Sunday, July 3, 2011

What Can We Do?

A Dark Reality:

We are facing enormous problems as a nation. While dangers are lurking all around us, our system is falling apart. As the nation faces crisis, people belonging to the Governing circles are busy doing everything other than governance. Crises after crises are happening and there is no sensible decision making. Effective crucial decisions are neither being debated nor are they being taken.

In addition, responsibility for failure can not be fixed/identified! For there is no accountability. Thus, despite repeated and frequent failures, a corrective action does not happen.

While this is bad enough, it gets worse, because in the minds of common people, there is a general impression (especially about the rich and the powerful) that they can do and get away with anything. And the rich and the powerful are committing evil acts with impunity. The starkest example is the midnight eviction from Ramlila grounds on the night of 4th June 2011. And the major section of the media, instead of waking the nation up, is lulling the people to sleep.

A Ray of Hope:

Amongst all this turmoil, the good point is that we, as peoples, still have some resilience left, and there is some hope. Against all odds, the people at large are still peaceful towards each other. But, their patience must not be tested. We believe that this patience is because of two reasons. One, that it is a lull before the storm and the peril of a civil war looms large over us. But second, and more importantly, that our Hindu civilisation has such deep rooted strengths that people can be peaceful against all huge odds. And this is something that we need to understand, appreciate, take pride in, and most importantly nurture. We need to realise that despite of so called modern obsessions with Secularism, Socialism, etc. have failed, while our traditional principles are saving us.

Problem Identification:

1. Failure as a Society:

We recall a quote:

We must learn to live with reality. Otherwise for sure reality will come and live with us.

Further, it is not difficult to observe that if we misunderstand the reality, we will mistakenly pursue wrong solutions to our problems. Moreover a deliberate misunderstanding will surely lead to hypocrisy as the solution. Thus, ignorance of the true results in the empowerment of the false.

We are wrongly taught that wealth and righteousness are incompatible. However, as the same time, people do want material prosperity as well as wealth. So there is wide spread hypocrisy. People claim that they are NOT seeking wealth, while that is what they seek, and what is worse is that they seek it by hook or by crook. Those who foolishly believe that wealth and righteousness are incompatible seek poverty and then are marginalized.

The religious wisdom does not tell you to shun wealth. It merely tells you that wealth alone can not give you lasting happiness. So when one pursues wealth, besides knowing what wealth CAN get, one must also be aware of what wealth CANNOT get! In contrast, materialism tells us that wealth is the only happiness that we can get.

Similarly, religious wisdom does not tell you that you can not acquire wealth by righteous means. In fact sanatana dharma tells us that righteousness is the only way to acquire lasting wealth. For example, the great sage Vyasa says in mahAbharata:

By dharma alone one can obtain artha and kama, that is righteous fulfilment of desires.

However, our present social wisdom tells us, that if one is honest, one can not be rich.

Thus, there is this false and its perpetration at two levels.

By ignoring to look at facts we do not change them, rather we become their victims.

2. Failure as a System:

The foremost requirement from a System is that it must learn, and learn quickly. We have a system based on the false, and the feed-back mechanisms are not in place. Thus the false gets perpetrated. So we need a system where erros and mistakes can be quickly identified, responsibilities fixed, and corrective action taken.

Consider the example of riots. A furious mob kills a man. Who gets hanged? No one because the law could say that if a mob (whatever be the definition) kills someone, we can not identify the killer and hence no one (even if we catch all members of the mob) should be hanged.

So here we have our parliamentary system. The mob (parliamentary government) indulges in the acts of corruption. All know that there is corruption, and no one is punish because responsibility can not be fixed!

If we consider the peoblem of redistribution, democracy causes a similar problem. Once the recepients of Affirmative Action are in majority, they always vote for more and more affirmative action, while they oppose entry into the recepient of AA club.


There are many remedies that are popularized as solutions. Before we explore possible solution(s), let us reject the non-solutions.

1. Fake or Non-Solutions:

Often people tend to believe that a change in government will bring about a solution. There are two problems with that.

1. The people in the government come from the same society that they govern. So there are two associated problems now.

(1.a) What is the nature and content of people in the society.

(1.b) What kind of people get chosen to the role of governance.

2. The people in the government are supposed to work within the framework of the same system. Again there are two associated problems.

(2.a) Are the errors caught.

(2.b) are they corrected?

In view of the above, it is evident that we need to explore inherent short-comings of the system as well, and try and have remedies for that. This means that we need to address both the social and systemic aspects.

2. Possible Solution:

Thus, on the intellectual action front, we need to address the following:

1. Education:

Society changes through education. We term this notion Human change, and this will come through Education (both formal and informal) in the broad sense.

But then what is right education? If we claim that the current education is wrong, how do we know what we propose is right? The answer is, therefore that education must be based on ...

Thus we need a New Education System.

The moment we realize the importance of knowing and living by Truth, we are reorienting ourselves towards a Truth Based Civilization. That is sanAtana dharma or Hindu way of Life.

Thus the thrust must be on: How to stop the deterioration in the Hindu ethos; and how to reinforce Hindu Understanding. For it is only the wisdom of our Rishis both ancient and modern that can truly sustain us.

2. Constitution:

How to reform our system, so that it WORKS! How to put in place a Mechanism so that in the case of failure, Responsibilities are fixed and Corrective action taken! We term this Systemic Change, and this will come through reforms in the system.

However, in order to achieve this, we must be prepared for even radical changes. For example, we could think of a NEW CONSTITUTION.

Do we need to continue with parliamentary system with "collective responsibility", or should we change to something else? Is five years too long a term for one government, or should the term be reduced to four years? We need to ask ourselves and answer these questions.

In the paradigm of "collective responsibility", the task of "fixing the responsibility" becomes ambiguous and difficult.

We also need to wonder whether we believe in democracy as an ideal or democracy as a mechanism. And we need to explore the pros and cons.

Whichever way we look, we need to transform both society and system. And we need to do it through radical reforms in education and constitution.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments are not moderated. Please read the About Us page. If you have outright disagreement, then you may not have much use commenting. You are free to record your disagreements in a civil manner. Repeated abuse, and irrelevant postings will be removed. Please avoid advertisements.

This blog does not honor political correctness. If your comment is posted, this does not mean that this blog endorses your views.

While I allow anonymous comments, please quote your twitter account if you want to have a referenced discussion.

There is a Suggestions Page, please post your suggestions regarding this blog as comments on that page.