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Social and political Values and Systems in India.

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December 24, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Generations of Twentieth century

Introduction – A generation means all the people born  and living at about the same time. They collectively form a social groups sharing almost similar life experiences, prospects, outlooks, preferences, attributes and value systems etc. Generally different generations or social groups born within a defined time period share similar cultural traits, values, and preferences.

With times, continuous changes happen in thinking, social life style, education system, technology in different spheres (medical, transport, communication etc. Each generation, has its own traits like life-style, habits, pattern of behavior, ideology, communication, motivation, preference, likes, dislikes, work-life balance strategy or financial needs.  Generally different generations or social groups born within a defined time period share similar cultural traits, values, and preferences. And then comes a change depending on the circumstances and the time frame of their birth years.

The average period of one generation is generally considered to be about 20–⁠30 years. Then starts changes causing a difference of opinions between two generations in thinking, outlook, life-style and socio-economic & political atmosphere. Accordingly changes beliefs, likes & dislikes  and values system of different generations as well as their way to communicate,  socialize or behave with each other.

Normally people of two or three generations are exposed to many of the same events share common characteristics. These shared experiences, based on their socio-economic background, parents attitude and many other factors/events (particularly happening during formative teen years, of different generations make the foundation of their beliefs and behaviours. In turn, these beliefs give a generation its defining characteristics.

Generation gap A generation gap means difference of opinions between people belonging to different generations. Usually people belonging to different age groups see the world from different perspectives. Their perceptions, actions, beliefs, interests, and opinions about social and political values and systems automatically change with time. Social scientists have named this difference of opinion as generation gap. Effects of the generation gap include conflict among family members of different generations because of difference of opinion or misunderstandings.

Changes have occurred too fast during the twentieth century. There has been a drastic change between the generations born and brought up before and during 20th century as well as born during and after twentieth century. The pace of life was quite slow before 20th century and in 21st century it has become too fast to mold it in desired direction. Human’s life has become too mechanized and artificial far away from Mother Nature.

Process of modernization and technological advancement – The process of modernization began with the development of technologies in the spheres of science, engineering and warfare. First two industrialization revolutions were started and progressed mainly in England and other European countries for performing specific tasks. The first one, occurring in the early 17th century, which revolutionized the textile industry had shortened distances and made mobility faster and easier. It brought prosperity to European nations.

During 16th and 17th centuries, first industrial revolution started in England and European nation in . In 1645, Blaize Pascal and in 1694 developed mechanical computers for solving navigational and scientific problems.

In 1801 Joseph-Marie Jacquard invented first programmed machine called Jacquard Loom. It had automated the weaving of cloth, which reduced the cost of producing their goods through mass production in factories. It had revolutionized the Textile industry, which brought prosperity to England and other European countries.

With their growing prosperity, started the Policy of expansionism or Colonialism. European powers like Dutch, Portuguese, French, or Spanish, which prospered due to first Industrial revolution during 16th and 17th centuries, stated competing with each other to acquire resources, land, and economic influence outside their borders in order to monopolize the trade. They wanted to expand their size, power, and wealth. They exploited other countries for the benefit their own.

The second industrial revolution happened during late 19th and beginning of 20th century, when science was fused with technology. It had shortened distances and made mobility and communication with other parts of the world, faster and easier.

All the technological progress happened during these two Industrial Revolutions had changed drastically the life style style and work culture of generations of 20 century, especially of the generations born and brought up in late 20th century after the third great Info-tech Revolution. Again in 2020, the whole world is in for a major change because of Pandemic KOVID 19.

Names and general traits of different generations of 20th centuryGenerational naming has begun in the 20th-century.  The assigned names of different generations born in 20th century are as following –  

  • GI Generation/Interbellum Generation: Generation born worldwide between 1900 to 1915.
  • The Greatest generation/Traditionalists (born between 1910 to 1924),
  • Silent Generation (Birth years 1925-1945)
  • Baby boomers (birth year 1946 and 1964)
  • Generation X (born between 1965 to 1979)
  • Generation Y/Millennials (Birth year 1980 to 1994)
  • Zen Z (Born between 1995 to 2012)
  • Generation Alpha Birth year 2013 to 2025

Various living generations that make up present populations are:

  • The Greatest Generation
  • The Silent Generation
  • Baby Boomers
  • Generation X
  • Generation Y or Millennials
  • Generation Z

Common features of first three generationsVery few people from GI Generation, (Born worldwide between 1900 to 1915), The Greatest Generation/Traditionalists (born between 1910 to 1924) and the Silent Generation (born between 1925 to 1945)} are surviving as of today.

These generations have been born and brought up during the two World Wars and the Great Economic Depression. Some of them fought World War II. They had saved the world from catastrophe and then contributed in building their respective nations. Most of the women were home-makers, stayed at home and took care of kids and elders of the family. Men focused on their career. A period where parents were very strict as children were seen and not heard. This was the generation that saw civil rights leaders like Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X and Robert F. Kennedy or  influenced by dialogues of Gone With The Wind. Children liked the stories of Mickey Mouse. They were disciplined, self-sacrificing and cautious. Most of them grew up without electricity, refrigerators, or credit cards. Sometimes called the greatest generation. 

Main characteristic of these three generations All the three generations can be called as the Greatest Generations. Following have been the common basic features of these generations, which distinguish from later generations –

  • Personal Responsibility.
  • Integrity.
  • Humility.
  • A strong work ethics.
  • Financial Prudence.
  • Faithful Commitment.
  • They valued tradition.
  • Valued  respect more than money.
  • Not technologically as advanced as later generations are.
  • Believed in natural, healthy, balanced life style.
  • An appreciation for the “simplicities” in life, Simple living and high thinking was their motto.
  • It upheld values like gratitude,
  • Had a strong sense of determination and possessed strong willpower.
  • They cared more for respect rather than money.
  • Steered away from wastage and
  •  Placed significant value on economic resources.

Baby-boomers, Birth years 1940 and 1964Baby boomers are those people born worldwide between Great Silent Generation and preceding Generation X. Shaping events in the life of baby-boomers have been Post-WWII optimism, the cold war, and the hippie movement. This generation has been casual about relationship.

The generation of “baby boomers” was the result of a strong post World War II economy. A dramatic increase in the number of births happened in United States, Canada, and Australia after World War II. Government began family life, (from 1946 to 1964 in the United States 1947 to 1966 in Canada and 1946 to 1961 in Australia). The governments there had encouraged people to have large families. People wanted the additional tax exemptions offered for having children. With the war over and the economy growing, people were more prepared to raise children. This brought about a significant number of new children into the world. That is why it is called as Baby Boomers.

Population world-over continued had grown throughout 1940s and 1950s, leading to a peak in the late 1950s. Years from 1957 to 1961 were the peak birth years in raw number of births for a nation even though the total national population was 60% of its current population. The population of Baby Boomersgrew as the largest generations in history with 77 million people.

According to Christopher Pappas, January 29, 2016,  characteristics of Baby-boomers have been –

  • They were Optimistic, Team-oriented and Self-centered.
  • Strong work ethic. Baby boomers aren’t afraid to put in a hard day of work.
  • Self-Assured. This generation is independent and self-assured.
  • Competitive. Baby boomers like competition.
  • Goal-centric.
  • Resourceful.
  • Mentally focused.
  • Team oriented.
  • Disciplined.

Baby Boomers’ Motivations are Rooted in Tradition. What they value  in life is “safety in one’s community and nation”, which includes stability of society, national security and social order. For them, life is about a strong state and a stable society.

It is the longest-living generation in history. With it, grew the population world-over because of age longevity as well. Evidence-based studies indicate that age longevity is based on two major factors, genetics and lifestyle choices. Significant factors responsible for it have been gender, genetics, access to health care, hygiene, diet and nutrition, exercise, lifestyle, and remarkable advancement in medical science. Both men and women became the bread winners, the world saw the uproar of feminism, having a divorce became less dramatic. It is also this generation that saw invention of  TV. 

They have gone through the entire period of technological developments – the rise and development of the media. Baby boomers are the biggest consumers of traditional media like television, radio, magazines, and newspaper. Despite being so traditional 90% of baby boomers have a Facebook account. This generation has begun to adopt more technology in order to stay in touch with family members and reconnect with old friends.  

They have enjoyed stability in terms of both work and family and being active both physically and mentally. They believe that one should take care of their children enough to set them on the right course and don’t plan on leaving any inheritance. They are less dependent on smartphones than the next generations. Today, all-over the world, it is a big problem as how society should cope with an aging population.

Generation X, Birth Years (1965 to 1979) – Generation X followed the Boomers. Shaping events in Generation X’s life have been end of the cold war, the rise of personal computing, and a big increase in generation gap between Baby-boomers and Generation X.

Generation X grew up in an era of emerging technology and was advancing at a very fast speed. During their childhood computers got introduced in their school curriculum. The youth of this generation have been open to entrepreneurship.

They grew up with minimal adult supervision They were the kids who saw divorced as well carrier-oriented parents. They prefer late marriages, small family unlike the generation of Baby-boomers and are casual at divorce. Birth rate has been considerably dropped after 1964 . They believe in work-life balance.

They are eager to learn, explore and make a contribution. They know what they want, and are mentally prepared to struggle to achieve their dreams. They are self-sufficient, resourceful and individualistic. They value freedom and responsibility and try to overcome challenges on their own.  They also appreciate informality, are technologically adept, digitally savvy, flexible and highly educated.

Individualism, ambition and an addiction to work, or being a workaholic, are the values with which Generation X has been grown up. To work and produce has been their philosophy of life, leaving no room for idealism.

Millennials (Birth years 1980 to 1994) – Millennials are also known as Gen Y. This generation is the most populated and most talked about generation in modern history. Millennials are the youth of the new 21st century. They are more progressive and creative than the previous generations. They are self-conscience, like active lifestyle, eat healthy food and health-conscious. They are the most civic-minded since the generation of the 1930s and 1940s,” claimed USA Today. They are the smartest, richest generation and potentially longest living generation of all time.

Events that shaped Generation Y – Shaping events in their life have been the great recession, technological  explosion,  internet, social media and 9/11. Generation Y is the first generation in history that has been born and brought up totally immersed in a world of digital technology. Digitalization has shaped its identity and influenced deeply its political, social and cultural attitudes.

Nurtured and pampered by parents who didn’t want to make the mistakes of the previous generation, millennials are confident, ambitious, and achievement-oriented. They also have high expectations of their employers, tend to seek new challenges at work, and aren’t afraid to question authority.

Attitudes – This generation is open to relationships, late to marriage and accepts sexuality in many ways. They feel enormous academic pressure. Envision the world as a 24/7 place, believes in fast and immediate processing. They are the Yahoo, mobile phones, Google, Facebook, iPhone generation. With unlimited access to information, they prefer digital literacy, they tend to be assertive, with strong views. (info@aspioneer.comDifferent Generations and their attitudes by Alice Carpenter, July 1, 2018)

  • Values meaningful motivation.
  • Challenges the hierarchy status-quo.
  • Places importance on relationships with superiors.
  • Intuitive knowledge of technology.
  • Open and adaptive to change.
  • Places importance on tasks rather than time.
  • Passion for learning.
  • Openly receptive to feedback and recognition
  • Free-thinking and creative
  • Values social interactions in the workplace

Seven surprising traits that make Millennials excellent employees are as following: –

  1. Curiosity – Eager to learn new skills.
  2. Individuality – Most of the times they think that they are somehow different from everyone else.
  3.  Social service –  Millennials focus on larger societal needs rather than individual needs.  They care about a variety of social causes, such as climate change and social equality.
  4. Financial stability – The Great Recession has made a lasting impact on the millennial generation. Millennials are making financial decisions focused on maintaining stability rather than striking it rich..
  5. Technological innovation – Millennials are are obsessed with technology. They were born when the internet, personal computers and cell-phones went mainstream. They are extremely comfortable with mobile devices like their parents. They typically have multiple social media accounts.
  6. Regular feedback –  Millennial workers welcome  regular feedback to improve their performance professionally, rather than taking it as praise.
  7. Collaboration – They are not self-centered like prior generations and believe to work together to achieve a defined and common business purpose.

Generation Z, birth years 1995 to 2019 Generation Z It is the generation that has always seen a world with computers and phones. Their life is interwoven with technology and referred to as ‘technoholics’. With the advent of computers and web-based learning, children leave behind toys at younger and younger age. It has got internet access at a young age.is heavy users of mobile devices. They are tired of hearing about the environment and the many ways we have to save it. They are over saturated with brands. It is the generation that will experiment Google glass, nano-computing, 3-D printing and see driverless cars. It is similar to Gen X in financial attitudes but desires to avoid debt after seeing Millennials struggle. (info@aspioneer.comDifferent Generations and their attitudes by Alice Carpenter, July 1, 2018)Some special features of this generation are as following –

  • It is financially focused. For it, their job is the most important thing in life. They do not mind taking up a job that provides a steady income and necessary benefits even if it isn’t their dream job. Many of them have financial education. They believe in savings more than their prior generations.
  • It is entrepreneurial. It believes  that  money can be made from good ideas and they aren’t afraid to chase those ideas.
  • It is all about technology. Persons of this generation are well connected as Internet and cell phones have been easily accessible to them.
  • Generation Z still likes face to face interaction.
  • It is very focused and highly competitive in most areas of life. It wants best of everything in life. Competition constantly drives them.
  • Change is welcomed by Generation Z.
  • Gen Z has a lot of knowledge and exposure to many different topics. With this breadth of knowledge, they constantly seek new ideas and experiences.
  • This Generation wants to be heard. Having access to so much information, Gen Z has strong opinions and wants them to be heard. This is especially true in the workplace, where they expect to be an equal contributor.
  • Diversity doesn’t even register with Generation Z.
  • Generation Z prefers independence.

Generation Alpha Birth year 2010 to 2024Australian researcher Mark Mc-Crindle named the youngest cohort born from 2010-2024, as  Generation Alpha which other platforms leave out and have failed to update: he called those.

Generation Alpha Characteristics – This generation is yet to join the work-force. It is hoped that

  • It will be the most educated Generation in history.
  • They are expected to be tech-savvy.
  • Artificial Intelligence is supposed to be their reality. Artificial intelligence (AI) refers to the simulation of human intelligence in machines that are programmed to think like humans and mimic their actions. The term may also be applied to any machine that exhibits traits associated with a human mind such as learning and problem-solving etc.
  • Their learning will be highly personalized.
  • Social media could be their dominant mode of interaction.
  • They may not like the sharing economy.
  • They might not play by the rules.

Conclusion – In recent past, times are changing at a very fast speed.            With it, major changes has happened in outlook of the people of different generations. Generation gap has been increasing continuously. It does not take a 25 year age difference to make a generation gap. Today, a nineteen year old will have a hard time to understand the mindset of a seventeen-year-old. Generation gap is a major problem of the society.

Root cause of generation gap – Generation gap. Generation gap results in conflict among family members of different generations i.e. youth, and their parents or grand-parents. It is more between children and parents, the gap becomes even wider in case of grandparents and grandchildren. Various factors cause generation gap. Some of them being age-longevity, changes in society values and systems, inter-racial/interregional/inter-caste marriages, mobility or immigration of social groups, advancement of medical science and rapid technological advancements.

The root cause of the gap is lack of free and frank communication between different age groups, which creates misunderstanding and disharmony between the young and the old. Concept of “right and wrong” has been a major cause of conflict between the elders and the young. The young feel the elders to be old-fashioned, the old think the young to be shallow, narrow-minded and self-centred. Another reason is the advancement of technology at a very fast speed. During 20th century, the difference between the older and young generation was increased because older generations have not been so familiar with new technological advancements. Older generation is not so quick to understand and use new technology. And now with of revolution in Information technology especially happened around 70’s, it does not take a 25 year age difference to make a generation gap. Today, a nineteen year old will have a hard time to understand the mindset of a seventeen-year-old.

How to bridge the gap – It is very difficult to bridge the gap. But attempts can definitely be made to minimise it through –

  1. Focus on similarities. The basic approach is to focus on similarities and not the differences between the various generations.
  2. Keep communication open.
  3. Encourage mentoring.
  4. Give value to seniors.
  5. Set out expectations clearly.

November 20, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Harmonious relationship

“A great relationship is about two things, first find out similarities and second respect the differences”

Introduction – Quality of  relationships matters a lot. It not only protect their bodies but protects their brain as well.  Desire for name, fame or money does not make people happy.

For developing harmonious relationship, people will have to understand the value of togetherness. Togetherness keeps people well- connected to family, friends and to community. Warm relationships are protective, gives feeling of true happiness, satisfaction and develops a sense of security. Sharing of joys with near and dear ones doubles the happiness. Similarly sharing one’s worries or sorrows lessens the mental strain.

Human relationship is passing through a tough time in modern period. Reasons are many, like trend of nucleus family system, money-culture, impatience, fast and busy life-style of modern times and too artificial and mechanized way of living. Individuals are becoming more and more self-centered.

Adverse effect of modernity on relationships has been seen almost everywhere. There are many experts to advice, yet instead of reducing the problems, it is increasing day by day. Modernity has taught humans to make a living but not a life. People try to multiply their possessions but instead have reduced the human values.

Loneliness in modern world – Otherwise life becomes quite complex. Loneliness kills a person. He is either a god or a beast without his fellow-beings. Their mental and physical health, start to decline. Society also does not regard them as normal. It is an irony of modern times that people have lots of friends on electronic medium/social media/facebook/wordsap etc, but there is no one to rely on. It causes stress anxiety and depression. Most of people are lonely at heart today.

People are emotionally suffocated – Over and above all this, ego and trend of not trusting others or fear of being rejected compel him to hold back his emotions. It is difficult to realize how lonely and emotionally suffocated humans are these days, be it a child, a youth or an elderly person.

The net result is that everyone, be it a child, a youth or an old person, everyone feels lonely. Heart to heart conversations have become rare, artificial and shallow. Young people mostly suffer from anxiety and frustration. Senior citizens, at the fag end of their life, suffer from loneliness the most. They have virtually no connection with younger generation. Even children are deprived of the pleasures of childhood because of heavy curriculum and high expectations of parents. People of all age-groups have bottled up stress and then suffers from anxiety or depression. Life becomes a constant struggle for youth and hell old people. Increasing cases of depression all over the world is the proof.

To keep up his social image of a confident and happy-man, usually people behave artificially. It hardly lessens stress, anxiety or depression.

Hurdles on the way of smooth relationship – Main hurdles on the way of smooth relationships are false ego, fear, unfulfilled expectations, rat-race giving rise to prejudices, anger and revenge. Besides –

·    No time or patience – In this fast-paced life of today, nobody has time or patience to listen to others.  ‘Get to the point’ is the base of communicating with others. Such an attitude takes toll on relationship.Life is so busy and fast these days that nobody has time for listening others’ emotions, which is considered as waste of time. People save their time only for self-interests self-image, self-promotion. It makes most of people self-serving.

·      Social isolation – People have become unsocial. Communication Through digital medium people can communicate with others, but at heart, they feel lonely. They have become slave of technology they have mastered. There is no feeling of belonging to society, or acceptance for others.   

.   Phony relationships – In the cards game of Bridge, there is a phony call of one club indicating that the player has a strong set of cards, but no depth in any suit. Similarly, face to face interaction has been replaced by new modes of digital and online communication. There are quick, easier and more contacts through networking at very little or no cost, but there is very little connection.
·      Faceless interaction – Speedy means of communication through electronic medium is an illusion, which leads them to the world of confusion. The moment people open their computers or mobile, they ignore the presence of people around them.

Faceless interaction has made people insensitive. Every-day people talk to hundreds of people every day, yet they do not really know the person they are talking to. Face-to face interaction enables people to know the reactions, thoughts and feelings of others. It becomes easier by witnessing
the body-language, expressions on the face, while talking. It connects a person with others and can make a difference in life. People can develop a sense of belonging to the society, companionship and can learn to co-exist.

·      Smart phones and dump people – Interaction through Smart phones has made people quite insensitive. In this fast-paced life, nobody has time or patience to listen.  ‘Get to the  point’ is the base of communicating with others.

·       Understanding about each other, missing – Every-day a humans talk to hundreds of people, yet hardly they know the person they are talking to. 

How to develop Harmonious relationships – The foundation pillars for making a relationship flourish are love, understanding, trust, confidence, faith, sincerity and similar interests. Compassion and empathy are two essential traits to bring up a smooth relationship. It basically depends on –

  • Find out similarities and respect the differences. “Nobody is superior, nobody is inferior, but nobody equal either. People are simply unique, incomparable. You are you, I am I.” (Budha) When people interact with like-minded people, who have the same goals or thinking. 
  • Relationship is reciprocal. It works on the principle of ‘give and take’. Same is true to develop relationship between an Individual and a society.
  • Accept others as they are. When there is inclusive bent of mind, likes and dislikes do not matter. Only, it is required that agree or disagree respectfully after having constructive dialogue.  
  • Communication is the lifeline of any relationship. When one stops communicating… one starts loosing his/her valuable relationship.
  • Lack of proper communication affects adversely relationship. Gaps are created, when there is a lack of communication or communication is not clear.
  • Communication should be adequate, timely, uniform, acceptable and consistent with the expectations of the recipient.
  • Not only, that what is communicated, matters, but when it is communicated and how it is communicated also matters a lot. What is ‘communicated’ reaches to mind. How it is said reaches to heart.
  • Be honest and natural, no artificial gesture to show closeness.
  • Respect the traditional way of living. It is like an anchor, which keeps one’s boat even in the stormy water of an ocean. Do not discard or reject it  out-rightly.
  • Besides try to trust others, keep good communication to develop healthy relationships, have patience to listen what others want to say. Do not reject their point of view out-rightly.
  • Gaps are created, not by what is said, but by how it is said. What is said reaches to mind and how it is said reaches to heart.
  • Life provides opportunities to convert them into developing harmonious relationships. Only one has to move forward, cross the road and shake hands with the near and dear ones.  

Happiness depends on balanced and harmonious relationship and harmonious relationship depends on coordination. And coordination depends on adequate communication with fellow-beings. All the problems and unhappiness, be it environmental, social, economic, political or health-related, arise out of disharmony, imbalances and lack of coordination.

Conclusion – People are dreaming to reach up to the moon and back, but find no time to take even one step crossing the road to meet and chat freely with their neighbor or relatives. Lack of enough communication has made people insensitive, impatient and self-centered. People are missing the chances of little pleasures in life.

To save humans from depression or overjoy or emotional loneliness, harmonious relationship and free-frank-honest/heart to heart communication with near and dear ones is necessary. Rhythm with others can be achieved by cool and heart to heart conversation. Sharing of joys with near and dear ones doubles the happiness. Similarly sharing one’s worries or sorrows lessens the mental strain.

July 16, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Caste as a system

Conceptualized, originated and practiced exclusively in India – India presents one of the oldest, continuous and uninterrupted living civilizations in the whole world known as Hinduism. (Other well advanced civilizations of ancient world were of Egypt, Greece and Mesopotamia). One of the prominent features of Indian civilization is its ‘Caste-system’. Caste system is a unique way of stratifying the society. It has been conceptualized, originated and practiced exclusively in India. It has given a distinguished identity to Indian society.

Meaning of the term caste – The English word “caste” derives from the Spanish and Portuguese casta, which means, “race, lineage, or breed” (Mookherjee, 2012: 56). When the Spanish colonized the New World, they used the word to mean a “clan or lineage.” However, the Portuguese were the ones who employed casta in the primary modern sense when they applied it to the many in-marrying hereditary Hindu social groups they encountered upon their arrival in India in 1498.

When the word “caste” is translated into Hindi, it enfolds within itself two quite different Sanskrit concepts –

  1. Jaati and
  2. Varna

It was during 200 years of British domination, colonialism that made caste what it is today throughout the subcontinent. ‘In modern understanding of caste-system, element of ‘system’ is suppressed and ‘caste’ has become dominant.’

What caste is to a common men in India – As C. Rajgopalachari has said, a common man in India believes, “If there is honesty in India today, any hospitality, any charity- any aversion to evil, any love to be good, it is due to whatever remains of the old faith and the old culture”.

“Caste was the system of social life, in which Hinduism was expressed. …… Hinduism was the ideological and emotional buttress of caste…. Caste and Hinduism succeeded in doing in India, what no state, no conqueror and no economy was able to do – the establishment of a single unified system of society throughout the whole of India (accommodating numerous semi-autonomous communities arising at many times and in many places), a system of society, which was able to comprise a greater range of local differences in a single system than any society has previously accomplished.”

Through caste system, India has simultaneously accommodated “it to an almost endlessly varied system of semi-autonomous community and at the same time, it brings considerable unity, harmony and condition of peace.” It “succeeded in wielding an enormously varied plurality of semi-autonomous communities arising at many times and in many places and adopting themselves to many different conditions into a single system of society…” (Don Martindale, India since 1947, p 39)

Covers the entire social fabric of India – Caste-system is one of the prominent features running through the entire social fabric of India. Castes have its ethnic roots as denoted by Jati (extended family), and a ritualistic and symbolic significance in its Varna aspect. It is quite natural for all human beings to have closer ties with ones own fellow-beings and the persons following same kind of occupation and having the common traits/mindset. So emerged the caste system. Internalized caste norms define an individual role in the society. Common men feel good and loved, when they live up to the norms set up by their elders, and anxious and guilty, when he transgress them. It has greatly influenced the thinking of people and their culture allover India.

One of the oldest living institution – Caste system has maintained its continuity without interruption. It has survived the vicissitudes of time, saved itself by erosion from within and assault from outside only because of the adaptability. Its absorptive nature has internalized alien influences. It has taken different shades and meaning with the changing times and places.

Its character during Indus Valley Civilization was altogether different from what exists today. It is still in a transient phase. Its shade is different in the context of village, locality, region or religion. Once changed, the system never returned to its original form. Its absorptive nature has internalized alien influences. That is why it presents one of the oldest social institution and a continuous and uninterrupted living culture still existing in the entire world.

June 10, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Role of education in 21st Century

‘Education is not the learning, but the training of mind to think’. Albert Einstein

“Destroying any nation does not require the use of atomic bombs or the use of long range missiles. … It only requires lowering the quality of education and allowing cheating in the examinations by students.” … Patients die at the hands of such doctors; buildings collapse at the hands of such engineers. Money is lost at the hands such economists and accountants. Humanity dies at the hands of such religious scholars. Justice is lost at the hands of such judges. The collapse of education is the collapse of the nation.  (The famous statement of Nelson Mandela is displayed at the entrance of the University of South Africa).

“The illiterate of twenty-first century will not be those who cannot read or write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn.” Toffler

Introduction – Nelson Mandela has stated “Education is the great engine of personal development … It is what we make out of what we have, not what we are given, that separates one person from another.” Purpose of education is not mere to obtain any degree or certificate that can be shown to others as a proof . Education is the name of attitude, actions, language, behaviour and personality of a person in real life. The task of Education is to develop mental and moral faculties, which have a material bearing on the formation of character. In its wider sense it embraces reading, observation and thought. It is not a fixed period of theoretical or academic pursuit of knowledge leading towards award of degrees but a continuous process for complete upbringing of the individual right from his birth to death. Within its jurisdiction, it embraces the formation of habits, manners and character. As against this the training is primarily concerned with preparing the trainees for certain lines of action, which are delineated by technology and by the organization, in which he works. However, these days education means getting certificates and degrees from educational institutes and enter into the world of employment.

Equally important to upgrade knowledge continuously. As Alvin Toffler, renowned writer has said, “The illiterate of twenty-first century will not be those who cannot read or write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn.”

Purpose of education – Education is a key to success in life. Purpose of education is not to hold a degree or a certificate that can be shown to others as a proof . It is the name of attitude, actions, language, behaviour and personality of a person in real life. Rabindra Nath Tagore says,”… education is not about what we learn: it is about what we make ourselves through what we learn.” The main purpose of education is to free the students from ignorance, to gain knowledge and enlightenment. Knowledge is necessary to become a better person. It is a key to success in life. Besides increasing knowledge, understanding, skills, attitude to think rationally and act responsibly, education is supposed to develop moral and spiritual values as well/ Education brings transformation not only in individuals, but in a society or a nation as a whole. Only knowledgeable persons with positive attitude can contribute to building up a society with love, justice, equality and peace.

Is present education system on right path? – Today, education system in India is not on the right track. It focusses more on theoretical knowledge than the practical. Not adequate attention is being paid to the quality of education. Emphasis is on quantity. The process of education/learning is not confined to schools/colleges. It continues throughout one’s life. Hindu Epics say about education -“Neti Neti” (No end to learning). J Krishnamurty has also commented, “There is no end to education. It is not that you read a book, pass an examination, and finish with education. The whole of life, from the moment you are born to the moment you die, is a process of learning.”

Generally the meaning of literacy and education is misunderstood. Literacy does not merely mean the knowledge of three ‘R’s.  Increasing knowledge-base through available information/bookish knowledge is also not the purpose of learning. It does not mean depending on academic or theoretical knowledge. It also does not mean collecting degrees and certificates through formal education. Education can be effective, when it is combined with proper training-systems. It serves a purpose, when it leads the people to get employed gainfully.  Khalil Gibran has said “Knowledge, the object of knowledge and application of the knowledge, all  the three are equally important for motivating to take a wise action.” The scope of knowledge is so vast and process so difficult that, it is beyond human ability to cope with it completely. Even a genius like, Newton used to say that he was ‘like a child, who is picking pebbles at sea-shore while the great ocean of knowledge lies before me’.

Thanks to the revolution in information technology. Technological advancements during post 1970’s and then in 21st century of twentieth century has made the sphere of knowledge so vast , and has been developed with such a fast speed that it is accessible to any one, anywhere in the world. Only it needs clarity about what exactly one wants to know and a focussed mind. Then only one can make sincere efforts to get relevant knowledge about the subject of his choice. Otherwise, entering into world of knowledge is like going into a dense forest. One gets lost. 

Henry Kravis comments, “If you don’t have integrity, You have nothing. You cannot buy it. You can have all the money in the world, but if you are not a moral and ethical person, you really have nothing.” Over-exposure of information, continuous deterioration of moral and cultural values in today’ materialistic world, absence of parental guidance, peer-pressure, parental pressure to outstand their abilities, or too much emphasis on academic excellence has over-burdened the minds of children and youth. The result is that immature minds of people, when they grow up grown up, become restless, intolerant, more demanding or  impulsive. They are not well prepared to meet the adverse situations or challenges of real-life.

Is present education system creating a better world? – One of the important element of education is to develop the career skills of students. Somehow, the present system of education has been developed in such a way that most talented and bright students aspire to become engineers or doctors. These professionals, when  enter into the job market do not find suitable atmosphere to work effectively and efficiently. And therefore, throughout their life they rot. Next, in intelligence comes the students who go for MBAs/Masters and become Managers/administrators and control the working destiny of doctors and engineers. Students who can’t succeed there, usually enter into politics and become Ministers/MPs/MLAs and control the both – the professionals and managers. The rest (Failures) join the underworld and control the above three categories of people. The left-overs, who do not attend any school, usually become Swamis and Gurus to guide/advice the masses, when in difficulty.

Valuable is the education system, that gives knowledge to ac wisely. Khalil Gibran has said – knowledge, the object of knowledge and application of the knowledge – all the three are equally important for motivating to take a wise action. A little knowledge that acts is worth more than much knowledge that is inactive. One, whose knowledge is confined to books, cannot use his wealth of knowledge, whenever required. Rote learning also does not work effectively, as it confined to text-books only.

The scope of education – The scope of education is much broader. It is a continuous process. It means complete up-bringing of the individual starting from the childhood till end. In its wider sense, literacy and education embraces within itself reading, observation, thought and its application in real life situations. Within its jurisdiction, also comes formation of habits, manners, character, attitude and aptitude along with imparting knowledge. Learning at each and every stage of life increases knowledge-base, understanding and attitudes of a person.

A well-planned and sound system of education inspires human beings to control their senses, mind and intellect, so that they could be adjusted better in real life’s environment. It guides people to achieve their goals within time and cost parameters and to channelize their efforts towards desired direction. In short, a sound education system imparts knowledge, shapes attitudes, cultivates skills and builds work habits of the people.

Distinction between action, forbidden action, and in-action – Knowledge has been considered essential for the purpose of giving activities, their due meaning and value. According to Hindu philosophy even a wise man may get puzzled without knowledge about do’s and don’ts. It is only after the acquisition of knowledge, that a person understands the real nature of work and could distinguish correctly between action, forbidden action and in-action.

Standard educational institutions have introduced many innovative methods of learning like theme-based discussions etc. Theme-based activities and internet has made children world of knowledge much wider and more easily accessible to all than before. Within seconds Google can tell about anything happening anywhere in the world.

Role of a teacher – Today, the role of a Teacher is just not only of an instructor, but he is supposed to be a facilitator, a true friend of learners, a philosopher and a role model for his students. It is his prime duty to inculcate in the minds of his students/children both, the qualities of head and heart.

India and its Education system

High regard for knowledge- India has always given importance to and showed a high regards for knowledge, wisdom, virtues, characters and will power. According to Indian philosophy, ‘Wealth of knowledge is supreme among all forms of wealth’. (Vidya dhanam sarvadhana pradhanam). Therefore, knowledge is the greatest thing to be sought after. A human being is human because he has the organic capacity to think and seek knowledge.

More importance to knowledge than wealth – Unlike India, in Western countries, more importance is being given to creation of wealth. Wealth is the ultimate aim of the people, yardstick of success and a status symbol. Traditional India was not so materialistic. Its systems had separated pursuit and achievement in knowledge from temptations of worldly comforts, wealth or power-politics. According to Indian philosophy, when a person runs blindly after money and forgets about the real purpose of knowledge, both wealth and knowledge vanishes from their lives. The only judicious way to generate wealth and gain power goes via the path of true knowledge.

Knowledge as the base of ranking – Earlier the greatness of a person, institution or a nation was judged on the basis of the degree of righteousness and justice. Greatness of a nation was judged with which its administration governed lives of the common men or their character. It was not on the basis of the size of a state, its military power or its treasury/bank-balance. Similarly, in the society, a person or a caste was ranked on the basis of knowledge, discipline and moral standards, and not on the basis of material success, muscle or money power or of having controlling power over the destiny of common man.

Respect for knowledgeable persons – In ancient India, apart from Brahmins, others were also paid respect by the society for their learning, character, spirituality and ability to guide general masses. The system was quite liberal in this matter. It gracefully accepted the right and opportunity to get to the top from the humblest origin and earn the respect of the whole society. For example, Vashishtha, the principal of the conservative school of Brahmanism, was the son of Uravshi, a prostitute. Vishwamitra, the maker of the very Gayatri Mantra, the quintessence of the Vedic Brahmanism, was a Kshatriya. Aitreya, after whom the sacramental part of Rig-Veda is named as Aitreya Brahamana, was the son from a non-Aryan wife of a Brahman sage. Vyasa of Mahabharata fame was the son of a fish-woman (belonging to Mahr community – Dalit according to present standards and to which Dr Ambedkar, the messiah of Dalits belonged).  Balmiki, an untouchable according to present standards, the original author of Ramayana, is highly respected all over India. None of them were not ashamed of their origin. They still hold a very high position in general public minds.

Close connection between Knowledge and hard work -For acquiring knowledge, training mind in a scientific manner and concentrating energies of mind, one has to struggle, work hard, make sincere efforts and face many challenges in life. Now-a-days, courage to struggle or work hard is missing except in a few students, who still keep the fire of seeking knowledge burning all the time. Without hard-work, search for knowledge remains incomplete and superficial.

In ancient India sages (Rishi-Munies) had worked day and night to acquire true knowledge. The love for knowledge inspired many students to walk from different parts of the country to centers of learning at that time like Taxila or Nalanda. A powerful Emperor, like Ashoka the great, thought it his duty, to bow before the monks as a mark of my deep respect for their learning, wisdom and sacrifice. What matters in life, are not a person’s status or position, but his virtues and wisdom. Only when you have raised yourself up from ignorance, can you recognize the greatness of a few in a sea of humanity.

For creating modern civilization, sincere knowledge seekers in Western world also did not care for inconveniences or challenges. They had sacrificed their time (for about two centuries), energies and comforts in search of knowledge. Then only they could develop great modern scientific knowledge, technique and wealth.

Education in modern India –Seventy three years after independence and self-rule, literacy-rate has gone up to 74% from 65%. For males it has risen to 82% from 75%, for females to 65% from 54%.  In absolute number, the figure is alarming. No nation can afford to have a large number of its population to remain illiterate, ignorant and unskilled.

Constraints – That all is not well in education system in India – has been noted by distinguished academicians, policy-makers, political leaders, other eminent persons, commissions and committees. Now and then, they have pointed out its failures in one area or another. It has always been felt that Modern education has become increasingly unrelated to national needs and aspirations, insufficient, wasteful and dysfunctional.

Education system loaded with external and internal problems – In addition to what constraints that have already been existing in the education system, many more external and internal problems, paradoxes and constraints have cropped up.  Some defects in modern education based on colonized British Grammar School type education, were pointed out by  Gandhiji like:

  • It is based upon foreign culture to the almost entire exclusion of the indigenous culture.
  • It ignores the culture of heart and hand and confines itself simply to head
  • Real education is impossible through foreign medium.
  • External Constraints – Externally, socio-economic and political pressures have violated its identity and autonomy. Some changes have taken place in the recent past in the character, role and inter-relationship of these main constituent of the national elites – the political executive, the legislators, the businessmen, the media persons, the organized workers, the surplus farmers and the bureaucrats. It brought into the forefront some undesirable social changes and political turmoil. It has affected adversely the whole atmosphere in the field of education as well.
  • Population explosion has put a heavy pressure on present education system and its available infrastructure. Narrow loyalties, sectional interests and sub-cultures like – favouritism, nepotism and corruption have fast become an accepted way of life. Result is that communal, regional and caste conflicts and unhealthy competition between different powerful lobbies are increasing every day to have their exclusive hold on scarce resources available in the field of education or for power and pelf.
  • Few persons and groups, who have the power in their hands, control almost every walk of national life and are working to deny justice to common men. The reflection of all these social evils is found in the educational system as well.

Internal Constraints – Internally the system has been fractured along the lines of discipline deteriorating standard of education in general and student sub-culture. Slowly but steadily, the education system lost its capacity to equip the younger generation with relevant knowledge and skills for enabling them to get gainfully employed and to perform their jobs with a sense of responsibility. It has failed to produce much-needed dynamism in youth as well. Now people have started questioning the legitimacy of a modern education system itself.

 Disintegrated society – Instead of being an instrument of social integration, education system divides society into two groups – ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’. There is government or government aided schools that give education to poor masses. It is economical, but do not maintain good standard. On the other hand there are private schools, which caters mainly the needs of ‘Haves’, because it is very costly.

Deteriorating standards – After independence, India is facing a rapid deterioration in standards of education. In the past, though education was thinly spread, it had maintained some standard. Now in an attempt to do quantitative expansion of education, quality of education suffered a lot. The examination and evaluation system tests only a narrow range of skills, especially those of memory. Standard of general education has deteriorated considerably and suffers from grave errors.  In addition to it, there is lot of interference and control of the government at every stage of the educational process.

Higher secondary, the weakest link in Indian education system – Higher secondary education is not up to the mark. It is the weakest link in Indian education system. In western countries, the higher secondary education system enables talented students to join courses of their choice. Sincere efforts are required to be done to improve the academic standards, curricula and methods of teaching at higher secondary level in India.

Double shifts due to lack of space, traffic during peak hours and non-availability of extra curricular activities/tutorial classes, cut throat competition for getting admissions in the courses of their choice etc. are putting lots of pressure on higher secondary students. Students go for extra classes after school, which cuts down on their leisure time.

They are addicted to electronic gadgets very much. It further cuts into their free time. Modern life style of stay up late due to reasons like working parents coming home late, socializing/going out for entertainment late in nights and health hazards due to undisciplined way of sleeping and getting up late adds fuel into fire. In long run, sleep-disorder may increase health problems like risk to heart attack, high blood-pressure, stroke, diabetes, drowsiness, depression, headaches obesity, loss of memory and poor performance at school.

Unfit for original work – Education system in advanced countries makes student a lively, inquisitive and original thinking person. There, it has been able to develop certain special qualities like regards for laws of the nation, awareness, contempt for hypocrisy, sympathy for underdog and courage to resist cruelty or misuse of power and authority. An educated youth in India generally fails to display genuine social conscience.

Store-house of information – Importance of information in knowledge, which provides the basis of all the thinking, cannot be denied. However, present education system at all stages of education, from preliminary through secondary right up-to the college stage makes mind a store-house of information/knowledge and discourages original thinking. It lays emphasis on giving students ready-made knowledge, systematically and neatly organized in the form of lessons, units and text book. R W Emerson comments on modern education, “We are students of words: we are shut up in schools and colleges and recitation-rooms, for ten or fifteen years and come out at last with a bag of wind, a memory of words and do not know a thing.”           ‘

 English medium – English medium puts extra strain upon the nerves of students and makes them crammers, imitators and unfit for original work and thought. Masses remains deprived. System is producing mostly the youth, who are unable to express clearly in any language, including their own and lack woefully the competence and confidence to assume responsibilities.

Early childhood Teaching –  Early childhood learning plays a vital in improving the quality and quantity of learning. Latest brain researches tell that first 2000 days are the most important in a child’s life, when children develop learning strategies, learn how to think and problem-solve. Children are born with billions of brain cells. Unless these are interacted with properly, they actually die off. Such programs needs to be developed that encourage the synaptic connections between those cells.

Early childhood Teaching, instruction and methodology is necessary for developing lifelong qualities in children. It is necessary to understand the importance to encourage Children to think, ask questions and develop problem-solving ability in them. There  should be more interaction between adults and the children.

Degree-oriented: The whole system of education and employment is degree oriented. Degree is the master-key to a nice and respectable career giving status, authority and final reprieve from manual work. Such a narrow mind-set has put tremendous pressure on higher education system.  A large number of new substandard and superfluous institutions are being created every day to meet the demand.  Government also encourages mass entry into universities and colleges. Rush in institutions are of such students as well, who want degree as a passport and are not interested in studies. Such students seize every opportunity to spoil the academic atmosphere and breed indiscipline.

Indiscipline- There is a growing unrest in the student community. Youth of the day want to be absolutely free from all kinds of moreal compulsions. For them, faith, discipline and observance of rules are supposed to be unnecessary and irrational. They have no respect for rules/discipline/morality or for elders, teachers or authority. Their interests lie in all that is sensuous, in material gains and in enjoying pleasures in life. Indiscipline in student’s world leads to chaos and violence. It makes people slaves of their weaknesses. Mahavira has rightly commented, “There is no knowledge without right faith. No conduct is possible without knowledge. Without conduct, there is no liberation. And without liberation, no deliverance.”

Employability – One of the major aims of education is to make youth employable. At present it is difficult to find out and recruit well qualified persons for various jobs in government, public or private sectors. At pre-employment stage, education needs to be comprehensive in scope and sound in nature for making youth acceptable in job-market. It needs to be supplemented by rigorous foundation training telling the fundamentals of their specific jobs and inculcating in them relevant knowledge and skills, otherwise effectiveness, efficiency and quality of work gets a setback. At present, all the basics about their jobs are told to employees after their join work-force, which requires a much more massive effort in order to make employees do their jobs well.

Unrealistic Manpower Assessment – Assessment of manpower requirement for economic growth is not done rationally according to national needs. After Independence, the need for technical people was felt and in recent past for management experts. The Government created large number of professional institutions in these areas without assessing the needs of the nation. It resulted in educated unemployment. A large number of scientists, doctors, engineer’s technicians and management graduates have to go abroad in search of suitable jobs.

Therefore, for streamlining the performance of people at work after employment, most essential and fundamental requirement is that the character and scope of pre-employment educational system should be redesigned in such a way, that it could continuously provide men and women of vitality, vigor, initiative and imagination with intellectual accomplishments, qualifications and soundness of character needed in different disciplines and at different levels at job market.

Where the fault lies? – For all these lacunas, students blame teachers, teachers blame students. Both together try to blame educationists. They, in turn, attack social system. The present system of education can not be changed or improved overnight. It needs concentrated efforts of all – students, teachers and the society. Then only a larger base of skilled and trained manpower could be created.

Conclusion- Rational thinking needs to be done about the real problems and the role of education in modern life after understanding its basics, fundamentals and aims correctly.

  • The requirement of a university degree as a Passport for starting nice and respectable career (white collard jobs) has made a mockery of higher education. Such an attitude has by-passed the need to “educate all”, resulted in negligence of primary and higher secondary education and in over-crowding the institutions of learning. The stress on quantitative increase has subverted all the attempts to improve the quality of teaching and learning. It has led to continuous fall in the academic standards and students’ discipline, regional imbalances in the growth of educational institutions and politics in the temples of learning.
  • In the present times of neck to neck competition, one should continuously upgrade knowledge. It is the best way to create a larger base of skilled and trained manpower. Education should instil  in students problem-solving attitude and develop the courage to meet the challenges of real life bravely. Instead of offering excuses or blaming others for one’s failures and dissatisfaction, it should inculcate in students the spirit to face the difficult situations in life and make efforts to change their destiny themselves. Education must teach people always try to have control over ones life’s situations and to stand up on his own feet rather than depending on others for moving forward. Success in life depends on developing capacity and courage to take right decisions at right time.
  • Only sound system of education and training can give them courage to avoid out-dated traditions and dogmatic ways of doing things, and courage to face realities and challenges of real life. It would give the youth vision to find out solutions for various problems, posed on them because of fast-paced life-style of twenty first century. It can lead them towards rational, positive and creative thinking and plan rationally about their career that would suit to their attitude and aptitude. It would enable them to shoulder their responsibilities properly and  act judiciously and promptly.
  • For planning a sound system of education and training, it is required  –
    • To understand the psychology of students and the changes happening every day in today’s world.
    • There should be a collaborative and distributive system between the teaching staff and students in such a way that teachers should encourage the students to share knowledge and express their thoughts and views freely and frankly.
    • To create an atmosphere of healthy competition in educational institutions. They should learn not to let down others, while competing with each other.
    • Sub-standard education should be avoided. Standards of teaching should be high. All schools and colleges should have a good faculty. Finding committed teachers is not an easy task, but is urgently required for keeping standards of education high.
    • Educational institutions should not be used as money-minting machines.
    • Quality is more important than quantity in the sphere of education. Therefore for paying individual attention to every student, the number of enrolment in a class should not be large.
    • Some students cannot learn and understand at the same pace as other batch-mates. They need more time plus more attention/help of tutors. For them, arrangements for special coaching should be done in  educational institutions.  

April 12, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | | 1 Comment

Exodus of migrant labour force from cities during Lock down period

At present, a struggle for survival is going on because of Carona virus. So far no respite. Thousands of people have died allover the world. It is a very difficult  time for the everyone. Government of India has called for complete lock down throughout the whole nation for 21 days. Only isolation and social distancing can prevent the disease from spreading. Clear message to all is ‘Stay back where you are’. Do not move out. Then why this exodus of migrant labour in India’s Metro cities?

Why is it difficult for the migrant workers to stay where they are? During lockout time, they need –

  • Enough space to live – One person hires a room and allows many daily wagers belonging to his homeland. Many individual live in that small room. During day time, all of them go out to their work place to earn money. Only at night they need little space to sleep. Each one pays some money to the person, who has hires the room, just to keep his bag during day time and little space to sleep at night. This way the tenant of the room, usually living with his family, also gets some extra money.
  • Not safe place to stay back during day time – Now with nationwide lock down, they do not have any place to spend their day time. ‘Stay where you are’ is not possible for them with the closure of industries and other places of work. It is almost impossible for them to keep a safe distance from each other either during daytime or nights by ‘staying back where they are’. It is necessary for the government first to make proper arrangements for their safe boarding and lodging.
  • Economic and emotional reasons – It is much more difficult and costlier for daily-wagers to live in Metros or big towns as comparison to living in their hometowns without any income. They think that economically and emotionally, it will be easier and better for them to go back to their homeland during this lock down period. They feel that then they can spend this time with their family members. And by chance, if death comes, they will be, at least, with their own near and dear ones.

For making all efforts to prevent Carona virus from spreading, the Government should pay more attention to the problems of migrant labours desirous to go back to their homeland. During this difficult time, with Carona virus spreading unchecked, strict isolation (keeping a safe distance from each other) is more necessary than other measures.

March 30, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Empowerment and Enlightenment

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

“Empowerment means Freedom to do what you want and Enlightenment is self-realization. “

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 reformers, intellectuals and political leaders are trapped within the caucus of economic and political empowerment, but not the spiritual enlightenment, which really empowers an individual. The real empowerment comes from within. Therefore instead of empowerment, emphasis should be more on enlightenment.

Use your wisdom/intellect – God has been kind enough to give to all human beings, the power of wisdom and intellect. To make their present pleasant and future better, and secure, they should use that power. Wisdom empowers a person to choose the right path, generate positive energies and saves human mind from any confusion about ‘Dos’ and ‘Don’ts’.

Importance of knowledge for enlightenment – Kofi Annan comments “Knowledge is power. Information is liberating.” Liberation to do what one wants is empowerment. Therefore acquiring right kind of knowledge is important enlightenment. Knowledge enables one to take right actions, and gives due meaning and value to deeds.

Politics on empowerment – ‘Empowerment’ or sharing of power has become a keyword of the modern political world. 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.”

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. The efforts for empowerment should be from within – be it an individual, a group within a society, a society or a nation.”

Superficial measures of empowerment leads to conflicts and even denial of the rights to other section/sections of society. One’s 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.

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.

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 – Today empowerment means getting enough opportunities to enjoy material success and fulfil all worldly desires. Suppressed aspirations of people erupt like a volcano one day and create lots of troubles for all. Therefore, it is necessary to keep a fine balance between empowerment and enlightenment.

Role of wisdom in true empowerment – It is the wisdom of human beings that enables them to maintain right balance between their desires/aspirations and righteousness. 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.”

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.

Role of enlightenment in a democracy – It is 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…”

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.

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.

March 28, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Fast Forward Pace of modern life

Times were better, when life was going on at bullock car speed. All were happy in their own way, satisfied, and progressing slowly, but steadily. Now life is moving at fast forward speed. As a result, life has become full of stresses and strains for everyone. Life is no more a heaven for children have to learn fast to become independently capable of looking after themselves on their own. For young persons, life is a continuous struggle to maintain daily schedule of activities without disruption. And for old people, it is more or less like a hell. They have to suffer due to their failing energies, health problems, social distancing, and loneliness.   

March 28, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Animal instinct in humans and mob-mentality  

“Strong minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, and weak minds discuss people.” Socrates

Introduction – Animals are mostly driven on instincts. It is programmed in their minds from birth on what to do in most situations. They are much more simple minded than humans. Like animals, humans also have instincts. However, cognitive abilities of a  human mind as compared to an animal are incredible. Humans can learn, think rationally, invent, find solutions to problems, and much more.

Animal’s  mind is much more simple than humans. They never stop to think. They find something that works, and continue doing it. But Humans can think, learn, talk, write, read facial expressions, gestures, and more. Animals do communicate, but they cannot communicate with the level of a human. Humans also have instincts, however, we can control them much better. They are mostly driven by reason.

Instinct – Instinct is something one does not need to learn. Instincts can be categorized into –

  • Basic Instincts – Basic instinct happens naturally/automatically, without anyone even thinking about it. Babies cry by instinct, and ducks follow their mother by instinct. Animals and humans learn a lot of things negative or positive) from each-other. Every human’s desires, impulses, and feelings are linked to basic instinct.

Like all animals, each person is born psychologically with some basic natural instincts. Instinct means inherent aptitude, behaviour, impulse or a fixed action pattern that is unlearned. Two most basic natural instincts are self-preservation, and desire for survival and fear. Next to it is the instinct to be able to cope with vital environmental contingencies.

Instinct of survival – Instinct of self-preservation or to survive is the most basic, natural and the earliest instinct. When humans are born as babies, they are helpless. They depend on others for their survival, especially the Mother. The need to protect their babies is also there in all creatures – be it animals or humans. The instinct of survival has given rise to the institution of

Fear – All creatures suffers from The biggest fear in human lives is “Fear of Death”. Death is a reality and is inevitable. So first of all, it is necessary to eliminate fear of death from the mind. ‘Be Fearless’ that is what Srimat Bhagwat Gita preaches. (Verse 20, Chapter 2, Bhagwat)

Next comes the number of fear of loud noises, and a fear of falling. People don’t understand or accept this simple fact that ‘Fear’ creates deterrence in whatever one wants to do it in life.

  • Animal instinct – Animal instincts are present in all creatures including humans. Initially humans were not better than animals. Like animals, the automatic response to any contingency, they also tried to protect themselves from harm. They usually did whatever was needed to be done instantly and instinctively rightly or wrongly without thinking, caring for others or giving second thought to it.caring,  .

Fear, insecurity and misunderstanding about human needs give birth to some evils/animal instincts like Ego (Ahankaar), Cruelity (Amanatva), Injustice (Anyay), Lust (Kam/Vaasana), Anger (Krodha)), Greed (Lobha), Superiority-complex/Over-pride, Jealousy, Selfishness, Over-Attachment (Moh) and Selfishness (Swartha).

  • Refined instincts – At present, dominance of animal instincts in individuals is one of the greatest challenge facing Humanity. To get control over such undesirable instincts and make life happy and civilized, qualities like understanding, sensitivity, perseverance, contentment, good thoughts and good deeds are required.

Shaping of instincts

Shaping of instincts, natural or animal depends on following variables :-

  • Human-mind – Nature has gifted to all creatures a mind/brain (primal brain; hind-brain and medulla) with intelligence. Humans-beings are more fortunate as human mind is a set of cognitive faculties, which includes natural instincts, consciousness, imagination, perception, thinking. These faculties make humans more intelligent than animals.

The power of Human mind is rooted in intelligence. Intelligence enables humans to think and experience emotions. It works like a computer. It has certain capacities like reason, morality, consciousness and a sense of responsibility. These qualities of mind have transformed humans from animals to intelligent persons and helped them to come over their fear, leave behind undesirable animal instincts and move towards a more civilized way of life.

Mind works at three levels. At pre-conscious level animal instincts dominates. Sub-conscious mind is the creator of ideas and desires/dreams. Awareness/ego operates mostly in Conscious mind. It is Conscious mind that leads individuals towards positive thinking and civilized life.

  • Thinking  – Thinking is an activity of an existential value for humans’ mind. Thinking processes and creates thoughts. Thoughts create energy and energy transform it into reality. Thought encompasses an “aim-oriented flow of ideas and associations and leads to human actions and interactions.
  • Positive/Negative Mind-setMindset means mental and emotional framework or thinking of a person. Actions and reactions of an individual depend on his/her mind-set. Nature has given every human being a mind with power of ‘Viveka’ (intellect), five sense organs and free-will to assess what is good and be happy or misuse these by negative thinking and be miserable.

Human body is a vehicle which is driven by mind or conscience of an individual throughout his/her life. Not only a person’s life but also one’s all-round personality and performance is deeply affected by it.

Mindset of each individual is different. It is a combination of both positive and negative feelings/thinking. Positive mindset/thinking generates positive energy/vibes. It usually focuses on the bright side of life and brings positive results. Positive thinking generates confidence, improves mood and reduces chances of developing stress-related conditions.

Positive thinking tells the humans to control both the mind and five sense organs (eyes to see, ears to hear, nose to smell, skin to feel and tongue to taste). Self-restraint is necessary to follow the path of truth, purity, righteousness, compassion peace and love.

Positive mindset usually focuses on the present. It encourages people to become a better person today than yesterday, to use more sophisticated language, to accept success or failures gracefully, to mix up with good natured persons and to spend life in a meaningful way. Positive thoughts reinforces understanding and wisdom. It leads to happiness, health, wealth prosperity and wisdom.

Negative mindset – Animal instincts are dominant in the minds of  persons having negative mindset. Individuals with negative thinking imagine the worst possible scenario in everything. They do not have the confidence to face the challenges of life. The gateways to negative thinking are (hell/unhappiness – Ego, Lust, Greed (misunderstanding about the needs) and Anger. Negative thinking disturbs the balance of mind and soul, and invariably leads to unhappiness, self-destruction. Humans with negative mindset develop a feelings of denial. They try their best to escape from uncomfortable situations or hardships in life. They think of excuses for not doing duties. The extent of negative feelings can go from anger, frustration, irritability, to even anxiety and depression, passing through many other feelings, none of them pleasant.

One should try to eliminate negative thoughts and feelings of bitterness towards others or feeling helpless most of the time to cope with challenges in life. Life does not allow anybody to go back and fix what has been done wrong in the past. Life cannot be changed, undone or forgotten. What is done is done. Struggles are required in order to survive in life because in order to stand-up, one needs to know what failure/falling down means. Take life as it comes. Be prepared to face challenges in life and move on.

Framing of human mindset in either way depends on the perception of an individual.

  • PerceptionPerception means the way in which something is regarded, understood, or interpreted. Perception is relative. Perception creates one’s reality, one can look at life and see scarcity or abundance. It all depends on ones mindset.

It is beyond the capacity of a human to perceive he whole truth.  It is a fact that Truth or Reality always remains one and the same. There are millions of people, each one having his/her own independent understanding. Based on each person’s perception that truth/reality can never become more than one. Each person perceives the world and approaches life problems differently. “Your perception is yours and my perception is mine”. Perception occurs in five stages: selection, stimulation, organization, interpretation-evaluation, memory and recall.

Looking inwards/self-introspection helps in making a person mentally, emotionally and spiritually strong. Challenge the challenges coming on your way. Every problem has a solution. Don’t get disheartened and do not hesitate to take hard decisions to overcome the hurdles.

Khalil Gibran says, ” “Your living is determined not so much by what life brings to you as by the attitude you bring to life; not so much by what happens to you as by the way your mind looks at what happens.”

  • Attitude and Aptitude – Attitude and Aptitude play an important role in making the personality of a man and deciding his role in life. Attitude is the collection of thoughts and beliefs that shapes one’s thought habits. And thought habits affect how one think, what one feel, and what one does. Because they are related to mindset, it also helps to understand attitude and beliefs.

Aptitudes are natural talents, special abilities for doing, or learning to do, certain kinds of things easily and quickly. They have little to do with knowledge or culture, or education, or even interests. They have to do with heredity. There is a close relation between Aptitude and intelligence. In general, aptitude helps humans to make/design their career and occupational decisions.

According to ancient Vedic Hindu Philosophy Ancient Vedic Hindu philosophy thinks that individuals differ from one another in natural endowments, intelligence, aptitudes, attitudes, skills, personal needs and other innate characteristics. Accordingly it has assigned different tasks to different individuals.

According to Hindu Philosophy, thinking of human beings depends on three natural instincts/Gunas/ qualities, Sattva (purity), Rajas (activity) and Tamas (darkness, destruction). Sattva embraces in itself purity, knowledge and harmony. It leads to goodness, joy, satisfaction, nobility and contentment, and frees human mind of fear, violence, wrath and malice. Rajas represents passion, manipulation, action, and energy. Rajas fills human heart with a feeling of attachment, desire – a longing for creating one’s own comfort-zone, and self-satisfaction. Tamas temperament leads to impurity, laziness, ignorance and darkness. It is the consequence of ignorance and it prevents all beings from seeing the reality. Increasing sattva is possible by reducing rajas and tamas, both in the mind and in your body.

Vedic Hindu society has envisaged different activities for different groups of people based on natural instincts,  predominantly psychological characteristics, attitude and aptitude,. Persons having “Sat and “austerity, flair for learning and possessing intellectual/spiritual qualities to set standards for the whole society have been put in the category of Brahmins. They have been assigned the work of pursuing knowledge. Befitting to their attitude and aptitude, men of action with `Rajas qualities, having courage, warrior skills, bravery,  leadership quality have been given the responsibility to defend the their people from internal and external aggression, maintain law and order in society and take care of the weaker sections of society. People having business acumen have been given the task to carry on business. People incapable to do the  above three tasks or the conquered ones have been advised to get engaged in service sector under the guidance of other three categories and have given the name ‘Shudras’.

According to Smritis”, it is not birth, but the qualities, attitude and aptitude and deeds, which fitted one into a particular group.[i] But, later on, upbringing, atmosphere and convenience tended to make these groups hereditary. It was more convenient  and economical for the people to practice their traditional occupations and acquire its basic qualifications from their elders in the family in a natural way. Even now it is so. It has been seen that an illiterate Marwari  can invest his money in share market with more ease and confidence than a person having academic qualifications in this area.

According to ancient Greek philosophers – The Greek philosophy is almost similar to Indian Hindu philosophy. Greek philosopher, Aristotle, says that  there is a principle of rule and subordination in nature, at large. It appears specially in the realm of animate creation. By virtue of that principle, soul rules the body and by virtue of it, those who possess the rational faculty of soul rules those, who posses only physical power and the faculty of understanding the directions given by another person’s reason. It is clearly natural and beneficial to the body that it should be ruled by the soul. Again it is natural and beneficial to the effective part of the body that it should be ruled by the mind and the rational part, whereas the equality of the two elements is always detrimental. Aristotle says that what holds good in man’s inner life, also hold good outside it.

The great ancient Greek  philosophers like Plato and Aristotle, dreamt of a similar kind of system like Varna System for their Ideal state. Their ideal society was divided into following four sections: –

  • Philosopher king              –         For intellectual work for the society,
  • Army men                        –         To protect the nation from outside invasions and maintain internal peace and order, and
  • Business community        –        To do all kinds of transactions and
  • Slaves                               –        To do manual work

In their ideal state, all the people were supposed to belong to one group or the other, not on the basis of birth, but on the basis of their capabilities and aptitudes. Whatever Greek philosophers had dreamt, Indian society through Varna system has converted it into a reality.

Sanatan Dharma of Hindu epics is based on natural instincts of human beings.  It guides people to assess and understand inherent nature of human beings, accept them and deal with them accordingly. One needs to come to terms with the forces of nature. Conformity with nature insulates a person from shocks of life, pain and sufferings. The teachings of Sanatan Dharma  presents a scientific manual of self-management, self-reliance, and self-discipline, which is relevant even till today.

Human’s march towards refinementThe process of refinement of animal instinct started long long ago. However, human-beings can never come up totally over their animal instincts. Now and then, it is reflected in their day today behaviour.

Togetherness – Famous Greek philosopher Aristotle has said that if a human-being does not live with men or amongst men, then surely either he is god or beast. Initially instinct of survival led humans to live together in small migratory  groups,  as wandering “nomadic herdsmen”. There was a time, when Humans were not better than animals.  Their life, as Hobbes describes was, “Nasty, brutish and short”. The need to protect, preserve, pursue common interests and progress for the common good brought people together.

While living together, people’s  thinking and behaviour get influenced by the thinking/behaviour of their fellow-beings, in a negative or positive way. Usually some individuals with strong mindset come up and become the leaders/role models for the general people. There is a great impact of their ideas on weak minds.

Togetherness has made it easier for individuals to refine their animal instincts and become more humane and civilized day by day. In the past, slowly, but steadily, instead of being wandering people, individuals learnt to live together in a settled life-style. This was the beginning of the process of  refinement over human’s animal instincts.  The march has been towards leading a more secure, civilized and comfortable life-style.

What refinement means? – When mind is weak, situation is a problem. When mind is balanced, situation is challenge. And when mind is strong, situation becomes opportunity. Life is never without a need, never without a problem and never without a hurtful moment. It is wisdom a person which protects, guides and helps to attain a meaningful life.

Civilized life style means different types of relationships be based on love, laughter, sacrifice, patience, grace and forgiveness. There is happiness all over. Happiness does not depend on what one has. It depends on how he feels towards what he is having. One can be happy with little and miserable with much.

People should avoid confrontations, fights, anger, lust and greed. For inner peace and happiness, they must learn to ignore such things or thoughts that may cause troubles for others. There is no need to be jealous of others. What is for you will remain with you. Nobody can snatch from anyone anything, what he deserves. One should be wise enough to understand the difference between needs and desires and luxuries.

Formation of groups – While living together, people form different groups. On the basis of inherent qualities, needs, problems and difficulties, individuals form their own independent groups. Differences in attitude and aptitude of different people living in different areas give rise to the formations of groups. Each group  creates its own rules, values and systems in conformity with environment of that place. The activities of people become more organized and behaviour more civilized.

Formation of groups has satisfied the human need to provide companionship, survival and security, affiliation status, achievements or power or control over social or political authorities. In many ways,  group’s activities can influence behaviour of individuals and society politically and economically

Earlier the activities of any social, economic or political group was confined within a small area or territory because of primitive communication and transport systems. But now, the influence of group activities has spread world-over with the advancement of technology in the fields of transportation and communication, . 

Usually interdependence, social interaction, perception as a group, commonality of purpose, and favouritism are the factors responsible for creating different groups.

When are people called mob? – Under the pressure of animal instincts, an individual behaves like an animal without caring for others.  And undesirable thinking and activities of individuals more than one, which are not acceptable to civil society, are termed as mob mentality.

Difference between terms ‘people’ and ‘mob’ – A person is termed as individual. More than one person, linked by a common interest, make up a group or assembly. When few individuals, known or unknown to each other, get together for any specific purpose, it is known as a group. People are called a mob, when  people under peer  pressure, adopt certain behaviours on a largely emotional, rather than rational, basis. Mob behaves in disorganized, disorderly and unruly manner, protest for causing trouble, agitation or violence.

Criminal Code Section 18.2-38 definesMob” in part as “any collection of people assembled for the purpose and with the intention of assault or battery on any individual. “Mob mentality” refers to the tendency/intentions of people to do over reactive things,  to act disorderly or to cause trouble or violence, while in a group of others with the same tendency, which they would not do otherwise.

Mob-mentalityAnimal instincts in human minds incite individuals to harm others cause troubles for others. Unruly thinking, behaviour or activities by a  group of people is termed as mob-mentality. When some people try to gain something, they desire, and which is not possible for them to get decently and single-handedly, then they form a group to agitate or protest and try to put pressure on social or political Authorities to fulfil their demands.

There are also some people, who find it exciting to join a mob without any purpose, as in mobs, they remain invisible. They feel that they won’t be held responsible for their unruly actions, when they are part of a mob. The influence of mob, as a pressure group. increases with crowd size. More the number of people in a mob, more stronger becomes its voice.

Suggestion, How to control agitating mob – When the emotions of agitating mob is at the peak and they are in extreme depression, anxiety or irritability, the best way for the government is to form an enquiry Commission to look into their problems and suggest solutions. This way, at the peak hour of anger, mob feels that their voice has been reached up to the concerned authorities. And anger does not stay for long. With time, their anger/irritation calms down and authorities get enough time to resolve the issue rationally.

[i]            Varna 180, 21, 23.

November 25, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Politics without Principles

Unprincipled Politics – Sheer opportunism and valueless power politics have gradually taken over the place of principles and idealism after the independence.  The present-day political leaders have become very practical. They place themselves above the law of the nation. Law or no law, for them, political expediency is the most important thing in the world.

Many unprincipled leaders, who claim to be working for poor, lead a luxurious life at home with all worldly comforts at their command, their children study abroad in world’s best educational institutions. And they frequently visit foreign lands on some pretext or other at Government expenses. 

Criminalization of Politics – Many political leaders are closely associated with goons. They pamper anti-social elements, which openly practice terror politics.  Many high profile politicians are themselves history-sheeters/involved in criminal activities.  The number of history sheeters is continuously increasing in local politics, legislatures and parliament.

Observation of a Judge – Judge Dhingra observed in former Union Minister Kalp Nath Rai’s case in March 1977  … The nexus between terrorists, criminals and politicians is not a figment of imagination of this court, but a reality to be reckoned with. The terror in the minds of people is so much that no one dares to stand witness against them…. While the leading effect of terrorism is fear and alarm, it is employed to accomplish a variety of objectives like land grabbing, grabbing political power and creating an atmosphere of terror in the state machinery… Terrorists have developed pockets of influence among powerful persons and various state departments.  This leads to their escape from the clutches of law very often…. Weak criminal justice and police system in India has made the country an ideal playground for them. It has been amplified in Vohra Report, when he said that they run a parallel government in many parts of the country. 

Criminalisation combined with corruption – Criminalisation combined with corruption has made a common man’s life more miserable.  There is corruption at all levels and in all spheres.  In an ever-increasing atmosphere of indiscipline, politicization and criminalisation, upright and honest officers find the atmosphere suffocating. 

Sub-servient bureaucrats – Many bureaucrats prefer to become a servile tool in the hands of ruling politicians.  The result is erosion of rule of law, misuse of governmental machinery, misappropriation of public funds. Some of the direct consequences of such situation are – scams and scandals.  It might be recollected that newspapers reported scams totaling to Rs. 10,200 crores, involving seven major scams, which came to light between 1992 and 1996.

Luxurious life-style – Many politicians shed crocodile tears over the agonies of poor people. They preach sacrifice, austerity etc. to the public at large, but they themselves lead a luxurious life at the cost of taxpayers/public money.  There was a time, when leaders like Gandhiji, practiced what they preached. They possessed a sense of responsibility and mission and, therefore, they had an impact on the people’s psyche. 

Disgusted public – The naked pursuit of power has made the present day politicians insensitive to the needs and feelings of the public.  Events, after 1990’s, have not only exposed politician’s true intentions. Public now understands about political manipulations and false promises made pre or post elections. It has increased the distance between political leaders and the common-man.  People are utterly disgusted with the politicians and their doings. 

Unholy alliances between political parties before or after elections (Coalition Governments) – The fragmented verdict after the general elections of 1990, the trend of forming a coalition government, or a government with outside support at national level has started. It has led to instability, non-performing, weak government, without much sense of responsibility. For any unpopular/unsuccessful plan or policy, blame game starts. Each political party blames the other for taking up wrong policy decisions. It has posed a new challenge – the challenge of forming stable government, either at national or at state level.

In 1996 general elections, that there was an anti-congress mandate.  But in order to wield the power, the United Front Government took the support of Congress party despite the verdict of people against it. Congress had remained a powerful force as a king-maker till the United Front Government lasted.

More importance to Sectional interests than national interests – Today, India is in an age of unprecedented social turmoil.  There is a highly westernized urban elite, upwardly mobile middle class and an alienated underclass, which can easily be manipulated.  During last fifty years, many sections of society, which were earlier interdependent, or submerged socially and politically, have emerged in political arena. They have now established their separate political identities and have become powerful vehicles for insisting or pushing forward sectoral demands and brushing aside the national interests. 

Politicization of Caste – Capture of political, administrative and technical decision-making power and to secure more space in the power echelons have become a matter of crucial importance for all the newly emerged competing social and economic groups, everyone seeking a bigger share of the spoil in one way or the other. At present, caste is the single most important factor in politics.

In order to gain public support, leaders of different political parties depend more on passions than principles, be it castiest, religious or otherwise.    It has become one of the big challenges before the authority to reconcile the claims of growth with the claims of equity. The tendency has completely polarized the peoples’ opinion, divided them into numerous unbridgeable compartments. It led to the mushroom growth of self-proclaimed messiahs and emergence of numerous pressure groups pursuing sectoral interests and sharpening communal and castiest divide.  A few groups with numerical strength have become very vocal and assertive. Political authorities fear to annoy them and, therefore, concede to their demands openly or discreetly, while in power.  Of late, Dalits, backwards and Muslims are being wooed with vigor by all the political parties.  Naxalite groups find in Dalits the allies, as most of their action squads are formed of Harijans.  Widespread discontent among the people, due to the non-performance and half hearted measures taken by the successive governments to deal with their genuine problems, have turned them anti-establishment and increased violence. The organised intolerance of some groups, which are over conscious of their racial, regional, cultural and religious identities and feel to be threatened by others, has grown out of proportions, perpetuating agitation and violence. It has threatened the unity of nation. All these developments have made political situation so fluid, that no political party is in a position to gain an absolute majority since 1990.  Therefore, it is one of the important challenges for the government to hold the huge and diverse masses of India together.

Disillusioned Public  – Today a common man has become so inured that any amount of harassment, violence of human dignity and human rights, bloodshed, caste-wars, carnage, riots, corruption, scams or scandals hardly fazes him anymore.  One feels secure, until not affected personally. The growth of literacy and awareness, trend in consumerism, increasing consciousness of their rights to the determent of the duties, responsibilities attached with each right and the tall promises by politicians have already aroused the expectations of the people. There is a wide gap between the expectations and opportunities to fulfill them.  Therefore, there is frustration, venom against each other, agitation and violence, which threatens to shake the system and its structures.  The assertiveness of Dalits and intolerance of backward castes, especially after the Mandalisation of politics, quite often lead to caste-wars.  The development of the nation demands a sense of social responsibility in the masses, and need to sensitize the authorities about the real needs of the masses.

Like Four Blind Men and the Elephant, the authorities perceive and project disparate parts of nations psyche. They do not represent it as a whole. By playing on the superficial needs of the populace, the authorities are unable to grasp and analyze the real issues and challenges.   The result is persistent backwardness and endemic instability.  The cure to this disease can be obtained only after correctly diagnosing it. The power-seekers do their best to divert the mob-attention from the real issues to the abstract ones like Equity, Secularism, Social Justice etc., which instead of bringing prosperity to the people, have bred in them intolerance, inflexibility, narrowness, unadulterated materialism, the feeling of otherness/ estrangement in the society. At present, unrelenting greed of some for power, money and comforts has generated greater injustice, immorality and wretchedness. India has everything a nation needs for development – tremendous amount of skilled and unskilled manpower, all kinds of raw materials, a good legal system, a huge market and potential to export virtually everything, provided the cost of its inputs are kept at international levels.  Only the government has to address itself to the real basic issues, not the peripheral, or abstract ones, which makes people pit emotional venom against each other.  It has to get rid of its internal contradictions – between prosperity and poverty, between plenty of resource endowments and the scarcity of their management, between its culture of peace and tolerance and its conduct sliding towards violence, intolerance and discrimination.  In India, the greatest threat to development has come not so much from economic deficiency, but from disunity arising out of religious, castiest, racial, tribal or political dissension. The principles and practices, which could have reconciled the diverse interests, instincts and aspirations of the people, have been ignored, repressed or distorted for the sake of political expediency.  Poverty, illiteracy, ill health, corruption and criminality have kept the masses in bondage.  Sheer opportunism and valueless politics have taken over the place of principles and idealism.  Today the nation demands, above all, the unity, hard work, discipline, dedication and determination of all its people for its sustainable development.

In short what the country needs is

  • Infra-structure -water,sanitation, electricity, public transport.
  • Quality health facilities.
  • Sound system of education an traing
  • Urban employment guarantee
  • Transparency in government dealings.
  • No discrimination
  • Equal special benefits for all deprived individuals irrespective of caste or creed.
  • Revitalizing measures for agriculture and rural economy
  • Boost for womens’ economic participation
  • More representation of women and youth in political system.
  • Speedier justice
  • Special cell against discrimination on social religious grounds
  • Complete control on religious extremism and terrorism.
  • Global responsibility.

September 3, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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