they depended on the crutches of Reservation.Reservation, Dr. Ambedkar said, Encouraged backwardness, inefficiency and lack of competitive merit among them barring a few stray cases. Therefore, when he launched the Republican Party of India, he incorporated this view in the Manifesto, according to which the party was committed itself to abolish all kinds of Reservations based on caste and birth.

During his last days, Ambedkar said, I have not been able to fulfil my mission. I wanted to do more for the SC people and to see them as governing class in my life. I could have succeeded, but my own people have deceived me. Whatever I have been able to do, is being enjoyed by the educated people and they are the worst fools. I now want to divert my attention to the uneducated masses, but life seems short. The second worry to my mind is that I wanted that somebody from the SC should come forward and take the responsibilities from me. There, however, seems none to shoulder such a heavy responsibility. All are selfish and quarrel themselves on petty matters.

Ambedkar and the wrath of intelligentsia – Ambedkar has earned the wrath of a section of intelligentsia and political leaders during pre-Independence period because: –

  • He, himself, was a beneficiary of social reform movement in Maharashtra led by nationalist leaders and reformers mostly belonging to caste Hindus. But in his speeches, he regarded caste Hindus as his enemy.
  • The intelligentsia regarded his move for separate electorates for untouchable as an act to split Hindu society permanently. It is alleged that he could not rise beyond his caste identity.
  • He was criticized for his association with Simon Commission proceedings, First Round Table Conference and Viceroy’s Executive Committee as member, with an intention to cooperate with British rulers, at the time, when national leaders were fighting British rulers for Independence;
  • His anguish against Hinduism and caste system and his act of burning Hindu-script, which he regarded as great obstacles to the Indian unity, annoyed many.
  • Many people did not like his confrontation with Gandhi. Ambedkar, like Jinnah was against Hindu majority rule, Congress Party and Gandhi. Both of them reacted against the above three in similar manner most of the times and preferred continuance of British rule.

Ambedkar and his followers of the day – The present day followers of Ambedkar do not seem to have understood Ambedkar in right perspective. He wanted to annihilate caste system not by revenge, hatred and violence, but by rethinking, reason and reformation. He, therefore, taught untouchables To organize, educate and agitate with an aim to finishing caste prejudices, the arrogance, and the Holier than thou’ attitude of Brahmins. He wanted his people to improve their condition by education, enlightenment and enterprise not by animosity, anger and abuse. It is quite understandable that he did not hate Brahmins as he was happily married to a Brahmin lady. He had a great respect for Justice Ranade.

His followers appear not to have done justice with Ambedkar and used his name ruthlessly for their selfish motive and political ends. They idolized Ambedkar as Rescuer of Dalits. The trend in 90s of idolization of Ambedkar or attempts of Ambedkarisation of the nation exposed the intentions of his followers, especially when he himself considered idolization as an act leading to destruction. Today agitated the Dalit leaders are, but their agitation is far away from being a positive or constructive one. It has turned into a negative militancy against caste Hindu.

Conclusion – Ambedkar rose as the political icon. His life is a classic and most inspiring example of what a man can achieve through hard work, knowledge, and clear-cut priorities. He himself struggled and worked hard to achieve his objectives and success. He gave a required boost to Dalit movement to move forward at  right time. He played a significant role in national politics and as the Chairman of drafting Committee of Indian Constitution.

However, it is unfortunate that that his followers of present day have misunderstood Ambedkar. Ambedkarites seems to have been proved shallow in understanding his aim for social transformation with SC’s being the base and about the realities of the India of twenty-first century – a massive shift has already taken place in favor of Dalits allover India.

March 26, 2018 Posted by | General | | 1 Comment

“Right Persons at Right Places” – Recruitments in Government Services

“For any administration to be good and efficient, as a whole, we want right type of men. The quality of men placed in position is more important than laying down of rules and methods of operation” Shri C. Rajagopalachari

“Authority without wisdom is like a heavy axe without an edge.” Anne Bradstreet

The saddest part of life right now is that science gather knowledge faster than society gains wisdom. Isaac Asmov

Introduction – Government service is not just another job. It requires a deep sense of commitment to public good. It requires proper understanding and appreciation of indian reality with all its strengths and weaknesses. It needs good inter-personal relationships. It needs to identify itself with ethos of Indian society and its cravings. It needs men and women of real substance, well aware of the changes happening at a very fast speed around the world due to liberalization, modernization, and globalization.

Today’s youth are ready to take up challenges and try their best to emerge victorious. They are willing to learn from their mistakes. It is a real challenge for  upright young men and women to be successful in the general category of competitive entrance examination, which requires regular hard-work, motivation, dedication, and well-focussed effort. They are energetic, hard-working, daring and a the same time very demanding. They value their independence. They want due reward for their efforts – be it monetary, credit, promotions or in any other form.

‘Mores’ – The more the challenges and problems to be tackled, the more is the pressure on government and its institutions, especially its civil services or bureaucracy, responsible implementation of developmental plans and policies. More the government is required to place ‘right men at right time on right places’ in its bureaucracy.

Bureaucracy can, without doubt, be regarded as the pillar, on which the entire structure of governance rests. The quality and success of governance depend on the nature, behaviour, systems and working style of its government services. Weakening of this pillar spells disaster [ii].  For any administration to be good and efficient as a whole, the right type of men placed in crucial positions in the government is more important than anything else.

Strategic posts in administrative set-up – There are certain strategic posts in every bureaucratic/administrative set up, which maintain uniformity, and supervise the working of various organizations in such a manner that public at large can live comfortably and taste the fruits of development. For manning such posts and running the administration in the country smoothly, bureaucracy or government civil services, both at the Local, State and Central, at secretariat or field levels, play a pivotal role. It takes important decisions, formulate government policies, plan, design strategies, initiate actions, execute policies, monitor the progress and taking remedial actions.

Right men at right places – Therefore, as Shri C. Rajagopalachari suggests, “For any administration to be good and efficient, as a whole, we want right type of men. The quality of men placed in position is more important than laying down of rules and methods of operation” Its administrative cadres should have wisdom to take right decisions at right time, capability to do unbiased evaluation from time to time to find out challenges. While  working on those decisions taken at ground level, it is necessary to  understand the hurdles coming on way of its implementation and then make corrections/improvements.  The success of government plans and policies depends largely upon its decision-making capacity and efficient implementation. Correct decisions doubles the confidence of officers. But wrong decisions enriches their knowledge and experiences. Efforts to take right decisions should continue.

Position of civil services in the government – In a democratic country, for the governance and delivering goods to public at large, the Government roughly depends on the following two general processes: –

       Process of politics, which consists of activities of the elected representatives of the people, and

       Process of administration which consists of the activities of permanent civil servants.

Most powerful wing of a democratic government – Every democratic government has three organs – Legislature to make laws, Executive to implement them and judiciary to act as a watch dog. Among these three, Executive, comprising of elected representatives + permanent civil servants, is the most powerful wing. It is the executive, as it prepares plans and policies of the government and execute them.

“Authority without wisdom is like a heavy axe without an edge” (Anne Bradstreet) – Henry George comments “When democracy becomes corrupt, the best gravitates to the bottom, the worst to the top.” And then its government becomes “the Government of the poorest, the most ignorant and the most incapable, who are necessarily the most numerous.” (Lackey)

Personnel, of administrative apparatus, i.e. civil servants should be wise enough to shoulder the heavy responsibility of governance.  Any deficiency in its recruitment and training makes the whole system weak and corrupt. Therefore, Government should create sound systems for recruitment and education and training of civil servants ((people responsible for governance).

Position of political-leaders vs bureaucrats – Theoretically the administrative machinery is sub-ordinate to the political arm of a government. The decision making power rests with ministers. Bureaucracy is there to assist elected representatives of the people in governance. But, in practice, its role is very important and influential in governance of a country, because –

  • Need of expert knowledge to run the Government – Due to exclusive and specialized nature of work and the need for more and more expert knowledge in governance for improving the quality of service, the responsibility of political chiefs becomes exceedingly formal in matter of governance. They are forced to listen the advice of the bureaucrats, who dig the expert knowledge from the raw material, give it a shape with a sense of commitment.
  • Bureaucracy’s importance, is of influence and not of power – The civil services role in relation to the ministers is that of influence and not of power. Owing to other preoccupations of elected political leadership and its lack of technical know-how, the responsibility of bureaucrats in governance, policy making and its implementation, has become a determining factor. Converting available into policy, plans, programs and projects is an inevitable function of an action-oriented administration.
  • Bureaucracy a permanent link between successive elected governments – Elected representatives come for a fixed period. They come and go. But Bureaucracy is permanent, It maintains continuity and forms a link between successive elected governments. Therefore, it can visualize the whole scenario before taking decision on any vital issue and in guiding the social changes and development in desired direction, especially in the case of less developed or developing countries, where society is in a state of transition.
  • Ultimately, responsibility of Decision-making on bureaucracy – Governance is about taking tough, even unpopular, decisions. Usually elected representatives hesitates taking tough decisions, as they have to please the voters. There never is a good time for politicians to take tough decisions. In reality, this responsibility also falls on the shoulders of permanent bureaucrats, whose position is constitutionally safeguarded.  Most of political leaders remain busy in vote-bank politicking, distribution of pre-election and after-election freebies, pleasing their voters through adopting populist measures and techniques to polarize public opinion, create different conflicting social groups and create vote-banks for themselves.
  • Create conflicting groups in society – Self-aggrandizement, inflated ego and recklessness are the reasons for polarizing different social groups instead of working to bring disparate together, create an inclusive society and lead them to live in harmony.
  • Three ‘I’s for taking right decisions – Taking right decisions at right time is a very tough job for Politicians. For taking bold decisions, three ‘I’s are required – ‘Intention’, ‘Initiative’ (courage to take bold steps), and novel ‘Ideas’/Vision.  Therefore, this responsibility also falls on the shoulders of civil servants.

Very few political leaders have courage and time to take bold decisions, as Modi government took in India in 2016, like surgical strike against Pakistan’s terrorist training camps, or demonetization with an aim to control terrorism, drug-mafia, human trafficking, Naxalism, and control corruption in one stroke. Both these acts of present Modi government have been appreciated by majority of the people living in India.

Being so, as far as governance in a country is concerned, bureaucracy could be regarded as the pillar, on which the entire structure of governance rests. The quality and success of governance depend on the nature, behaviour, systems and working style of its government services. Weakening of this pillar spells disaster [ii]. For any administration to be good and efficient as a whole, the right type of men placed in crucial positions of bureaucracy is more important than laying down rules and methods of operation.[iii]

Future lies not in jobs but on job-holdersFuture of any country lies not in jobs, but on jobholders. A well-equipped administrative machinery is needed to face day today challenges of governance, to solve the issues and to improve the quality of governance.

The report of Inquiry on Public Service Personnel, appointed by Social Science Research Council of USA in 1935 says, “No element of career service is more important than the recruitment policy.” [iii] Gladden also points out that on recruitment rests, “The nature and degree of the usefulness of administrative machinery, to the service of which the human elements are dedicated” [iv]

Recruitment in government services 

 It is one of the primary duty of the government to spot out good candidates and nurture them to acquire the skills, which are required to supervise their staff ably with sense of responsibility. Initial selection of the services, if properly conducted, can provide the government efficient and effective managers, bringing positive results within who can implement its policies purposefully and achieve the goals within time and cost parameters.

For smooth functioning of governance and successful operation of its developmental activities, it is must for a nation to have an efficient civil service. Initial selection of the services, if properly conducted, can in more positive terms, provide the government with the type of officials, who can implement its policies and program in a systematic and purposeful manner. Therefore, it becomes one of the primary duty of the government to spot out good candidates and nurture them to acquire the skills necessary for higher posts.

Nothing damages governance more than faulty recruitmentNothing damages the administration more than faulty recruitment.  A solid permanent structure cannot be built on weak foundation.  Any system can be strong, only when its foundations are laid strong. Any laxity in the recruitment and performance of this Service jeopardizes the objective and pushes the developmental goals behind.

Entry of sub-standard persons into administrative cadre, inflicts a permanent, cascading and damaging effect on the system.   No amount of training or coaching, pre or post, can convert the inherent weaknesses into strength within a short period. Today’s wrong selection could be tomorrow’s organizational problem.

How to find out and recruit ‘Mr. Rights’ – It is one of the prime functions of any national Government to recruit, retain, train and retrain the best talent of the nation for its administrative work at every level and then make all the feasible arrangements to train its recruits well, so that they can shoulder the heavy responsibilities of governance judiciously.

These Mr. Rights could either be recruited directly and then be trained or could be selected from amongst already trained, experienced and skilled persons. New entrants should be told clearly about their role in administration, their responsibilities, key result areas and impact of their working on the whole system and the general public.

Study of Job requirements a must for recruitments at every level – Before working on recruitment policy, a thorough study needs to be done on job requirements, in the context of present and future roles.  The candidates should be selected on the basis of their capabilities, attitudes, aptitude and adaptability to meet the position profile.  The focus should not be only on job skills, but on attitude and behavior as well.

There are certain strategic posts in every set up for maintaining uniformity and high standard in the administration, so that public at large can live comfortably and everybody, irrespective of caste or creed could taste the fruits of development. For manning such posts and running the administration smoothly, civil servants, who hold strategic and top most posts in different departments, both at the State and Central at secretariat or field levels, play a major role. These are the people who are responsible for taking important decisions, policy formulation, planning, designing strategies, initiating actions, executing policies, monitoring the progress and taking remedial actions.

‘Merit concept’ for recruitment in career services -The need for a sound recruitment policy was first realized by China, centuries ago, which started the adoption of merit principle based on competitive examination.  Prussia was the first country, in modern times, to evolve a sound recruitment system.  Later on, the principle of merit was adopted by India in 1853, Britain in 1857 and U.S.A. in 1883 (through Civil Service Act of 1883).  Now all the nations accept that a good initial selection in positive term provide the Government with the right type of officials to implement its plans, policies and programs in a systematic and purposeful manner.

Right men at right places – C. Rajagopalachari suggests, “For any administration to be good and efficient, as a whole, we want right type of men. The quality of men placed in position is more important than laying down of rules and methods of operation” Its administrative cadres should have wisdom to sort out different pressing problems and capacity to meet various challenges, a government faces every day. The success of government plans and policies depends largely upon their efficiency.

About Government/Civil Services

What is ‘Civil Service’ – The administrative machinery or Civil Service is a Professional body of officials, permanent, paid and skilled.[i]  The main characteristics of any administrative services are its efficiency, predictability, impersonal nature, and its impartial and speedy working.  It is always associated with exercise of authority.  Theoretically, the administrative machinery is subordinate to the elective body i.e. the Council of Ministers. But in practice, it plays a different role. The responsibility of political chiefs becomes formal, as they are forced to listen to the advice of the civil servants, which can dig and present data in a matter as they consider fit. The service role in relation to the minister is that of influence and not of power.[ii] It is this administrative apparatus that has all the authority and responsibility to run the government.

Bureaucracy according to Max Weber – According to Max Weber2, whose study on bureaucracy has become a base for the modern exponents of the science of administration, the main characteristics of a civil service are as following:

  • Merit based selection and training – technical competence as a formal condition of employment;
  • Promotions regulated by merit and seniority;
  • Division of labour – defined rights and duties prescribed in written regulations;
  • Hierarchy – (a) Systematically ordered authority relationship;
  • Full time career-based service with fixed monetary salaries;
  • Impersonality – strict separation of office and incumbent in the sense that employee does not own the means of administration and cannot take the advantage of their position for promoting self-interest.
  • A system of rules and files – its operations are government by a consistent system of abstract rules.
  • Team-work – One of the important feature of bureaucracy is team-work, i.e. ability to work together toward a common vision. It is ability to direct individual accomplishment toward organizational objectives. It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results.” (Andrew Carnegie, TOI, P.18, Feb 7, 2017)

Job-requirements for administrative apparatus to be well-equipped – “Life is not going to be the same as the world move to the 21st century, ” says Philip Crosby. (Ascent, TOI, 20.9.2000, p.1). Civil Service is a major instrument to effect the change and translate the developmental plans into realities of life. Therefore, it goes without saying that the civil servants should possess certain personal qualities to face the challenges of modern times. These are –

  • Knowledge – Knowledge is the most precious requirement/asset for a person willing to join Government service. It inculcates spirit of learning, insights, understanding, flexibility, practical know-how that makes one to function intelligently, effectively and efficiently. Along with it it can bring in power, monetary benefits, and leverage over others. How one handles it, holds the key to success in future. Knowledge means full utilization of information and data, coupled with potential of his skills, competencies, ideas, intuitions, commitments and motivations. It protects intellectual assets from decay, and enhances decision making capacity. Knowledge leads to effective practices, processes and technology used to collect, organize and distribute knowledge to people, who need it. Four steps are required to use knowledge positively –
    • Capture in the form of Data.
    • Think in what form captured Data to be stored processed, secured and used to benefit all.
    • Processing information by grouping, filtering and analyzing the database.
    • Communication – Share assimilated knowledge with others by using information systems.
  • Quality of Leadership – The term leadership has been defined by Dimock as, “all the means by which individuals are motivated to achieve group goals”1.  Haimen claims “Leadership refers to that process, whereby an individual directs, guides influences or controls the thoughts, feelings or behaviour of other human beings”2.  Brown and Cohen define, “Leadership as a process of influencing the activities of an organised group in its efforts towards goal – setting and goal achievements”.

As a leader, an officer needs to inculcate a sense of commitment among his colleagues and staff and influence the process of setting and achieving goals. Leadership is most effective, when a degree of congruence exists between the characteristics and demands of the following four variables –

      • Leader himself
      • His subordinates,
      • Tasks to be done and
      • Environment or organizational setting of any activity.

In government, a leader should be committed to the welfare of the masses, courageous, radical, humble, trusting, accountable, open, patient, sensitive to public needs and aspirations and self-confident.  He should have desire to assume responsibilities, possess critical knowledge and ability to organize himself with subordinates and with the people.  He must avoid fear of people, impatience and a show-off of authority.  His attitude should be positive and action oriented.   He should possess the quality of decision making.  He must be aware of his environment, views of the people, and principal aspect of the contradiction that is oppressing to the people at present.

The success of welfare and developmental plans depends on many factors, but none more important than the qualities of leadership exhibited present in its senior level civil servants.  To provide the administration with a sense of direction, purpose and priorities, they are required to encourage and control the staff and colleagues in a way that optimizes the performance of organization.  They have to see that right men are engaged in right job at right time.  Will, judgement, commitment, vision and initiative are required here.

The Middle level civil servants are the agents of development. They executive authority to supervise the implementation of policies and program.  Therefore, leadership capabilities are required at this level also. But the maximum leadership quality is needed at local field administration, where civil servants come into direct contact with people and take positive steps to create an appropriate atmosphere and attitudes, perceptions and relationship among their staff to make the local governance effective.

  • Quality of Supervision – Supervision is another important administrative task to implement the plans and policies properly.  As a supervisor, he should have command of job-content; ability to communicate his ideas to subordinates and make them understand the government’s point of view; wider outlook; courage to take decisions and assume responsibility; knowledge of administrative technology and intellectual alertness and receptivity to new ideas.  According to Halsay, a civil servant with supervisory role should have the qualities of thoroughness, fairness, initiative, tact, enthusiasm, emotional control, etc.

   As a supervisor, an official is responsible:

    • To arouse the feelings of the subordinates of their personal worth and their importance to the success of the organization.
    • To encourage subordinates to develop mutually satisfying relationship.
    • Emphasize the importance of organizational goals and encourage, within his groups, the desire for excellence.
    • Facilitate such performance by ensuring that the organization’s task can be performed under congenial conditions. These can be achieved by adequate cataloging, coordinating and planning of resources.

Besides, a supervisor should has an educative as well as consultative role too.  He should be capable to teach his subordinates the best way of doing their work and give them proper advice and guidance from time to time.  He should be smart enough to select right person for each job and to arouse in each person an interest in his work.

  • Quality of Coordination – Larger the size of administrative machinery greater is the demand for coordination to avoid conflicts or duplication of efforts.  As a coordinator, an officer should be able to prevent or discourage concentration on one aspect of work at the cost of exclusion of other aspects and to curb the greed for power in different units of the government.  Difficulties arise on the way of coordination due to uncertainty of future; the lack of knowledge, experience, wisdom and character; confused mind-set or conflicting ideas and objectives; lack of administrative skill and techniques; the vast number of variables involved; and lack of orderly methods of developing, considering, perfecting and adopting new ideas and programs.
    Coordination, largely depends upon the effectiveness of verbal and written communications which channel information and ideas up and down and across the chain of Command.
  • Quality of communication – Communication is the “blood stream of administrative organization”or “the heart of management”.  Apart from imparting knowledge or transmitting information, it includes interchange of thoughts for taking of ideas and a sense of participation and sharing.  The essence of communication is, therefore, not information, but understanding.

 For effective communication, a civil servant should be clear, consistent with the expectation of recipient, adequate, timely, uniform, flexible and acceptable.  An official should be well-informed. He should be able to establish a mutual trust in each other within his team; find a common ground of experience; use mutually known words; have regard for context; secure and hold the receiver’’ attention; employ examples and visual aids and practice delaying reactions.

The main difficulty on the way of communication is the complexity of language.  The problem becomes more complicated in a nation like ours with fourteen officially recognized languages and several dialects.   The lack of common experience and common background, difference in background education, lack of will or desire to communicate, size and distance and lack of definite and recognized means of communication add difficulties to existing barriers.   Good and well planned system of education and training may make officials good in communication.

  •  Quality of decision-making –Quality of taking right and timely decision is a must for smooth and effective governance. Decision-making requires careful collection of detailed facts, their analysis and interpretation, the use of broad concepts of human and physical behavior, ability to predict future developments etc.  Decisions are constantly made and remade in response to changing requirements.  It is a plural activity in government.  One individual may pronounce a decision but many contribute to the process of reaching the decision.   The factors, which influence decision-making are – Legal Limitations, Budget, Facts, History, Internal Morale, Impartiality, Future as Anticipated by Supervisors, Pressure Groups, Staff, Nature of Program and coordination of subordinates.
  • Efficiency – For securing maximum result with minimum labor and resources – fiscal and material – in the least possible time depends on the efficient working of civil servants.  Efficiency in civil servants is very necessary for effective planning and direction of governmental activities.  It is required at all the levels of administration.   A group of civil servants headed by an inefficient official is as bad as an inefficient group headed by an efficient leader. To increase the overall efficiency in government, it is necessary to keep up the morale of the civil servants.  The morale is concerned with minds, attitudes, emotions and motives of the employees.

Besides, there should be –

  • Mental framework – it should never be conservative. It should have a scientific outlook and should be progressive, innovative, reformist and even revolutionary in mental attitudes and approaches.
  • Knowledge – it should have knowledge of science, technology and social sciences.
  • Skills – it requires conceptual skills (ability for innovative problem – analysis), planning skills, technical skills, managerial skills and human skills.
  • Vision – A development bureaucrat requires the vision of a statesman and not that of either narrow-minded politicians or a rule-minded bureaucrat.
  • Structures – it requires less hierarchical and more team-like structures such as Commissions, Boards, Corporations etc.
  • Behavior – The behavioral pattern should consist of (a) action and achievement orientation (b) responsiveness (c) responsibility (d) all round smooth relations inside with juniors and seniors and outside with clientele and the public (e) commitment to development ideologies and goals.

At organizational front, there should be –

  • A working partnership between the civil servants, elected representatives in the government and the people.
  •  A sense of service, a spirit of dedication, a feeling of involvement and a will to sacrifice for the public welfare.
  •  A pragmatic application of the basic democratic principles. Higher civil servants should provide the required leadership to the lower levels of administration.
  •  Constant field inspection by senior officials.
    • to provide the government with the ability to be in constant contact with the people; and
    • to make the people conscious that the government is alive to their problem;
  •  A smooth and harmonious relationship between generalist administrators, experts and specialists is a must.
  • Witnessing the fast modernization and technological advancement process, willingness to upgrade one’s knowledge and competence.
  • Training from time to time to understand the success already achieved in the field of development administration and the efforts to be initiated in future.

Recruitment in government services in India

 In India, its recruitment policy is a product a long experience.  It evolved gradually and always tried to give nation a well-equipped and intellectually brilliant administrative frame-work. Recruitment in its government services has been done through open examinations conducted by an autonomous body long.

During British rule – Nobody has ever had any doubt about the efficiency and effectiveness of its civil services. In the past, it had even puzzled many bigwigs like Stalin, Von Ribbentrop and many other foreign observers…. They wondered how was it possible for British administrators to administer such a big empire in India  with such apparent zeal, efficiency, high-mindedness and impartiality? Even Indian nationalists were more likely than not to agree with such an assessment. … Or how barely a thousand British ICS (Indian Civil Service) personnel managed to rule both British India and the princely states with a combined population of well over 300 million during the first part of the twentieth century. It became possible only because British rulers managed to recruit in its bureaucracy ‘Mr. Rights’ at its supervisory levels of its bureaucracy, whether at national level, provincial level or district level.

Historical Background – When British East India Company consolidated it power in India, there had been different opinions on the matter of selecting the administrators. Some preferred military men and thought them to be best qualified for the job of administration, while others thought that administrative posts should be exclusively filled by civilians.  It was argued that noblemen, carrying with them the impression of high rank and birth, having served the Company for some time and possessing local knowledge and acquaintance with the affairs and people of India, should alone be appointed. However the rulers preferred to employ the most loyal persons for its administrative work.  It gave rise to spoil system/patronage system of recruitment.

Rise to spoil/patronage system in recruitments – From 1805 to 1885, the higher civil servants were nominated by the individual Directors of the Company.  From 1858 onwards, in order to make the civil services in India efficient and well equipped, the British Civil Service Commission created in 1855, was given the Charge to select officials through competitive examination.   During this period the main task of the administration was to maintain law and order intact at any cost. The appointments of covenanted civil servants were made by nomination by the individual Directors of the East India Company.  But it did not work very well.

When British Crown took over the charge in 1858 from East India Company, the British Government felt that favoritism, patronage or promotion of personal interests in recruitment would deprive the Government of the services of bright youth, who otherwise could have been selected. The realization, that Civil Service was not the conglomeration of individuals or groups, and it should comprise people with talent, integrity, dedication and apolitical and impartial approach, gave rise to the principle of Merit. The British Government desired to have a well-equipped and intellectually brilliant administrative framework.  They felt, If a succession of men of great talent and virtues cannot be found, or if the operation of any influence or party feelings and principles prevents their being chosen, we (the British) must reconcile ourselves to the serious hazards of the early decline, if not the loss of the great power, we have founded in the east.[i]

Therefore, the nomination system was abolished in 1855 by the Parliament in England and it was decided that the induction would be through competitive examinations of all British subjects, without distinction of race. The direct recruitment by competitive examination was envisaged with the idea that very brilliant person can be shaped into efficient officials suitable for holding senior positions.

Beginning of the system of recruitments based on “Merit” – Lord Maculae initially shaped the recruitment policy in 1854, which was based on the ‘Principle of Merit’ for higher services. He recommended for an open competitive examination, which should be conducted by an independent body. The procedures needed to be open, transparent and generally trouble free. Idea of direct recruitment through competitive examination was envisaged with the purpose that very brilliant person can be shaped into efficient officials suitable for holding superior/managerial positions in the government. The basic ingredients of this system were:

  • Selection of really brilliant young people – the caliber of direct recruits was ensured by their success in an open competition.
  • An intensive training program for new recruits– An intensive training either formal or informal for two years; and
  • Stress on Field Duties – Actual field work for at least a period of five to seven years, during which officials were supposed to be fully molded to suit the needs of the organization, they were serving.

Selection and nurturing ‘Mr. Rights’ –

  • From 1858 onwards, in order to make the civil services in India efficient and well equipped, the British Civil Service Commission created in 1855, was given the charge to select officials through a competitive examination every year.
  • Till 1922, the entrance competitive examinations for selection of senior officials were conducted only in England. Since 1922 onwards, India was also included as one of the competitive examinations centers.
  • So far, British Civil Service Commission was conducting the competitive examination for recruiting officers of covenanted civil service. From 1926 onwards, the newly formed public service commission was constituted for India and it began to conduct ICS examination on behalf of British Civil Service Commission. This position continued till 1937, when the Public Service Commission (India) was replaced by Federal Service Commission under Government of India Act 1935.  After 1943, the recruitment to ICS was stopped.

Intake in higher government services – British Government was particular about the intake of the material into its elite service. It firmly believed in the ‘concept of Merit’, thinking that if recruitment was done properly, the person would develop the capacity to become a good bureaucrat.[ii]

It did everything to have –

  • British Government for Principle of Merit – British government strictly followed the principle of merit while recruiting personnel for its bureaucracy. Any other system, which excluded knowledge, talent and virtue was not acceptable to British rulers. Qualifications to do a job well appeared to the British, the only worthwhile principle to select administrators. Their aim was to locate the administrators, “Capable of fulfilling duties of a nature, so particularly delicate and important, both as they respect the peace and happiness of Indian subjects and the rights and privileges of the European Community in our eastern dominion.”[iii]
  • Esprit d’ corps amongst its officersPhilip Maser said that there was esprit d’ corps amongst the officers. Lines pointed out, It is the Esprit d’ corps, which served to enforce a strong moral code. It did not need to be articulated.  Everybody knew it.
  • Smallness of service – It maintained “The smallness of service”, just over a thousand at any given time which instilled amongst officers a strong sense of service loyalty.
  • Incorruptible Bureaucracy Clive Dewey said that the historical evidence points out to only a minute handful of officers of being corrupt. “It was partially their salaries, partly their background, partly their sense of duty and partly ivory tower, in which they lived, which made any rumors extremely uncomfortable.[iv]
  • Satisfactory work atmosphereThe bureaucracy, whatever its complexion might have been, had developed traditions of independence, integrity, and hard work, though these qualities served the British rulers and not the Indian masses. This was the reason that ICS has often been called the Steel Frame, which reared and sustained British rule in India. Lloyd George, the British Prime Minister in his historic Steel-frame speech, said on Aug.2, 1922 in the House of Commons that British civil servants were the very basis of the Empire in India and so he could not imagine any period, when they could dispense with the guidance and assistance of a small nucleus of the British civil servants. He said, I do not care, what you build on it. If you take that Steel-frame out of the fabric, it will collapse. There is only one institution, we will not cripple, there is one institution, and we will not deprive of its functions or of its privileges and that is that institution, which build up the British Raj – the British Civil Service in India.
  • Stress on TrainingThe British government was not only very particular about appointments in the ICS, but also provided atmosphere conducive to efficient performance, while on job. They believed that for being a good bureaucrat something had to be learnt by experience. Therefore, immediately after their arrival in India, the new recruits were attached to district for on-the-job training for eighteen months.

During one year of district training, the officers had to get thoroughly acquainted with villages, administrative compulsions and a working knowledge of the relationship between various branches of Government at district headquarters like police, agriculture, local bodies etc. Another six months were directed to more intensive revenue work in district under land settlement. It meant harder and more complicated work.

  • Great stress on touring and camping out – Great stress was laid on touring and camping out. They had to maintain diaries, which were thoroughly scrutinized by their seniors.
  • Guidance of the seniors – It was made clear to senior district officers vide G.O. No. 738, published on 18th April, 1916, in ICS Manual, Madras, The great importance of paying attention to the training of young men, who were entrusted to their guidance and whose success in life and influence for good depends so greatly on the assistance, which they received at the outset of their career.

The system was so enforced and watched, that there was no escape, whatsoever, from acquiring knowledge about the basics of administration, and to learn about the problems of each and every area of their jurisdiction.  Guidance of the seniors prepared them to deal with those properly. The Government paid all the attention to see that, the new recruits were shaped into ICS role properly.

White-man’s superiority during British Rule – The British, according to their aims and objectives, pursued the policy of ‘racial discrimination’ for recruiting officers in administration. They followed the dictum of White-man’s superiority” for the appointments of higher civil services in Government of India.  Though Queen Victoria’s Proclamation of 1858 clearly stated, “It is our further will that so far as may be, our subjects of whatever race or creed, be freely impartially admitted to the offices in our service, the duties of which they may be qualified by their education, ability and integrity, duly to discharge.[v] But it was not meant to be followed. The rulers virtually prohibited Indians to join higher civil services intentionally for a long time. They did not want to give Indian any control over the governance of the country.

Views of some British rulers on ‘White-men Superiority”Lord Lytton, in his confidential document, acknowledged that the pledge of the Royal proclamation of 1858 was never intended to be carried out.  He said, We all know that these claims, expectations never can or will be fulfilled. We have had choose between prohibiting them (Indians) and cheating them, we have chosen the least straight forward course.[vi]

Lord Kimberley, the Secretary of State, laid down in 1893; It is indispensable, that an adequate number of members of the Civil Service shall always be European.

Viceroy Lord Landsdowne stressed Absolute necessity of keeping the Government of this wide-spread empire into European hands, if that empire is to be maintained.[vii]

In 1867, Lawrence commented, We have conquered India by force of arms, though the policy and good Government have already aided us.  In the like manner, we must hold it.  The Englishmen must always be in the forefront holding the post of honor and power, as the condition of our retaining of our rule.[viii]

In Home Department Resolution of May 1904, Lord Curzon’s Government justified the policy, they were pursuing with regard to White-man’s superiority in Civil Service. The highest ranks of the civil employees in India, those in the Imperial Civil Service, the members of which are entrusted with the responsible task of carrying on the general administration of the country, though open to such Indians, who proceed to England and pass the requisite tests, must nevertheless, as a general rule be held by the Englishmen, for the reason that they possess partly by heredity, partly by upbringing and partly by education that knowledge of the principles of Government, the habits of the mind and vigour of character, which are essential for the task and the rule of India, being a British rule  and any other rule being  in the circumstances of the case impossible.  The tone and the standard should be set by those, who have created it and are responsible for it.[ix]

Illbert Bill controversy proves that White bureaucrats were not at all prepared to share administrative powers with Indians, in spite of all the official declarations of 1833, 1858, 1861, 1892 and 1909.

Dictums on which policy of recruitment was based during Imperial ruleDuring British Imperial rule, the policy of the government for manning its crucial positions depended on following dictums –

  • Background of the recruits British youth, who usually joined covenanted civil services, were mainly from the ranks of British professional middle classes. They had made smooth progression from school to Oxford or Cambridge. The main attractions for them, to join the Indian Civil Services, were extremely generous salaries, opportunity to do something worthwhile, quick promotions, and responsibilities with full freedom to work.
  • Paternalistic outlook of officers – These officers thought it their duty and took it as a challenge to provide, Care, protection and guidance ultimately liberty to the people, they ruled.[x] Lines, an ex- ICS officer, said, I suppose, we thought of a simple Indian villager… Here are simple people, who need leadership. Mr. Arthur, another ex ICS officer, said, Their attitude, certainly was paternalistic, which was necessary in a colonial administration.
  • Restrictions on Indians to join higher services The British deliberately kept Indians at bay by creating conditions, which prohibited Indians’ recruitment in higher administrative jobs. They held the entrance competitive examination for Civil Services in England up to 1922. Only a very few Indians could bear the hazards and expenses of going abroad. There were extremely remote chances of succeeding in that examination.

With the birth of Indian National Congress Party in 1885, and intensification of the nationalist movement, the demand for greater Indian participation at higher levels in Government and its administration grew. Gandhiji, Gokhale, Tilak, Patel and other devoted leaders put great pressure on the British for holding Civil Services examination in India, simultaneously with that of England. The intensification of National movement and increasing demand of Indianization of Civil Services left a dampening effect on the attraction of British youths to join ICS. All the attempts to attract them fell flat. The number of British officials began to decline.

Start of holding Competitive Examination in India – The British Government started holding Civil Services examination in India as well from 1922 onwards. It gave opportunities to more and more Indians to join its elite services like ICS/IP. Along with it, it had transferred some service functions to the Provinces and abolished other All India services dealing with those service functions. The rulers continued their authority over control functions and services engaged in them – services ICS & IP.  British delegated the authority to Provincial governments to recruit personnel for their respective Provincial civil services, and organize the functioning of those activities.

  • Balance of power – In matter of recruitment in government jobs, another dictum, which the Colonial rulers followed, was that of ‘balance of power’. With the intensification of national movement, the rulers tried their best to balance the power in such a way, that no section of Indian society could become strong enough to pose a threat to its rule in India. They regarded Brahmins as the main force behind the entire struggles and agitations for gaining freedom from British rule. To control their movements, British thought it necessary to balance the power.

Act of ‘balancing the power’ led to start of quota system and policy of ‘Divide &rule’ – The dominance of Brahmins/upper castes had cautioned the ruler. To stop the preponderance theirs in administration, freedom struggles and elsewhere in modern white-collared occupations, British rulers propped up other sections of the society. To prepare other sections of society and make their entry possible in administrative set up, Rulers gave preferential treatment by fixing up separate Quotas for them in education and government jobs.

Through the Acts of 1909, 1919 and 1932, the British divided the Indian population into different groups, on the basis of caste, community, occupation, religion etc., and gave them separate representation in Legislative Councils, and Assemblies. They bestowed special benefits and preferences in education and Government jobs for different upcoming groups. Some seats were reserved for Muslims and Anglo-Indians in Central Services (Class I).

In 1932, the British accepted Reservations for scheduled castes at National level through Communal Award”. But it could not be implemented till 1943, because of the procedural constraints. After 1943, the recruitment to ICS was suspended, earlier due to Second World War and later, because of transfer of power to Indians.

British design to prepare an atmosphere for the successful implementation of quota system before quitting India, knowing well that it would divide Indian population and adversely affect administration. It is unfortunate that the independent India has fallen into the trap. British policy of communal representation took the shape of Reservation Policy in Independent India.

Hamstrung by lack of qualified candidates to fill up mandatory quota seats, the government of India has lowered the cut-offs for reserved category of students from time to time. It has also took initiative to arrange for   preparatory courses for aspirant candidates belonging to under-privileged communities.

British rulers, not ready to lower standard of its elite services – British-rulers were not prepared to weaken their Steel frame at any cost. British Government gave preferential treatment to upcoming groups in government jobs, but kept its elite services engaged in control functions (ICS/IP) untouched from the quota system till the last.  They firmly and clearly said to the upcoming groups that they wouldn’t weaken their Steel frame at any cost for anybody, as on it depended efficient governance of the country. It told the upcoming groups in clear terms, With its utmost desire to do so, the best for these classes, the Government will be and is powerless to help them, unless they qualify themselves to the same extent as others of their country-men for duties of administration and public.[xi]

  • Rigorous Foundation training for IndiansIn order to maintain the standard, dignity and honour of the services, British Government arranged for three years of rigorous foundational training for the Indians selected in its elite services. For appointees selected from UK center initial training was for two years. They were required to undergo a years training in U.K., at one of the four universities – Oxford, Cambridge, London or Dublin, immediately after joining ICS. This training was for duration of two years (+ one year) for those, selected from the Indian center (Delhi) after 1922. From 1937, it was reduced from two to one year.

Purpose of longer probation periodThe purpose of longer probation period for Indians in Britain, was to bring Indian recruits in close touch with British way of life. It was to train in such a way that they “should ….. be Anglicized in terms of both cultural and intellectual attainments”. Lord Macauley clearly said that, “we must at present do our best to form a class, who may be interpreters between us and the millions whom we govern; a class of persons, Indians in blood and color, but English in taste, in opinions, in morals and in intellect.” No doubt, the rigorous training system for them had broaden the outlook of Indian recruits, developed their sense of duty as administrators and loyalty to the Government.

The Indian officials had to appear in two examinations at end of their probation in U.K., while their British counterparts, selected from London center, appeared only in one examination.  In all other matters like emolument and privileges, the Indian ICS officials got equal treatment, as was given to their British counterpart.

No doubt, all these efforts have helped ICS developing gradually into one of the most efficient/powerful services in the world.

                                                             Independent India

Independent India

About Governance in India – Way back on December 9, 1946, Mr. V.N. Narayan had said, At best of times, India is ungovernable country of diversities, conflicts and problems. Mr. Nani Palkiwala, a leading lawyer also expressed the same feeling saying “50 years of self-rule, gave to India empty coffers, unfulfilled promises, political instability, fractured society and perpetual divide among different groups along caste and community lines after 50 years of self-rule”. He said, Our legal systems have made life too easy for criminals and too difficult for law abiding citizens.[i] A touch here, a push there may make India ungovernable.

Present scenario of governanceRecently, Mr. VN Narayan has described beautifully the present climate, “We have a political problem (scams and scandals), but we have no political solution, we have a religious problem (Ayodhya), but no religious solution. There is an economic problem (poverty), but there is no economic solution (Liberalization). There is a social problem (Sectarian conflicts), but there is no societal remedy (Secularism and Mandalisation). There is a socio-medical disease (cancer of corruption), but there is no socio-medical cure (ministerial resignations and reshuffles)”

Administrative apparatus of the government – In a democratic country like India, for the governance and delivering goods to public at large, the Government roughly depends on the following two general processes:

  • Process of politics, which consists of activities of the elected representatives of the people, and
  • Process of administration which consists of the activities of permanent civil servants.

In theory, position of political-leaders vs bureaucrats – Theoretically the administrative machinery is subordinate to the political arm of a government. The decision making power rests with ministers. But bureaucracy assists the elected representatives of the people in governance of the country of administration. But, in practice, its role is very important in governance of a country.

Importance of bureaucracy in governance – The administrative machinery or Civil Service, is a Professional body of officials, permanent, paid and skilled.[i], It plays an important role in governance of a country. The main characteristics of civil services are its efficiency, predictability, impersonal nature, and its impartial and speedy working. It is always associated with exercise of authority.

Theoretically, the administrative machinery is subordinate to the elective body i.e. the Council of Ministers. But in practice, it plays a different role. The civil services role in relation to the minister is that of influence and not of power.[ii] As far as governance in a country is concerned, bureaucracy could be regarded as the pillar, on which the entire structure of governance rests.

Difficulties and problems posed on free India – Very few nations in the world have started out with greater initial difficulties of political, economic, social and administrative character as India had to do. Periods of unity, in Indian history, have been lesser as compared to periods of strife and conflict. Immediately after Independence and as time passed on, India has to  face many the mind-boggling challenges like –

  • After-effects of  two World Wars, or Unification of the country out of 560 and odd princely states in splendid manner and almost within a year. First President of India Rajendra Prasad wrote in May 1959, “That there is today an India to think and talk about, is very largely due to Sardar Patel’s statesmanship and firm administration.
  • Partition of the country, and settlement of a large number of refugees coming from East and West Pakistan.
  • India, still, is a transient society moving from traditionalism to modernism. It had a long tradition of authoritarianism and institutionalism. The caste, class and feudal heritage still dominate its social fabric. In the words of Nirad Chaudari 1, “An extraordinary thing about all the civilizations of India is that there have been superstructures imposed on a primitive, peasant, labor and artisan community, which itself has hardly changed since the end of the neo-lithic age in Western Asia”
  • Periodical famines and floods,
  • Bleeding economic condition.
  • Poverty, illiteracy of masses.
  • Coming up of new divisive forces, which base themselves on cultural, emotional and linguistic variations of the country.
  • Violent activities of Naxalites and disturbances in many provinces due to one reason or the other,
  • Terrorist activities in border areas which pose serious challenge before the administration at various levels and that unless local problems are solved speedily, they are likely to pose a new threat to the unity and stability of the nation as a whole.
  • Still the growth has been very slow and the economy is in a bad shape. Some basic problems of Indian economy are low per capita income, dependence of at least ¾ of her population on agriculture, industrial backwardness, capital deficiency, rapid population growth, unemployment and under-employment, prevalence of backward technology, under-utilization of natural resources and unsuitable social structures.
  • Generally law follows social change, but in India the Government is trying to foster social change through law.
  • Pervasive corruption and indiscipline has weakened the social fabric beyond repair.
  • Population is exploding virtually unchecked.
  • Standards of education have declined beyond any remedy and it has become inefficient, wasteful, dysfunctional and increasingly unrelated to national needs and aspirations.
  • Illiteracy of masses is still a problem in the society.
  • Some unpleasant changes took place in the past and are increasing every day in the character, role and inter-relationship of the 6-7 main constituent of the national elites – political executive, legislators, media, businessmen, the organized workers, the surplus farmers and the bureaucrats.
  • Sectional and regional imbalances are also sources of great social and psychological tensions.
  • Over and above it, there is disincentive to hard work, talent, honesty and sincerity, lack of accountability and alienation of common man.
  • Last but not the least tolerance of people of India is also responsible, who accept sub-standard administration, giving very little challenge to the authorities to upgrade their performance.

Until and unless, each of the above mentioned issues are not solved firmly and speedily, efficient and effective governance will remain a distant dream.

Why success seems to be far away? – People hold bureaucracy, ‘the steel frame of governance’, responsible for all the mess-up. People wonder why the steel-frame of yesteryears is shaking and failing to do its job effectively and judiciously despite having a constitutional status with enough powers to deal with unwanted situations. No doubt, there has been decline over the years in the quality, competence and commitment of the administrative officers. In-discipline, violence and lawlessness are increasing every day all-over the country. Bureaucracy is shaking under its own pressures. But more than that, it seems that political and administrative systems are not in harmony with the developmental activities.

Like Four Blind Men and the Elephant, leaders of different political parties and groups of intellectuals perceive and project disparate parts of nation’s issues differently, always criticizing each other’s point of view vehemently. They ignore harsh realities/facts and attract public attention on emotional, sensitive abstract issues. Maximum damage is done by vested interests of different pressure groups, which usually spread their opinions based on half cooked knowledge or incomplete data. Their eyes are on short term gains. Success depends on how those in the realm of authority perceive and handle the real issues, find out possible solutions and decide without bias what are issues needed to be tackled on priority basis. Pressing problems needs to be analyzed taking the whole scenario in view, and then be tackled sincerely and honestly without any bias for the sustainable development of the nation.

What to do?Just as correct diagnosis is necessary for curing a disease properly, in the same way a nation needs to assess correctly the real issues, which are hampering its development within time and cost parameters. Smooth governance and Development of nation demands awareness, honesty and a sense of responsibility amongst elected representatives, of the people, government officials, and masses. Then only they can get over challenges hampering the progress of the nation as a whole. They should not waste their efforts and energy on peripheral/abstract issues for short terms gains.

To face the challenges of the day, there is a need to consciously move towards –

  • Humanizing the political and social institutions, not communalise or secularize them and
  • Creating sound systems for recruitment, education and training of personnel to be engaged in the work of governance. Today India needs more than yesterday to induct into its administrative set-up, upright, honest and best available talents, for whom interest of the country and welfare of the people always remain on the top of their mind and deed.

Recruitment in Civil Services in India after Independence –  In India, the present recruitment policy has been evolved after a long experience. In order to provide the nation a well-equipped and intellectually brilliant administrative frame-work, the recruitment to its superior government services is being done through open examinations conducted by Union Public Service Commission.

The forefathers of the Constitution knew well the importance of civil services in order to ensure good governance to the country and providing the safety of the nation. Mr. MV Kamath said, “With the independence of our country, the responsibilities of the services have become onerous. It may make or mar the efficiency of the machinery of administration, machinery so vital for the peace and progress of the country. A country without any efficient Government service cannot make progress in spite of the earnestness of the people at the helm of affairs of the country. Whatever democratic institutions exist, experience has shown, that it is essential to protect public services as far as possible from political and personal influence and to give it that position of stability and security, which is vital in its successful working, as an impartial and efficient instrument, by which Government of whatever political complexion may give effect to their policies” (Constituent Assembly Debates, Vol. IX, p585).

Position of Indian civil services according to Constitution of India – To provide the nation ‘Development Administration’ of a ‘Welfare State’, the Constitution of India has entrusted the responsibility of improving the quality of life of common-men, together to i.e. the Parliament to lay policy and frame laws for governance, the Judiciary to act as a watchdog and Executive to implement policies, laws and programs. Amongst all the three, the Executive affects the daily life of the people the most, as it implements the policies, the laws and the programs through Civil Services of the nation.

Mr. Subharajan said during Constituent Assemble debates, “Without an efficient civil service, it would be impossible for the Government to carry on and continuity to be kept. The importance of the Governmental administration has been in the fact that there is continuity and unless this continuity, there is chaos” (Constituent Assembly Debates, Vol. IX, p952).

After Independence, many national leaders desired that ICS and similar services must disappear completely. According to them the basic task of administration had changed from one of attending to routine regulatory function to that of promoting a rapid socio-economic change. They wanted the Civil Services of independent India to be constituted on a new basis, to fit in with the new system of Welfare State. and form the civil services of India on a new basis to fit in with the new philosophy, role, aims and objectives of a Welfare state. According to them, there were of maintenance of law and order and revenue collection only.

No drastic change possible in the administrative set-up – Visionary Sardar Patel, then the Home Minister of India, had realized that at the dawn of independence, circumstances were such that no drastic change could be made in the then existing system. Immediately after the independence, the number of IAS officers decreased to a great extent. Many British ICS officers took premature retirement after the independence. Also, a large number of Muslim officers opted for Pakistan. Many critical problems were there due to the task of unification of states, partition of the country in 1947, and bleeding economic situations. He insisted to continue the existing Institution of Civil Services. He told the national leaders very clearly that it would not be practically a wise decision to abolish the existing civil services. This decision proved to be a right direction, as the nation was facing many challenges. Consequently, save minor changes here and there, the administrative machinery set up during the Raj moved into the post-Independent era except for minor changes here and there.

Process of Recruitment in dependent India – After Independence, for smooth, efficient and effective governance and successful operation of its developmental activities, Government of India focused its attention to conduct properly the initial selection of the services. It desired to select those candidates/officials for its civil services, who could implement its policies and programs in a more positive, systematic and purposeful manner. In order to provide the nation with a well-equipped and intellectually brilliant administrative frame-work, it decided to follow the earlier British Government practice of the recruitment in higher services with minor changes here and there.

Structure of higher civil services at national level – After Independence the government of India has formed some new civil services in various disciplines – functional, technical and specialist as well as managerial and generalist cadres.

All India services and Central Services – Services like Indian Administrative Service, Indian Police Service and some Central Services fall in the first category. These are meant for performing the control and policy making functions of the government. All India Services are meant basically for providing personnel for national and state administration. Maximum number of policy level posts under the Union are held by Officers belonging to this group.

Among the three, elite status is given to Indian Administrative service (IAS). Right from its inception, Indian Administrative Service attracts the maximum attention of the government and the politicians. Along with the council of Ministers, they control, virtually, all the levers of the governance of the country. Also for an educated youth, it is a matter of pride to be a part of IAS, as it was with the ICS in pre-independence days. The Government offers them best career opportunities, more power, higher responsibilities, higher salaries, better perquisites, and superior status than any other service at the center or in the states and a place of pride in socio-political circle. They exercise state authority from day one and continue to do it till their retirement. Its officers deliberate directly at the highest level of policy formulation and decision making.

Indian Administrative Service and Indian Police Service are incorporated in Article 312(2) of the Constitution. Government offers to IAS best career opportunities, more power, higher responsibilities, higher salaries, better perquisites, and superior status than any other service at the center or in the states and a place of pride in socio-political circle.

Central civil services – Central civil services are professional by nature. Its functional areas are mentioned in Central List of Subjects under the Constitution, such as Railways, Posts and Telegraphs, Excise and Customs etc. Appointments in professional services does not require any professional qualification or experience.

Technical Civil services – The government has the power to create technical and specialized government services as and when nation require them. Technical Civil Services require knowledge and experience of a defined field, professional degree, diploma and/or experience for appointment to these services. Engineering services, Health services etc., come in this category.

These services deal especially with developmental programs or work for building up infrastructure for the development of the country. It is considered expedient to have a Central Control/guidance for uniformity in technical fields such as water resources management, power generation etc. Some Technical Services are Indian service of Indian Meteorological Service; Overseas Communication Service; Indian Statistical Service; Indian Economic Service; Indian Railway Services of Engineers (of Electrical Engineers; Signal Engineers; Mechanical Engineers; (Civil, Electrical, Mechanical, Electronics, Indian Ordnance Factories Service (Engineering Branch).

Recruitment System after Independence

After 1947, independent India needed, more than earlier, in its managerial cadres, energetic officers with drive, initiative, unquestionable integrity and positive outlook to meet the challenges of insurgent India. Along with the traditional task of the maintenance of law and order, revenue collection, developmental works like integrated planning, implementation of programs, coordinate programs for economic and social regeneration and construction of new modern India, were added to the responsibilities of the administrative service. Now India required more in numbers, “The officers, manning the executive, must not only be good administrators, but should be imbibed with the service, possess leadership of a high order and be able to play the role of a guide and friend of the people.” [i]

Recruitment pattern after Independence – After Independence, for smooth, efficient and effective governance and successful operation of its developmental activities, Government of India focused its attention to conduct properly the initial selection of the services. It desired to select those candidates/officials for its civil services, who could implement its policies and programmes in a more positive, systematic and purposeful manner. In order to provide the nation with a well-equipped and intellectually brilliant administrative frame-work, it decided to follow the earlier British Government practice of the recruitment in higher services with minor changes here and there.

The recruitment pattern remains almost the same after Independence except for some marginal modifications, here and there, from time to time. Recruitment in all the government services is to be done through open examinations every year. The responsibility to spot out good candidates and nurture them to acquire the skills necessary for performing responsibilities of administration is entrusted to an autonomous body called Union Public Service Commission at the centre and State Public Service Commission of the respective state.

The basic ingredients of the system are: –

  • Selection of really brilliant youths through an open competitive examination, conducted annually by an independent agency – Union Public Service Commission and Provincial Public Service Commissions, which have been entrusted with the responsibility to spot out good candidates.
  • Promotion of brilliant officers into Central from the State Civil Services.
  • Intensive formal and informal training to nurture them to acquire the skills necessary for performing responsibilities of higher posts has been planned by the government. There has been arrangement for two years foundation training for new recruits and many in-service training programs, refresher courses, seminars, workshops etc., at frequent intervals.
  • Like British rulers, Independent India also acknowledges the value of actual field experience for initial four-five years, “What constitutes of being a good bureaucrat is something, he has still to learn and it can only be learnt by experience, for it is a lot of things, which one never can get into books.”[ii]

Twenty-first century India needs more than earlier, in its managerial cadres, energetic officers with drive, initiative, unquestionable integrity and positive outlook to meet the challenges of insurgent India. Along with the traditional task of the maintenance of law and order, revenue collection, developmental works like integrated planning, implementation of programs, coordinate programs for economic and social regeneration and construction of new modern India, are added to the responsibilities of the administrative service. Now India required more in numbers, “The officers, manning the executive, must not only be good administrators, but should be imbibed with the service, possess leadership of a high order and be able to play the role of a guide and friend of the people.” [iii]

Therefore, government needs to induct the best available talents into the service. Candidates recruited on an all India basis would help the state administration to acquire broader outlook and exposure. Broader vision and outlook of candidates would make them objective, enable them to withstand local influence and provide them strength to give free and frank opinion. At present, there are many divisive forces within the country based on cultural, social, religious, lingual status etc. which may threaten the unity of the country at any point of time. In such an atmosphere, bureaucrats are supposed to play a role of an integrating force. They can do so by objectively reconciling conflicting viewpoints and diverse interest of the people and always keep the interests of the nation on the top.

India has everything, a nation needs for its development – like tremendous amount of skilled and unskilled manpower, all kind of raw materials in abundance, a good legal system, a huge market and potential to export virtually everything, provided cost of its inputs are kept at international levels.

Pattern of Central Civil Services competitive examinationBefore 1979, the written examination consisted of three compulsory subjects of 450 marks – Essay, General English and General Knowledge. These were required to be taken by all the candidates. There were three optional papers, of 200 marks each, for candidates trying for IAS and IFS and Central Services Class I and II. For Police Services of Union Territories, candidates had to take only two optional papers of 200 marks each. Candidates appearing for category – I had to take two more optional subjects (Higher papers) carrying 200 marks each, additionally. This position is summarized in the table below: –

The standard of the lower papers (Optional papers) was approximately of an honors degree examination of an Indian University. The standard of two additional subjects (higher papers) for category I was higher than that of an honors degree examination, that, too, were examined, only if a certain minimum marks, as fixed by the Commission, in three compulsory and three optional papers had been secured by the candidates. Interview for personality test carried 400 marks for IFS, 300 for IAS and 200 for all other services. From 1969 onwards, candidates had the choice to answer the compulsory papers in English or in any one of the languages included in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution.

Kothari Commission’s recommendations In 1975, under Dr. D.S. Kothari, a Committee was set up to review to suggest improvement in the system of recruitment to the higher services. The Commission observed, that in order to meet the challenges and to achieve rapid socio-economic and political development, the administrators must have not only relevant knowledge and skills, but also Socio-emotional and moral qualities for working with the community. Therefore, some changes in the recruitment policy and selection method were suggested. On the basis of Kothari Commission’s recommendations a common Civil Service Examination, having equal number of papers, for all the three categories, which is conducted by UPSC, has been introduced since 1979.

It recommended unified competitive examination consisting of a preliminary screening examination to test skill, speed and accuracy for non-technical civil services, an objective type to facilitate identification of those, who have the requisite range of knowledge, main examination in four compulsory and four optional papers to test the depth of knowledge and an interview to examine communication skills, public speaking skills, leadership qualities, ability to exchange meaningful ideas and attitude. This scheme came into practice from 1979. Since then, it is done in three stages –

  • Preliminary examination (MCQ type) – The first stage is of Unified competitive examination consisting of a preliminary screening examination to test skill, speed and accuracy for non-technical civil services. It facilitates quick identification of those, who have the requisite range of IQ. Preliminary examination consists of General Studies paper of 150 marks and an optional subject of 300 marks. This examination is of objective type with multiple choice questions. Through preliminary examination, about 85,000 to 10,000 candidates are short listed in order of merit, who are allowed to appear in the second stage of examination known as Main Examination.
  • Mains examination (descriptive type)The qualified candidates of preliminary examination are called for Mains examination. Main examination to tests the depth of knowledge in compulsory and optional subjects of candidates’ choice. consists of conventional essay type paper in any Indian language, as per the Eighth Schedule, consisting of 300 marks, a paper of 300 marks in English, General studies I of 300 marks, General Studies II also of 300 marks, and two papers in each of the two optional subjects, each carrying 300 marks. Indian language and English papers are part of the qualifying examination. These two papers are of matriculation standard. Marks secured in these papers are not added to the total score.
  • Personal interviewThose, who succeed in main examination, are called to appear for an Interview/Personality test for final selection. Its purpose is to find out leadership qualities, depth of knowledge, attitude and willingness to understand all sides of a problem, communication skill and command over language. The merit list of successful candidates is prepared on the basis of their performance in the main examination (1800 marks) and interview (250 marks).

Qualifications For entering directly into the managerial cadre of different government services, candidates should have the following qualifications –

  • Educational Qualification – A graduate degree is needed from a recognized university (incorporated by an Act of Central OR State Legislature in India OR Other educational institution established by Parliament Act OR announced to be deemed university under section-3 of the UGCA), 1956 or an equivalent degree. a simple graduate degree from anywhere in India can appear in the Civil Services examination conducted by UPSC. Appointment into non-technical professional civil services does not require any special professional qualification or experience. Professional civil services’ functional areas are mentioned in Central List of Subjects under the Constitution.
  • Age Limit– The upper age limit varied between 24 to 28 years for general category candidates, from time to time. Age limit differs from time to time. Sometimes it is 21 to 24, sometimes from 21 to 28 years and at present according to official notice 2016 (If there is change UPSC updates)
Category Upper age limit No. of attempts
General 32 Years 06 Attempts
OBC 35 Years 09 Attempts
SC/ST 37 Years No bar
PH (Blind, Deaf, Orthopedic) 42 Years

SC/ST= No bar

J & K Domicile GEN=37 Yrs, OBC= 40 Yrs, SC/ST=40 Yrs, PH=50 Yrs No bar
Disabled servicemen, disabled from duty. GEN=37 Yrs, OBC=40 Yrs, SC/ST=40 Yrs. No bar
  • The allocation of services – the IAS, IFS, IPS, or the Central Services – is on the basis of merit and choice. Normally, the top rankers opt for either the IAS or the IFS.
  • Concessions to weaker sections – However some seats are reserved for SC (15%) ST (7.5%) and OBC (27%) on relaxed ground in all the services.
  • Concessions to SCT – In order to increase the number of SC/ST in government services, in addition to Reservation of posts, many other benefits are also given to them in direct recruitment. These are: –

      • Age relaxation. The maximum age of direct recruitment for SC/ST increased by 5 years.
      • SC/ST allowed taking as many attempts, to appear in the competitive examination, as they could avail. This works out to as many as 9 attempts.
      • SCT candidates qualifying by general standard not to be adjusted against quota.
      • SC/ST candidates exempted from payment of examination fees.
      • Separate interviews for SC/ST.
      • Pre-entry coaching classes organised by the Government for them.
      • Relaxation in standard to further improve their representation in the service.
      • If, in any particular year, the number of suitable candidates available is less than the number of reserved posts, the posts, so in excess, are to be treated as unreserved for that particular year. However, in the next year, the number of posts unreserved would be added to the reserved posts of that year. This carrying over process is to operate for a period of two years, at a time.
      • Reservation in Promotions, not given effect to, in a particular year is carried forward to three subsequent recruitment years. SC/ST candidates to be given Reservation leading to their accelerated promotions. As per the Supreme Court judgement, in Indira Sawney case, delivered on 16.11.92, Reservations in promotion could not continue beyond 15.11.97. Hence 77th Amendment Act, 1995, notified on 19.6.95 (issued on 13.8.97), enabled the State, vide Art 16(4A), to continue it indefinitely.
      • De-reservation in a group A services permissible only in exceptional cases having: –
        • The approval of the Minister in charge of Department of Personnel,
        • On the basis of recommendations of a committee, comprising the secretaries in the Ministries of Personnel, Welfare and the administrative Ministry concerned.
        • Only after receiving the comments of the national Commission on SCT.
    • Concessions given to OBCs – The concessions to OBC’s are less than SC/ST in following respect:
        • They get relaxation in upper age limit up to 3 years only,
        • Number of chances available within the relaxed age limit for appearing in competitive examination limited to seven as against 9 in the case of SC/ST.
        • Relaxation in standard of suitability has been prescribed to further improve the representation of OBCs.
    • Steps taken to implement Governments decision for appointment of OBCs are as follows-[iv]
        • A list of caste/communities, to whom the orders of Reservation are applicable are notified.
        • The persons/sections (Creamy layer), to whom the Reservation shall not apply, are specified.
        • A model format of an application form for claiming the benefit of Reservation, as well as, their not belonging to the creamy layer have been prepared and sent to State Government authorities, competent to issue certificate in respect of OBC status.
        • The Chief Secretaries of the state Governments are advised to issue necessary instructions to their district authorities for providing certificates required by the OBCs.
        • The existing 40-point roster for recruitment by open competition on an All India basis has been revised to a 200-point roster.
    • Concessions to Women – As for as women were concerned, on 17th July 1948, the Government of India announced that woman, too, were eligible for any public service including IAS and IFS.[ii] However, till 1965, there were some restrictions on married woman on joining IAS or appearing in the competitive examination. If they got married after the selection, their retention depended on the performance of their work.[iii]  Though percentage of women comprising of 50% is very little in the corridor of of power, much lesser than the percentage of STC or OBC, still they have always been expected by political leaders to compete with others on merit. It is a matter of pride for them that their number in various  civil services is continuously increasing. They have also been amongst the top rankers in various competitive examinations held annually by UPSC.

One of the toughest competitive Examination – Civil Services Examination (CSE) is one the toughest examination in India, with more than 900,000 applicants having one of the lowest in the world success rate of 0.1%­0.3%. a nationwide competitive examination in India for recruitment to various Civil Services of the Government of India, including the Indian Police Service (IPS), Indian Foreign Service (IFS), Indian Administrative Service (IAS) and Indian Revenue Service (IRS) conducted by the Union Public Service Commission. The process takes roughly one year from the notification of the pre examination to declaration of the final results.

Foundational training – Immediately after their selection into various services, the successful candidates are sent to various training Institutions for their foundation training so that they may get the picture of the political, social and economic aspect of the administrative set-up and they may get acquainted with the basic concepts and requirements of their jobs.

Technical Civil servicesBefore Independence, there existed some technical All India Services which were recruited and controlled by the `Secretary of State’. These died their natural death, when in 1935, authority and control of the services engaged in service functions was handed over to provincial government. Very few remained with Central Government. After Independence, the government created some new technical and specialized government services as and when nation required them. Some of the services on technical side are Indian service of Indian Meteorological Service; Overseas Communication Service; Indian Statistical Service; Indian Economic Service; Indian Railway Services of Engineers (of Electrical Engineers; Signal Engineers; Mechanical Engineers; (Civil, Electrical, Mechanical, Electronics, Indian Ordnance Factories Service (Engineering Branch); In India,

Technical Civil Services require knowledge and experience of a defined field, professional degree, diploma and/or experience for appointment to these services. Engineering services, Health services etc., come in this category.

These services deal especially with developmental programs or work for building up infrastructure for the development of the country. It is considered expedient to have a Central Control/guidance for uniformity in technical fields such as water resources management, power generation etc. For Technical and Specialist services, UPSC conducts separate examinations.

The pattern of examination is slightly different for technical services. No preliminary screening has been considered necessary as technical graduates have already undergone a rigorous curriculum in their respective fields of study. For joining various organised group `A’ services on technical side, the candidates have to appear in various competitive examinations conducted annually by UPSC itself.

Some weaknesses of present recruitment system – Many efforts have been done so far to improve the system of recruitment to induct officials of caliber, character and leadership capabilities in Government services. But general public feels that the performance of civil services has been deteriorated day by day. The changes, brought in so far have not improved the situation. Something more is required to be done. There are some inherent weaknesses in the recruitment system. Until and unless, necessary changes and improvements are not done in the following areas, not much can be expected from bureaucracy –

  • Only a graduate degree not enough to enter into elite services of the nation –  One of the striking features is that in this age of specialization and very fast technological advancements, government still does not give enough importance to specialisation.  In the modern times, there are very few jobs, which can be done efficiently without some measure of specialization through education, training or experience.  The nature and degree of specialisation have to be geared to the nature of the job and responsibilities to be shouldered. Each new area of administration , be it economic, social, industrial, technical, science or agriculture – has its own body of academic requirements, knowledge and techniques.  The effective administration of each demands an intimate knowledge of its underlying principles and an awareness of its problems.  This knowledge can only come through the study and understanding of that area for a longer period of time. Then only,when politicians are to be advised on policy matters, alternatives can be properly put forward by government officials.

Even in 21st century, in most of the areas with which government deals, the system of collecting information, analysing data and using modern theoretical studies is inadequate and unsatisfactory. Most of the time policy advice continues to be primitive and amateurish.  Usually comparatively ignorant politicians are being advised by comparatively ignorant officers – the situation is of blind leading the blind.    

  • Age-relaxation – By increasing the age limit for entering into the government services, nation is losing the services of the youth at the time when they are full of energy and their minds are fresh and creative stage.
  • Diluting the integrity of the Government services  – No compromise should be done with integrity and merit-oriented recruitment in the government services. Mr. Appu says, “No reforms would work without improving the political atmosphere of the country”. System of fixing quotas for different sections of society has created a wedge between quota and non-quota candidates.

After the First World War, a wave of socialism and emancipation of submerged people through governmental measures had swept all over the world. The leaders of independent India, too, thought to do something more for the downtrodden. They felt, if the nation allowed the weak to stand and compete on equal footing with the strong, it would be throwing the dice in favour of the strong. Already after the departure of British, the administration fell into the hands of affluent people. If nothing special were done for the Backward-class, the affluent class would keep the poor suppressed.

At the time of independence, some weaker sections of Indian society were alarmingly under-represented in the corridor of power. They did not have access to education, gainful employment, land ownership and other civic facilities. Social justice and commitment to welfare ideologies demanded Governments intervention.

During Constitutional Assembly Debates, it was advised to keep in mind consideration to maintain a balance between efficiency in administration and protective measures, so that neither they negate merit, competitiveness, nor development of underprivileged groups. They warned the nation that  this effort may create greed or abuse of power, increase communalism, or hamper the growth of national unity and solidarity.[i]

Pt Hriday Narayan Kunjru feared, The regulations, made in this regard, may be unnecessarily wide or they may even be changed in such a way, from time to time, as to enable the executive to exercise a considerable amount of undesirable patronage. Many constituent Assembly members apprehended the fall of efficiency and administrative standard.

Constitutional provision  -Feeling that if something more was not done for this vast segment of society, it would remain backward, exploited and deprived forever, , the forefathers thought of giving preferential treatment to weaker sections in matter of education, jobs and other civic facilities. With his unparalleled skill of speech Dr. Ambedkar calmed down all the voices raised against protective measures at that time, and with his legal acumen shaped the Constitutional provision about Reservation.

Thus, with Art. 15 guaranteeing equality to all irrespective of caste, creed or gender, Clause (4), was included through First Amendment Act, on the pressures of leaders from South like Kamraj etc. It authorizes the state to take special care for the advancement of any socially, educationally and economically backward class of citizens or Scheduled caste and Scheduled Tribes. Art. 16 (4) permitted the state to make a provision for the Reservation of appointment, in posts, in favour of any backward class of citizens, which in the opinion of state were not adequately represented in the services under the state. Simultaneously, the emphasis was laid that the claims of scheduled castes and scheduled tribes shall be taken into consideration, consistent with the maintenance of efficiency in the administration, while making appointments to services and posts in connection with the affairs of Union or of a State (Article 335).

The Constitution framers neither fixed up any quota, nor designated the people, who could be put in SC/ST or backward class list, nor did they fix any period. However the debates of the constituent Assembly clearly indicated that Reservation were meant only for a limited period.

In pursuance of the constitutional provisions contained in Art. 16(4) and 335, various instructions were issued, from time to time, providing Reservation for SC/ST and OBC. The Government of India made provision for Reservation for SC/ST in Government jobs. By a resolution in 1950, the Government reserved 12.5% (for SC) and 5% (for ST) of the total available vacancies in all the Civil Services of Government of India, on the basis of their numerical strength in total population. It was raised to 15% for SCs and 7.5% for STs in 1970.

The Central Government issued orders for 27% Reservation for OBC on 13.8.90. This was challenged in the court of law. The judgement was delivered on 16.11.92. Based on the judgement, revised orders were issued on 8.9.93. Reservation for OBC started at national level from 1994. The Reservations for minorities was terminated by the Constitution.

Impact of Reservation No doubt, immediately after the independence provision of preferential treatment/Reservation has compensated and helped the underprivileged to offset the accumulated deprivation and make their empowerment a reality. It has provided opportunities to some of the most neglected sections of the society to come up and join the administrative services. Their inclusion has made the composition of the service broad based.

As a result of the Reservation, there has been a considerable increase in the representation of SCT in terms of absolute member and percentage of the total number of employees in IAS and other group A” services. In 1953, there were only 0.35% (absolute numbers of 20) of SCs and 0.10% (absolute number 6) of STs in Civil Services group A. Their numbers rose to 96 SC and 34 ST in 1966, 227 (8.56%) for SCs and 132 (4.8%) for STs in 1976. Non-adjustment of the meritorious SCT candidates against reserved vacancies, in direct Civil Services-recruitment has increased their number to more than 15% and 7 1/2%, respectively, every year.

OM No.1/1/70 Estt. (SCT) dated 25.7.70, issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs, stipulates that in direct recruitment, whether by examination or otherwise, if sufficient numbers of SCT candidates are not available, on the basis of the general standard, to fill all the vacancies reserved for them, the SCT candidates should be selected on relaxed standards provided they are not unfit for such posts. The UPSC continues, till now, the practice of relaxing standards, to the extent possible, while recruiting candidates belonging to SCT, to make up the short fall in reserved quota provided, they were otherwise considered fit for appointment.

It was hoped, that the candidates selected on relaxed standards would come up to the standard of other recruits selected along with them after receiving additional instructions, foundational training, in-service training and on- the jobs experience cum training arranged by the Government. But, so far, neither there is enough arrangement for giving formal additional training to the candidates selected on relaxed standards, nor for scrutinizing strictly or taking stern steps to improve their standard, apparently because of political reasons.

Hamstrung by lack of qualified candidates to fill up mandatory quota seats, the government lowers the cut-offs for reserved category of students from time to time. It has not arranged enough preparatory courses for aspirant candidates belonging to underprivileged communities, so that they can compete with others on equal footings.

But now, the deliberate policy of the Government of India to give patronage to certain castes and communities under reservation policy has aggravated the crisis. It has generated rivalry between different sections of the society and created slackness in recruitment and training, which has ultimately led the nation to ineffective governance. There is not

Seed sown by British blossomed in Independent India – It is quite evident that the British design to prepare an atmosphere for the successful implementation of Reservation policy before quitting, knowing well that it would divide Indian society and adversely affect administration. It is unfortunate that the independent India has fallen into the trap. The deliberate policy of the Government of India to give patronage to certain castes and communities under reservation policies has aggravated the crisis. It has generated inter-cast and intra-caste rivalry. It has compromised with the integrity, efficiency and effectiveness of the government services.

The political leadership needs to come out of this trap. Any laxity in the qualifications of officials in recruitment and promotions naturally leads to inefficient or mal-administration and sub-standard services to general public. C Rajagopalachari was absolutely right in commenting, Short sighted favoritism and concessions, to produce contentment among classes and castes, will be short lived and will deteriorate into a constant pondering to intrigues and factions, if we do not look to real efficiency.

Suggestions – As has been seen, the Indian Civil Service has a long historical background and is a product of centuries, and so is the case of its Recruitment system and systems of their further Education and Training. These systems have been progressed slowly, but steadily under three regimes – the East India Company, the Crown and the Indian Republic.

Although considerable attention has been paid to Recruitment into government services and their Education and Training, yet it has not been able to bring out the desired results – an inference based on various opinion polls and interviews. It has been pointed out by different levels of officers  that  Recruitment system should be job-oriented instead of its being degree oriented. Training time of initial training is insufficient and training system is too general. There is lack of interest among senior officers towards training, as it was during British rule. Officers are not trained to lead a simple life. Generalist services hampers technological advancement. IAS officers generally occupy almost all the higher posts even in departments of technical nature. Appointments of technical personnel would adversely affect their career prospects. In training institutes, usually sidelined officers are sent as trainers.

Building up of responsible and efficient civil servant does not start from the day, he joins the civil services, but right from the day he starts his education.

  • The pre-entry education has a vital impact on the personality building, outlook and maturity of the prospective citizens, whether or not they join the civil services. The pre-entry education should be comprehensive in scope and sound in nature, so that it could provide firm foundation for the continuing education of higher civil servants.
  • If the education and training after their recruitment is correctional in nature, its effectiveness and efficiency would receive a set-back and a much more massive effort for training would be called for.
  • As of today, the general pre-entry education system especially the higher education in India is increasingly becoming unrelated to national needs and aspirations, in-efficient, wasteful and dis-functional.
  • As any deficiency in recruitment system is likely to have an adverse effect on the system of civil service itself. It frustrates the efforts of national reconstruction. One of the grave weaknesses in recruitment system is that it is degree-oriented instead of job-oriented.
  • Competitive entrance examination system for civil services is  academic and favors the examination minded candidates. Just assessment of different subjects poses difficult problems in evaluation of comparative merits.
  • Seeing the inherent weaknesses in Indian education system and recruitment system, it is suggested that the recruitment to various Government Services should be done immediately after higher secondary education at a raw age, when the minds of candidates are in formative, creative and energetic stage.
  • The idea of such Recruitment, Education and Training is not new to India and has proved to be successful in Defense and Railways.It could be done through an open competitive examination as is being done for Defense Services and Indian Railways Mechanical Engineering Service (successful candidates trained in Jamalpur).
  • It would facilitate the Government to arrange properly for their continuing education and intensive and comprehensive training at various administrative colleges and training institutions.
  • It would not only make it possible to have the intellectual knowledge and qualities required for performing their specific jobs, but would also inculcate in them emotional qualities and capacities required for doing their jobs such as social purposefulness, ability to understand the administrative and political implications of a problem and resourcefulness in solving them, capacity for team-work and flair for leadership, which are basic requirements of any welfare administrators.

Other organisational changes – While the civil servant is an important element in the scheme of civil services and, he must possess the qualities discussed above. The goals may still remain elusive, if the civil service, as an organisation, lacked the qualities conducive to effective working.  The civil servant as an individual cannot improve the overall efficiency in administration.  It cannot hope to solve a large number of organisational maladies, which have already resulted in loss of cohesion, espirit-de-corps and even raison d’etre (rationale).  Reckless expansion, virtual stagnation of salaries for more than a century, disparities in career prospects within civil services and seething conflict between generalists and specialists have affected adversely the efficiency of services as an organisation.  Above all, the prevailing mistrust between the political executive and bureaucracy is truly most frightening.  While politicians regard civil-servants as a bunch of self-serving, corrupt and arrogant obstructionists, the bureaucrats regard them as a pack of ignorant unprincipled opportunists.

In order to get an efficient and effective administration and streamlining the working of civil service, Mr. A. D. Gorwala (Chairman, Report of Public Administration, New Delhi, Planning               Commission, Government of India, 1951, P.4) had made the following suggestions:-

  • Clear distinction between formulation of policy and its execution;
  • More and better coordination at the secretariat level;
  • Better selection from a wider range of officials for the Finance Ministry;
  • Improved Cabinet procedures of work;
  • More supervision and inspection by senior officers;
  • Decentralization of pay, rewards and punishments;
  • Better discipline by means of better pay and rewards and punishments;
  • Improved techniques of selection of higher officials;
  • Harmonious Minister-Secretary relationship;
  • Non-interference by the Ministry in the working of the various departments;
  • Greater freedom for administrative ministries from too minute control of the Finance Ministry;
  • Better organisation of parliamentary control through the Estimates and Public Accounts Committee.

Some other changes, though not directly related to training, could, to a great extent, help in increasing the effectiveness of the education and training of government Servants.

  • The independent Indian needs smooth relationship between politicians and civil servants.
  • There should not be any undue political interference on administrator.
  • There should be working partnership between generalist and specialist.
  • Career prospects and salary structure should be reasonable and just, otherwise recruitment  and retention of good officers would be difficult and situation would lead to inefficiency and corruption.
  • There appears to be no scientific and sound rationale for keeping a substantial differential in the pay scales and career prospects of IAS and non-IAS services, because in no way IAS personnel are superior to others either in intelligence, or in quality or recruitment, or in degree of responsibility or in nature of job or inequality of work-load.
  • Therefore, there should be unified civil service with integrated pay structure, so that government could bring a sense of equity amongst various disciplines of civil service of their choice and would enable the candidates to go in for the service of their choice and aptitude.
  • The government would be able to gain the full advantage of the sincere and honest working of scientists, engineers, doctors, economists and officers of other disciplines.

Winding up – Key characterstic to be developed in the bureaucrats of 21st century at all levels are –

  • Strategic awareness,
  • Adaptability,
  • Sensivity to different cultures,
  • Ability to work with international teams,
  • Language skills
  • Basic understanding of international finance.
  • High task orientation.
  • Networking to develop Human relationship
  • Understanding of Global scenario.
  • Self-reliance

[i]   Speeches of Raj Bahadur, pp622-24, Avanta Sayanam Ayyangar, pp 626-628, Constituent Assembly Debates.

[ii]   Hindustan Times, Milestone P8, August 15, 1997.

[iii]   All India Service (Recruitment) Rules 1954, introduced vide MHA Notification NO.13/7/56 (AIS) (III dt. 25.4.1957).

[iv]   Report of Ministry of Personnel, 1995-96.

[i]   Administrative Decentralization Report, Chairman Flotcher AL, 1956.

[ii]   Zinkim M, Development for free Asia, p83, 1963.

[iii]   Administrative Decentralization Report, Chairman Flotcher AL, 1956.

[i]   Palikawala, We the People – The Lost Decade, p3.

[i]   Major General Sir John Malcolm, Political History of India from 1784 to 1823.

[ii]   Zinkin M, Development for free Asia, p83, 1963.

[iii]   Malcolm, ibid, p79.

[iv]    Times of India, August 10, 1997, p2.

[v]    Banerjea AC. Indian Constitution documents, Volume II, p28, 1948.

[vi]    Annie Besant, How India wrought for freedom, p420.

[vii]    Bipin Chandra, Modern India, p158.

[viii]    Tara Chand, History of Freedom Movement in India, p497.

[ix]    Supplement to Gazette of India, June 4, 1904, p937.

[x]    Dr. Clive Dewey, Anglo Indian attitudes, 1993.

[xi]    Times of India Archives, May3, 1918.

[i]      Finer. Theory and Practice of Modern Government, p709, 1950.

[ii]      Paipandikar VA, Bureaucracy in India – An Empirical Study, IJPA, pp187, Vol. xvii, no.2, April-June, 1971.

[iii]    Report of Inquiry on Public Service Personnel appointed by Social Science Research Council of USA (1935 P.37)

[iv]   Gladden N, Civil Service – its problems and future, p64.

 

September 1, 2017 Posted by | Bureaucracy/Civil Services, General | | 1 Comment

Wisdom/Enlightenment and empowerment

 “Mastering others is strength, mastering yourself is true power.” Lao Tzu

Introduction 

“Knowledge is power. Information is liberating.”(Kofi Annan) – Everybody desires to be empowered enough to lead a peaceful and comfortable life-style. But how? Hardly anyone tries to understand. Quite often, while talking about empowerment, many intellectuals and political leaders are trapped within the caucus of economic and political empowerment, not the real one. The real empowerment comes from within. Do not wait for any outside agency , government or society for power to be given.

Therefore instead of empowerment, emphasis should be more on enlightenment – enlightenment through wisdom. Wisdom is required to choose the right path, generate positive energies and saves human mind from confusion as what to do and what not. For enlightenment and wisdom, knowledge is important. Knowledge is necessary for giving deeds or actions its due meaning, direction and value. Kofi Annan comments “Knowledge is power. Information is liberating.” Liberation to do what one wants to do is empowerment.

Politics on empowerment – Today in political world, leaders talk about empowerment. Politics and government is there mainly to take care of its people and look-after their welfare. Merely talking about empowerment does not empower the people or leads to their sustainable development. Sri Sri Ravi Shanker says, “If everyone understood this, the country will gain a lot. We need to spiritualize politics, socialize business and secularize religion. Devoid of spirituality, politics breeds corruption.”

Wisdom/Enlightenment, “Knowing others, is intelligence, knowing yourself is true wisdom” – Hindu philosophy shows high regards for wisdom/knowledge, virtues, characters and will power. According to it, senses are superior to body, mind is superior to senses and knowledge/wisdom/intellect is superior to mind.  Bhagwat Gita’ suggests that human action/deed needs to be combined with wisdom/intellect for enlightenment and empowerment.

According to Hindu philosophy, the whole world of activities is a result of complex intermixing of three basic qualities of human nature – goodness (Satwa), Passion (Rajas) and dullness (Tamas). `Goodness is associated with purity, peace and knowledge; `Passion with comfort and action; and `Tamas with ignorance, sloth, sleep and carelessness.

These qualities determine the tendencies, potentialities, limitations, traits and character of individuals and give them direction for action. `Adharma (immoral behavior), Alasya (laziness) and Agyan (ignorance) are responsible for negative behavior like becoming victims of evils, unhappiness and miseries.

 Balance between desires and righteousness – People should be empowered enough to enjoy material success and fulfil all worldly desires. If  desires are suppressed, one day it may erupt like a volcano and create troubles. But simultaneously, it is also necessary to achieve one’s dreams in a right way and keep a balance between desires and righteousness. It is the wisdom that balances the two and leads to the path of knowledge and righteousness.

Materialism influences most of the people in modern times. It is difficult for  them to resist worldly temptations. The desire to enjoy sensual pleasures and be happy without much efforts traps them in a vicious circle. To save  their comfort-zone encourages, they desire to hold enough economic and political power in their hands, so that they can do what they want and control the destiny of masses. People with weak minds  easily become the victims of such ambitious leaders. Their ignorance makes their efforts futile and destroys their sense of direction. Awareness, knowledge and discipline needs to be inculcated amongst poor masses to empower them and save them from  negative forces. Wisdom/intellect needs to be developed to make their mind strong and deeds rational. A mind governed by wisdom makes a person empowered, calm and content.

Empowerment – Meaning of empowerment and approach to be empowered differ from person to person and place to place. As Toffler says, there are three main sources of power – ‘knowledge, wealth, and muscle’. In a way, ‘empowerment is an inter-play of all these variables. During ancient times in agricultural societies, power was mainly based on force. After Industrial Revolution, wealth was the source of power and in modern times, it is mainly based on knowledge.

Power achieved through money or force is short-lived. It can never lead to sustainable development of the poor and needy people. In agricultural society, power was based on force, in industrial societies on wealth and now in present information -technology period, it is based on knowledge. long long ago, even Chanakya also believed that knowledge is wealth. Knowledge was his greatest weapon, strength, asset and power through which he created emperors like Chandragupta Maurya and Ashoka.

Positive and negative energies – There are choices before human beings to follow the path of positive thinking or opt for negative mindset. Developing positive attitude/thinking is not an easy task. For attaining it, one needs tremendous perseverance, hard work, and dedication and determination/will power.

Style of thinking and working of people with positive or negative attitude differs very much from each other. People having positive attitude are empowered in its true sense. Positive energies develops the mind, enlarges the vision, enlightens and guides a person to take wise actions with using one’s intellect or wisdom.   

Negative mindset – Negative mindset makes mind weak. Actions taken with weak mind is bridled with suspicion, lust and desires – mainly depending on emotions, impulses, hatred, greed and selfishness. It, quite often leads to agitation/aggression and discontentment.

Role of wisdom in empowerment – It is a reality that it is wisdom that empowers a human being and enlightens his/her path. Wisdom can be achieved:

  1. Through reflection, which is the noblest;
  2. Through imitation, which is easiest and
  3. By experiencing, which is the bitterest.”

Role of empowerment – ‘Empowerment’ or sharing of power has become a keyword of the modern political world. In politics, everything revolves around the world ’empowerment’.

Problems created by over-emphasizing ‘empowerment – Following are some of the problems –

  • Split in society – Recently, focus on empowerment has created split in society. The attention of the people on empowerment has given rise to the pursuance of sectional interests.
  • Encouragement to sectional interests over national interests – In the name of ‘empowerment’, various pressure groups are encouraged by the authorities to pursue their own sectional interests. Almost all the political parties make different kinds of promises to ‘empower’ the upcoming or deprived groups. They do not even hesitate to adopt such populist/paternalistic policies, which are against the national interest in a long run.
  • Means to grab the political power – Present day politicians care for knowledge only up-to the extent, so far as it enhances their chances of entering into the corridors of ‘power’ and control the levers of authority.
  • Rat race – Attitude to be ‘one up’ does not encourage healthy competition. Rather it pushes individuals/groups towards ‘rat-race’, pulls others down and care only for ‘I, my and me”.
  • Increasing corruption and manipulation – With this sole mission in their mind, most of the upcoming politicians concentrate on amassing more and more wealth/empires to buy muscle-power and conscience of common man. They concentrate their efforts/energies to acquire as much money as they can by hook or crook. There is no limit to their greed. The only mission is to hold so much economic and political power in their hands, so that they could lead a luxurious life-style on tax-payers money and whenever they or their supporters are caught doing something wrong, they can get away easily.
  • The word ‘empowerment’ exclusive not inclusive in nature – Empowerment, by nature is ‘exclusive’, which separates individuals/different sections of society starts a cut-throat competition amongst different individuals/sections of society/nations. The word ‘Empowerment’ generates excessive desire in individuals to establish their superiority/authority over others, so that they can control the destiny of others.

True Knowledge necessary for enlightenment – For enlightenment, acquisition of true knowledge is necessary. It is knowledge, which inculcates in a person, qualities like self-confidence, self-reliance, self-discipline, self-control and self-respect.

Sound education necessary for enlightenment as well as empowerment – True knowledge inculcates positive attitude, which ultimately leads towards happiness and prosperity.Wisdom depends on knowledge. Sound education is necessary to make people knowledgeable.

 Negative mindset – People with negative mind-set care about knowledge only up-to the extent, that enhances their chances of entering into the corridors of ‘power’, get control over levers of authority and over the destiny of masses. They concentrate on amassing wealth/empires to buy muscle-power and conscience of poor people.

In political world, politicians and political parties are generally not much interested in maintaining law and order in the country. They are more interested in propaganda, creation of vote banks and grabbing power – become PM (Prime Minister), CM (Chief Minister), DM  (District Magistrates) and GM (General Manager) by hook or crook and thus accessing more  space  in the corridor of power, so that they can control the destiny of masses/common men and hold the reigns of state authority.

Role of enlightenment in a democracy – Atifete Jahjaga has rightly said, “Democracy must be built through open  societies that share information. When there is information, there is enlightenment. When there is debate, there are solutions. When there is no sharing of power, rule of law and accountability, there is abuse, corruption…”

Many superficial measures are being taken by the government or other organizations (governmental or NGOs) to help and empower poor and underprivileged sections of society. But it has not yielded desired results. Why, because no superficial measure or action can empower any person or section of society. The efforts for empowerment should be from within – be it an individual, a group within a society, a society or a nation.”

The enforced measures of empowerment leads to conflicts and even denial of the rights to other section/sections of society. One’ own efforts and intellect can empower a person in its true sense and guide him how to apply his knowledge gainfully. Lack of intellect leads a person to vices like egoism, superiority/inferiority complex etc. and creates many problems for him as well as for others around him. Only intellect can control human mind and lead his mind towards Enlightenment. When intellect becomes weak, negative thinking and reasoning take over mind.

How to become empowered – Lao Tzu says “Mastering others is strength, mastering yourself is true power.” True empowerment can be achieved not through holding political power or access/entry/influence in the corridors of authority/power, but through ‘Enlightenment’/true wisdom’.

Emphasis only on empowerment leads to rat race – Present day’s scenario more emphasis is given to “Empowerment” without understanding what ‘empowerment’ really means and how to make people really empowered. Such an approach has led to a rat race between different sections of society for being one-up by hook or crook.

Too much emphasis on the word ‘empowerment’ incites/agitates the minds of people and generates negative energy in them. It has done irreparable loss to the society and given rise to different kinds of problems.

‘Empowerment’ of ‘Haves-nots – Almost all the societies are divided into two sections – ‘haves’ and ‘haves-not’. There is unrest in the minds of ‘Haves-not’. They also desire and naturally so, to lead a peaceful and comfortable life-style. Modern politicians allure poor by talking too much about ‘empowerment’. They are not concerned so much about the advancement of poor section of society, as about creating vote-banks necessary for holding the reigns of state authority/power.

False promises to allure poor masses – In the modern materialistic and consumerist world, everyday many new gadgets are coming in the market every-day, which makes the life more comfortable. But for majority of people, it is difficult to afford it. Many a times, it becomes difficult for the poor people or persons with weak minds to resist the temptations. False promises of present day politicians attract such persons easily.

Enlightenment ‘inclusive’ by nature – Enlightenment develops respect for positive attitude, right knowledge and respect for truth and ethical values. It teaches people ‘United we stand, divided we fall’. It inculcates in people an attitude to work for common good, to support each other and move forward together. It guides people to keep their ‘ego’ under control. The only way to control it lies within each human being.

Acceptance for others – Enlightenment tells people to be respectful to others knowledge. Access to knowledge through sound system of education is the basic right of every human being. As Jyotirao Phule has said “Lack of ‘Education’ leads to lack of ‘Wisdom’; which leads to lack of ‘Morals’; which leads to lack of ‘Progress’; which leads to lack of ‘Money’; ‘which leads to ‘Oppression’ of vulnerable classes.”

Conclusion – ‘Enlightenment, not empowerment, is the real source of power’. ‘Enlightenment’ through self-introspect can only lead to sustainable development and true ‘empowerment’, not through extraneous/artificially/superficially imposed measures. Focus on ‘empowerment’ by superficial means quite often leads to negative attitude. ‘Enlightenment’ through right kind of knowledge makes people intelligent, generates positive energies in them and leads to their sustainable development.

Resist temptations? – For making mind strong enough to resist temptations, one has to raise the level of consciousness. Human mind has three dimensions – conscious, sub-conscious and super-conscious mind. Once the conscious mind is regulated, sub-conscious and super-conscious state of mind automatically gets controlled.
Conscience is always guided by intellect. Intellect automatically develops the inherent potential of individuals and keeps them away from lust and greed. Only ‘intellect’, knowledge, education and positive attitude of enlightened persons can make them so powerful that they can contribute to make a difference for betterment and not to indulge themselves in sinful activities for their self-interest. It would ultimately bring in prosperity and transform the whole society.

February 18, 2017 Posted by | General | Leave a comment

“Jai Jawaan, Jai Kissan’

Introduction

On the occasion of birth-anniversary, we pay homage to Lal Bahadur Shastri, who not only understood the value of the invaluable services of our farmers and armed forces, but also appreciated it – farmers who work hard to feed about one and a half crore people of India, and our soldiers who without caring for their sleep and comforts defend our country from external aggression. Today every Indian feels proud for the surgical operation done by Indian army on 29th September in POK to destroy terrorists’ training centres. No doubt, the health, wealth and prosperity of the nation depends on their efficient performance.

The ideals and sacrifices of India’s Second Prime Minister, (1964-1966) Sri Lal Bahadur Shastri, has set an example for today’s political leaders, as to how through simplicity, modesty, firmness and commitment to the cause of the poor and downtrodden, they can identify themselves with the common-men, Jawans (soldiers) and Kisans (farmers) of India.

Feeling of being not treated fairly in Armed Forces – In recent past, a feeling in armed forces is growing that they are being treated unfairly by the authorities. The nation does not pay due regards to the sacrifices, they make for the safety and security of the nation and peaceful living of the people of India– they give up their today, so that others could sleep peacefully throughout the nation. Armed forces, while living in remote areas continuously take care of the safety and security of the nation from external aggression, and help the people at the times of natural disasters or internal aggression.

The Armed Forces feel hurt, not so much about the monetary benefits, but because of status of Armed forces in the hierarchy of service and command, vis-a-vis other civilian government services. Over the last 15-20 years, it has slowly declined in stature and relative importance and positioning vis-à-vis other government services. Civil services due to their proximity to political powers have put armed forces under total subservience of political and civil authorities and left them in cold.

Position of Farmers – Also, drought and debt continue to claim lives of a number of farmers in India. The administration has not been able to reach to farmers and find solutions for their genuine problems. Consequent to untimely and sudden demise of Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru in 1964, Shastriji with his quality leadership and the nation confronted with many critical issues like food shortage, rising prices, language riots and the mounting threats of aggression from China and Pakistan. At that time, Lal Bahadur Shastri, then the Prime Minister of India had taken many challenging decisions and dealt effectively during that crucial hour of Indian history. It would have unnerved even a seasoned leader.  His good governance and efficient leadership enabled India to undergo a smooth transition, consolidating on the gains of freedom even further.

An Exemplary National Leader, Lal Bahadur Shastri

After the sad demise of Pt. Jawahar Lal Nehru, Shri Lal Bahadur Shastri became the Prime Minister of India on June 9, 1964. At that time nobody thought that Shastriji would prove to be a tower of strength, an astute politician and a man gifted with rare qualities of head and heart. People were skeptical about his being a worthy successor of Pt. Nehru as the Prime Minister of India. Some had the feeling that he was simple and too modest a person and, as such, he would be eclipsed by the Congress Party’s Syndicate. But soon they were disillusioned when K. Kamraj, the then Congress President, went all out to get him elected as the leader of the Congress Party and the Prime Minister of India.

It was not long before when the people realized that his modesty was due to the traditional Indian refinement and not a symptom of lack of firmness or courage. He believed that Prime Minister’s own functions and responsibilities could not be shared by others and in no case by persons outside the government, however high and mighty they be in the party hierarchy. It was not in his blood to be any Tom Dick and Harry’s satellite or henchman. He proved to the world that he was not a prisoner of indecisiveness and could act on his own, however, formidable the task might be.

Even as Prime Minister, he kept himself away from the bed of roses. From the very inception, he was confronted with ticklish problems. He inherited the legacy of thorny issues like food shortage, rising prices, language riots and last but not the least the mounting threats of aggression from China and Pakistan. He took many challenging decisions, which otherwise would have unnerved even seasoned leaders. He won the hearts of his countrymen by virtue of his humble yet firm handling of national problems. His transparent honesty, unimpeachable integrity, love with the masses and unassuming identification with progressive ideas and forces endeared him to all and sundry.

Shastriji was sure that the finances of the country could be improved only its economy was planned in a more rational and scientific manner. He accorded high priority to agriculture. But he attached equal importance to industry. In his view, the improved agriculture and industry alone could take the country on the road to prosperity.

He believed that the shattered confidence of the people could be restored through the welfare schemes and the Five-Year Plans yielding concrete and immediate results for the well-being of common-men. In this context Shastriji said, “The strain that have shown up in the recent months cannot be ignored. I believe that first task is to provide food, clothing, shelter and medical to the millions. I have, therefore, suggest that planning should be geared up to face these primary needs, at the same time as we pursue other goals.”

Shastriji established Food-grains Trading Corporation to purchase grains within the country at remunerative prices and to distribute it equitably. An Agricultural Price Commission was set up to fix a reasonable margin of price to be enforced at wholesalers and retailers’ level with due consideration to the cost involved in processing, storage and transport etc. Implementation of Minor Irrigation Programs received special attention and the Chief Ministers of States were directed to improve the output of crops. Various steps were taken to bring about coordination of administrative activities at different levels e.g. Central, State, District, Block and Village. Coordination Committees were set up both at Cabinet and Secretariat levels in the States for discussion to expedite the development programs relating to the departments of Agriculture, Irrigation, Revenue, Animal Husbandry, Cooperation, Community Development, Panchayats etc.

Shastriji gave a number of slogans, namely “Self-Reliance”, “Grow More Food”, “Miss a meal”, “Jai Jawaan, Jai Kisaan” etc., to boost the morale of the peasants and jawaans in particular and the people of the country in general. He appealed to the nation to lend a hand in solving the problem of food shortage. All-out efforts were made to hasten self-sufficiency in food. Steps were also taken to control prices of essential commodities. He made available to the common man, the essential goods at fair price shops. Successful programs were instituted to control the sky-rocking prices and unearth the vast quantities of black money.

Shastriji laid great emphasis on administrative reforms. A campaign was launched to curb the evil of corruption and mal-practices. He took deterrent action against black-marketers, hoarders, and foreign exchange racketeers. He accepted most of the recommendations of the ‘Santhanam Committee’ to make an end of the corrupt practices on war footing. He drew a code of conduct for the Ministers, according to which they had to disclose to the Prime Minister and the Chief Ministers in the state, their assets and liabilities every year. It also laid down ‘Dos’ and ‘Don’ts’ for raising funds by the political parties.

Within twenty four hours of the Das Commission’s adverse report against Pratap Singh Kairon, the then the Chief Minister of Punjab, Shastriji took drastic action and asked him to resign his post. It was a remarkable feat of smooth-sailing with which the succession question in the Punjab was handled by him and Comrade Ram Kishan was made Chief Minister of Punjab.

The firm action he took in the case of Sri T.T. Krishmachari proved to be the hit that whenever necessity arose. Shastriji was capable of taking very harsh decisions without fear or favour. He accepted Mr. Krishmachary’s resignation after Mundra episode and without loss of time, he appointed his successor.

The fierce language riots in the South were a threat to the unity and integrity of the country. The handling of the grave situation called for statesmanship, imagination and determination. The Government has to make sure that any measure taken to pacify South did not have repercussions elsewhere in the country. As a sequel to the disturbances in the South, the Prime Minister convened a meeting of the Chief Ministers of the States; and with the emerging consensus, it was decided to introduce Hindi for official purposes without displacing English until people in non-Hindi speaking areas were willing for a change-over. The language crisis thus blew over without much ado.

Shastriji’s participation in the Non-Aligned Summit held in Cairo was his first big international event. It was a resounding success. His 5-Point Peace Plan presented at this Conference was not only received with enthusiasm from all concerned at his historic conference, but also formed in a large measure the basis of the final resolution passed on the ‘International Peace’. It brought him laurals and recognition as a protagonist of world peace and peaceful co-existence.

His displayed wisdom, grit and determination against the Pakistan infiltration in the Rann of Kutch and Jammu and Kashmir. He repelled the attacks by force of arms and led India to victory in the battle-field. A ceasefire was brought about with the good offices of the British Government.

Pakistan, after sometime, again intruded into the Indian Territory in a more planned manner than ever before. Shastriji once again picked up the gauntlet. Throughout the three week war with Pakistan, he continued fighting and did not look back. His cool composure and unambiguous strong language of his statements and broadcasts to the nation from time to time boosted up the morale of the brave Indian soldiers against Pakistan’s wanton aggression. In this context, Shastriji said, “India’s faith in peace is unshakeable. With us, it is a matter principle and not of expediency. But adherence to peace does not mean that we should not take up arms to defend ourselves when attacked. Let us not slacken our efforts and activities. We must remain alert and vigilant. All the people of India should be ready and determined to defend the Motherland in any emergency with all their hearts and all their might. … when freedom is threatened and territorial integrity is endangered, there is only one duty, the duty to meet the challenge with all our might.”

Shastriji’s rejection of the “Three-day” Chinese ultimatum was equally irrevocable. It called the Peking’s bluff and their ultimatum and their ultimatum fizzled out. After the crisis was over, Shastriji’s addressing the nation inter alia observed, If the experience of the recent past hold any lesson for us all, it is that we must endeavor to be as self-reliant as possible. In the ultimate analysis, it is the strength of the nation itself which matters more and which is our best safeguard.”

­­In January, 1966, when Shastriji, as Prime Minister of India, went to Tashkent to hold talks with President Ayub of Pakistan and the Prime Minister of USSR, there he played his cards well as an astute negotiator. And after in-depth discussion and exchange of views with the other two stalwarts, he signed the historic, ‘Tashkent Declaration’. It was sheer irony of fate that he did not live to enjoy the fruits of his pyrrhic victory over Pakistan.

There is no doubt that Shastriji as Prime Minister of India in his brief tenure of 18 months, not only brought about unity in the country but also put it on  the road of self-reliance and self-sufficiency. He left to his heirs a richer legacy than he himself had inherited. His sagacious and Herculean efforts earned respect for him and for his country.

(This post was published in Saga of Lal Bahadur Shastri, pp. 222 to 224 in 1987 under the title ‘Dharti Ka Lal, released by then the Prime Minister Sri Rajiv Gandhi)

July 1, 2016 Posted by | General | , , | Leave a comment

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