Streaming in Accountabilities with Responsibilities
India’s problem lies in the fact that “our political & religious leaders are not imparting practical knowledge.” An average Indian, especially the male counterpart is “confused more by these people than by his own problems. Socio-religious problems create serious conflicts with prejudices. What is the worth of that religion that continues to create bondage & misery for man? Today Indian citizens live like slaves, terrified & obsessed by evil and devils. They are more concerned about sins & Satan than self-realization & God.” – Swami Rama: of the Himalayas.
The objective of writing this article is to bring focus once again “the national bourgeoisie”! It originated perhaps in times of “Tale of Two Cities”, the French Revolution and used in Europe grappling with emerging political thoughts of 18th & 19th centuries. I am using it very positively to cultivate the sensibilities of my enlightened readers while dedicating this piece to the ordinary People of India. India hardly ever benefitted from the wisdom and concerted contributions of our national bourgeoisie since 1947. I would recall the formative years of the Congress when the brain trust of peoples like Tilak, Motilal Nehru, and Gandhi with business heads of reckoning (e.g. Birla with Gandhi, TATAs in Jamshedpur) and Thought Leaders like Tagore, Annie Besant 1847-1933, Acharya Narendra Dev 1889-1956, Acharya Prafulla Chandra Ray 1861-1944, Achyut S Patwardhan 1905-1971, AK Fazlul Haq, Kazi Nazrul Islam and many others- pulled in resources for united confrontation with the common foe. Such a time has emerged in 2021. This mayhem cannot just go on and on!
However, the common foe today is our National Character. In this article I have identified India’s Ruling Elite since 1947 as the villain. Which does not imply our present Prime Minister, leaders of Opposition, Chief Ministers & political parties are lumpen elements. On the contrary, unknown to themselves, these worthies carry the germinations of the proactive national bourgeoisie! It is an issue of self-realization! Primarily it engages review of and applying relevance to one’s feelings, self-image, vision and values onto the dynamic times we are living in.
This is precisely what Mahatma Gandhi represented in his struggles for India- both self-realization deep within and simultaneous sacrifice through passive resistance against the oppressors for freedom. His notion of Freedom went beyond self-determination; it engaged the broader concept of Swaraj with absence of Fear. According also to Gandhi, ideas never fall from the heavens; they come from social practice. This article severally touches few issues of his much neglected treatise in “Hind Swaraj”. Sadly, post 1947, the ruling elite of India neglected to include in our education and community development initiatives these precepts. We thus lost Gandhi altogether. And in an emergency situation such as now, we realise none of the stakeholders in government are adequately marshalled to build on Gandhi.
- Introduction: There must be a Divine Plan lain down by the Gods for India, my beloved country. Mine is a country of Sages & Maharishis. For centuries we have been preached by these enlightened souls. Have their preaching always been hijacked by the ruling elite who have differently governed our emerging societies over the past few centuries? If India accounted for over 30% of global GDP a few centuries ago, then we must have been skilful sailors who smooth seas never made. And given the latent mix of Kamashutra, we are surely a very pragmatically amorous race. In such circumstances likelihood of forgetting the wisdom of the sages notwithstanding; the sacred ‘dupkis’ or baths in the many rivers are now unwritten SOPs for Indians, generation after generations. It is a means for penance. To be fair, Hinduism is the most imaginary “Genius of the And” scripture on earth enabling, as I believe, its ruling classes persisting to practise the “tyranny of the Or”. Long after Asoka the Great, a Mysterious Fakir emerged to unite India. He is now consecrated as the “Mahatma” by the deceitful ruling class!
I have struggled to remain as objective and unbiased in this article engaging our Ruling Elite dynamics. All I desire, like millions of others in this great peace-loving country, is fairness. Sadly, it doesn’t come easy. Plight of migrant labour, extraction of money by railway police on stranded passengers in Kharagpur Station and real estate costs in Lutyen’s Delhi are few instances of unfair best practices that I do not fully understand. If we can make greasy money from dead bodies, oxygen, hospital beds, and vaccine; and still hop from one Parliament/Legislative Assembly to another-earning three pensions!- what more can Indians want? In India, where does the buck stop?
Current disaster management needs a leader who must be different. The secular tag, the Hindu-Muslim divide & rule with crass showmanship are now tumbling out like skeletons. But unlike the Chinese, Indians are seeking Truth through Divinity. Can there be Divine Grace for us?
Contextually I am reminded of Gandhi’s little book “Hind Swaraj- or Indian Home Rule”, which our post Independent Ruling Elites (1947) refused to inculcate, let alone prescribe as a compulsory educative referral for Young Indians. Our leaders introduced semblance of Gandhi in our education, industry, agriculture in bits and pieces but mysteriously ignored its fundamentals in QLI and Living standards. Yet, internationally people like Nelson Mandela were more inspired by Gandhi. Indians did not imbibe Gandhian soul force, character building or passive resistances in post 1947 nation building tasks. In stark contrast, observe the Chinese obeisance to understand & apply Mao’s Red Book-Thoughts” from 1949. Thus began the trajectory of two newly independent giants of Asia!
Sometimes the contradictions in Indian polity have tended toward antagonism as happened in 1962, 1965, 1971- these were external aggressions. But the nature of contradictions became more painful with internal economic crisis in 1991 (structural changes and end of Licence Raj), 2005-8 (sub-prime rate impact) and now in 2020-21 (unprecedented medical internal emergency). Having somehow breathlessly staggered out in 1991 and 2008, we are facing extraordinary incidents of poor decision making, policy formulations, cooperation/coordination and federal unity to control this Covid-19 nuisance. All Indians are locked in their homes. Millions are already dead. Covid is spreading into the villages and a third wave predicted by November 2021! Indians are getting petrified of our Ruling Elite- in government and opposition on their ability to lead from the front. There is a missing link.
India has been fundamentally a peaceful agrarian society for centuries till invasions & conversions with brutal assaults began 1000 years ago. A sustained sense of insecurity has been discreetly maintained by our rulers over the ruled. During the last 350 years, including 190 years of British Rule, the spine of the Indian people has been shattered mercilessly. An extraordinary outcome was emergence of Gandhi with his soul force and passive resistance. Independence came but the Mahatma was, perhaps conspiratorially, lost forever. It is the objective of this paper to explain how exploitation by the Ruling Elite continues in a more vicious form under worst democratic traditions. And why we must bring back M.K. Gandhi into our psyche. Alternatively, we perish as a nation.
- Our PM & the Baby Boomer Generation: – Baby Boomers represent the 76 million people born between 1946 and 1964. Our present PM is a Baby Boomer! He also was born during the post World War II baby boom. His generation rejected and redefined traditional values. He is also one of this generation’s wealthiest, most active and, by end of 2024, will have enough disposable income for his food, apparel and retirement programs. Like the others in this august group, our PM has experiential learning of several decades on planet earth. His generation very clearly & quite comprehensively understands Napoleon’s famous remark “you can fool the entire world some of the time; some of the world all the time but not all the world all the time.
Experiential learning show corrupt people cannot trust their own team, party & society. Though globally corruption is the norm, many cultures in Europe have overcome this trust deficit. Given our historical legacy, Indian culture has had the reservoir to build trust. But our ornamentally endowed bureaucratic systems, misunderstood by one PM after another, allow corruption. What can one person do if the whole system is corrupt? Official supply chain managements freely trade one another with assault and bribe. There is definitely something very ‘divine’ about being an Indian. Character building, woven in the fabric of our Vedas, has been given the neglect because Nationalisation and now Globalization offers us other sensuous ‘temptations’.
Like many in my peer group but perhaps not quite differently as blessed as our current PM, my childhood was spent in the bliss environment of a huge factory premises that had huge gardens, open sky all around where the birds flew in merriment with the kites in the sky. Our neighbour was a Muslim family who fondly called me “Pautu” because articulating my Bengali name was beyond their fluency.[i] Those days Radio Ceylon was in vogue. A soulful photo of Meena Kumari’s “Aarati” movie, draped in pure white sari with a red border, hung as a Calendar from one wall. They encouraged me to dance to Hindi tunes, I remember. And aunty, Khursheed ka amma, fed me lovely birianis, lachar parotha and meat cooked by her loving hands. Those were happy days as I grew up with songs and music of Lata, Hemanta, Md. Rafi, Geeta Dutt, Shaeed Ludhinavi and other greats like S D Barman; and also read Bengali grammar with Tagore’s story books for good childhood measure!
Great singers, actors, music composers & great philosophers’[ii] writers & poets in each state reflected our post-1947 rich Indian heritage. What synergy should follow! When I came of age and heard John F. Kennedy’s inaugural speech and understood Nehru’s first speech in free India’s Parliament, I preferred Nehru’s tryst with destiny and felt like a Nationalist re-born. And, when the Chinese army rolled into India in 1962, I felt so patriotic seeing the army trucks with soldiers drive down Patna Road toward Siliguri and NEFA. I threw flowers at the army trucks with my boarding school friends in Hazaribagh. Tears swelled up and I prayed to the Almighty that our brave soldiers returned safe. Our current PM must have felt likewise.
In any event we got a solid beating and the Chinese suddenly withdrew are issues I learnt much later with pathos. Similar wonderment struck me in 1965 when the Pakistan Generals attacked us and Lal Bahadur Shastri stood up like a behemoth, or so I thought especially after his tragic death. I began to fathom war, devious subjugation and treachery with the 1971 Bangladesh War. Mrs. Indira Gandhi did me so proud then. Sadly, unlike Mao’s legacy to the Chinese, “Indira is India; India is Indira” has quietly faded away. But my memories of Mr. Shastri and Mrs Gandhi still do me proud. Distressingly in these pandemic blues from early 2020 till 2021, I have not sensed fortitude. Instead, I have discerned impulsiveness, irritation and annoyance cloud decision-making processes at micro and macro levels.
- Gandhi & Panchyati Raj in India: – Beginning from Nehru, up to and including Vajpayee, most of our PMs died tragically. P.V. Narasimha Rao had a natural death but even in death he was disgraced by his own political party, who refused to have him cremated in Delhi. Like many of our PMs, most parents of the Baby Boomer Generation, also never saw the India of their dreams emerge in their lifetimes. If only Gandhi’s brutal tragic death had not happened. If only Gandhi had trained his successors to imbibe life management techniques to the Indian people. All the plus points of building a sound nation with balanced families are reflective and indicated in his small book- Hind Swaraj–on India’s Home Rule!
Today, literate Indians include many in India and many respectable intellectuals wagging their tails from Oxford/Cambridge/Harvard. They have excelled abroad but left management of India in ‘safer hands’ of our short-sighted & half-baked in-fighting politicians. We have leaders & thinkers who interpret that non-violence and cowardice can go together; who build barriers among religions & cultures that are inimical to the inclusive Indian thought processes that reflect Gandhi. We have sadly youth propelled by wants of the much needed Smartphone and social media more than mastering life-saving empowered skill sets. To be fair, like Mao, Lenin, Mandela emerged in their countries through a series of historical antagonistic & non-antagonistic contradictions; similarly the Indian sets of contradictions had emerged Gandhi to control and contain Indian peoples’ development from 1920s. However, post 1947, cultural development within India with incompetent Ruling Elite in governance, created disintegration in regional developments. Like the Chinese and KMT contradictions in 1930s till 1949, we are witnessing the Rule of defiant Warlords in our federal make-over. The prime losers in this game of one-upmanship are the intellectually underdeveloped Indian People. Historical perspective is needed to empathise with our catastrophe to make amends.
Gandhi in his Hind Swaraj (1908) had said of True Civilization, “India is still, somehow or other, sound at the foundation…Civilization is that mode of conduct which points out to man the path of duty. Performance of duty and observance of morality are convertible terms. To observe morality is to attain mastery over our mind and our passions. So doing we know ourselves…” It is quite evident Gandhi’s successors did not practice what he preached. They hijacked him. Something went badly wrong and post the electoral 2021 polls, the contradictions are becoming more federally antagonistic between the Centre and the State.
Gandhi was possibly assuming the simplicity of Indians to sustain beyond 1947 and hoping his mandated Indian Leaders/Ruling Elite would proactively rise to the occasion. A critique of Gandhi however, could dispute this idea that by 1945, Gandhi had had far too many other raging human capital management issues that took his time and resources. For example, why did he choose Nehru over Patel as PM of India? And how could he agree to the (heart-wrenchingly devastating) partition of India, without foretelling the consequences? Many questions remain mysterious, including his untimely death. This small book Hind Swaraj, capturing his world views in 1908, needs varied interpretation with unconditional objectivity for relevance beyond the cacophony of arguments and counter arguments from our jabbering political parties. Someone needs to attend to this task.
Did our post 1947 deviations occur due to absence of leaders like Churchill, Mao, Stalin, and Eisenhower- each of who ignited the fire in the bellies of their peoples? What went wrong with our micro management programs in 1947-52, when Nehru was creating national policies on economic growth, education and other sub-plots? We never lacked great Engineers (Sir M. Visvesvaraya KCIE FASc), Jurists (Mr. M.C.Chagla) and Educationists (Dr.V.K.R.V.Rao/Triguna Sen.)
But why, in 2021, is there only one doctor per 3,700 odd people in UP, with even lesser ratio in its rural areas? Why, after 74 years, does India have square pegs in the executive (Centre), bureaucracy (babus) and legislature (politicians) of governance? Germany does not! Is this why our current PM is always criticising the past? For 7 years he has been sitting on Delhi’s masnad. But do the people of India find any difference between his rule and those of his illustrious predecessors? It is sad but ironical that- whereas Gandhi emphasized on self-transformation; our leaders have always erroneously emphasized social transformation. The former ensures self-reliance; the latter relies upon subsidy.
Panchyati raj has been part of our village community for centuries. But our politicians have transformed panchyati raj system into caste, creed and religious divides. In 2021 it is MNREGA, much like a dole for being alive- as PL480 was in the late 1960s! Local fiefdoms control Indian districts. State Warlords govern post election after election, on false promises. They are all descendants of the same wolf pack! This has been the sustaining quality of India’s Ruling Elite. The politicians, with their governing businessmen, opted for unscientific material (worldly) activities instead of spiritual as the Indian psyche demanded and Gandhi so clearly understood. Unlike the Chinese who drove their peoples into integrated community behaviour, post 1947 our Indian Ruling Elite drove our peoples to the dream world of mainly romantic movies and alcoholic shops instead. I am astounded at the huge Qs outside Wine Shops before lockdowns! If divine grace is our only salvation, then Nehru, his successors and the current incumbent, have run all the way to the vote banks with divine halos of different dimensions on their providential heads. They were blessed indeed!
Currently, there are many conspiracy theories floating round on Dr. Faucci and his medical team, the Wuhan Lab and how the new vaccines may implant more complications than solutions to world peoples’ woes. But I wish to share that the ‘desecration’ of Gandhi within my nation by our clueless Ruling Elite and selling of this great man as a Divine Saint abroad, may be part of a larger unconscious but mischievously competent conspiracy theory also. Nehru may have been the first of silent political opportunists; but his successors, including the current dispensation, are not without greed, falsehood and perjury either. They are committed to establish a more protective nation state to counter what they perceive as “reactionary anti-national forces”. If Nehru had been more Gandhian than secular, Gandhi’s emphasis on integrated community behaviour could have, by 2020, evolved into a global matrix of life and livelihood to combat many challenges including preparedness for this Covid 19 virus. We could have beaten the Chinese in their game with our own better version of dialectical materialism! But our self-serving Ruling Class never believed in non violent general revenue improvement programs (GRIPs). Gandhi did. Since 1947, unique Indian models of personal revenue improvement programs (PRIPs) have been scaled up to loot the nation. Penniless Political leaders of yesterday are flaunting their chauffeur driven cars today. Even as $billions are siphoned off national accounts; the democratic people of India are clueless.[iii]
The pragmatic considerations woven in the 20 small chapters of Gandhi’s “Hind Swaraj or Indian Home Rule”[iv] written in 1908, were never adequately researched upon. “Real rights are a result of performance of duty”– rights Indian leaders have never earned till now. Everyone in executive, bureaucracy & legislature is insisting on rights (passage for corruption).. But nobody entrusted with governance of the Indian Peoples’ future, is thinking of duties. And, with exception of a few balanced citizens and perhaps the Judiciary, every vested interest is fighting it out in the media over rights the duties of which they never perform- as family, profession & community members. Dr. Ambedkar and his team, with all their infinite wisdom, could never imagine such rabid 2021 scenes.
No attempts were made by followers of Gandhi to interpret and apply his down-to-earth thoughts sensibly. My peer group hail Gandhi as a Great Leader: the Leader of Leaders! But for me he singularly failed to build new leaders who had abilities to listen, delegate, and create newer leaders. Gandhi had empathy, ownership but his management by anticipation to err in choosing the right leaders created for India a very perilous journey. This 2021 maze makes this real!
With such discouragement and lack of creativity of the Ruling Class, India has continued to produce Mr. & Mrs. Know Alls who do not know they know nothing since 1950s. Mortally spineless & blissfully corrupt square pegs sit in round holes of executive, legislature & bureaucracy. The sacred Souls of the Naked Fakir and Strongman Patel- are surely nose-diving in embarrassment. Is my beloved country then beyond redemption?
The Chinese, on the other hand, had their “Thoughts of Mao” to fall back upon. Their leaders wove the dynamics of revolutionary self-development into their people through Mao’s guidance relevant to their psyche. Debates and resolutions followed. Trained Generations makes the world marvel at Chinese progress in 2021. Indian leaders denied the nuances of the “Hind Swaraj”- its richer undertones of soul force over brute; realistic interpretations of world situations; guiding explanations of passive resistance, civility and character development- there were no debates and resolutions. And in so doing, the Indian Ruling Elite took the easy way out. They repressed the Indian people’s fundamental rights for decade after decade. We are beset with millions of lumpen Useless Class with aspirations but no inspirations. The only way left for state governors in sync with Centre is to use force upon the clueless emotionally disturbed people. The desired half-baked results follow! Unlike the Chinese, us Indians never understood that smooth seas skilful sailors never make.
This is how our rulers loot national wealth on the one hand & subjugate development of national human capital with the other. My peer group in Japan, England, Holland, China and America rode upon waves & waves of relative growth since end of WWII. But my Indian brethren denied the simple lesson of control over the mind that Gandhi imbibed, are unable to feel as free like the king whose very glance withers the enemy. Can the Indian peoples, from Kanyakumari to Kashmir, from Nagaland to Mumbai, cease to cooperate with passive resistance against emerging undemocratic future atrocities? [But passive resistance of farmers around Delhi seems to have reached rock bottom with an unrelenting Centre! I have no competence over this issue, however].
The genesis of our Covid & allied misfortunes may be identified in chapters on “Passive Resistance” and “Education” explained in Hind Swaraj. Briefly, in its “A word of explanation” Gandhi states this book can be put in the hands of even a child. It teaches the gospel of love in place of that of hate. It replaces violence with self-sacrifice. It puts soul force against brute force. There are 20 interesting chapters in this small 96 page booklet covering diverse topics from the then Congress, its officials, the partition of Bengal, the condition of England, the condition of Hindus and Mahomedans, what is true civilisation, how can India become free, education, what is Swaraj…and ten other useful chapters. Indian Thought Leaders must revisit this book.
The book contains testimonials by several contemporary men including Max Mueller, Thomas Munro and others. It is a rare book compiled when Gandhi was returning from London to South Africa and “written with some degree of confidence” to condemn modern civilization. In 1921, Gandhi admitted he was not attempting to aim at the Individual Swaraj described in the book because “I know India is not ripe for it…such is my conviction for today; my corporate activity is undoubtedly devoted to the attainment of Parliamentary Swaraj in accordance with the wishes of the people of India”, who, as per Gandhi’s own assessment, did not then possess “the simplicity & renunciation” to go beyond the quest for non violence, to be in harmony with nature.
Post 1947 Gandhi had good intentions of hand-holding the people of India to live more meaningfully; that he could not is a historical tragedy of highest proportions.
- Why India Failed Gandhi: – In 2021, with Artificial Intelligence staring at glued-to Smartphone- Indians, today’s Young Indian mind dynamics cannot accept the messages in Hind Swaraj as relevant & consequential. This is a by product of the herculean donation of our Ruling Classes, in collaboration with indigenous and foreign vested interests who loot $billions from India every month. Our mind content has been brainwashed and so our behaviour is antithesis to national development!
But were the contents of this great book innovatively explained in schools and colleges of India with reference to their historical relevance from 1947 onwards, we would have perhaps had better discipline and self-reliance with a galaxy of made not born leaders in 2021. At least two generations of Indians would have emerged as parents, teachers and politicians with experiential learning within the matrix of productive integrated community living. Imagine the free of cost trainers all over the country! This would have been much like but different in practice from the successful commune system in China. Instead we have the cartoons & jokers as our leaders now, whose role models and lethargy bring spiralling disaster for millions of our growing migrating youth.
Having studied Mao’s Little Red Book as part of my post graduate studies, I can vouchsafe had Gandhi’s book become a compulsory curriculum in our education system post 1947, alert & self-reliant young Indians would be competing contemporary Chinese with flying colours. We may have resolved the border dispute with mutual consent for peace & tranquillity by now. PM Vajpayee had commented “you can ignore your friends but not your neighbours”. But we have ignored his counsel.
Gandhi’s little book syncs with what is essentially Indian; much as Mao’s book does with the Chinese. In China there is compulsion (with defiance perhaps?). In India, Hind Swaraj could have become conviction with compliance. Nothing is possible without struggle. Whereas the Chinese emphasized commune behaviour, Indian thinking goes deeper- into self-realization & divinity – issues antithetical to foreign cultures. May be it would have taken decades to master what Gandhi contemplated. But with time and innovative followers, India could have mastered some of the critical issues better 74 years later, in 2021 surely?
The greedy Ruling Elite of India, in collusion with its mindless cohorts, lackey businessmen & henchmen, are unrepentant and very haughty indeed. They understand purchasing power. They take to Marketing and Advertising like fish to water. They are a depraved lot of greedy short-term self seekers unable to see the part for the whole. For them, unlike Civil Engineer Sir Visheshwaria, Jurist Chaghla, educationists Rao & Sen, the map was always the territory. Like frogs holed in deep wells, the Indian Ruling Class only see small portion of the huge open sky up above. Sadly, the middle and lower class children emulate similar impossible aspirations, displaying erratic behaviours. Gandhi has been made an unattainable God like figure, whose divinity has been sold to wean empathy from foreign leaders. But, at home, in their internal policies, the same ruling classes have been violent. The scrap percentage of GDP invested in Health Care over 7 decades is in sharp contrast to the huge $70 billion invested in defences for ‘self protection’. Unbalanced priorities!
This is why many Indians rue the fact that a disciplined army under Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose may have been purposefully prevented in 1947 from taking over the reins of Delhi’s masnad. Nehru and his group, in innocent collusion with western reactionaries, did not spare any opportunity to convert India into divinely secular. It is a pity a madman assassinated Gandhi when he did. Tragic games of contradictions, nasty play of the yin and yang occurred on my peoples.
In Hind Swaraj, page 29, under “Conditions in England” (Chapter V). Gandhi had coincidentally written “The Prime Minster (of UK in 1908) is more concerned about his power than the welfare of Parliament. His energy is more concerned about the success of his party. His care is not always that Parliament shall do right. Prime Ministers are known to have made Parliament do things merely for party advantage. All this is worth thinking over” and “I can have nothing against Prime Ministers, but what I have seen leads me to think that they cannot be considered really to be patriotic”. They may be honest by not taking bribes “but are open to subtler influences. In order to gain their ends, they certainly bribe people with honours. I do not hesitate to say that they have neither real honesty nor a living conscience”. The similarity between 1908 and the 21st century, separated by more than a century, comes across to me something more than a happenstance.
“You can fool some of the people all the time; entire people some of the time; but not all the people all the time.”- Napoleon also lived through tough times in late 18th & early 19th centuries. He struggled, succeeded, failed, was imprisoned and finally, slowly poisoned by the British in the Isle of Elba. He was a rare person who understood the value of what he said. There was no guise in his personality, family background and education. In contrast, our mysterious Indian politicians shower us with hyperboles that are fooling us all the time! In the meanwhile, pandemic fills up hospitals, crematoriums and limits supply of Oxygen! The Gods Failed for Divine India. Our politicians have verily placed us between the Devil and the Deep Sea in 2021! Another set of Karmic Blues for the Indian Peoples.
- The beaten Indian Peoples: – Given the persistent silence by the Indian peoples & their bovine agility to accept “divine retribution’ as part of karma, it appears we just do not have the audacity to respond as Gandhi would have in these pandemic circumstances. We sustain dishonesty as we make money from dead bodies, oxygen, hospital beds, and vaccine. Our mysterious leaders avoid disaster mitigation till the last minute. At personal levels many, many ordinary Indians & Caregivers have exemplified role-plays with inconceivable sacrifice since 2020. Their little nameless unremembered acts of kindness & of love represent the People of India.
At governance levels, consider the inertia of our bureaucracy which must be seen to be believed in these pandemic times. They still display the “koi hai”, “pension milega”; “topee pehnao” scowls on their faces. The successive Indian Ruling elite with their lackeys have sensationally & viciously broken the spine of the Indian peoples through this pension wielding bureaucracy. The sight of sustained unprecedented medical emergency in Covid 19 times where whole of Indian society is running from pillar to post, from police station to crematoriums, is unforgettable.
And from an interview engaging Dr. Ashish K. Jha, world renowned public health specialist, Dean of Brown University (USA), in conversation with Mr. Shekhar Gupta of PRINT[v] in early May 2021, apprehensions that the GoI and the State Governments have still not got their acts together even in May 2021, appear ominous.
Do we always lack adequate Human Capital Development plans and Quick Response Time Management at the PMO level, devoid of periodic PERT/CPM overviews? In these crisis times are skeletons falling out as spectacles involving-
- Our inadequate financial planning & investment policies
- Our uncharted & undefined education systems where children are taught to look for a job even before they have learnt the basics of struggle in life and understanding Nature sensitivity
- Our instinctive currying favour with the powers that be (in school, college, higher studies, jobs) – a natural flaw in character emulated at all levels of bureaucracy and politicians.
- A description of Our Mental Asylum: –“Unceasing deaths-Economic and social distress-Psychological trauma: Never in living memory were Indian citizens more hapless. Never was there an absolute absence of hope. Never was India’s leadership more cruel and callous towards citizens. Several commentators have blamed the ‘system’ for the massacre caused by the corona virus pandemic, without underlining the failure of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, without naming the man behind the mayhem. They refuse to acknowledge that governance and administration do not operate in vacuum; these are led by specific personalities. The Modi government took little steps to build India’s health infrastructure, declared a false victory over the virus, celebrated Kumbh and went ahead with election rallies when the disease was spreading fast… The Covid pandemic has provided the clinching evidence. While India’s richest increased their wealth by 35 per cent during the lockdown, the pandemic pushed 75 million Indians into poverty in 2020. The number should be considerably higher this year. Amid this, the Indian government has ensured that its citizens will have to pay the world’s highest price for the vaccine in private hospitals, even when the richest European countries are providing it free to their citizens.”- Wrote India’s PRINT magazine (edited by honourable journo Shekhar Gupta) on 30th April, 2021.
I had stated in an earlier article that in pandemic times, it is not illogical for us to sometimes believe our environment is actually a Large Mental Asylum! The basic principle & practices of management involving timely and regular program evaluations and reviews (PERT) are ignored to cause immeasurable harm to our future generations. This is due entirely short term problem solving measures. Pandemic times are really weird because all the inadequate money guzzling public finance projects collapse like pack of cards. But in so doing this Mother of all Crises offers us a historical opportunity- to distinguish illusion from reality and to say “thus far and no further” to our inept rulers. It is no longer the Economics Stupid; it’s how effectively we manage our Brains in this 21st century.
The coup de grâce of this assertion is all-dependant on the mind awareness of readers, especially our youth. Sadly, youth are justifiably sold on the Smartphone which they too take like fish to water. Gates, Zuckerberg and Apple have algorithmically synchronised this apparatus to pamper our brains. Decades of being sold sensuous channels, theatres and movies may have closed minds altogether!!
We have never been trained to keep minds open like a parachute. If a parachute does not open, we know the catastrophe. Do we apprehend catastrophe of tsunamic proportions in the world and India? Warlords are openly fighting one another in our country under the Constitution. Either this sacred frame of Book or our legislators have outlived the times we live in. We must decide because very soon a huge Useless Class will emerge. Artificial Intelligence will be in control of the ruling elite and their loyal, self-serving businessmen. Gandhian Divinity having gone for a total toss, Indians must seek avenues of life-fulfilment. Mandated integrated community behaviour is one remedy.
If we finally recover from this 2021 Covid mismanagement Shock, can lessons of Hind Swaraj be creatively introduced by our Leaders in our curriculum for rigorous practice & character building? Hopefully Gandhi still lives in our memories. A recession of grave proportions will kill another 20% of our population in a few years from 2021. And sheer inactivity will ensure Malthus’ flattening of demography. For last three years our economic growth has been abysmal. The world is watching and bungling may have raised their curiosity even more. Will the Chinese then continue to be always right and my beloved country India, always wrong because of compounded errors by a vicious Ruling Elite?
- Leadership-what is your idea? -We downplay Mr. Rahul Gandhi often. The young man has his issues with communications no doubt. The sustained failure of the Congress Dynasty is not wholly his creation either. But the 58” chest he often refers to indicate a body language inappropriate for a leader in such emergencies as we are experiencing now. Unfortunately the Constitution never envisaged a medical emergency nor crafted ways & means out of a fixation such as we are in 2020-21. Our Prime Minister, within his bounded rationality, is also constrained by theories of international conspiracy involving Greater Stakeholders with $billions. But instead of in-fighting, some leader has to give priority to nation building now. Can this happen and if it cannot, can it be made to happen?
Should not a duly mandated Independent Forum be constituted by the Executive to ask ALL our stakeholders from the district, village levels, and bureaucracy to Parliament, if empowered leaders are exhibiting inappropriate leadership styles with reference to following set of symptoms-?
- Do they opt between being an autocrat or a democrat
- Do they possess only certain personality traits
- Do they opt for only one ideal leadership style suited for all occasions
- Are they doing things right or doing the right things.
- Do they set great value on group participation, mutual goal setting, open & linked communication, team building
- Are they surrounded by the right resource persons and listen to opponents as well?
Our empowered leaders may be thinking more in terms of results than activities. Are ministerial and other meetings by secretaries’/state/district levels just one-way traffic; where the decisions do not move to where the competence lies? Are our political parties as good as the people in it? Is man a lazy bag of bones in spite of his added responsibilities? Can Women be better administrators than Indian men? Our PM and Chief Ministers do possess remarkable qualities. But their culpabilities are reflective in the management of the current Covid Blues & other constitutional bottlenecks. Is Gandhi’s India filled with citizens with resilience/flexibility to passively live through all kinds national Tsunamis? We are asking many, many questions in these worst of times.
- My take on Divine Blues & Earthly Reality: –Thus perhaps Paramahansa Yogananda of Yogananda Satsang Society had prudently advised “a divine plan exists and…It is beautiful and full of joy.”
But what joy have we septuagenarians experienced in India despite practicing to deliver as best as possible in our careers? Have those joys been temporary as we experienced the pains of governance? Hence, unlike the Chinese and the Europeans, is our salvation confined to yogasanas and trying to live with the Himalayan masters? (This is another advantage taken by the vicious Ruling Elite of India to market India and subdue its peoples). In globalised world, “religion has become the opium of the masses” which inevitably leads to objective inactivity.)
I have been glued to this book “Living with the Himalayan Masters” by Swami Rama, printed by the Himalayan Institute, India (2015). In its VIII of XIV chapters, titled “Jesus in the Himalayas”, Swamiji says on the highest state of enlightenment-the senses must be well controlled, withdrawn from the objects of the world; “a perfect state serenity is necessary with very firm convictions to establish a definite philosophy of life. All this- whatever you see in the world- is unreal because of its constantly changing nature. Reality is hidden behind all these changes.”
- Is our pandemic experience part of this “unreal” though the nature of exploitation remains unchanged? Is this the karma we are destined to go through in life? Then must principles and practices of management be made more divine for a stronger India?
- Conclusion: – HIND SWARAJ manifests all that is truly Indian. It is very evident our Leaders have misunderstood Gandhi; instead displayed powerful variants of demotivation to lead the Indian People. Their Capability Maturity Model is incapable to reduce the Gap-Analysis of the “as-is: to-be” management socio-economic model for India.
Indians never seek ornamental love from crafty political leaders; they seek genuineness with self-sacrifice for better change. In the final analysis, faith is what matters to Indians- faith in the family, in the leaders and in the Gods that always fail. But most poetically faith that Gandhi was not altogether an impossible dream. That someday, he can and will become our National Character.
[i] If our current PM was in my place, perhaps they would have called him “Nauru”? (cf. page 3)
[ii] Ramanna Maharishi, JD Krishnamurthy, Anandmoyee Ma, Yogananda, Swami Rama with Gandhi are few of many whose moral overtones have been ignored by our Ruling Elite in planning & character development of Independent India. (cf. page 4)
[iii] PRIPs= Personal Revenue Improvement Programs. Conceptually much expanded in my book “Principles & Practices of Management (S.Chand/Vikas Publishing House, 2011-available over Amazon, kindle). (cf. Page 6)
[iv] M. K. Gandhi, “Hind Swaraj or Indian Home Rule” (Navajivan Publishing House, Ahmedabad-380 014) is a very powerful small pamphlet, smaller in size, weight and content than one other but less powerful book- “Mao’s Thoughts”. Its 96 pages are woven with “self-purification and more self-purification” in all aspects of life. Nehru ignored this book from India’s education curriculum shunned his Bapu’s Thoughts and the rest is Indian history. (cf. Page 6)
[v] https://youtu.be/ccy8rbAJ_iO (cf. Page 9)
Prof. Partho S. Sengupta from fringes of Calcutta!
Behavioral Sciences Area/Master – NLP Trainer/Practitioner;
Former Member – Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission (BERC);
The writer can be reached at [email protected]