Saturday, August 9, 2014

Evolutionary (Science-Directed) Socialism : Part-I by Bhagwat Prasad Rath

              Science is scaling new heights. New problems are threatening our existence. Nature is our master. We have to learn from it. So, instead of repeating parrot- like what earlier great thinkers wrote about socialism, we must subject all thoughts to ruthless criticism. Kisen Patnaik, a leading Lohia socialist thinker, with profound sadness, lamented the poverty of thought at the world level. Einstein is one of our path- finders.
             He wrote the seminal essay ‘Why Socialism?’  Einstein Wrote, ‘But historic tradition is, so to speak, of yesterday; nowhere have we really overcome what Thorstein Veblen called “the predatory phase” of human development. The observable economic facts belong to that phase and even such laws as we can derive from them are not applicable to other phases. Since the real purpose of socialism is precisely to overcome and advance beyond the predatory phase of human development, economic science in its present state can throw little light on the socialist society of the future’

           Thorstein Veblen wrote that the four predatory institutions that dominate our societies are ‘rulers, warriors, men of religion and sports men’ C. Wright Mills, a great socialist of America adds more twentieth century predatory institutions to the list of Thorstein Veblen. They are ‘media – moguls, film- stars and film- makers’. Thorstein Veblen says that these institutions indulge in ‘crack- pot realism’ and wallow in the slough of conspicuous consumption. C. Wright Mills agrees with him. To –day’s most powerful predatory institution is that of finance – dictators. Can we dream of a society free from these predatory institutions?

           The world is divided into different groups of humanity who are constantly warring with each other. As Tagore said, ‘the world has been divided into fragments by narrow domestic walls’. Psychologists like Erich Fromm think that insane people are powerful in all most all predatory institutions.

          The greatest living intellectual of the present world, Noam Chomsky, says, “In the moral calculus of capitalism, greater profits in the next quarter outweigh the fate of your grand children.”

          Harvard professor Robert Stevens accuses the government representatives in the IPCC panel (Inter- governmental panel on climate change) of deleting 75% of the report prepared by scientists. That Governments are subservient to the profit-crazy corporations is no secret. Next to climate change, the other grave issue that bedevils human future is the preparation for war by the states, particularly the rich ones. The US tops the list of world warmongers. The greatest danger comes from the existence of nuclear weapons
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         Like Kisen Patnaik, P. M. Sweezy, a great Marxist thinker, is worried about the poverty of thought. After the collapse of communist societies in the world, P.M. Sweezy, in his essay ‘A Crisis in Marxist thought’ (The book is ‘Post-Revolutionary Society’) wrote that Marx’s idea was ‘…. It (The Communist Society) would be a classless society, a stateless society and a society of genuine and not merely formal or legal equality among nationalities, races, sexes, and individuals …… These goals would certainly be very long term in nature and might never be fully achieved…… Certainly they establish guidelines and rough measuring rods. Only a society genuinely dedicated to these goals and shaping its practices accordingly can be considered socialist in the Marxian meaning of the term.

          Now, as I have already indicated, the generally accepted Marxian interpretation of modern history leads us to expect that capitalism will be overthrown by proletarian revolutions, and that these revolutions will establish socialist societies. The theory, in fact, is so taken for granted as a reliable clue to what is happening in the world that every society which originates in a proletarian (or proletarian-led) revolution is automatically assumed to be and identified as a socialist society.

             And this is where the anomalies begin. None of these “socialist” societies behave as Marx-and I think. Most Marxists up until quite recently-thought they would. They have not eliminated classes except in a purely verbal sense; and……. they have not attempted to follow a course which could have the long-run effect of eliminating classes. The state has not disappeared; no one could expect it to, except in a still distant future; but on the contrary, it has become more and more the central and dominant institution of society. Each interprets proletarian internationalism to mean support of its own interests and policies as interpreted by it self. They go to war not only in self defense but to impose their will on other countries, even ones that are also assumed to be socialist. The result has been a deep crisis in Marxian theory…… the trouble with the Marxist hypothesis is that it quickly leads to many anomalies”.

                  Sweezy calls Marxism ‘….a magnificent and scientific creation far superior to anything achieved by bourgeois science…” Kunh in his epoch-shaking book ‘The Structure of Scientific Revolution’ says that science develops through a series of revolutions, each rejecting much that has gone before and starting on new foundations. His key concept is that of the paradigm- shift which means a new way of looking at reality. The capitalist, the socialist and the welfare societies are all at the predatory phase. All nurse predatory institutions, led by ‘crack-pot realists’ as pointed out by Thorstein Veblen. Evidently humanity is nurturing the death- wish and rushing headlong into colossal disasters. When did we come to such a doom – spelling precipice?

                 To quote Marx ‘The mode of production of material life conditions the social, political and intellectual life process in general. It is not the consciousness of men that determines their being, but, on the contrary, their social being that determines their consciousness. (Preface to the Critique of Political Economy). Fifty thousand years back humanity made the wrong choice in the mode of production. The society of gatherers was mainly dependent on females collecting food material (80% of the food consumed by the family) from nature. The society was peaceful and contented.

               50,000 years ago, the mode of production changed from gathering fruits and roots to that of killing animals (even big ones) because of the efficiency of the killer tools invented in that period. As Marx said, this change brought about a change in consciousness. The social, political and intellectual life processes changed completely. The egalitarian society where men and women enjoyed equal rights gave way to the society of male- hunters dominating society. Labour lost its pre-eminent position in society. Instead of labour, the capacity to kill became the most respectable value in society. Thus started the first great exploitation, men exploiting women sexually and also in the field of labour when hunters turned into warriors. Women facilitated this process initially by preferring meat diet to fruit and root diet and choosing hunters to peaceful caring and sharing people as sexual partners. The chiefs of warrior society became kings and men imagined a super- natural king of kings whom they called God. Thus religions had their birth. The non-labouring leisure classes of rulers, warriors, men of religions and sports men cultivating physical fitness for becoming better warriors came into prominence. Thorstein Veblen’s book ‘The Theory of the leisure class’ refers to these classes as the important members of the predatory society that dominate the modern world. Not only economic science but all most all our systems of knowledge are not free from the predatory consciousness.


                   Capitalism is destroying society. Socialism is the only way out. What sort of socialism do we need? Man is a product of nature and society. Our knowledge of nature and society is always expanding. We have to take account of the latest discoveries in science. Does nature have a purpose in creating man? In the animal world, man alone developed the capacity to control the violent tendencies of his amygdale through his pre-frontal cortex. This shows a direction tendency from violence to non-violence. There is also the existence of mirror neurons in human brain alone. Mirror neurons are there in the brain of the chimpanzee. But they are much less in quantity. Mirror neurons are the nurses of empathy. This also shows a direction tendency towards solidarity (MAITRI) with all living beings.

                Brian Goodwin is a biologist, professor of biology at the Open University outside London. Erode. He wrote, …… ‘The metaphors I use are related to emergence and creativity and the concept of the creative cosmos. Evolution is an aspect of this creativity. The central metaphor I feel emerging in the new biology is all connected with creativity. You see, in genetic reductionism Whitehead’s fallacy of misplaced concreteness par excellence. Genes are not themselves creative but function within the context of the organism, which is.
                 Whitehead’s phrase for evolution is “the creative advance into novelty’. This dance of creation is a never-ending dance that goes nowhere but is simply expressing itself’…….

               ‘Darwinism stresses conflict and competition; that does’t square with the evidence. A lot of organisms that survive are in no sense superior to those that have gone extinct. It’s not a question of being “better than”, It’s simply a matter of finding a place where you can be yourself. That’s what evolution is about. That’s why you can see it as a dance. It’s not going any where, it’s simply exploring a space of possibilities………

               There’s still struggle in the sense that if you’re going to be creative you have to believe in you ideas and struggle for them. Every single species has a struggle. But because there is as much co-operation among species as there is competition, the struggle is to express your being, your nature. These are metaphors whereby science can begin to connect with the arts: people, being creative and playing. There’s nothing trivial about play. Play is the most fundamental of all human activities and culture can be seen as play.

                  There’s too much work in our culture, and there’s too much accumulation of goods. The whole capitalist trip is an awful treadmill that’s extremely destructive. It needs to be balanced out. This is why indigenous cultures are beginning to be recognized for their valuesbecause they were not accumulating goods; they were living in harmony. They were expressing their own natures as cultures. Nature and culture then come together.……”

                   FRANCISCO VARELA is a biologist, director of research at the centre National de Recherché Scientifique, and professor of cognitive science and epistemology at the Ecole Polytechnique, in Paris. He wrote, “I guess I’ve had only one question all my life. Why do emergent selves, virtual identities, pop up all over the place creating worlds, whether at the mind/body level, the cellular level, or the transorganism level? This phenomenon is something so productive that it does not cease creating entirely new realms: life, mind, and societies. Yet these emergent selves are based on processes so shifty, so ungrounded, that we have an apparent paradox between the solidity of what appears to show up and its groundlessness. That, to me, is a key and eternal question.”

                A great scientist, Theodosius Dobzhansky wrote, “In a sense human genes have surrendered their primacy in human evolution to an entirely new non-biological or super organic agent, culture.”

              Scientists at the world level are engaged in a controversy regarding the subject of socio-biology. EO Wilson, a prize-winner socio-biologist, thinks that the science of biology can provide the way to solve the problems of humanity. Scientists opposing him are led by Gould and Lewontin.

             A scientist writes, “….including Steven Jay Gould and Richard Lewontin… formed ‘The Sociobiology Study Group, noting… that theories that attempted to establish a biological foundation to social behaviour provided an ‘important basis… for the eugenic policies which led to the establishment of gas chambers in Nazi Germany”.

               American and European thinkers and scholars as well as thinkers and scholars of other countries influenced by them have missed the true path for humanity fixed by nature. The controversy regarding socio- biology among two groups of scientists illustrates this position.

               Einstein throws doubt on the systems of knowledge that are prevalent in the present predatory society. Both the groups supporting and opposing socio-biology become irrelevant in a non-predatory society though it can not be denied that the Marxist thinkers have a lofty aim.

               The phenomenon of emergence all ways leads to the creation of a new entity devoid of the qualities and characteristics of the constituting elements. The creation of man is an emergent phenomenon and can not be under stood by studying the genes alone. Genetic determinism is discredited but the role of science can not be denied in under standing humanity. Human societies took different shapes in different climes and different countries. Science was the greatest gift of nature to humanity and the only community, non-predatory in nature, used science (‘Science and Society in Ancient India’ by D. P. Chatterji) to reach great heights of world Maitri (SOLIDARITY) can not be ignored in the name of natural fallacy. The unique nature of ‘emergent’ man (‘woman’ is a more truthful word) in pre-Vedic India has not been studied properly by scholars.

                Has nature any purpose in creating man? All most all the leading scholars deny the role of ‘purpose’ in creation. Scientist Brian Goodwin uses the words ‘play’ and ‘dance’. In India, we have a better word. That word is ‘Lila’. Creation is nature’s ‘Lila’ and covers both the words ‘play’ and ‘dance’. The purpose of nature is that its ‘Lila’ does not come to a stop at any time. If any creature destroys other creatures by becoming omni-potent, nature’s ‘Lila’ can not go on. ‘Lila’ is a spontaneous process and can go on when all elements flourish and vanish spontaneously. Any type of violence will disturb ‘Lila’. Nature uses male nature of the carnivores (tigers, lions and other such creatures) to check their population. Carnivores destroy their own progeny. This goes against the conceptions of the survival of the fittest and the selfish gene (Richard Dawkins).

               Prof. Robin Dunbar and his colleagues give priority to social evolution before the brain development of the human species. According to them the bigger brain is the gift of nature to the animal whose range of Maitri (solidarity) extends to bigger circles of the same species.

 Bhagwat Prasad Rath,
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Thursday, March 29, 2012

DECONSTRUCTING INDIAN HISTORY : THE ROOTS OF DALITS- BHAGWAT PRASAD

In his essay ‘Exploring the Historical Consciousness’ published in the Social Scientist (221-22); Ravinder Kumar Wrote, “As I traversed the gallery of art, it became obvious that it took Canadian artists about two generations to record faithfully the characteristics of the landscape that stood before their eyes……..The problems of visual perception that confronted early Canadian artists illuminate the dilemmas of historical writings in Third World societies”. Ravinder Kumar’s remarks are relevant in the context of exploring the roots of Dalitization in India. The unique dismal nature of the problem comes out in the writings of Swami Vivekananda. In a letter to his young admirer Alsinga in Madras, he wrote, “No religion on earth preaches the dignity of humanity in such a lofty strain as Hinduism and no religion on earth treads upon the neck of the poor and the low in such a fashion as Hinduism”.

Vivekananda’s heart-felt remarks find powerful expression in the writings of Ambedkar. “The existence of these classes (The Criminal Tribes, the Aboriginal Tribes, the Untouchables) is an abomination. The Hindu civilization, examined in the light of such social products (Untouchables) can hardly be called a civilization. It is a diabolical contrivance to suppress and enslave humanity. Its proper name would be infamy”. The untouchables: Preface. (B. S. Ambedkar’s writings and speeches vl.7)

Many sordid episodes narrated in the Jataka stories indicate how degraded the position of the Chandalas was in ancient India.

“……. The sight of Chandala was inauspicious (Jat-377), and daughters of a sresthi and priest washed their eyes after having accidentally seen a Chandala because he was not fit to be seen. They were considered low by caste (Jat-498)”. Beyond the Four Varnas: Identification, Rejection and Segregation (Prabhati Mukherji).

No wonder, Dalit intellectuals mince no words in condemning Brahmin-dominated Hinduism in India.

Indian civilization is not without its share of glories that dazzle the world. India gifted two of the greatest world figures to human history. They were the Buddha and Gandhi.

Amartya Sen writes, “Schopenhauer added, “That in contrast with the old, the New Testament ‘must somehow be of Indian Origin: This is attested by its completely Indian ethics, which transforms morals into asceticism, its pessimism and it’s Avatar (i.e. the person of Christ)”.

The Argumentative Indian: Indian Traditions and the Western Imagination.

Suniti Kumar Chatterjee writes in his Bengali Book. Indian Culture, “I consider three values foundational to Hindu culture: integration (Samanwaya), search for truth and non-violence”.

In India, how could the horror co-exist with the glory? How could atheistic rationalist India of the Buddha, Mahavir and Charvak coexist with the - Pseudo – Dharmic India of Dalit and Mlechha – haters? No other country contains so many books written by atheists and agnostics. Amartya Sen writes, “Sanskrit (including its variants Pali and Prakrut) has a larger literature in the atheistic and agnostic tradition than exists in any other language (Greek, Roman, Hebrew or Arabic)”.The Argumentative Indian: The Indian identity.

Andre Betelle made a telling comment to illustrate the paradoxical nature of Indian Civilization.
“But the growth of Indian Civilization was based on a very distractive pattern of accommodation which the noted anthropologist and writer Iravate Karve described as accretion. She observed, “…….. The historical process is one of continuous accretion. There does not seem to be a stage where choice was made between alternatives, a choice involving acceptance of one alternative and a definite final rejection of the other” India’s Identity. The Bhagavad Gita illustrates these contradictions co-existing in the culture of India. D.D. Kosambi has rightly observed, “Practically anything can be read into the Gita by a determined person” ‘Tolerance of diversity’ or in Vivekananda’s words ‘acceptance of diversity’ has preserved the unity of India. But structural inequalities must be combated to preserve healthy diversity.

To quote the historian R.S. Sharma, “Untouchables are not found in any other country. But in India they are as old as 400 B.C” Rethinking the Past: Problems of Members of Lower Orders.
Why did this abomination occur in India? Dalit intellectuals have the right to be heard with attention in this matter.

Thus say Dalit intellectuals: -
“From the beginning till today, Brahminism has established its hegemony over land, resources and people; Dalits reject any such hegemony…. Since the caste system has been firmly established in India, Brahmins claim to be superior to all other castes and have been pressing the Dalit oppression through millennia.”

Dalitology: Introduction.
Most of the upper class people believe that because of bad deeds (Karma) in previous lives, people are born as Dalits, but Dalits believe that their present degraded status is due to some historical accident or trickery played on their ancestors. (Suvira Jayaswal).

Dalitization and Brahmin dominance (Brahmans occupying the highest rank in society) are two sides of the same coin Without Brahmins becoming religious law- makers in Indian society, their efforts of social ostracism would not have succeeded. Why did the warriors submit to the hegemony of Brahmins? No Aryan society accepted the supreme status of the ritualizers. The supreme status was that of the warriors. The cattle raiders were the sword arm of Aryans. The priests sang the praises of warriors for Dana and Dakshina. In the book ‘From Lineage to State’ Romila Thapar writes.

“At the core of the Jana, the substantial division was the bifurcation of the Kshatriya and Vis. In the initial structure of the Varna system, both the Brahman and the Sudra could have been as it were addenda” Lineage Society.

S.C. Malik writes in the Book ‘Understanding Indian Civilization, “Early Rig- Vedic period: two types of social categories, the nobles or the Kshatriyas and the tribesmen or vish. But sometimes a third category of poet-priest ‘Brahman’ was added.” Structural Elements and Formation.

Describing the unique nature of Indian civilization, Louis Dumont writes in the book Homo Hierarchicus, “In ancient Egyptian or Sumerian kingship, or in the king ship of the Chinese empire, the supreme religious functions were vested in the sovereign, he was the priest par excellence”.
Appendix –C.

In India separation occurred. Kingship was secularized. Only priesthood was sacralized.

That Yogi Chiefs (later categorized as ‘Brahmins’: The Mahabharata, Shantiparva), ruled pre-Vedic non-Aryan societies cannot be doubted. In the Bhagavad Gita (4th canto), it is written that Rajarshees who ruled India in the past were Yogis. Then for a long time, Yoga remained unknown. Evidently, Rajarshees lost power and the new rulers, the Vedic nobility, fond of sacrifices, had no interest in Yoga. The Mahabharata (Canto-232) reveals that in Satyayuga, there was no sacrifice, no Vedas: there was only Yoga or Tapa (Shanti Parva Canto-79 explains Tapa as non-violence, truth compassion and control of senses which are the values of Yoga, Tapa had nothing to do with any type of torture of the body as believed in later days). ‘Namuchi appears to be noble (R.V. 10.73.7: ‘Asura’ by W.E. Hale). Non-violent chiefs like Vritra and Namuchi could easily be killed by Indra without any war. Romila Thapar writes in her essay ‘Some appropriations of the theory of the Aryan Race and the Beginning of Indian History’, “The question of theory of Aryan invasion arose from the paucity of archeological evidence suggesting such an invasion”. Death of their key leaders led to the flight of the indigenous city people from their habitations. (R.V. 1.30.12; 1.33. 6.7; 1, 51, 5, 1.53.8; 1.101.1; 1.117. 2; 1.149.3; 1.15.4; 6.27: Oroon Ghosh’s Bengali essay ‘Aryavijaya, KuruPandab and Krishna’). Romila Thapar writes, “It would seem that most of these cities were in the Sarawati and Punjab region. It is stated that the dark inhabitants fled and migrated. This would agree with the archeological evidence” (Her above –mentioned essay). Both Vritra and Namuchi, prominent Dasa Chiefs (Rajarshees) were killed by Indra and Rajarshee Bali was exiled. Indra had to suffer because of Brahmahatya (Brahmin – murder). The Mahabharata (Shanti Parva) also tells about Indra’s killing of a large number of Brahmins (Canto-33). In Prof. R. N. Dandekar”s felicitation volume ‘Amritdhara’ H.W Bodewitz writes, “Being ascetics, (non-violent), the Yatis cannot be killed by Indra with weapons. Therefore they are surrendered to the wolves or hyenas (Sala Vrikas).” Yatis (called ‘Brahmins’ in the Mahabharata) were forced to accept Vedic rituals performed in Uttara Vedis (Sacrificial place) to save their lives. To quote Bodewitz. “…. Bhrigu, according to Satapatha and Jaimininya Brahmans only became a ritualist after he had seen some horrible visions……”

Pre-Vedic nobility, the Yogis’ (Yatis) accepted sacrificial rituals because of threat. To make them join the Vedic Brahmins, Aryan leaders had to make the compromise of making sacrificial rituals bloodless. A myth of the Mahabharata makes it clear.

Once a quarrel took place between Devas (deities) and Rishis. Devas wanted the killing of animals in sacrifices. Rishis disagreed. Both the parties made King Uparichara Basu the mediator. When he sided with the Devas, Rishis became furious and cursed him. Ultimately the killing of animals in sacrifices was abolished. This myth shows that Vedic priests had to accept the dictates of the Rishis (Yogis) who dominated pre-Vedic Indian societies. Both Deva power and Kshatriya power proved futile in the presence of Rishi power. Rishis got absorbed in the Brahmin community because they accepted sacrifices as their Dharma. Regarding the prevalence of animal killings in sacrifices, in Irfan Habib-edited book ‘The Growth of Civilizations in India and Iran’ K.M. Shrimali writes, “Amongst hunting cultures, small but symbolically parts of animals slain during hunt is offered… . Slaying has the twin objectives of not only maintaining the cosmic order, but also furthering the cause of material sustenance.”

Further Srimali writes, “Sacrifice of both male and female animals, including Gav (Cow including bull) was practiced at all these shrines (Parsi shrines in Iran). It was only after the visit of Manoj Hatji Hataria, the first emissary of Parsis of India who came to Persia in 1854, that the sacrifice of cows at Banu Pars was stopped”. ‘The Rig-Veda and the Avesta’.

Aryan deities were imagined to be fond of animal sacrifices in all lands including India. But after fusion with the pre-Vedic yetis, all the deities (except many female deities), became vegetarians. Regarding the fusion of the two societies (The Aryan and the Dasa Varna), Romila Thapar in her presidential speech in the history congress (1969) on the subject, ‘Exploring Societies of the Early Past’ quoted the scholar G.C. Mallick thus, “Hence, it was, contrary to the general opinion, but rather the Indianisation of the Aryan nomadic pastoral hordes.” We cannot understand pre- Vedic India unless we study the Sindhu Civilization that existed before the Aryan migration to India. Edwin Bryant, lecturer in Indology, Harvard University, in his book ‘The Quest for the Origins of Vedic Culture’ makes a telling comment regarding the social and administrative set up of the Mohenjo-Daro Harappa Civilization. To quote him, “……it seems relevant to note a proactive new hypothesis suggested by Lamberg Karlosky … who draws attention to the astounding degree of cultural homogeneity in the vast area of Indus valley civilization juxtaposed with the lack of any evidence for a centralized political structure. Not only is there uniformity of culture, but the physical layout of the community is replicated, irrespective of whether it is the 5 acre site of Allahdino or the 150 acre site of Mahenjo Daro.

He notes that competition in a class- structured society results in a much wider variety of styles and methods of production, whereas in a caste system, much more uniformity is to be expected as is evidenced by the artifacts unearthed by the Indus valley sites. Caste organization would also explain the social stability of massive culture in the absence of a centralized, state or chieftainship.” That there was no Varna/caste system in Indus culture is asserted by J. N. Kenoyer, Professor of Anthropology (university of Wisconsin, Madison). He says, “Although there appears to have been occupational specialization in the Indus cities, the lack of separate burial area or highly differentiated habitation areas and material culture that rigidly defined social strata such as the later Varna systems or hereditary castes were not the norm”. India: Historical Beginnings and the Concept of the Aryan: Culture and Societies of the Indus Tradition.

That the caste system was foreign to pre -Vedic Indus culture is also proved by the remarks of the famous Lokayat philosopher Charvak. He has vehemently denounced Varna system headed by the priests (Sarba Darsana Sangraha). The Mahabharata speaks about two categories of people in pre-Vedic non-Aryan India. The aristocracy (Rajarshees-Gita) was distinguished by its devotion to the Yogic values of non violence, truth, limiting one’s wants, fraternity (MAITRI) etc. The Vedic words ‘Brahmin’ and Sudra were retrospectively used to categories the two classes of the pre-Vedic society. “Forgiveness, control of senses, anger-control are the qualities of ‘Brahmins’. Those who do not have these qualities are ‘Sudras’. ‘Gita press Mahabharata Aswamedha Parva (Page-6377)’.

No wonder king Sudas, a famous Kshatriya king of the Bharatan tribe, was called a Sudra in the Mahabharata. There are numerous verses / slokas in the Mahabharata mentioning dominating Brahmin values. ‘The Purity- Pollution principle’ is not included amongst them. The slokas mentioning this principle are interpolations.

As discussed earlier, Vritra, Namuchi and Bali were the Yogi -Chiefs of Sindhu societies Virtra was a mahayogi (283 Canto: Shanti Parva). Vritra maintained dams vital to the existence of cities and villages. He was having Agni and Soma as his friends. Indra had to bribe these two with the promise of sacrificial offerings before they forsook Vritra. ‘Vedic Vritra’: Virtra in the Later Vedic literature (A. K. Lahiri). Virtra, Namuchi and Bali had all the Yogic virtues mentioned in the Gita (cantos-223 to 227).

After Rajarshees Vritra and Namuchi were killed, Indra, because of fear and guilt, hid himself in a lake (Mahabharata Vanaparba -101 Canto). In the absence of Indra, the Devas chose king NAHUS (a king of the Moon Dynasty) to reign in Indra’s place (Nahus was also the name of a tribe- A. K. Lahiri)”. Indra went to the remotest distance, imagining, “I have committed a transgression. (Taitareya Samhita – VI5.5 Taitareya Brahmin 1.6, 7.4, Satapatha Brahman (VII: 4.1.3): A.K. Lahiri). After Indra’s demoralization, the panicky Aryas brought a tribal chief (Nahusa) to occupy Indra’s throne to pacify the local warriors. Soon Nahus showed power – hunger and the Devas headed by Brihaspati plotted his downfall. This was done by a trick that led to Nahus incurring the wrath of the leading Rishis.

Nahus’s downfall due to the wrath of the Rishis was a case of rift between Aryan nobility of mixed origin (rishis ) and a non-Aryan warrior tribe chief (Nahus). The Devas cleverly manipulated this rift between king Nahus and the leading Rishis. Because of the constant raiding, looting activities of the Aryan warriors, Dasyus, the aboriginal hunter communities, resorted to armed conflicts. Indra who had killed Virtra hid himself because he was afraid of incensed indigenous warriors. Viswamitra’s attempt to rob Vasista of his cow was also frustrated by the indigenous warriors. Indra seduced Ahalya (wife of Gautama- Rishi) and the result was a thousand arrow holes in his body. So he was called Sahasrayoni and later became Sahasraksha. Parsuram defeated the powerful king Kartavirya with the support of an army of indigenous tribes and the Ishkaku warriors. Parsuram was more a Kshatriya than a Brahmin (The myth of sacrificial product (CHARU) exchange by mistake illustrates this).

Nahus was cursed to become a Naga (Most of the Nagas became Dalits) and he lived in the forest. (Curses cannot be real. They only symbolize adverse occurrences due to strategically hidden real causes).

Naga Nahus who caught Bhīma in his coil put questions to Yudhistira, when he requested Nahus to free his brother.

Nahus asked Yudhistira questions about the basic qualities leading to Brahmin -hood. Yudhistira asserted that any human being who has internalized the values of truth, charity, non-anger, non-cruelty, non-violence and compassion is a Brahmin. A man who does not have them is a non- Brahmin. The caste system based on birth is an aberration. The only criterion is SILA (Values); not Achara (ritual), Mantra or Kula (caste). The critical question of the episode is, “Was Nahus cursed to become a low caste man?” Otherwise, why should he put questions that undermine the Varna-based hierarchical caste system?

Like Nahusa myth, the Yaksha myth in the vana Parva also stresses Sila (Yogic Yama values) for attaining Brahmin hood.

These two myths together, are meant to undermine the Varna system and also the process of Dalitization based on Kula (caste). The Mahabharata (Shanti Parva) also asserts that anybody of any caste can become a Yogi (Brahmin). Had Brahmin hood based on Sila prevailed in India, exclusion or Dalitization of some Dasyu communities would not have occurred.

The most militant amongst the ancient Yogis who opposed the birth – based caste system were Lokayats. They were also against Patriarchy. They were the leaders of Yogis (Shanti Parva: Conto-38). By eliminating Lokayats and their books, forcing the other nonattached Yogis and Samkhyavadis to become sacrificers (Brahmins), the ground was cleared to declare the greatest aboriginal warrior communities as Dalits. Rishi – Power- which dethroned and degraded Nahus was unleashed against powerful Dasyu Communities to make them Dalits.

Rishi (Bahaman) power was so great that even the top Rig-Vedic war-Lord Indra became a Rishi, a disciple of Prajapati, in the later Vedic age. He spent 101 years in Prajapati Ashram in search of truth about self. (Chhandogya Upanishad VIII: II: 3 – Dr. Subhra Sharma’s book ‘Life in the Upanishads P-163)’. Warrior gods like Vishnu and Siva occasionally became ascetics (Yogeswara).

Another myth that throws light on Dalitization is the myth of Sarpa yagna (The Serpent Sacrifice) king Parikshit lost his life in a war with Takshak. His son Janmejaya knew that he would not be able to defeat Takshak in a battle. So, he lured lots of Brahmins promising lavish Dakhina. He also took the help of Brahmin enemies of Takshak like Uttanga Rishi to declare entire Naga Kulas as Dalits in a great sacrifice.

Dalitization is a sort of death for any caste man or woman in India. Suvira Jayaswal narrates an incident which equates death with decastification she refers to a copper plate inscription of 1414 AD where the following incident is narrated. Twelve Kshatriyas, the attendants of the Tughlak king of Delhi committed a serious offence. For this they were ordered to be shot. Pundit Nandaram Chaube saved their lives by advising decastification (Caste P-131).

Dalitization was the method used to vanquish powerful enemies. Suvira Jayaswal in the History Congress (2007) referred to the weapon of social ostracism used by Nambudri Brahmins to destroy the influence of Buddhists in Kerala and convert their monasteries into Hindu temples. She quoted from the book ‘Buddhism in Kerala’ by P. C. Alexander.

It is absurd to say that Nagas fell in the sacrificial fire because of the power of the mantras. The truth is that they were excommunicated which was equivalent to death. When the Brahmin Youngman Astika belonging to the famed Jajabar kula entered the sacrificial ground with Brahmins who were sympathetic to Nagas, the sacrifice was abandoned to avoid a rift in the Brahmin community. Janmejaya was pacified by Takshak -daughter’s marriage to him.

Chandalas and Swapachas were the occupiers of the lowest space of the fifth caste. Chandalas were great warriors. Prabhati Mukherjee quotes from Kadambari (Katha Mukham, Purbabhaga) thus, “Their (Chandalas) leader was compared with Ekalavya…, wide forehead and chest, sharp nose and marks of weapons on his body showing him as a great warrior.” Regarding Swapachas Prabhati refers to Greek sources. “…….they were skilled workers…. they were apparently peace – loving and they maintained friendly relations through trade.” Life and Living of the Untouchables. Beyond the Four Varnas (Book). Some discussion of the British notified criminal tribes among Dalits is relevant here.

That Dalits were having warrior qualities is emphasized by R.S. Sharma in his book ‘Rethinking India’s past’. He says “…. In my early days all the fourteen Chowkidars or guards of my village were Dalit Dushadhas (name of the community). The term Dushadh is derived from Dusadhya which means difficult to control. (….the British Government also recorded them as criminals). ‘Rethinking the Past’.

In the District of Ganjam in Odisha, most of the village guards belonged to ‘Dandasi’ Dalit caste. The most daring and fierce dacoits belonged to this caste.

Vijaya Ramaswami writes in the book ‘From Tribe to Caste’. “The Maravas however found no acceptance in the hierarchical caste – based societies and consequently their frustrated militancy reveal them as anti- social elements. The Maravas and kallars who mainly inhabit the dry zones of Ramanath puram and Pudulkolttai acquired ill repute…. The Sethupatis of Ramanath puram, who offered such stiff resistance to British colonial rule, were Maravas.” The Kudi in Early Tamilham and Tamil Women.

Chhandogya Upanishad which is supposed to belong to 700 BC (Sukumari Bhattacharya) expresses deep hatred for Chandalas though they were not yet treated as untouchables. “We are told that for committing bad deeds in this life one would be born in the next life as a dog, a boar or a Chandala… The status of the Chandala … was inferior even to that of animals.”

Many centuries elapsed before the elite successfully categorized Chandalas as untouchables. Why were Chandalas hated so much? The most potent reasons come from anthropology and genetics. To quote from Ambedkar’s volume seven of his collected works (Pge-302), where he gives a lengthy extract from Prof. Ghurye’s writings, “… it is clear that the nasal index of the chuhra (the untouchables) of the Punjab is the same as the nasal index of the Brahmin of the United Provinces”. (This means that the Brahmin of the united Provinces has close physical affinities with the Chuhra and the Khatri of the Punjab than with any caste from his own province except the very high caste of the Chhatri – Ghurye)”.

What is the reason for this strange phenomenon? Summarizing the findings of the ASI’s (Anthropological Survey of India), D. Balasubramanian writes in his article ‘Who are we, the people of India?’. “All Indians have emerged from a small number of founding female lineages. Either a small number of females entered India or a small number was drawn from an ancestral population.” (The Hindu –Nov.2003) Aitareya Brahmin says that the sons of Viswamitra joined the Dasyus. Suvira Jayaswal in the History Congress said that according to Manu Smruti Dasyus were Chandalas. Kshatriya and Brahmin intrepid Young men and women found greater adventure in living with the Dasyus than participating in sacrifices repeating boring mantras.

A passage from R. S. Sharma’s book ‘Rethinking India’s Past’ deserves attention.

“A case of the presence of an Aryan tribe in Ladakh valley in Kashmir has been reported in the Times of India in Patna on 11th March-2006. It refers to an Aryan tribe living in three villages… Till 1870, they practiced polyandry and polygamy and kissed one another openly.”

In the Punjab region, numerous Aryan men and women must have chosen to breathe the less ritualized and less custom - restricted lives amongst the virile merry Dasyus whose women and men enjoyed more freedom, sexual and otherwise. (A survey showed that white male preference for Asian women and white women preference for black men is prevalent in the US) No other reason can explain Ghurye’s anthropometric conclusions.

Rig -Vedic Aryan society must have been upset by the phenomenon of Aryan women having sexual relations with Dasyus and bearing their progeny. They intensely hated the prominent Dasyu communities. They were aware of the temporary punishment of social ostracism prevalent in pre-Vedic society. When they reached the Ganga Yamuna Doab in later Vedic periods, they perfected the method of Dalitization and thus effectively stopped Aryan Youngman and women from joining the Dasyus.

Dalit formation continued through many centuries. ‘Charmakaras’ became Dalits during 600 to 1200 AD. Uma Chakravarthy writes in the book ‘Gendering caste (Chap-7)’ that in the eighth century Jats were considered untouchables. Because of their number and wealth (based on landed property), they got upgraded to the status of Sudra in the eleventh century. By the seventeenth century they were the leading peasantry in many areas. By absorbing the leading community of the pre-Vedic days which dutifully cultivated the values of non-violence and minimization of wants (Aparigraha) as Brahmins and gradually converting all types of Brahmins to accepting sacrifices that emphasized the purity pollution principle (Soucha) as the premier value of the ritualist and also by calumnyzing many communities as impure by birth, Dalitization became a reality in India.

As the disvalue ‘Soucha” has invaded the Psyche of Hindu men and women, constant –hammering at it by the utilization of the irrational but equality – sponsoring God-devotion principle as utilized by Kabir, Dadu, Tukaram and others may prove fruitful. We have to tackle it at the psychological level. The spread of reinterpreted Jagannath cult (every cult is irrational) and Rama cult (Gandhi used it to telling effect) may help. Dr. Ambedkar rightly gave a call to Dalits to convert to rebirth- concept- free rational Nabayana Buddhism.

While Brahmin law - makers affirm that Dalit communities were formed because of hypogamy (Pratiloma sexual relations), Chandalas believe that in the past they were Brahmins who became Chandalas by eating the food of Sudras. (Prof. Dipankar Gupta’s book ‘Interrogating caste’: Continuous Hierarchies and Discrete Castes). Chamars believe that they were originally Brahmins but because a young Brahmin, obeying his brothers tried to rescue a cow fallen in a river and the cow died in his hands, he was shunned by his brothers and became a Chamar (Ibid). Dalits’ belief in an historical accident or trickery of the high castes played on their ancestors or gemological founder for their plight is not baseless. Blaming imaginary miscegenation for caste – pollution is an example of learned trickery.

The question that troubles us is why this monstrous phenomenon was accepted by the whole society. Dalits no doubt resisted but the protests were sporadic and not universal. Suvira Jayaswal refers to the servants of Sakyas revolting and forcibly marrying Sakya women when circumstances gave them scope. R.S. Sharma refers to Kali Yuga crisis and the challenge to Brahmin ideology.

For exclusion of large communities from the mainstream, the principles of Dharma were distorted through manipulation and deceit. As stated earlier, the Brahmin Community gained in status because the pre-Vedic age Yogis, who had the highest rank in society (Megasthenes) were forced to join the post –Rig- Vedic Brahmin caste and accepted sacrifices as the kernel of Hindu Dharma. As stated earlier, the Lokayats who openly denounced Vedic Brahmins for their greed and violence were either co-opted through temptations (Brihaspati) or murdered (Charvak). For ages the Vedic elite abused Lokayats as Raksasas and made Herculean efforts to vilify and eliminate them. Madhavacharya of the 14th century accused them of advising people to take loans to eat ghee. This is a malicious lie. Madhavacharya was a scholar devotee of Vedanta. He had biased opinions about Buddhists, Jains and Charvak. His famous treatise Sarva Darsana Samagraha contains prejudicial statements about these three Nastika groups. Charvak was the greatest philosopher of the ancient world: He was against Patriarchy. He believed in the equal sexual freedom of men and women (Naishadha Kavya). He opposed male dominance and violence. His conception of human brain as an emergent entity tallies with the latest discovery in the field of science (Leading Biologist Francisco Varela’s idea of ‘Autopoesis’ is about such emergent entities). Charvak’s thoughts were ahead of Descate. He did not recognize any dichotomy between body and mind.

The belief in Madhawacharya’s lie prevented even our great scholars from seeing the truth. Their misconception can get corrected by search for the true meaning of the word, ‘SUKHA’ in pre-Vedic India. (Both Dhammapada and the Gita clarify what SUKHA is). Then only our scholars can appreciate Kautilya’s giving high status to Lokayatas in Arthasastra.

To summarize, not Kula but “SILA” (values) was the foremost Dharmic factor in elite – making in pre-Vedic society. (The Buddha emphasized it in Brahmin varga in Dhammapada). ‘SILA’ consists of values like non-violence, Aparigraha (minimizing wants) lack of greed, lack of anger or hatred, fraternal relations with all living beings (Maitri). Surreptitiously Aryan community leaders added ‘Soucha’ (Purity pollution principle) to these values and this became the most popular and the most pervading value in Hindu society. Particularly upper caste men and women found in this principle an easy way to a Dharmic life and rigidly adhered to it. The Mahabharata contains many slokas which do not show ‘Soucha’ as a value defining Brahmin hood. There are many interpolated slokas which mention Soucha as one of the values. The Gita and Manusmurti accept ‘Soucha’ as a defining value of Dharma. Deceit was used to link ‘Soucha’ with Kula (caste). Some communities were declared as polluted because of birth and no scope was available for these people to raise their status by any individual effort. Very cleverly miscegenation was given as the cause of this abomination. Sometimes the polluted occupations like scavenging and removal of dead bodies were cited as causes (They were consequences, not causes). Surprisingly even the value of non-violence’ was utilized to condemn them. Irfan Habib referred to the non-violence principle being utilized to condemn the hunter -gatherer societies by the land- based peasant communities in his presidential speech in the History congress 1982. The Jains and the Buddhists not only condemned the hunter – gatherers, they also asked their monastic followers for not ploughing land in the name of non-violence principle. The Buddha did not forbid his followers from avoiding meat eating though his ultimate aim was nonviolence at every level. The Yogis of ancient India came from all communities including the hunter gatherers and never hated the hunter –gatherers for animal –killing or meat- eating.

Soucha (the purity pollution principle), the existence of Brahminic – Shasta-named polluted castes, the Karmic theory which emphasized rebirth: the trio in combination proved so lethal that they sealed the fates of many communities to Millennia – old social ostracism. In the Vedic era, the ritualist sacrificers were the purest people; in the Upanishadic age, purity resided in knowledge (There is nothing purer than knowledge- Gita). When devotion to the chosen deity Siva, Vishnu or Durga gained in popularity, a great reform rocked the whole of India. Many untouchables became revered saints. Hindu reformers in future can use devotion (Bhakti), modern discoveries of science which explode the myth of biological pollution and conversion to Nabayana Buddhism (the contribution of Ambedkar) to combat untouchability. With the caste system gathering strength in democratic India, fighting untouchability is an uphill task. Inter - caste marriages may gain momentum as Dalits improve their educational and financial status. Meanwhile all right thinking people should combine to prevent atrocities on Dalits anywhere in India. All efforts must be made to provide the poor Dalits with educational facilities and the minimum amount of land or other means of livelihood by the powers that be.

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Sunday, November 20, 2011

The Creation of Man by Tarun Patnaik


[The society and the individual are such utopian lovers, who having manufactured each other are exactly worthy of each other.]

Man is created through his social induction. His personality is created by the interplay and dynamics of circumstance, genetic inclinations, the choices he makes of free will and Reason he develops as he grows up. The free will whether a product of the chance of movements of neurons or because of the unconscious instinctive tendencies is an important factor in determining the individual’s personality. But Reason throughout the life plays an active role with the knowledge that man keeps on acquiring, in consciously shaping the personality. So man is never completely made. He keeps on learning and changing.

During man’s induction to society, the major “nature” that he learns or acquires are his tendencies, his likes and his dislikes.

What to like and what not to like is a question, man spends his life time in subconsciously answering. If to seek happiness, to tend to be pleased, to follow his will is man’s character, what his will is, what pleases him, and what gives him happiness is a major component of his personality, in fact it is the central core of his personality.

Society consciously contributes in the making of this personality through the process of education. Thus true education should tell man what his will/desire should be. And true learning should be to internalize an ideal will and desire. Learning continues throughout the life and Reason is the active shaper of this learning.

A child initially has only tendencies, no will, through the process of growing up, he moves through the confusion and crowd of options and choices and finally a fully developed personality has a well perceived and known will. Then man knows what gives him happiness. But this state is in a constant and slow flux for Reason acts on personality to make it ever changing and what gives one happiness also changes, as long as man is open to learning.

Much that we do not want man to be unhappy, we should teach a man to find his happiness in such a way that he does not make some one else unhappy while striving to attain his own happiness. For collective happiness the above becomes the first principle. So one should not find happiness in the other’s displeasure! When two happiness contest or compete, justice and sometimes negotiation should be resorted to, to find a meeting point.

Competition the most dear method for man’s progress in modern society creates few successes with many failures. Should not one then want to win or should there not be contests? Well, no, there should be both but one should place one’s happiness not on successes and failures but on self improvement. The competition should always be with one’s own self. And when there are competitions, when one looses and misses the prize, he should react with mild emotion and not despair. Since lack of ethics creates much unhappiness, we should seek happiness in a ethical way.

There is a good deal of literature on what happiness is, and how man finds it. According to David T. Lyken, 50% of one’s happiness depends on one’s genes. About 10-15% is the result of various measurable life circumstances, such as socio-economic status, marital status, health, income, sex and others. Remaining 40% is result of actions that individuals deliberately engage in to become happier. Extroverts may find happiness in human interaction, while philosophers may find happiness in intellectual contemplation.

Stefan Klein in his book The Science Of Happiness links the dynamics of neurobiological systems to the concepts and findings of positive psychology and social psychology. Human relations are consistently found to be the most important correlation with human happiness.

It is found that happiness can be contagious i.e. it can spread from one to another like a virus.

There are three traditional theories of happiness – hedonism theory, desire theory, and the objective list theory.

Hedonism holds that happiness is a matter of raw subjective feeling. This theory has its modern conceptual roots in Bentham’s utilitarianism, its contagion in Hollywood entertainment, its grossest manifestation in American consumerism.

Danny Kahneman a Nobel laureate in economics distinguishes between two assessments of life one by the experienced and second by the retrospective judge of pleasure. If at the end of one’s life one thinks life was great as by Wittgenstein’s last words: “Tell him it (life) was wonderful” uttered even after a life of negative emotion and even downright misery, can we really say such life was good when the person who experienced throughout his life did not feel much pleasure?

This takes us to the next theory – the desire theory, which holds that happiness is a matter of getting what one wants, irrespective of what it is that is wanted. A person living a most austere life or a person who sacrifices some of his most dear things, or one who struggles all his life for whatever, can be said to be happy since it is what they wanted to do with their life.

Objective list theory lodges happiness outside of feeling and onto a list of “truly valuable” things in the real world. It holds that happiness consists of a human life that achieves certain things from a list of worthwhile pursuits e.g. career accomplishments, freedom from disease and pain, material comforts, friendship, civic spirit, beauty, education, love, knowledge, fame, good conscience etc..

Consider the thousands of abandoned children living on the streets of the Angolan capital of Luanda. As the New York Times tells us, “dressed in rags, they spend nights in the sandy strip along the bay, and their days foraging for food through mounds of garbage.” It seems conceivable that their existence, consumed with meeting momentary needs, adventurous roving in gangs, casual sex, with little thought for tomorrow, might actually be subjectively “happy” from either the Hedonism or Desire theory perspective. But we may be reluctant to classify such an existence as “happy” and the Objective List theory tells us why. These children are deprived of many or most things that would go on anybody’s list of what is worthwhile in life.

Although we find Objective List’s shift to the objectively valuable a positive move, our principal objection to this theory is that some big part of how happy we judge a life to be must take feelings and desires (however shortsighted) into account.

Happiness is not a singular state of mind; through different processes we find different pleasant emotions or forms of happiness’ which is colorful with different shades of colors. For a rich and high quality of life, man should have enjoyed happiness as per all the three theories described above.

Some religions put this life as having significance only up to the extent that it is a preparation for an “After life.” But life is never a preparation for the “After life.” No present is or should be lived only for the alluring future. No future’s heaven has a right to make hell of the present. Present should be lived for its own self. No doubt present contributes to the future, but present of its own merit deserves attention. At the same time no present has a right to spoil the future. So we should look for balance, for harmony, for the co-existence of present and the future.

If victory promises glory and joy may the battle too promise sufficient entertainment! And our will and desire has a role to play in this. Because desire determines what should give us pleasure. Thus a harmony between the present and the future! If the end is glorious and worthy, the path should be no less intoxicating.

Is today’s man really happy? With the progress of science man has achieved much material comfort and possession. But has he become happier? In spite of physical comfort, modern world offers much mental stress and tension. How many people live life purposefully? And how many live because they have not died!

Man’s life can be assessed from the view point of two observers.

1. through his own eyes.

2. through the eyes of the society.

The verdict may coincide, it may also differ. A man posthumously famous for his social contribution may or may not have found happiness in his own life. Can we say he has lived a good life, worthy though it was!

While to seek happiness is the character or preference (through seeking self interest) of man, it is not his purpose and reason acts on this tendency to result in a motivation, that gives meaning or purpose to life. Purpose gives life meaning and motivation. A motivated life is also one which man finds much livable.

We find there are three main purposes of life worthy of man.

1. To find personal happiness

2. To contribute to the collective wellbeing or happiness

3. To contribute to the civilizational progress.

As we had noted earlier, through the process of education, man learns what to like and the teacher undertakes to educate the man. The first school is of course the home, and mother, the first teacher.

The teacher has great responsibilities, he is a representative of the society, manufacturing his pupil, he is also the path maker for his pupil, teaching him the ways of society. He teaches how to succeed, what to aim for and prepares his pupil for the struggle of life. For life is no less than a struggle for existence. The teacher in this dual role may find conflict. If he makes his pupil capable but lacking in virtue, the student may come out to become unworthy of the society.

Hitler’s teachers must be having this regret, that they could not teach him enough character for which Hitler made a name but a notorious one in history.

That to be free and happy man must internalize the civic virtues inside his character, the process of education while creating the citizen for the country, must make sure that the student learns the civic virtues. If man has not learned the civic virtues, he will be an unhappy citizen in his country. So the state which regulates education, must install such curriculum, faculty and educational institutions, such that man internalizes the requisite civic virtues.

But the individual while being manufactured by the society (State) has also the responsibility to manufacture the society through his creative, intellectual, and organizational powers. Thus education has also to make strong and wise individuals, who are capable of changing and reforming the systems for to change and evolve and get reformed is the basic character of any system.

The state while ensuring protection of rights of individuals must also ensure such basic conditions where a man can pursue his happiness. Freedom is a necessary condition but not sufficient for a happy life. One must have minimum living standards and the state has a responsibility to ensure that enough opportunities exist for all its citizens. The economic environment and the cultural environment are equally important along with the political environment. Culture where sports, art, music, public celebrations are promoted and encouraged will be more conducive for individual happiness. The economy should have sufficient job opportunities, a well to do wage rate, enough mobility along the income hierarchy and healthy working conditions. There should be freedom of enterprise. With all the difficulties with capitalism, even China and Russia have recognized freedom of enterprise.

The recent financial crisis started in the US; spread all over the world shows the risks and dangers of the connected globalized world. No nation in today’s world is isolated and can have the freedom of determining its economic policies without affecting the other nations. So each has a stake in the other! Thus it is only natural that each will demand a right to have a say in another’s internal economic policy. How to find a balance between national freedom and international obligation is a question for which world’s politicians are searching for answer.

The world today has many common and pressing issues which are in need of urgent and immediate solution. The education process should be geared up to create such individuals, who will save humanity from imminent destruction. May the individual find purpose in life that he will ensure shared happiness and eradicate poverty, make the world secure from current and future threats.



[Mr. Tarun Patnaik is an engineer by qualification passed out in 1993 from IIT Kharagpur, after a short stint in corporate for three odd years, resigned to study social science varying from philosophy and psychology to economics and management. Currently he is a resident in Rayagada, Orissa and engaged in free lance research.]

The essay was already published in the Radical Humanist.published here with permission from Mr Tarun

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

ANNA AND HIS CRITICS -- BY Bagwat Prasad

Anna and his team are great crusaders against corruption. Maoists want systemic change. Anna’s team aims at intensifying Indian democracy in tune with the spirit of the constitution, reflected in the preamble. ‘The Hindu’ in its editorial (29.08.2011) writes, “In India, unlike in Britain, Parliament is not supreme. Constitution is.” Maoists want to over throw the constitution. Jan Lokapal bill of team Anna serves the cause of democratic decentralization and vigilance by suggesting many steps including the institutions of Lokayuts in states. These are steps in consonance with the constitution.

Anna’s critics like Arundhati Ray have great intellectual stature. They have often earnestly taken up the issues of the under- privileged. The critics of Anna are serving democracy by raising important issues. The final bill will take shape after discussions in the standing committee. Anna’s, team has shown sufficient flexibility in accommodating the views of differing parliamentarians. They have rightly stuck to the core issues.

Both Maoists and Gandhians are pro-people, but a world separates their attitudes. A Maoist says, “I am certain. So, you have to die because I hate you as the enemy of my cause”. A Gandhian says, “I am certain. So, I am ready to die with love for you in my heart.” Both Gandhi and Marx were fanatics and liberals by turn. Voltaire was the greatest European liberal, but he made a fanatical statement when he said “My views are different from yours, but I am prepared to die to uphold your right to independence of opinion”.

Before Anna’s fast, people were feeling frustrated. They had given up hopes of changing the set up. The constitution has been subverted to serve the interests of parties and individuals. What we are witnessing today is a sort of constitutional fascism. Political parties are devoid of democratic structures. The high command decides everything including the choosing of the state chiefs. The high command may be constituted of an individual, a group or a family. Communalism and casteism, money power and muscle power play key roles in many constituencies. Feudal tendencies like blind loyalty to an individual, a family or a party, guide the voters in elections. But, on occasions, even Indian rural voters have shown sufficient maturity and vigilance in some important decisive elections and have made powerful heads roll in the dust. We owe a heavy debt of gratitude to Jaya Prakash Narayan who enthused the people to over throw the emergency despots.

Elections take place generally after an interval of five years. Have the voters no role during the interval?. The parliament, being dominated by Crorepatis; should the people watch with helplessness the rising tides of corruption, boosted by Neta- police-raj leading to the militarization of society.

Maoists have one answer; the Gandhians, another.

India, in the twentieth century, had the unique privilege, of having produced a galaxy of great leaders; some of them Gandhians, and others, of a different hue. Though they lacked state power, J.P and Lohia, Ambedkar and M. N. Ray were great – leaders of people of whom any nation can be proud.

A colossus like Gandhi may adorn the stage of history once in a millennium. We are fortunate to have mini- Gandhis like Anna amongst us. Anna is not an intellectual, but he has a big heart. He is ably assisted by a team of legal experts and non-sectarian democrats. Rural India’s imagination does not get fired by a gun- handling Che or Mao. The whole of India dotes on a scantily clad, fasting pilgrims of peace and non-violence preaching to people. Who can forget the Buddha, Mahavira and their disciples? They are the products of a unique culture.
European and Indian civilizations developed in two different routes. While European civilization stressed rationality, India’s stress on right reason was preceded by the prior stress on right emotion. India’s pursuance of right emotion led its sages to the holy regions of non-violence and Aparigraha (Minimizing one’s wants). While Europe’s philosophers reveled in just wars, Indian philosophers emphasized the unity of the whole living world (Gita 18-20) and condemned every sort of violence. Un-like the Greeks and Palestinians, India’s leading thinkers generally abhorred the eating of meat. Charvak lost his life as he condemned the meat-loving Vedic-Aryan priests. India’s dominating sects of the first millennium, (the Buddists, the Jains and the Ajivakas) accepted non-violence truth, and Apourgraha as the greatest values in life.

Another trend that goes against Indian’s great traditions is the own- group-love craze. Only members belonging to that particular community are qualified to speak on behalf of that community. A non-Dalit, a non-Adivasi or a non-proletarian conscientious fighter for their causes is generally a suspect. Ancient India gave the highest honour to Rajarshees (Tribe -Chief -Mahayogis) like Rishavnath, Janaka, the Buddha and the Tirthankaras. Mahavir and the Buddha belonged to the leading families of their own communities who voluntarily relinquished their privileges and accepted poverty. Today’s leaders even belonging to the poorer communities greedily welcome riches, power and honour as if to compensate for their past destitution. The middle class in India is no doubt over whelmingly steeped in corruption. But there are occasions when they stake their wealth and liberty for the right cause. A Prashant Bhasan, a Kiran Vedi or a Kejriwal are risking much when they defy the powers that be, through plain speaking. The middle class is definitely consumerist but their support for Anna need not be belittled or ridiculed.

There are many good committed people working in many fields. Irom Sharmila’s sacrifice is undoubtedly of the greatest nobility and courage. The sufferings of farmers, the harassment of Dalits and women, the exploitation of Adivasis are each a shame. Every issue is of tremendous importance. Corruption feeds all issues in India and raises the suffering of different sections of harassed people to unbearable heights. Corruption affects every Indian, be he rich or poor. Anna, with all his faults has become a symbol of hope for the frustrated commoners. He has touched a chord, unexplored since the days of Jaya Prakash. In her essay ( The Hindu 21.08.2011), Arundhati Ray points out the errors made by Anna on different occasions. She is right. Mercifully, Anna’s team is free from these community-centered errors. Anna may learn as Gandhiji learnt in his later days that it was wrong of him to support Varna Ashrama system earlier.

Prabhat Patnayak in an essay in ‘The Hindu’ points out the danger involved in Messiah worship. Tagore accused Gandhi of the same fault and warned him of moral fascism (Gandhi- devotion cult) that may develop in India Gandhi assured Tagore that he was aware of the danger and was taking steps to educate his followers properly so that such an abuse of personality cult would not plague his countrymen. Ancient India of the first millennium BC was free from any sort of Messiahism. The Buddha exhorted his followers to have a critical attitude even towards the Buddha’s words. He refused to name a successor when Anand approached him.

Prof. Thoral in an essay in ‘The Hindu’ compares Ambedkar’s methods of struggle with those of Anna. He praises Ambedkar for his espousal of the constitutional path. Anna has taken up an issue that needs instant attention and the delay involved in following the constitutional path may prove fatal to the people’s cause of abolishing corruption.

Unlike in many other civilizations and cultures, critics of popular heroes, conscientious individual dissenters ready to face humiliation by defying popular conceptions, attitudes and customs are held as ideal men and women in ancient India.

Mahabharata is clear about this. ‘A wise man should always welcome dishonour and insult like nectar. He should treat honour and praise as poison’.
Santi Parva (Canto- 229 sloka -21)

The Buddha in Dharmapada warns his followers to shed the ambition of becoming respectable and popular.

(Dhammapada canto 5…. Sloka -74).

Anna’s critics have not hesitated to write unpopular essays. Democracy blooms in such circumstances.

Both Anna’s team and his critics are worthy citizens of India.

Neither Maoism nor the present type of Parliamentarism can solve the problems of modem India. Maoists, as Bal Gopal said, have made Adivasis conscious of their exploitation and have led successful struggles for their rights. The parliament in combination with the judiciary has succeeded in preserving the democratic structure to a certain extent. Gandhi mentioned the defects of the Parliamentary system in his book (Hind Swaraj). What we need is a third force; the civil society in satyagraha- based creative tension with the authorities. Social, political, cultural and economic justice within a democratic structure should be pursued by the leaders of the civil society. We need the support of the middle class for strengthening the civil society. The middle class is more sinned against than being a sinner. A faulty global culture and unhealthy institutions and ideas are choking its justice –based democratic spirit.

Our Crorepati authorities are bent upon destroying the civil society by hook or crook. They welcome a brutalized militarized society where the civil society is non-existent. Maoist violence concentrated in certain belts does not shake their thrones. Even a long stalemate does not affect them much. It helps them to divert the attention of the public. The way Anna’s team mates are harassed speaks much about an insidious strategy of ‘Truth Hunt’ using imperialist techniques to harass their opponents. Individuals in high position and hallowed institutions that sustain democracy, claiming immunity from criticism are likely to become corrupt and Fascistic. Anna with his team has struck a strong blow for democracy. They deserve the support of all citizens.


Bagwat Prasad Rath,
3rd Line, Roith Colony,
At/PO/Dist. – Rayagada –2
PIN- 765002, Odisha.
06856-235092
E. mail- bagwat_prashad@rediffmail.com
www.samalochana1.blogspot.com
www.samalochana.blogsome.com

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

EVOLUTIONARY SOCIALISM AND LOHIA IN THE 20TH CENTURY

BHAGWAT PRASAD

The renowned Prof. S. H. Alatas in his inauguration lecture in Multiversity’s Penang –II conference made a good speech on ‘The captive Mind’, particularly in the context of the knowledge available amongst the scholars of the erstwhile colonial countries. He referred to ‘…. this tendency of our people to imitate the thinking of the West and the ideas introduced by the colonial powers.”

In the third world Gandhi and Lohia were original thinkers. No wonder, they were sidelined by the mainstream thinkers who were either the votaries of capitalism, communism, a semitized Hinduism or an aggressive Islam. To quote Prof. Alatas, “……in the university of Amsterdam, I remember being continuously bombarded with the idea of neutrality and the theory of relativity in social sciences. There is no such thing as objectivity without morality. Research must be based on objectivity, but it cannot be without morality….If a cancer expert studies cancer cells objectively, he does not bring his private bias into the study. But having done that, he has to ask himself the question – does he want to promote cancer? The answer is- no”.

Every country in the world has its unique geographical and historical features. Traditions and cultures differ. Even in the fields of history and culture, scholars may make perspectival errors. A scholar, having the Marxist or an aggressive religious perspective cannot do justice to the ancient rationalistic, atheistic, materialistic culture of India which Kautilya in ‘Arthasastra’ calls ‘Anwikshiki’ Leading historians and philosophers of India have ignored the evidence contained in the three important books: ‘Arthasastra’, ‘the writings of Megasthenes’ and ‘the Mahabharata (including the Gita)’. Our modern and post modern ideas of human progress and development have been falsified by the latest research in the field of science. To quote from the article ‘Humans becoming more Stupid over Time, Finds Study’ (The New Indian Express Dt.3.01.2011 page-11), “Over the past 20,000 years, the average brain of the human male brain has decreased from 1500 C.C. to 1300CC The female brain has shrunk by the same proportion, the Daily Mail quoted a report in ‘Discovery’ magazine”. Among the few thinkers who question the modern civilizational ideas, Lohia is a prominent one. In his essay ‘A Philosophical Hypothesis’ he writes, ‘…….those who adhere to God, demon or closed philosophies, be they Adam smith or Karl Max, and adhere to them in a rigid classical style, become fanatical and have exclusive faith in their own mistaken notions…….. I wish for our country to have an experimental frame of mind”. Lohia wants revolutionaries who “will at least have tried to remove weapons of fear and hatred from their own armory.” Lohia criticizes modern civilization as it is based on poverty, hatred and war. People who study humanity through the recorded blood- soaked, exploitation – stamped history of the last 5000 years, forget that the advent of Homo sapiens was an event preceded by 3.7 millions years of mainly a monkey- type of non-violent gatherer community. Human mind grew from 500 CC to about 1500 CC within this period. The shrinking of the human brain shows that we are going in the opposite direction to the nature’s process of evolution. Writes Fritjof Capra in his book ‘the hidden connections’. “The design principles of our future social institutions must be consistent with the principles of organization that nature has evolved (deep ecology) to sustain the web of life. A unified conceptual framework for the understanding of material and social structures will be essential for this task.” Capra and scientists like Damasio rightly denounce the idea of the mind-body separation in Descartes’ philosophy. European science and philosophy could not shake up Descartes’ shadow for a long time. The idea of mind-body wholeness is expressed by Lohia in his quest for the integration of economic aims (equality in the field of basic necessities) and general aims (like democracy, freedom and fraternity) for the whole of humanity. To quote Lohia, “the foregoing, examination of general and economic aims reveals that they have both their autonomous existence, but that a doctrine of their integration is possible.” (The Doctrinal Foundation of Socialism). F. Capra has a systemic view of life which no one can dispute; but when there is a search for a solution, he falters. He presents the ideas of Anthony Giddens and Habermass as integrationist theories. Nature uses the process of autopoesis (Self-generation) in its web or net-like process. People as agents draw upon social structures for their actions and behaviours and by their contemplation and activities influence the structures. This structuration theory of A GIDDENS is cyclic like natural cycles. Habermass belonged to Frankfurt school and was influenced by Marxism. He called his theory the theory of communicative action. There is the external world of facts and objects. There is also the inner world of Hermeneutics or the world of meaning. Habermass says that right action refers to factual truth in the material world, to moral rightness in the social world and to sincerity in the inner world. Both the theorists deal mostly with abstractions. In the words of Lohia there is no corresponding concrete action which enables humanity to rise to higher levels. Genetically human beings do not differ much from the Chimpanzees. (The genetic difference is only 1.6%). A Chimpanzee – like –brain –having animal grew to a developed- brain- having (more than three times that of a Chimpanzee) hair -less ape during more than 3.7 million years of its sojourn in this earth. About 40 to 50,000 year back (in the upper Paleolithic or late stone – Age period), Homo sapiens invented killer apparatus that made him a successful hunter. Human brain stopped growing in this period. As violence and cruelty increased in the human world, this was sure to happen because that part of the human brain (the pre-frontal cortex) which grew in size, consisted of neurons (nerve-cells) which were connected with sociability and control of violence. Every revolution based on violence fails because the values needed in sustaining the ideal societies dreamt of by revolutionary thinkers are womanly virtues (values) that were prevalent during the long gathering phase of humanity’s existence on this earth. Even a non-violent revolution is sure to fail in a world where war preparations are common and greed dictates the progress of a nation – state. In such a country, there is no likelihood of a truly socialist society coming into being. The tragedy of humanity started with the hunter society of males gradually overwhelming the previous society of gatherers (females), thus bringing into being a strictly patriarchal society. Among the few thinkers of the world whose views tally with the values of a gathering society the foremost are Gandhi, Lohia and Einstein. Lohia’s stress on spade, vote and prison are the appropriate steps which, if implemented with sincerity and determination by the millions will, by emphasizing the values of a gatherer’s society, solve many of the problems of the suffering humanity. Women are likely to play a leading role in movements based on spade, vote and prison.

In the present war-preparing world, no single country can afford to accept non-violence as its creed by disbanding its army, navy and air force. Nature cannot be partial to any species and the evolution process as a whole as simulated in super- computers by eminent scientists of Santa Fe fame, indicate that all elements are freely taking part in the process of evolution (covering millions of years). They agree that there is no central controller and order evolves out of the free activity of every entity. In the words of Stuart Kaufman, Prof. of Biochemistry, Pennsylvania University, “…… the research program was to find order for free. As it happens, I found it. And it’s profound.” Prof. Brian Godwin says, “… everything in new Biology changes. Instead of the metaphors of conflict, competition, selfish genes, climbing peaks of fitness landscapes; what you get is evolution as a dance.” Collective total freedom is another name for non-violence. That the gatherers’ society and also the hunter’s society in the first phase of its existence were free from violence and greed is confirmed from the study of primitive societies as found out by anthropologists. Human mind’s decline started when women were subdued completely through violence and patriarchy reigned supreme in modern advanced societies. In spite of living in a patriarchal society, Lohia never accepted women as the second sex, and went ahead of his mentor Gandhi in honoring the so-called fallen women who lived by selling their bodies.

Non-violence in action, the principle of Satyagraha, reached great heights in Gandhi’s able disciple Lohia’s writings and actions. The eye reddening at the sight of any injustice and the heart moved by sympathy, combine in the act of Satyagraha which is the true spirit of democracy. All leading thinkers of democracy agree that criticism is the essence of democracy. Lohia conclusively proved that criticism will be ineffective by remaining at the abstract level unless criticism concretized in the form of Satyagraha. Lohia’s idea of Satyagraha becomes relevant in the context of what Noam Chomsky says about modern societies. “In the advanced industrial societies the problem (tension with regard to the locus of power) is typically approached by a variety of measures to deprive democratic political structures of substantive content, while leaving them formally intact. A larger part of this task is assumed by ideological institutions that channel thought and attitudes within acceptable bounds, deflecting any potential challenge to established privilege and authority before it can take form and gather strength …. My personal feeling is that citizens of democratic societies should undertake a course of self-defense to protect themselves from manipulation and control, and to lay the basis for meaningful democracy. (Necessary Illusions).

Gradually evolutionary scientists are realizing that forces of nature work to preserve the entire living world as a whole. Where there is danger of a species dying through internal violence, nature’s defense mechanism controls it. Two wolves fighting each other do not bring it to the finish. The weaker party understands its danger and meekly surrenders to the stronger. Immediately the stronger wolf ceases its struggle and allows its opponent to depart in peace. (Constance Lorenz). As man has become the worst predator in nature and exterminates other species cruelly, nature’s defense mechanism becomes active in taking away the power of the human brain thus making man more stupid or more self- destructive as ages pass.

The bell of human extinction is ringing loud and clear. Climate change is menacing human survival. There is little chance of humanity taking appropriate steps to halt it. The danger of war or preparation for war is devastating human resources and as long as group- selfishness masquerades as patriotism or god –devotion, disaster threatens the human species.
Lohia’s tiny essay ‘ Fundamentals of a World Mind’ is a seminal one that guides an internationalist Very few thinkers have written a better piece on the bankruptcy of human thought in the 20th century, “….thinking has ceased to be creative. Ideas are designed and tested for their value to one or other of the two power blocks. … The question of all questions stridently urging an answer is which shall serve what; shall idea serve force or force, idea?.... both (capitalism and communism) are doctrines of political and economic centralization, of technical and organizational efficiency…..”

Lohia was an ardent votary of a world government. He wrote, “Peace can come only via a world government…. All those who desire a world government must aspire to achieve a worldview of equality and against class, caste or regional inequalities.” Evolutionary Scientist F. Capra wrote, “….I also argued that the philosophical school of deep ecology, which does not separate humans from nature and recognizes the intrinsic values of all living beings, could provide an ideal, philosophical and even spiritual context for the new scientific paradigm. Today, twenty years later, I (still) hold this view”. Capra’s rooted views are those of a gatherer society. Very few countries, philosophies or religions forbade its inhabitants or adherents to shun meat eating and stop any sort of cruelty to animals. The world views of every country are important; amongst them are those that can provide humanity the right path to life and happiness. “…he (Haber Mass) points out that people’s interpretations always rely on a number of implicit assumptions that are embedded in history and tradition ….. social scientist should evaluate different traditions critically, identify ideological distortions and uncover their connections with power relations. Emancipations take place whenever people are able to over come past restrictors that resulted from distorted communication” (the hidden connection). The whole of humanity suffers from distortions of its ideas because of its hunter mentality. Emancipation from it is needed, so that instead of power relations governing human communicative actions, humanity gets guided by sharing and caring relations that prevailed during its million years of existence in a matricentric (woman-centric) gatherer society.

Buddha, Gandhi, Lohia and JP are all products of a culture that was unique in the world. India had the only gatherers’ society in the world which produced advanced city civilizations. The rich fauna and flora of India which nourished the most leisured class of females and males was highly conducive to contemplation and compassion. Archeologists show surprise when they study the artifacts and weapons of pre-Vedic India. Writes the Harvard-trained famous geneticist Spencer Wells in his famous book “The Journey of Man’, “ … India is unusual , since there is very little evidence of the upper Paleolithic there … at least there are abundant tools from the earlier periods”. The upper Paleolithic age was the earliest age of great hunters because of the abundance of killer apparatus among these hunters in this age. Human mind’s innovative tendencies and skills thus led to the first great violation of nature’s design. Man’s journey of killer-ship continued relentlessly from this age. All the animals other than men were subjected to cruel exploitation and slaughter. Men ‘too’ shared the same fate in later periods.



There is abundant literary and archeological evidence to prove that Mahenjodaro Harappa civilization was an egalitarian, atheistic, kingless civilization which was free of wars. The availability of fruits in abundance in India come out in Max Muller’s essay ‘Indian view of life’. “Bhartrihan says,” There is fruit on the trees in every forest, which everyone who like may pluck without trouble. There is cool and sweet water in a river in the pure rivers here and there.”

No hunter’s society can produce a philosophy of praxis like the Yoga where the primary values are nonviolence and non – acquisition of money or materials. Yoga was a discovery of the womenfolk, who had equal rights with males even in the field of sex. So geneticists stress the fecund Draupadi phenomenon is India. We, the Indians, are the descendents of a few females, each impregnated by a number of males. There is ample literary evidence of female sexual freedom available in the Mahabharata which supports what the geneticists say. Human evolution took the right evolutionary road in Pre- Vedic India. Monogamy in later families was also because of female preference for it; but occasional sexual freedom was prevalent in society.

Here, in India, not more and more powerful killer weapons but a healing science like the Ayurveda and the knowledge of public health and measures that made city life pleasant and free from diseases were given importance by the then elites of society, the Yoginis and Yogis (called Gymno-sophists by the Greek travelers to India).

In Killer societies, hunters became warriors whose war – leaders or chiefs morphed into kings. The concepts of in all –powerful super king led to the conception of God whose favourite courtiers were the priests. In hunter” societies, warriors and priests were the elite.

No king or super – kings (God or Gods) evolved among the Yoginis and Yogis. In Mohenjodara Harappa civilization, no such phenomenon took place. The Yoginis and Yogis occupied the highest place in society (as available from the writings of Megasthenes). Max Muller writes, “The greatest conqueror of antiquity (Alexander) stood in silent wonderment before the Gymno-sophists, regretting that he could not communicate with them …..” (Indian View of Life).

Evolution used ‘the pleasure principle’ to direct all the living beings in the planet earth. Sigmund Freud made a great mistake in putting the reality principle above the pleasure principle. Today’s science falsifies Freud’s idea and proves that the culprit is not nature but culture. The knowledge of the absence of killer apparatus in the upper Paleo - lithic age in India and the lack of war weapons and domesticated animals in Mahenjodaro Harappa culture are the discoveries of archeology. Modern science establishes that we are genetically programmed to have a brain that accepts rationality. Scientist Antonio Damasio M.D., Ph.D., the writer of the famous book ‘Descartes’ Error’, examines in the laboratory the brain of a person called Elliot who had a big tumour is his right frontal lobe and comes to the conclusion that emotion and rational decision making are twins in the same areas of the human brain.

Generations of historians and philosophers in India and abroad, the flag bearers of hunter society philosophy and culture of the Greeks and other Europeans and Americans, failed to understand the pre-Vedic culture of a gatherers’ society. The key word used in Buddhism and Jainism, Mahabharata, Samkhya, Yoga and Lokayat was SUKHA which precisely meant the pleasure principle of nature Nature’s ‘pleasure principle’ got associated with ‘hedonism’ because European thinking was deaf to the true meaning of ‘SUKHA’. Had our historians and philosophers studied sincerely at least one book of the Buddha ‘Dhammapada’ and read the Bhagawad Gita in the light of ‘Dhammapada’ and excluded the Gita’s massive scholarly violence- justifying and Brahminic interpolations, (Kosambi), there would have been no necessity for them to ignore Kautilya’s emphasis on ‘Anwikshiki’ in Arthasastra and Megasthenes’ emphatic declaration that Gymno-sophists had the highest rank in India among the seven categories of people who lived in India. Nature abhors the limitless cruelty and predation of humans leading to total extermination of other species. Pre-Vedic India, by making non-violence and APARIGRAHA (minimizing one’s wants) the supreme values, actually followed the dictates of nature.

Since the Upanishads are the philosophies of the hunters (the nomadic Aryans), their stress on SREYA the good, against PREYA (The pleasant) is nothing unusual or unexpected. The Upanishadic seers replaced the philosophy of Anwikshiki by an inferior philosophy. Lohia wrote that the separation of SREYA from PREYA was wrong. Lohia’s stress on SAMA (equality at the level of mind also) and his unique experience of Samadhi in Lahore jail (when time stood still) speaks of his intuitive preference for pre-Vedic Indian culture whose cultural progenies are Budhisim, Jainism and the other philosophies preached by thinkers like P. Katyayana, A. Kesha Kambali and others of their ilk. About Gandhi, Romaine Rolland wrote “…. There can be no genius of action, no leader, who does not incarnate the instincts of his race, satisfy the need of the hour and requite the yearning of the world”. The same words can be used for Lohia. The word ‘Sukha’ is central to ancient Indian culture and its discussion is particularly relevant in these calamitous nature-defying days.



Human brain has three layers. There is the reptilian brain which finds pleasure in indolence (examine the life of a crocodile or a Python). The second layer or the mammalian brain finds please in incessant activity sometimes leading to limitless violence. The third layer or the pre-frontal cortex, almost half of the total brain, restrains the violent tendencies in the other parts of the brain and leads to increase of sociability. India’s Samkhya philosophy expresses these tendencies as the three GUNAS. ‘Not extended indolence, or incessant urge to work but ‘Sukha’ is the primary nature-given quality of the pre-frontal cortex (SATWA GUNA). Discontent or mental tension occurs when human actions that lead to ‘SUKHA’ are not indulged in by the man/woman. Explaining Sukha, Gita says, “The knowledge that all living beings are one, though they lead different lives in this world is known as Satwik knowledge.” (The Gita-18 -20). Love of all living beings must direct every action of a Satwik being . The contentment that lends special charm to the face of a Buddha, Mahavira or Samkara is rarely found in the faces of leading Western philosophers. Scientist Amitabh Chakravarthy in an article published in the Radical Humanist (Feb-2011) establishes the fact that modern science has discovered that human goodness is a gift of nature. Next in importance to the evolutionary approach which guided the pre-Vedic gatherers’ India, and whose legacy was milked by Gandhi and Lohia, there is the humanistic realistic approach of Latin America which is scaling great heights in the search for a new variety of humane Twenty First Century socialism.

At the close of the world social Forum -2005, Chavez declared , “We have to reinvent socialism”. He called it the socialism of the 21st century. Bolivar, Rodriguez and Zamora, Meszarios and Harnecker were some of the thinkers whose ideas gifted Marxian socialism new dimensions. Chavez often quoted them. Zamora had said, “Free elections, free land and free men, horror to the oligarchy”. Bolivar called equality ‘the law of laws’. He fought for the rights of the indigenous people. His fights led to the abolition of slavery in Latin America much earlier than the U.S. Rodriguez denounced division of labour in industries because it robotized and brutalized the workers. Meszarios stressed the elementary triangle of socialism.
a). Social ownership of production,
b). Social production organized by workers.
c). Production for communal needs.

Lohia’s stress on small units of production satisfied almost all the aims of these great thinkers of Latin America. Lohia was a fighter for the equal rights of the oppressed people of the whole world and was imprisoned in several countries because he defied the unequal laws prevalent in them. Marta Harnecker denounced Vanguardism’, ‘Verticalism’, ‘authoritarianism’, excessive centralism and opposed a ‘narrow workerist view of socialism’. Lohia believed in decentralized power and economy. He concretized his ideas in advocating the formation of maximum power-wielding village councils as the basic foundational part of the Chaukhamba (four - pillared) scheme of economic and political entities. Harnecker aimed at building a society that makes the full development of human beings possible. Lohia’s seven-legged revolution (Sapta – Kranti) is the best way to develop the full potential of every human being.

Kropotkin wrote to Lenin in 1920, “…. Without an organization from below of the peasants and workers themselves, it is impossible to build a new life”. The USSR did not follow this advice, but Chavez followed it to the letter. Thus writes Harnecker “Participation, protagonism in all spaces, is that which allows human beings to grow and increase their self-confidence, that is to say, to develop humanly.” Articles 62 and 70 of the Venezuelan constitution empower people at the lowest level to build self- managing institutions and co-operatives. Really autonomous power – wielding basic organizations called communal councils (generally consisting of 200 to 400 families in urban areas and fifty to one hundred families in rural areas) dotted all the regions of Venezuela. The ideas of Gandhi and Lohia have found a new home in Latin American countries. Leaders are giving a call to learn from indigenous communities the ways to communal solidarity and local empowerment. This new dawn of 21st century socialism can be enriched if the socialists of India and the Latin American countries interact with each other. Gandhi, J.P and Lohia’s ideas will undoubtedly help in the sprouting of healthy shoots of socialism in the lands of Bolivar, Chavez, Castro and Marcos. A great thinker Labowitz says, “Every society has its unique characteristics – its unique histories, traditions (including religious and indigenous ones), its mythologies, its heroes who have struggled for a better world, and the particular capacities that people have developed in the process of struggle”. The only country in the world which can develop evolutionary socialism is India. Evolutionary socialism only can harness the pleasure principle of nature (Sukha) and thus stem the shrinkage of the human brain and the ecological devastations that threaten humanity. Values which developed among the matricentric gatherers which led to the formation of the love – dominated (non-violent) humane societies, can only save mankind from sure destruction. India had heroes like Mahavir, Buddha, Gandhi and Gymno-sophist philosophers who had developed Yogic YAMA values and worked for the welfare of all living beings. Vedic India was a hunter’s land and the lavishly ritualistic caste- untouchability- ridden India of the Gupta age (the age of puranas) has not much to contribute to evolutionary socialism. If evolutionary socialism (ANWIKSHIKI) dies in the land of its birth, it will be the worst calamity that endangers the existence of all the species on this earth. Anthropology tells us that in Amazonian lands, communities still exist which give supreme importance to relationship. “…….towards the end of achieving health, wealth and safety, Amazonian people aim to master not nature, but as many as possible of their personal relationships with other beings, human or otherwise, in the world.” (Rapport and Overing).

Yogis and Yoginis, having plenty of leisure (The original Affluent – Society – by M. Shahlin) developed the techniques of various types of meditations which enhanced their creative mental powers, giving them the capacity to have full control over their negative emotions. They had only loving attitude towards all living beings. They had perfectly tranquil minds which nothing could disturb. They developed all the qualities that make man / woman a uniquely creative individual and also an intensely social being. The Buddha was such a personality. Mahavir was another. There were many lesser personalities whom history did not take into consideration (Gandhi, J.P. & Lohia did not practice meditation but still were the worthy heirs of the most important Yogic values).

India’s rich legacy still awaits deep exploration by the thinkers and historians of the world. This Anwikhikian legacy alone can teach humanity the developed evolutionary path of nature. Many of Latin America’s indigenous people can guide us initially because their communities evolved naturally. But pre-Vedic India, free from the evils of the caste system and that philosophical aberration called ‘karmic rebirth’ proved that the supreme ideal ‘SUKHA’ was based on the twins: universal love for all living beings and tranquility of mind. The action or karma – transcending MOKSHA ideal which haunted all the post – Vedic philosophies of India was, though other –worldly, still culturally attached to the Brahminic rituals ( The Gita- 18th canto). It hypocritically approved violence using the plea that renouncing the fruit of karma is equivalent to karma- lessness (The Gita). It justified the caste system and untouchability. The hunter society thinkers invented it to displace SUKHA. They debased Sukha by throwing the patriarchal dust of ignominy on its matricentric value of equal sexual freedom enjoyed by women (Charbak). Lohia always welcomed matricentric values. He vehemently denounced untouchability and the caste system. He was this- worldly and never bothered about Moksha.