“Today the system of Government is so devised as to affect every department of our life. It threatens our very existence. If therefore we want to conserve the welfare of the nation, we must religiously interest ourselves in the doings of the governors and exert moral influence on them by insisting on their obeying the laws of morality.” - Mahatma Gandhi
In spite of the great developments made by Independent India in a number of fields, the nation today is faced with serious social and economic problems. There have been growing communal, ideological and religious polarization, intolerance, antagonism and violence in the country. The ecological balance and environmental health of the nation are being damaged by the consumerist models of development adopted by successive governments in independent India. Though the number of millionaires in the country has been multiplying over the years, the number of millions living below poverty line and struggling to make both ends meet has also been increasing.
Almost 30% of India’s 1260 million people today are still living ‘below poverty line’. The disparity between the rich and the poor in the country is ever widening. Violence and terrorism are on the increase. Agitations for caste and class based ‘reservations’ have been becoming more and more violent and destructive. India accounts for the largest number of children dying in the world due to sicknesses caused by malnutrition. It is estimated that 6000 children die daily in India due to diseases caused by malnutrition. More than 20 million children go to bed hungry due to poverty every day in our country even after seven decades of political freedom. India also accounts for the largest number of illiterates in the world.
While 375 million people in India are living below poverty line, struggling to make both ends meet, many of our political leaders and government officials in the country are millionaires leading over indulgent life styles. A good number of them also have criminal records. The nation is too precious to be left to the discretion of such political leaders and government officials. ‘Mother and motherland are sacred’. This is what the saints and sages of India have taught us. Those who love Mother India must unite beyond political, religious, caste, class, gender and linguistic differences to save their motherland from the forces of evil threatening to destroy this ancient land of religions.
Economics and politics are two dimensions of our national life that affect all Indians, rich and the poor alike. All economic decisions today are political decisions and all political decisions are influenced by economic considerations. Economics and politics are like the two sides of a coin. They are interdependent and interrelated. They are integral parts of India’s national life. Hence, an Integral Revolution to bring about a spiritualization of the economic and political systems and institutions in India is the crying need of the hour.
The economic and political systems and institutions in the country today are under the total control of the rich and the powerful. The poor and the helpless millions in the country today are victims of neglect and exploitations. State and Central Governments in India often resort to charity and freebies to win over and silence the poor, hungry and illiterate millions in the country. While the number of millionaires in India has been increasing in geometric proportions, the millions living below poverty line have also multiplied. The gap between the rich and the poor in Independent India has been ever widening.
‘Vote bank’ politics often tend to be the deciding factors in elections in the country. Democracy has become a big farce in India today. Governments and government officials in the country are not accountable and answerable to the citizens who sustain them. Moral and ethical values have more or less disappeared from Indian politics and public life.
A spiritualisation of economics and politics in India based on the noble values of prema, satya, ahimsa, tyaga and seva (love, truth, non-violence, sacrifice and service) which are common to the different religious traditions in our country, has become the crying need of the hour for the nation to survive as a dynamic living force. The following Talisman of Mahatma Gandhi should provide the basic motivation for spiritualization of economics and politics in India: “I give you a Talisman. Whenever you are in doubt, or when the self becomes too much with you, you apply the following test. Recollect the face of the poorest and weakest man whom you may have seen, and ask yourself, if the step you contemplate is going to be of any use to him. Will he gain anything by it? Will it restore him to a control over his life and destiny? In other words, will it lead to Swaraj for the hungry and spiritually starving millions? Then you will find your doubt and your self melting away.”
A ‘Moral Corrective Force’ – The imperative of the era
Deeper study and reflection will show that the social and economic problems facing the nation today are fruits of the moral decay and spiritual apathy that have afflicted the soul of India. The most serious crisis facing India today is the ‘value crisis’. As pointed out by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the tragedy of the modern world is not the brutality of the few but the silence of the many. There are a large number of good and peace-loving people in India. They need to unite and create a national ‘Moral Corrective Force’ to save Mother India from the forces of evil that are threatening to enslave and destroy her. This is not a political or economic mission but a religious and spiritual mission. In the multi-religious context of India, this is also an interreligious mission.
Value-conscious and spiritually-inclined responsible citizens of India must ‘religiously interest themselves’ in the functioning of the Government as pointed out by Mahatma Gandhi. They should also ‘religiously interest themselves’ in the character, calibre and doings of the elected representatives of people, and exert moral influence on them by insisting on their obeying the laws of morality in order to promote the welfare of the nation. This calls for the creation of a powerful Moral Corrective Force that will ‘religiously interest itself’ in the functioning of the Government and of the elected representatives of people in India without any fear or favour. Only through such a powerful Moral Corrective Force alone can Mother India be liberated from the various crises facing her today.
The proposed Moral Corrective Force in India will have to undertake the following important functions:
1. To bring transparency and accountability into the funding and functioning of political parties.
2. To improve the character, quality, commitment and performance of elected representatives of people.
3. To make Government departments and agencies more duty-conscious, citizen-friendly and accountable.
4. To bring about true decentralization of authority and resources in India from Parliament to Panchayat, and to promote formation of smaller states with greater autonomy in order to reduce exploitation, corruption and wastage of public money.
5. To uphold the Constitution of India and to promote the Fundamental Duties of Indian citizens.
The proposed Moral Corrective Force should bring together as many peace-loving and value-conscious responsible citizens of India as possible for achieving these five urgent and important objectives. Members of this Moral Corrective Force should be ‘sovereign Indian citizens’ of character and courage with deep commitment to the Constitution of India, and to India’s call and divine mission to be a land and light of truth and non-violence in the world family of nations.
‘Sovereign Indian citizens’ are expected to be men and women of evolved consciousness in India who can think, act and live beyond party, religious, caste, class and other sectarian interests and affiliations. They should be able to see and accept the whole nation as a large joint-family bound with a common destiny and guided by the Constitution of India.
Sovereign Indian citizens constituting the Moral Corrective Force will practice and promote the Fundamental Duties of Indian citizens (Bharatiya Dharma) as core programmes for national integration and reconstruction of India. They will not be members of any political party. They will not contest any election. They also will not hold any public office. They should be economically self-supporting from their own work and income/pension. Their words, deeds and financial transactions should be totally transparent and value-based.
Members of the proposed Moral Corrective Force will encourage and support youthful, dynamic, qualified and committed Indian citizens of character and courage with deep love for Mother India to contest elections as ‘National Candidates’ and form a ‘Conference of National Candidates of India’ (CNCI) with a concrete ‘nation-building agenda’ for the sustainable development of India inspired by the Gandhian Talisman.
The nation-building agenda of CNCI should include concrete programmes to achieve the following minimum sustainable development objectives:
1. To ensure food, water and housing security for all citizens of India.
2. To create employment opportunities, and to provide land and livelihood rights for all poor and needy citizens of India, & To promote ‘production by masses’ instead of ‘mass production’.
3. To implement agrarian reforms with focus on small and marginal farmers; To promote natural farming methods using modern technologies; To ensure appropriate prices for agricultural products based on the costs of production; To encourage and support Farmers’ Cooperatives, & To develop and promote water and soil conservation and food preservation technologies and methods.
4. To provide free and quality education for all children in India up to 12th Standard (18 years of age).
5. To promote appropriate technologies and renewable energy sources for environmental health and sustainable development.
6. To promote good governance and decentralization of authority and resources; To empower Gram Panchayats, Gram Sabhas, Gram Adalats and other Panchayati Raj Institutions, & To strive tirelessly, fearlessly and prayerfully to achieve the goal of a poverty-free, caste-free and corruption-free India.
7. To ensure that those contesting elections are men and women of character, courage and calibre; To ensure that the elected representatives of people are made accountable and answerable to the citizens, & To ensure that the government servants do their duties properly and in a citizen-friendly manner.
8. To promote ‘Responsible Citizenship’ and ‘Value Education’; To protect the girl child, & To prevent all atrocities against women and children.
9. To provide old age pension and free healthcare services for all Indian citizens above 60 years of age living below the poverty line.
Satya, ahimsa, tyaga and seva are the eternal spiritual values that have ever inspired the Indian mind. They are also the common spiritual values shared by all enlightened religious traditions and civilized communities in India. These are also the foundational spiritual values of great new India. Bringing these eternal spiritual values into India’s economic and political life has become a historic imperative for the very survival of India as a living force. This is the task of the era entrusted to the members of the Moral Corrective Force envisioned above.
“Whenever there comes to be laxity in regard to righteous life and the unrighteous comes to assert itself, O Bharata, then I bring about creation of myself. To protect the righteous and to destroy the evil doers, and to establish righteousness, I assume being, age by age.” (Bhagavad Gita: 4. 7, 8)
An unwavering faith in Divine Providence and in the timely divine intervention at critical stages in our individual and collective lives have been at the core of India’s religious faith that is deeply influenced by the above quoted verse from the Bhagavad Gita.
Protecting Dharma (righteousness) and establishing a ‘Dharma Rajya’ (a nation of righteousness) on earth are divine initiatives in which individuals of character and courage are inspired by Spirit to be partners.
The present era is an era of unrighteousness and disintegration. It is darkened by widespread consumerism and materialism and their associated evils. The world urgently needs a divine intervention of an unprecedented order to save itself from these forces of darkness, disintegration and destruction. India is an ancient land of religions which is set apart by Divine Providence for this divine mission of the era. This is also the ‘Yuga Dharma’ of the Moral Corrective Force envisioned above.
Dharma Rajya Vedi (DRV)
‘Dharma Rajya Vedi’ (DRV) was founded in 1990 as an interreligious organization for New Indian Renaissance based on an integral vision of life and reality and a synthesis of science and spirituality. DRV was represented by its founder in the ‘Millennium World Peace Summit of Religious and Spiritual Leaders’ organized by the United Nations in August 2000. DRV was also a signatory to the ‘Commitment to Global Peace’ adopted at the United Nations in this Millennium World Peace Summit.
DRV is transformed into a socio-spiritual organization in the form of a network of autonomous Local Units termed ‘Dharma Rajya Satsangs’ with the publication of its new ‘Manual-2016’. DRV is being developed further with divine grace as a powerful Moral Corrective Force that can provide the necessary organizational support to the much-needed Integral Revolution for spiritualization of economics and politics in India.
(The writer is a former Indian Air Force Officer turned promoter of peace and spirituality. He is the founder & acharya-guru of Dharma Rajya Vedi. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org )#(Published on 20th March 2017, Volume XXIX, Issue 12)