by Ac. Krtashivananda
At the outset, the word transformation or progress needs to be defined. The development of roads, buildings and industries are not the criteria of progress. The quest for freedom in physical, intellectual and spiritual realm is the criteria of progress. This quest for freedom can be referred back to humanity’s struggle of existence. This quest accounts for the human triumph over nature in the course of efforts to satisfy biological needs. It provides the basis for constant search for knowledge, which enables people to be progressively free from the tyranny of natural phenomena and social environment. Guided by the dictum of ancient wisdom that man(sic) is the measure of everything, the philosophy of the future should judge the merit of any social or political system by the actual measure of freedom it affords to the individual in the physical, mental and spiritual spheres.
Through or by the people is a democratic slogan. In third world countries like India are trying to follow a process inherited from liberal democracy imported from the West. Although democracy preceded liberalism in Western history, in the modern age liberalism preceded democracy by nearly two centuries and created a world to which the later had to adjust. Liberal democracy is basically a liberalised or liberally constituted democracy; that is democracy defined and structured within the limits set by liberalism. Liberalism is its fundamental premise and foundation and penetrates to design democratic character.
The problem is that the concept of the individual is obviously complex and presupposes a theory of individuation. By the very condition of his or her existence, every human being is inseparably connected with other human beings and nature. To individuate a person is to decide where to draw the boundary between that person and other persons and nature. Individuation is thus a matter of social convention, obviously different societies individuate human beings and define the individual differently. In countries dominated by caste or religious and tribal sentiment, an individual is integrated with a particular caste or religious or tribal community. That’s why the idea of liberal democracy cannot blossom in the background of caste and communal politics.
These societies are still under the influence of traditionalism and feudalism. It is far away from embracing modernism which flourished in the West rejecting institutionalised religion and embracing the upsurge of science. The branch of modernism, liberal democracy and Marxism dominated the world in the 19th century. Both rejected religion and propagated the supremacy of matter over consciousness. But what happened to the Western world ? The achievement of wealth and comfort for all was supposed to result in unrestricted happiness for all. The trinity of unlimited production, absolute freedom, and unrestricted happiness formed the nucleus of a new religion—progress and a new Earthly City of Progress was to replace the City of God. It is not astonishing that this new religion provided its believers with energy, vitality and hope. The grandeur of great promise, the marvellous material and intellectual achievements of the industrial age, must be visualised in order to understand the trauma, that realisation of its failure is producing today.
The Nations which are reeling under the dogma of caste and religion, the materialistic tendency and consumer psychology has accelerated the dehumanising process of modern civilisation. Instead of achieving real freedom, new bondages are suffocating human aspiration.
It is obvious that the experiment with liberal democracy has failed in those background disintegrated cultural communities. Democracy cannot be imposed. It must evolve in the background of a particular culture and social psychology. Democracy is a process of collective decision making process. The idea of by the people can only be successful when the polity have:
- Minimum education in the sense that people become conscious their rights and duty.
- Social consciousness in the sense that they are not influenced by narrow sentiments that divide the human society and counters hedonist culture.
- Majority of the polity has some moral consciousness
- And there exists the guarantee of minimum requirements of life for all.
For the People: Today we can see the drum beating in favour of globalisation of economy in all sphere life. All the parties with minor difference has accepted this centralisation of economic power by the multinationals under the slogan of free market economy which can without hesitation be termed as economic monopoly by a few. Is economic development programme meant for a class of people or for all the people? Is there any scope in this system to guarantee the minimum requirements of life for all ?
It is essential to expose the hypocrisy of the present political power structures and vigilantly expose the growing dangers of economic colonization.