Category Archives: General

Exposing the Entrenched Gang at Wikipedia

Twitter thread by @Soumyadipta

Years ago, my friend and I collaborated to write an investigative article on Wikipedia.
The plan was to expose the entrenched gang of Wikipedia editors who earn money by creating and editing Wikipedia pages.

A Bollywood producer helped me with the contact of an agency. The plan was to pose as the PR agency of a relatively unknown actress and create a wiki page as per our instructions on email.

We will have email instructions predating the edits and then invoices of payments. So we will be able to prove that Wikipedia India is corrupt .  Our plan got changed along the way because we realised that Wikipedia relies heavily on publicly available news links and without them it is impossible to edit a page.
So, it was decided to remove unwanted edits from the newly created page and keep only the favourable edits.  As decided, we paid 10K to an agency to create a page of a male actor. Both me and my friend shared the amount.
The total cost of creating and keeping the page for six months was 50K.

The agency demanded an annual contract of 30K for keeping the page up and purge unwanted edits. 

We learnt that Wikipedia is a deceptive place. Nobody can go and edit a page as they like. You can edit a page but “they” reverse your edits if they don’t like them.

A gang of about 50 Indian editors are on top of a chain of editors and they have complete control over Wikipedia . The top 50 editors are mostly from IT companies with much free time on their hands and they are on Wiki the whole day.

They are on top of a chain of command. A team consists of about 10 editors. A newbie proposes an edit and a chain of command approves it and further edits it. 

The top editors are all anonymous and have enormous power because Google algorithm always rewards Wikipedia as the top page on Search.

Google changes its algorithm frequently but they used to heavily favour Wiki because it is an open source, publicly edited charity platform. 

Wikipedia gets its reflected glory from Google which translates into business for these editors

Here’s a payment structure for these Wiki editors in the command chain:
1. Top Editor: 30% (one)
2. Senior editor: 25%
3. Mid editor: 15%
4. Young editor: 10%
5. Agency: 20% 

For 2 months we kept on adding favourable edits to a page based on frivolous press releases.
Anybody working with Bollywood actors know about such PR hangouts which contain favourable but innocuous information, like the news of an unknown award or bring a youth icon etc 

Some flop films were turned into average or semi-hits at the box office.
All the information edited were complimentary & showed the page in good light.
Every time the top editors approved the edits and they were never reversed.
Even if somebody reversed it, they were brought back 

We got a lot of info.

1. The top editors make about 5 lakhs every month as “consultants”.
2. The agencies make about 3 lakh per month.
3. Students are enrolled as interns and may later on become mid-level editors.
Wikipedia is a big business opportunity, hence tightly controlled 

The Wikipedia editors ensure that all money is properly accounted for and it is electronically transferred. Tax is paid on the income as consultants.
But nowhere do they mention Wikipedia anywhere.
It’s all projected as IT related consultation of an Ad agency or a PR agency. 

Intermission: Will come back soon to update this thread. 

There is a major difference between media & Wikipedia. Here most editors mask their identity. So, it’s difficult to figure who’s attacking you. You might be a professor with a PhD on the subject but a first year student will reverse your edits if he’s higher in the hierarchy 

How does a Wiki editor climb up the ladder?

Ans: It takes years to climb up the hierarchy.

Wikipedia gives you badges, stars etc in recognition of your work.

You won’t get promotions unless you have the tacit support of the “gang”

There is a very well-known process here 

To climb up the hierarchy on Wikipedia, your edits needs to “stick”.

If your edits get reversed or deleted frequently then Wikipedia understands that you are not a talent.

This is the game that is played on the platform.

If they want you out, they will reverse your edits. 

Picture this: You do a lot of research to edit a page on Wikipedia.

Backed with data, you edit the article on Wikipedia only to find that it has been reversed the next day.

Imagine this happening to you frequently. Day after day.

You get frustrated and angry.

Right? 

This is the why new editors have left Wikipedia out of frustration.

What is the point of research and editing articles if they get deleted?

Wikipedia has a system where you can “Talk” to your “seniors” about why your edits have disappeared.

This is where the bullying happens. 

There are these “Talk” pages where you can ask why your edits have been deleted. These pages are public and the language is monitored.

It is here that the senior editors will bully you by clever usage of words.

They’ll tell you that your edits were “pretty pointless” or “vague” 

You have the liberty of re-editing or seeking help from someone else but the bullies who are trying to block your edits, will patrol your Talk pages to figure out who you are talking to and what are you saying.
If they find you intimidating, they will try to block you permanently 

As Wikipedia attaches a lot of importance to citations, they attack your citations from publicly available sources.

These editors ensure by one method or the other that their narrative on a particular page does not change.

This is mainly the case with political pages. 

It’s interesting to note that there are many Bengali and Malayali senior editors on Wikipedia who have been editing Wikipedia pages for years.

They’re staunch Leftists and their job is ensure that Wikipedia doesn’t say nice things about non-left personalities and media 

How do they vilify pages? Well that’s another interesting thing.

For personalities, they will highlight their flaws.

For example, create a separate section for an unverified allegation levelled against him just by citing a newspaper report.

But for others, they would ignore it 

For people who are known to have anti-left views, the attacks get more vicious.

They scour the internet for publicly available articles that show you in bad light. Once they get such an article, a new editor will edit and the senior editors will ensure that it sticks to the page 

It’s interesting how they organise the malicious edits.

They will form a team. Usually such teams are formed on secret chat rooms outside of Wikipedia.

They will ensure that the edits come from different locations. So it’s impossible to figure out that it’s a coordinated attack 

If seniors from Virginia, Kolkata, Vietnam, Karachi & Mumbai are saying the same thing about an article, then the edit sticks. No matter how much you try, you will not be able to modify it.
Everytime new senior editors will come and block you from editing or will reverse the edit 

I could never write the article & had to leave it half way.

Reasons:
* The actor didn’t give us written consent
* My friend quit because the agency was asking for more money
* The editor didn’t sound too excited either 

I witnessed a positive change in the actor’s online profile as Enthusiastic Wiki editors added more information and expanded the Wiki page.
His Twitter profile got verified as Twitter apparently considers Wikipedia as a credible signal to decide if an user should be verified 

I noticed a dramatic shift in the online presence of the actor. He became more active on social media & hired a PR firm to plant stories about him in the media. By this time, he has understood that if mainstream media publishes anything, Wiki editors will include it on Wiki page. 

I understood the enormous clout of Wikipedia in establishing an online image as it is the 1st page on Google search.
This Wikipedia page makes or breaks your online image.
So, I continued my research on the side about how editors rise up the ladder to the top of the command chain 

Editors start off with pages that align with their core interests (pages on cricket, medicine, IT).
Then they go on to create pages of an ongoing news: Like #CoronaOutbreak.
These pages are factual and aren’t controversial. But they establish you as an editor whose edits stick. 

Wikipedia seniors notice your contributions and start participating on your TALK pages, guiding you and basically trying to figure out who you are and what you are. 90% of these editors are anonymous. Wikipedia knows your IP address and maintains the log of every activity. 

After a few months, you start gaining more “rights” on Wikipedia. In an year or so, you become an important member of the community. You have also made friends with seniors and they consider you a friendly. This is time.
Now you turn your sights on the controversial pages. 

This is the time to start vandalising the pages of personalities that you don’t like. It can be a film star or a director or a political activist.
Usually the A-listers are protected. Like you cannot vandalise Narendra Modi’s page or Shah Rukh Khan’s page.
The seniors won’t allow 

Here are the usual victims of the Wiki editor mafia:
1. Moderately famous personalities including politicians and people with strong political views
2. New Media houses (Like @OpIndia_com)
3. Bollywood actors
4. Communal events (#DelhiRiots)
5. Terms (eg Hindutva or #JaiShriRam

As I said, Wikipedia editors come from various backgrounds but most of the seniors have a strong bias against anti-left narrative.

BJP leaders, personalities who publicly support Narendra Modi and those who speak in favour of majority Hindus often have derogatory edits approved. 

Please remember: My study pertained to Indian Wikipedia pages only. But the same pattern is seen across Wikipedia.

Wikipedia Editing is actually a game of citations from publicly available sources. The hidden cheat sheet is approving the citations that align with your narrative. 

Wikipedia is aware of this and has installed checks & balances to prevent biased behaviour among its editors. Example: There are Arbitration Forums where you can confront senior editors and any matter may be escalated to the top editors: The Moderators
Let me talk about them now. 

The Moderators are people who have the final say in Talk pages about what edits would stick and what wouldn’t.

Then there are Administrators who are like an Editor-in-Chief of a Media house. They have ultimate powers.
Currently there are 1,144 administrators of English Wikipedia 

There is documented proof about how a Wikipedia Moderator was a corrupt person.

Wikipedia had to ban the user because it was proven that he was running a mafia syndicate to favour a business house.

Wikipedia apologised after the user was outed.

The obvious question is: what are Wikipedia bosses doing about this?

The answer is: Nothing! They can’t digest the fact that their creation is slowly becoming a monster and has started altering history and promoting biased narratives.
Like a mother who thinks her son is the best!
Not many know that Wikipedia has carefully added a disclaimer admitting that their platform is biased!
Wikipedia also goes on to justify how and where the bias creeps in. But they are silent about what mechanisms they are installing to stop that bias.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Systemic_bias

Not only does ideological bias and bullying exist on Wikipedia. There has been many cases of sexual harassment and targeted gender harassment on Wikipedia. Female editors have been harassed by the gangs of male editors. Here is a documented case from 2015.

The problem with Wikipedia is: They do nothing about the ills that exist on their platform. Though Wikipedia’s founder Jimmy Wales continuously defends Wikipedia and says how great the platform is.
Co-Founder Larry Sanger has gone on record about Wikipedia’s biased narrative
A proponent of neutrality and a PhD in Philosophy, Sanger worked with Jimmy to found Wikipedia in 2001. He has left Wiki because he didn’t approve of the way Wikipedia was evolving. Again Jimmy Wales did nothing to correct course.
Jimmy doesn’t listen.

A prominent criticism of Wiki is its gender gap and unfair targeting of women public figures, eg, women of colour.

Here’s a case study of how a scientist’s page kept on disappearing from Wikipedia and the battle to restore it. There are many such cases.

https://www.chemistryworld.com/news/female-scientists-pages-keep-disappearing-from-wikipedia-whats-going-on/3010664.article

Wikipedia has done nothing to check their platform of biases that come in many forms: political narrative, gender, historical perspective, religion etc

Most complaints have emerged from Jimmy Wales’ own country.
But he has always praised his creation.

Jimmy Wales

@jimmy_wales

The complex wheels of Wikipedia grind very slowly. It is effectively the opposite of twitter in this regard. Twitter is therefore prone to angry mobs and extreme disinformation. Wikipedia can make mistakes, of course. But it is a very different environment from social media.

Its been a long thread. Thanks for reading, discussing and posting it on your timeline.

Please add your experiences in the comments section if you are (were) a Wikipedia editor.

Please ask Wikipedia to be neutral or else they are doing a disservice to humanity.

Thread closed 

వేద పాఠశాల కోసం తమ ఇంటిని దానం చేసిన శ్రీ ఎస్ పి బాలసుబ్రహ్మణ్యo

దేశవిదేశాలలో ప్రఖ్యాతిగాంచి, కోట్లాదిమంది అభిమానించే బహుభాషా గాయకుడు, సంగీత దర్శకుడు, నటుడు, ఆంకర్ పద్మభూషణ్ శ్రీ ఎస్.పి బాలసుబ్రహ్మణ్యo తమ వదాన్యతను, భారతీయ వేదవిజ్ఞ్యానం సంస్కృతులపై తమ భక్తిని చాటుకున్నారు. 40వేలకు పైగా పాటలు పాడి గిన్నిస్ రికార్డులలో నమోదైన మన తెలుగు వెలుగు, నాలుగు భాషలలో 6 జాతీయ అవార్డులు గెలుచుకున్న ఏకైక గాయకుడు. సినిమా పాటలే గాక, ఆయన ప్రైవేటుగా వెలువరించిన భక్తి సంగీతం, స్తోత్రాలు, పద్యాలు కూడా మనకు సుపరిచితమే.

https://static.asianetnews.com/images/01e0x3ta8fk16bbqfa9tynfvrk/balu-jpg.jpg

ఈ గాన గంధర్వుడు ఆంధ్రప్రదేశ్ పొట్టిశ్రీరాములు నెల్లూరు జిల్లా, నెల్లూరు పట్టణం, తిప్పరాజు వారి వీధిలోని తమ సొంత ఇంటిని, వేద పాఠశాల నిర్వహణ కోసం, శ్రీ కంచి కామకోటి పీఠాదిపతులు స్వామి శ్రీశ్రీశ్రీ జగద్గురు శంకర విజయేంద్ర సరస్వతి గారికి 12ఫిబ్రవరి 2020 తేదీన సమర్పించారు. కంచి పీఠాదిపతికి శాస్త్రోక్తంగా పూజ నిర్వహించి, భగవంతుడిని స్మరిస్తూ పద్యాలను గానం చేసి, వారికి తమ ఇంటి పత్రాలను అందించారు. వేద పాఠశాల నిర్వహణపై తదుపరి విషయాలు తర్వాత తెలియచేస్తామని కంచికామకోటి పీఠo వారు తెలియచేసారు. శ్రీ బాలుగారు ఇటువంటి పుణ్యకార్యo చేయడం అభినందనీయం. ఒకప్పుడు వారి తండ్రి గారు శ్రీసాంబమూర్తి గారు హరికథా భాగవతోత్తమునిగా, త్యాగరాజస్వామి ఆరాధనోత్సవాలు నిర్వహించిన సంగీతకారునిగా నెల్లూరులో సుప్రసిద్ధులు. శ్రీశ్రీశ్రీ విజయేంద్ర సరస్వతి, శ్రీ బాలుగారిని అభినందిస్తూ, భారతీయ వేద వాంగ్మయo, చరిత్ర ఇతిహాసాలను, శాస్త్రీయ సంగీతాలను గురించి తెలుసుకోవడం నేర్చుకోవడం మన కర్తవ్యo అని తెలిపారు.    

Civilisational Narrative – An Imperative

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s choice of Mahabalipuram for his informal meeting with President Xi Jinping has an obvious, deep significance and even a deeper message“, writes noted columnist, thinker and political commentator, Sri S.Gurumurthy.

(Courtesy: NewIndianExpress.com | Published: 11th October 2019)

It is strategic civilisational diplomacy at its symbolic best. Narendra Modi found that his second informal summit with Xi Jinping at Mahabalipuram in 2019 had been fixed 1,500 years ago by a prince of the Pallava dynasty, which ruled Mahabalipuram from Kanchipuram. The Pallava prince from Kanchipuram renounced the throne, became a Buddhist monk, known as Bodhi Dharma in India and DaMo in China, almost like how prince Siddhartha became Buddha. His guru asked him to go to Zhen Dan- today’s China.

Bodhi Dharma, who became India’s first spiritual ambassador to China, also emerged as its chief mentor. Regarded as Buddhaabdara (Buddha’s Avatar), he expounded Zen Buddhism and founded the famous Shaolin Temple in China’s Henan province.

Revered as the first Patriarch of China, the rest of the Buddhist world listed him as the 28th in line from Buddha. Modi is now reviving memories of Bodhi Dharma to position him as the icon of India’s civilisational outreach to China, which is integral to his overarching strategic civilisational diplomacy.

Bodhi Dharma’s foray was not limited to China. Popular as DaMo in China, as Dalma in Korea, Daruma in Japan, Dharmottara in Tibet, with his name echoing in Vietnam too, he ended up as India’s cultural ambassador to most of Asia. Just as Modi began gradually changing the secular narrative of India into a civilisational narrative within after his historic victory in 2014, he extended it to foreign relations as well. In 2015, he began writing a strategic Hindu-Buddhist civilisational narrative to give thrust to India’s Look East philosophy.The Mahabalipuram summit, which recalls the 5th-century DaMo today, is an important chapter in Modi’s overarching civilisational narrative to handle the relationship with China that was seriously damaged in the late 1950s and early 1960s. So, the Namo-Xi summit should be seen in the backdrop of Modi’s national strategic narrative.

Post-Independence Secular India – a civilisational orphan

With the rise of radical Islamist terror, particularly the 9/11 attack, Samuel Huntington’s view that the world would become increasingly civilisation conscious virtually binned the utopian Francis Fukuyama’s prognosis of a world free of conflicts founded on free market and liberal democracy.

The politically diverse Western nations began to be seen more as civilisationally Christian, Japan as a civilisation state and China as a civilisation pretending to be a state. But secular India continued to remain orphaned without a civilisational name and a narrative of its own.
Post-Independence India did not attempt to reinstate the national narrative it had lost due to centuries of foreign domination even after it rediscovered it during the freedom movement. Instead, it enjoyed living on borrowed narratives like secularism and socialism.

Lost in fake secularism that increasingly rested on vote-bank politics and in the failed socialism, which proved to be a global disaster, India ignored its spiritual and civilisational foundations that would have helped it develop its own national civilisational narrative. India’s distorted secularism undermined its civilisational assets. Result: India, which had become part of the universal notions of secularism and socialism, had nothing special to talk about itself.

In a seminal essay (to mark the 25th anniversary of Huntington’s clash theory) on civilisational exchanges between China and India titled “Civilisational Perspectives in International Relations and Contemporary China-India Relations”, Ravi Dutt Bajpai (Deakin University, Melbourne, Australia) asserts that India and China were both civilisation states but adds, “Although India’s ancient civilisational legacy originates from its Hindu-Buddhist religious beliefs, the constitutional secularism in the Indian polity makes it difficult for the state to flaunt a religious identity.”

Indian intellectualism was even blind to the historical fact that each materialist ideology that succeeded one another and dominated the world for the last couple of centuries increasingly had a shorter shelf life. Colonialism lasted for 200 years. Capitalism lasted100 years. Communism lasted 50 years. And globalisation has been pronounced dead by its chief proponent The Economist magazine in just 25 years. Our nation of thousands of years of these dominant thoughts sprouting, growing and, as Swami Vivekananda said, “vanishing like ripples on the face of waters, living a few hours of exultant and exuberant dominance”. India’s fate as a civilisational orphan continued even after socialism proved to be a global fiasco and secularism turned fake at home. It continued to adopt the socialist narrative for half a century and later a globalist narrative for a quarter more.

In this period, India saw Confucian China re-emerging out of communist China that violently banished Confucius for half a century. India saw ex-communist China establishing over 1,200 Confucian centres and classrooms the world over to present itself as a Confucian civilisation. It saw communist Russia turning Orthodox Christian, socialist Poland turning Roman Catholic.

Yet, it continued with its outdated and borrowed narrative that negated its own spiritual and civilisational foundation, which Mahatma Gandhi in his seminal thesis Hind Swaraj had emphasised as its unifying force. Till Modi came to power, India did not even think of making a draft national narrative for bilateral and multilateral relationship building.

National narrative- an imperative

The world which became obsessed with globalism after the Cold War, recently began rediscovering the need for a national narrative. The idea of a national strategic narrative was felt in the US in 2009. In 2011, the US government and the Woodrow Wilson International Center jointly authored a paper on the national strategic doctrine in 2011. The paper said:

A narrative is a story. A national strategic narrative must be a story that all Americans can understand and identify within their own lives. America’s national story has always see-sawed between exceptionalism and universalism. We think that we are an exceptional nation, but a core part of that exceptionalism is a commitment to universal values — to the equality of all human beings not just within the borders of the United States, but around the world.”

Later, in 2017, came a paper titled “Stories about ourselves: How national narratives influence the diffusion of large-scale energy technologies” by Joint Global Change Research Institute, United States Maryland School of Public Policy, University of Maryland.

The paper said, “A national narrative rationalises and is supported by the nation’s identity. The narrative gives citizens an awareness of their common values and characteristics as a nation; it also situates a nation among other nations as unique (at least in part). If successful, the national narrative (is) a source of pride domestically and respect from other nations…. Of course, no nation exhibits unanimity around a single story; instead, ‘we find a polyphony of voices, overlapping and crisscrossing; contradictory and ambiguous; opposing, affirming and negotiating their views of the nation.’”

National narrative is NO outdated concept. It is very much a contemporary need. Yet the Indian discourse did not attempt a national civilisational and strategic narrative for India, even though the Supreme Court had held as early as in 1995 — which it refused to review even as late as 2016 — that secular India is compatible in cultural terms with Hindu India.

Narendra Modi writes India’s national strategic narrative

Modi’s tryst with Buddha started soon after he became the Prime Minister. He saw Buddha as the civilisational face of India and Buddhism as the most effective bridge to link the culturally Hindu India with the civilisationally Buddhist Asia.

Modi has endeavoured to integrate Buddha with India’s Look East doctrine. He saw that Dharma in Hindu, Buddhist, Sikh, Jain traditions in India and Dhamma in diverse Buddhist traditions in Asia linked people of both traditions more intimately than any single or multiple state policy or pact. Cognate civilisations vault over state-erected walls to connect people with people. Modi saw the Hindu-Buddhist civilisational nexus as the most potent people-to-people link, which even the modern and ex-communist states like China could not ignore.

The Prime Minister’s strategic Hindu-Buddhist civilisational diplomacy started with his first visit to Japan in early 2015. Modi quickly roped in Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe into a joint Indo-Japan initiative of “Samvad” — Sanskrit word meaning “dialogue” — through strategic think tanks in Japan, Tokyo Foundation and Japanese Foundation, and the Vivekananda International Foundation in Delhi.

And the first Samvad of Hindu-Buddhist nations on the theme of Conflict Avoidance and Environmental Consciousness took place in September 2015. In his video address to the Samvad, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said that the idea of Dharma, which was the foundation of Japan’s rule of law, was India’s gift to Japan — a declaration emotionally more powerful than any economic or political pact.

The Samvad

The year 2015 ended with the Bodh Gaya Declaration to make it the global centre of enlightenment. The Samvad II was held in Myanmar in 2017 and Samvad III in Mongolia in September 2019. The Indian and Japanese prime ministers inaugurated each of the three Samvad meets by direct or video address.

The impact of the Modi-Abe civilisational outreach of Samvad on the Buddhist world is phenomenal. The most leading global Buddhist website, the Buddhist Door Global (BDG), which had said in 2017 that “India’s efforts at Buddhist diplomacy are not easy to accomplish”, did a U-turn in 2019 to accept Samvad as “a burgeoning, informal alliance of Buddhist Asian democracies”, adding that “Modi and his allies have been responsible for a resurgence of Buddhist diplomacy unseen in modern Indian history”.

The report concluded, “Words like conflict avoidance and environment consciousness (Samvad’s consistent conference themes) conjure a very specific mode of Buddhist action: one that always leads back to New Delhi’s very unique understanding of transnational Buddhist power.

Undoubtedly Modi has innovated a national civilisational and strategic narrative for India not just for relating to Asia but for relating to the world, by globalising and positioning Indian-Asian Buddha as the icon of his presentation at the UN recently, contrasting Buddha (enlightenment) with Yuddha (war).

As Namo invokes DaMo at Mahabalipuram

Modi’s choice of distant Mahabalipuram for his informal meeting with Xi has an obvious, deep significance and even a deeper message. Can a China that has discarded communism and begun reinstating neo-Confucianism as its national narrative and an India that has discarded the failed socialism and fake secularism and begun re-writing the national narrative in civilisational terms find their common Hindu-Buddhist civilisational roots in Mahabalipuram? Will the spirit of DaMo help Namo and Xi accomplish that will be seen this weekend and in what unfolds thereafter.

Namo’s strategy is to find positive answers to such and other questions is manifest in his choice of the venue — DaMo’s Mahabalipuram.

The civilisational link between the peoples of India and China has always been stronger than any government-to-government policy declarations. Modi’s attempt seems to be to awaken the unleveraged civilisational impulses to relate to China whose aggression in 1962 damaged India’s trust in its neighbour.

How Modi handled the Doklam issue has obviously convinced the mighty neighbour that India is no more a pushover. Namo is invoking DaMo, the deeper spiritual chord between India and China, to restore mutual trust, which will be the foundation for a stable and trustworthy India-China relationship.

Postscript: Yet another Kanchi connection to China-India relations. The Sage of Kanchi (the Shankaracharya of Kanchi) who lived for 100 years told the writer of this article in the early 1990s that India should settle the border row with China, which the Sage saw as India’s cultural ally. The writer had mentioned this in 2003 to Atal Bihari Vajpayee when as India’s Prime Minister he was going to China. It was then that the NSA-level talks commenced with China for settlement of the border dispute. Whether recalling DaMo by Namo will fulfil the desire of the Kanchi saint remains to Be seen.

(Courtesy: Sri S Gurumurthy, http://www.newindianexpress.com/opinions/columns/s-gurumurthy/2019/oct/11/will-damo-help-namo-and-xi-at-mahabalipuram-2045734.html)

Integral Humanism – Lectures of Deendayal Upadhyaya – 3

Lecture #1: https://arisebharat.wordpress.com/?p=5281

Lecture #2: https://arisebharat.wordpress.com/?p=5290

23rd April 1965

C H A P T E R- 3

Yesterday we considered man as an individual. There are different aspects of an individual personality, different levels of needs of an individual. In order to develop complete personality, to satisfy the needs progressively but simultaneously at all levels, certain specific kinds of efforts are needed. These, too, were considered. But man does not exist merely as an individual. The individual comprising of body, mind, intellect and soul as not limited to singular “I” but is also inseparably related to the plural “We”. Therefore we must also think of the group or the society. It is a simple truth treat society is a group of men. But how did society come into being? Many views have been put forward by philosophers. Those propounded in the West and on which the western sociopolitical structure is based can be broadly summarized as “society is a group of individuals brought into being by the individuals by an agreement among themselves.” This view is known as “Social Contract Theory”. Individual is given greater importance in. this view. If there are any differences in different western views, these pertain only to the questions, namely, “If the individual produced a society, then in whom the residual power remains vested, in the society or in the individual? Does the individual have the right to change the society? Can the society impose a variety or regulations on the individual and claim a right to the allegiance of the individual to itself? Or the individual is free as regards these questions?”

 Individual Versus society

There is a controversy in the West on this question. Some have opted for the society as supreme and from this a conflict has arisen. The truth is that the view that individuals have brought society into being is fundamentally incorrect. It is true that the society is composed of a number of individuals. Yet it is not made by people, nor does it come into being by mere coming together of a number of individuals. In our view society is self-born. Like an individual, society comes into existence in an organic way. People do not produce society. It is not a sort of club, or some joint stock company, or a registered co-operative society. In reality, society is an entity with its own “SELF”, its own life; it is a sovereign being like an individual; it is an organic entity.

We have not accepted the view that society is some arbitrary association. It has its own life. Society too has its body, mind, intellect and soul. Some western psychologists are beginning to accept this truth. McDougal has produced a new branch of psychology called group mind. He has accepted that the group has its own mind, its own psychology, its own methods of thinking and action. Group has its feelings too. These are not exactly similar to the individual’s feelings. Group feelings cannot be considered a mere arithmetic addition of individual feelings. Group strength too is not a mere sum of individuals’ strength. The intellect, emotions and energies, strength of a group, are fundamentally different from those of an individual. Therefore, at times it is experienced that even weakling, despite his individual weak physique turns out to be a heroic member of the society. Sometimes an individual may be ready to put up with an affront to his person, but is unwilling to tolerate an insult to his society. A person may be ready to forgive and forget a personal abuse to him, but the same man loses his temper if you abuse his society. It is possible that a person, who is of a high character in his personal life, is unscrupulous as a member of the society. Similarly an individual can be good in society but not so in his individual life. This is a very important point.

Let me give you an illustration. Once during a conversation between Shri Vinobaji and the Sarsanghachalak of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, Shri Guruji, a question arose as to where the modes of thinking of Hindus and Muslims differ. Guruji said to Vinobaji that there are good and bad people in every society. There can be found honest and good people in Hindus as well as in Muslims. Similarly rascals can be seen in both the societies. No particular society has a monopoly of goodness. However, it is observed that Hindus even if they are rascals individual life, when they come together in a group, they always think of good things. On the other hand when two Muslims come together, they propose and approve of things which they themselves in their individual capacity would not even think of. They start thinking in an altogether different way. This is an everyday experience. Vinobaji admitted that there was truth in this observation but had no reasons to explain it.

If we analyze this situation, we shall discover that the modes of thinking of an individual and of a society are always different. These two do not bear an arithmetic relation. If a thousand good men gather together it cannot be said for certain that they will think similarly of good things.

An average Indian student at present is a mild and meek young man. Compared to an average student of twenty years ago, he is weaker and milder in every way. But when a score of such students get together, the situation becomes difficult. Then they indulge in all sorts of irresponsible actions. Thus a single student appears disciplined but a group of students become undisciplined. We shall have to consider why this change comes about. This is known as mob-mentality as distinct from individual mentality. This mob-mentality is a small aspect of mind. When a group of persons collect for a short time, the collective mentality obtained in that group is known as mob-mentality. But society and social mentality evolves over a much longer period. There is a thesis is that when a group of people live together for a long time, by historical tradition and association, by continued intercourse. they begin to think similarly and have similar customs. It is true that some uniformity is brought about by staying together. Friendship arises between two persons of similar inclination. However a nation or a society does not spring up from mere co-habitation.

Why Mighty Nations Of Antiquity Perished?

It is known that some ancient nations disappeared. The ancient Greek nation came to end. Egyptian civilization similarly disappeared. Babylonian and Syrian civilizations are a matter of history. Cynthia’s perished. Was there ever a time when the citizens of those nations stopped living together? It was only the fact that there were wide differences among people that led to the downfall of these nations. The Greece in the past produced Alexander and Heredotes. Ulysis and Aristotle, Socrates and Plato and the present day Greece is inhabited by people of the same hereditary stock. There was no interruption in their heredity, because there never was a time when the whole of Greece was devoid of human population and when a new race inhabited that country. Such a thing never happened. Father and son tradition of old Greece was never interrupted. It is possible to trace the ancestry of present day Greeks to the old Greeks, some 250 to 500 generation back. Despite all the old Greek Nation is non-existent. So also the old Egyptian Nation Is no longer there. New nations have arisen in those places. How did this happen? This simple fact is indisputable, that nations do not come into existence by a mere co habitation. There was never a time in the lives of the citizens of these decadent nations, when they stopped living in a group. On the other hand Israeli Jews lived for centuries with other peoples scattered far and wide, yet they did not get annihilated in the societies in which they lived because of cohabitation. It is clear therefore that the source of national feeling is not in staying on a particular piece of land, but is in something etc.

What Is A Nation?

That source is in the goal which is put before the people. When a group of persons live with a goal and ideal, a mission, and looks upon a particular place of land as motherland, this group constitutes a nation. If either of the two-an ideal and a motherland-is not there, then there is no nation. There is a “Self” in the body, the essence of the individual; upon the severance of its relation with the body, a person is said to die. Similarly there is this idea, ideal, or fundamental principle of a nation, its soul. Although it is believed that man take birth again and again, yet the reborn person is a different individual. They are treated as two separate beings. The same soul leaves one body and enters another, but the previous and the latter are two different individuals. The end of a person is nothing but the departure of his soul from his body. The other components of the body also undergo change. From childhood to old age, there is a drastic change! The biologists tell us that in course of a few years, every cell of our body is replaced by a new one. A variety of changes takes place. Because the soul resides in the body without interruption, the body continues its existence; such a relation is known as “the law of identity” in logic. It is due to this identity that we admit the continued existence of any entity. In this connection a nice illustration of a barber’s razor is sometimes advanced. Once while shaving a customer, a barber, prided in his razor being 60 years old.

His father too had worked with the same razor. The customer was surprised especially because the handle was quite shiny and new In appearance. “Why the handle is quite shiny? How have your preserved the brightness for sixty years?” He asked. Barber too was amused with this. Is it possible to preserve the handle in a brand new appearance for sixty years? It has been replaced only six months ago”. He replied naturally. The customer was curious and asked and how old is the steel? Three years was the reply. In brief, the handle was replaced, the steel was also replaced, but the razor remained old! Its identity was intact. Similarly a nation too has a soul. There is a technique name for it. In the “Principles arid Policies” adopted by the Jana Sangh, this name is mentioned. The word is Chiti. According to McDougal, it is the innate nature of a group. Every group of persons has an innate nature. Similarly every society has an innate nature, which is inborn and is not the result of historical circumstances.

A human being is born with a soul. Human personality, Soul and character are all distinct from one another.. Personality results from a cumulative effect of all the actions, thoughts and impressions of an individual. But Soul is unaffected by this history. Similarly national culture is continuously modified and enlarged by the historic reasons and circumstances. Culture does include all those things which by the association, endeavors and the history of the society, have come to be held up as good and commendable. But these are not added on to Chiti. Chiti is fundamental and is central to the nation from its very beginning. Chiti determines the direction in which the nation is to advance culturally. Whatever is in accordance with Chiti is included in culture.

Chiti, Culture, Dharma

By way of an illustration consider the story of Mahabharat. Kauravas were defeated, and Pandavas won. Why did we hold up the conduct of Pandavas as Dharma? Or why this battle was not considered just a battle for a kingdom? The praise for Yudhistir and the dishonor heaped on Duryodhana are not a result of political causes Krishna killed his uncle Kansa, the established king of the times. Instead of branding this as a revolt, we consider Krishna as an Avatar of God, and Kansa as an Asura. Rama was assisted in his invasion of Lanka by Vibhishana, brother of Ravana. Such conduct of Vibhishana instead of being branded as treason is considered good and exemplary. He betrayed his brother and his king even as Jaichand had one later on. He might be branded as a “quisling”. But Vibhishana is not called “quisling’ by any one. On the contrary he is highly praised for his conduct, and Ravana actions are disapproved. Why so? The reason behind this is not political. If there is any standard for determining the merits and demerits of particular action, it is this Chiti; from nature whatever is in accordance with ‘Chiti’, is approved and added on to culture. These things are to be cultivated. Whatever is against ‘Chiti,’ is discarded as perversion, undesirable, is to be avoided. Chiti is the touchstone on which each action, each attitude is tested, and determined to be acceptable or otherwise. ‘Chiti’ is the soul of the nation. On the strength of this ‘Chiti’, a nation arises, strong and virile if it is this ‘Chiti’ that is demonstrated in the actions of every great man of a nation.

An individual is also in instrument in bringing forth the soul of the nation “Chiti”. Thus apart from his own self, an individual also represents his nation. Not only that, but he also mans the various institutions that are created for the fulfillment of the national goal. Therefore he represents these too. The groups larger than nation such as “mankind” are also represented by him. In short, an individual has a multitude of aspect, but they are not conflicting; there is co-operation. unity and harmony in them. A system based on the recognition of this mutuality complementary nature of the different ideals of mankind, their essential harmony, a system which devises laws, which removes the disharmony and enhances these mutual usefulness and co-operation, alone can bring peace and happiness to mankind; can ensure steady development.

“Institution”- A Means To Fulfill National Needs

According to Darwin’s theory, living beings develop various organs as per the requirements dedicated by the circumstances. In our shastras, it was stated slightly differently, that the soul constructs, using the strength of “Prana'”, various organs as the need is felt, for the purpose of continuing life. Just as the soul produced these different organs in the body, so also in the nation many different organs are produced as instruments to achieve national goals. Like various departments in a factory, building, machinery, sales, production, maintenance etc. nations also produce different departments, which are called institutions. These institutions are created to fulfill the needs of a nation. Family, castes, guilds, (which are now known as trade unions)etc., are such institutions. Property, marriage are also institution. Formerly there were no marriages. Later on some Rishi established this practice of marriage.

He produced the institution of marriage. Similarly Gurukul and Rishkul were institutions. In the same way, the state is also an institution. The Nation creates it. A lot of trouble in the West is due to the fact that they confused the state with the nation, they considered the state synonymous with the nation. Truly speaking, nation and state are not the same. In our country, the state was produced as per social contract theory. Formerly there was no king. Mahabharat describes that in Krityuga, there was no state or king. Society was sustained and protected mutually by practicing Dharma.

Later on interruption and disorganization came into existence. Greed and anger dominated. Dharma was on the decline and the rule “might is right” prevailed. The Rishis were perturbed over the developments. They all went to Brahma to seek counsel, Brahma gave them a treatise on “Law and the Functions of the State”, which he had himself writer. At the same time, he asked Manu to become the first King. Manu declined saying that a king will have to punish other persons, put them in jail and so on; he was not prepared to commit all these sins. There upon Brahma said, your actions in the capacity of king will not constitute sin, a long as they are aimed at securing conditions under which the society can live peacefully and according to Dharma. This will be your duty, your Dharma. Not only that but You will also have a share of the Karma of your subjects, whereby you will gain Dharma considerably if your subjects maintain conduct according to Dharma. Although it is not explicitly stated here, but I believe that if the society under any king committed sin, a part of that too must automatically go to the account of the king. It is not proper if only good things are shared by the king and not the bad ones; both must be shared in the same proportion.

Thus state came into existence as a contract. This contract theory can be applied to the state but not to the nation. In the West, it was exactly opposite. Society as a nation, according to them was a contract, but the king claimed a divine right and proclaimed himself the sole representative of God. This is wrong. In our Country, the king may have been first recognized in antiquity but the society as a nation is considered self-born. State is only an institution. Similarly other institutions, like the state, are created from time to time as the need is felt. Every individual is a limb of one or more of these institutions. A person is a member of his family, as well as his community; he may also be a member of some association of his fellow professionals, if he pursues a profession. Above all he is a member of the nation and society. If we consider even larger sphere he is a member of the whole mankind, and then the entire universe, Truly speaking an individual is not merely a single entity but a plural entity. He is a part of not just one, but a member of many institutions. He lives a variety of lives. The most important aspect, is that despite this multiple personality, he can and should behave in a way which does not bring different aspects of his life into mutual conflict but which is mutually sustaining, complementary and unifying. This quality is inherent in man.

A person who uses this quality properly, becomes happy and on the other hand one who does not do so, reaps unhappiness. Such a person will not have balanced development in the life. As an illustration, a man is son of his-another, husband of his wife, brother of his sister and father of his son. A single individual is a father and is also a son, he is brother and also husband. he has to maintain all these relation with intelligence, understanding and tact. Where a person fails to do so, there is conflict. If he sides with one party the other feels wronged. The conflicts between his wife and his sisters, his wife and mother result from his inability to behave properly. There upon some of his relations are strained. He is pained because his duties towards his mother and towards his wife clash. When he can resolve this conflict, and fulfill all his obligations properly, it can be said that his development will be integrated.

Society and Individual not conflicting

We do not accept the view that there is any permanent inevitable conflict among the multifarious personality of an individual, and different institutions of the society. If a conflict does exist, it is a sign of decadence perversion and not of nature or culture. The error in western thinking lies in that some people there believe that human progress is a result of this fundamental conflict. Therefore they consider the conflict between the individual and the state as a natural occurrence, on the same basis they also theorized on the class conflict. Classes do exist in a society. Here too, there were castes, but we had never accepted, conflict between one caste and another as fundamental concept behind it. In our concept of four castes, they are thought of as analogous to the different limbs of Viratpurusha. It was suggested that from the head of the Virat-Purusha Brahmins were created, Kshatriyas from hands, Vaishyas from his abdomen and Shudras from legs. If we analyze this concept we are faced with the question whether there can arise any conflict among the head, arms, stomach and legs of the same Virat Purusha. If conflict is fundamental, the body cannot be maintained. There cannot be any conflict in the different parts of the same body. On the contrary “one man” prevails. These limbs are not only complementary to one another, but even further, there is individual unity. There is a complete identity of interest identity of belonging. The origin of the caste system was on the above basis. If this idea is not kept alive; the castes, instead of being complementary, can produce conflict. But then this is distortion. It is not a systematic arrangement, rather it is absence of any plan, any arrangement. This is indeed the present condition of our society.

This process of deterioration can set in the various institutions of a society due to a variety of reasons. If the soul of the society weakens, then all the different limbs of the society will grow feeble and ineffective. Any particular institution may be tendered useless or even harmful, besides the need and the usefulness of any particular institution may change with time, place and circumstances. While examining the present state of an institution we ought at the same time, to think of what it should be like; mutual complementary and a sense of unity, alone can be the standards of proper conduct. Family, Community, Trade Union, Gram Panchayat, Janapada, State and such other institutions are various limbs of the nation and even of mankind. They are interdependent, initially complementary. There should be a sense of unity through all of them. For this very reason, there should be a tendency toward mutual accommodation in them instead of conflict or opposition.

State is one of the several institutions, an important one, but it is not above all other. One of the major reasons for the problems of the present day world is that almost everyone thinks of the state to be synonymous with the society. At least in practice, they consider the state as the sole representative of the society. Other institutions leave declined in their effectiveness while the state has become dominant to such an extent that all the powers are gradually being centralized in the state. We had not considered the state to be the sole representative of the nation. Our national life continued uninterruptedly even after the state went in the hands of foreigners. The Persian nation came to an end with their loss of independence. In our country, there were foreign rules now and then in various parts of the country. At the sometime the Pathans seized the throne of Delhi, and then the Turks; the Mughals and the British too established their rules. Despite all this, our national life went on, because the state was not its centre. If we had considered state as the centre, we would have been finished as a nation long time ago. In some tale for children, it is described that an evil spirit resided in some parrot and to kill the evil spirit one had to kill that parrot. Those nations whose life centered in the state, were finished with the end of the state. On the other hand, where state was not believed central to its life, the nation survived the transfer of political power. This had its effects also. Late Dr. Ambedkar had said that our Gram Panchayats were so strong that we neglected the throne of Delhi. We did not remain alert as regards the state. as much as we ought to have done, thinking that nation’s life did not depend on the state. We forgot that, though it may not be central, the state is definitely an important institution serving some needs of the nation, just as a limb of the body. It is possible to pluck a hair without much harm but along with the hair, if some skin is also removed, and a little further, if the head too is cut off, then there will be great loss for the body. Therefore the body must be protected. Although the various limbs of the body are not absolutely indispensable yet each of them serves an important purpose. From the same standpoint, state, too, should have been deemed important in the life of a nation. There were persons who attended to this aspect. It was for this reason that the great teacher of Shivaji, Samarth Ramdas Swami, directed him to establish his kingdom. Dharma wields its own power. Dharma is important in life. Shri Ramdas would as well have preached to Shivaji to become a mendicant and spread Dharma following his own example. But on the contrary, he inspired Shivaji to extend his rule, because state too, is an important institution of the society. However, to consider something important is different from saying that it is supreme. The state is not supreme. The question arises, then, that if the state is not of fundamental importance, what is that is absolutely important. Let us consider this question.

Dharma Sustains the Society

We shall have to examine the reasons why the state was established. No one will dispute that the state must have some specific aim, some ideal. Then this aim or ideal must be considered of highest importance rather than the state which is created to fulfill this ideal. A watchman is not deemed greater than the treasure he supposed to protect, nor is a treasure. The state is brought into existence to protect the nation: produce and maintain conditions in which the ideals of the nation can be translated into reality. The ideals of the nation constitute “Chiti”, which is analogous to the soul of an individual. It requires some effort to comprehend Chiti. The laws that help manifest and maintain Chiti of a Nation are termed Dharma of that nation. Hence it is this “Dharma” that is supreme. Dharma is the repository of the nation’s soul. If Dharma is destroyed, the Nation perishes. Anyone who abandons Dharma betrays the nation.

Dharma is not confined to temples or mosques. Worship of God is only a part of Dharma. Dharma is much wider. In the past, temples have served as effective medium to educate people in their Dharma. However just as schools themselves do not constitute knowledge, so also temples do not constitute Dharma. A child may attend school regularly and yet may remain uneducated. So also, it is possible that a person may visit temple or mosque without break and yet he may not know his Dharma. To attend temple or mosque constitutes a part of religion, sect. creed, but not necessarily “Dharma”. Many misconceptions that originated from faulty English translations include this most harmful confusion of Dharma with religion.

Dharma and Religion Are Different

On the one hand we used the word religion as synonymous with “Dharma” and on the other hand increasing ignorance, neglect of our society and Dharma, and greater acceptance of European life, became the outstanding features of our education. As a result all the characteristics of a narrow religion, especially as practiced in the West were attributed automatically to the concept of Dharma also. Since in the West, injustice atrocities were perpetrated, bitter conflicts and battles were fought in the name of religion, all these were en-bloc listed on the debit side of “Dharma” also. We felt that in the name of Dharma also battles were fought. However battles of religion and battles for Dharma are two different things. Religion means a creed or a sect; it does not mean Dharma. Dharma is very wide concept. It is concerned with all aspects of life. It sustains the society. Even further, it sustains the whole world. That which sustains is “Dharma”. The fundamental principles of Dharma are eternal and universal.

Yet their implementation may differ according to time, place and circumstances. It is a fact that a human being requires food for maintaining his body. However, what a particular person should eat in, how much quantity, at what intervals is all decided according to circumstances. It is possible at times that even fasting is advisable. If a typhoid patient is given normal food, the consequences may be disastrous. For such a person, keeping away from food is necessary; similarly the principles of Dharma have to be adapted to changing times and pace.

Some rules are temporary and others are valid for longer periods. There are some rules regulating our conduct at this meeting. One of the rules is that I speak and you listen with attention. If an contravention of this rule, you start conversing with one another or addressing the gathering at the same time, than there will be disorder; our work will not progress: the meeting will not be sustained. It can be said that you have not observed your Dharma. Thus it is our Dharma that we observed your Dharma. Thus it is our Dharma that we observed the rules by winch the meeting proceeds smoothly. But this rule is applicable only as long as this meeting lasts. If after the meeting is over, even when you reach home, you continue to observe this rule and do not speak, a different problem will arise. Your family might have to call in a doctor. At home, the rules suitable there will have to be observed. The complete treatise on the rules in general and their philosophical basis is the meaning of Dharma. These rules cannot be arbitrary.

They should be such as to sustain and further existence and progress of the entity which they serve. At the same time they should be in agreement with and supplementary to the larger framework of Dharma of which they form a part. For instance, when we form a registered society, we have the right to frame the rules and regulations, but these cannot be contradictory to the constitution of the society. The constitution itself cannot violate the Societies Registration Act. The act has to be within the provision of the constitution of the country. In other words, the constitution of the country is a fundamental document which governs the formulation of all acts in the country. In Germany the constitution is known as the “Basic Law”.

Is the constitution too, not subject to some principles of more fundamental nature? Or is it a product of any arbitrary decisions of the constituent assembly? On serious consideration, it will be clear that even the constitution has to follow certain basic principles of Nature. Constitution is for sustaining the nation. If instead it is instrumental in its deterioration, then it must be pronounced improper. It must be amended. The amendment is also not solely dependent on majority opinion. Now-a-days the majority is much talked of. Is the majority capable of doing anything and everything? Is the action of the majority always just and proper? No. In the West, the king used to be the sovereign. Thereafter when royalty was deprived of its so-called divine rights, sovereignty was proclaimed to be with the people. Here in Our country neither the kings, nor the people, nor the parliament have had absolute sovereignty. Parliament cannot legislate arbitrarily. It is said about the British parliament that it is sovereign and can do anything.

They say that “British Parliament can do everything except making a woman a man and vice versa.” But is it possible for the parliament to legislate that every Englishman must walk on his head? It is not possible. Can they pass an act that everyone in England must present himself before the local authority once every day? They cannot. England has no written constitution. They regard tradition highly. But their traditions too have undergone change. What is the basis for making changes in their traditions? Whichever tradition proved an obstacle in the progress of England, was discarded. Those which were helpful in the progress were consolidated.

The traditions are respected everywhere, just as in England. We have written constitution, but even these written constitutions cannot go contrary to the traditions of this country. In as much as it does go contrary to our traditions, it is not fulfilling Dharma. That constitution which sustains the nation is in tune with Dharma. Dharma sustains the nation. Hence we have always given primary importance to Dharma, which is considered sovereign. All other entities, institutions or authorities derive their power from Dharma and are subordinate to it.

If we examine our constitution from the point of view of the growth of the nation, we find that our constitution needs amendment. We are one nation, one society. That is why we did not entertain any special rights on the basis of language, province, caste, religion, etc. but gave everyone equal citizenship. There are separate states. There is no separate citizenship of state and of Union. We are all citizens of Bharat. By the same token, we have denied the right to secede to individual state. Not only that the power to demarcate the boundaries of state and to choose their names, is vested in the parliament, and not in assemblies. This is as it should be; in tune with the nationalism and tradition of Bharat. However, despite all this, we made our constitution federal, whereby what we have adopted in practice, we have rejected in principle. In a federation constituent units have their own sovereignty. These voluntarily relinquish their sovereignty to the federation, by an agreement. It may be that they surrender all their rights and thereby the centre requires sovereignty. But these powers are given to the Union. It has no power of its own. Thus the federal constitution considers the individual states as fundamental power, and the centre as merely a federation of states. This is contrary to the truth.

It runs counter to the unity and indivisibility of Bharat. There is no recognition of the idea of Bharatmata, Our sacred motherland, as enshrined in the hearts of our people. According to the first para of the Constitution, “India that is Bharat will be a federation of States”, i.e. Bihar Mata, Banga Mata, Punjab Mata, Kannada Mata, Tamil Mata, all put together make Bharat Mata. This is ridiculous. We have thought of the provinces as limbs of Bharat Mata and not as individual mother. Therefore our constitution should be unitary instead of federal. A unitary State does not mean concentration of all powers in the Centre; just as the head of the family does not have all the powers with him even though all the transactions are carried out in his name. Others also share the executive power. In our body also, does the soul possess all powers? Thus a unitary State does not mean a highly autocratic centre nor does it entail the elimination of provinces. The provinces will have various executive powers. Even the various entities below the provincial level, such as the Jana Padas, will also have suitable powers. The Panchayats too should have powers. Traditional, the Panchayats had a very important position. Nobody could dissolve Panchayats. Today, however, our constitution does not have any place for these Panchayats. There are no powers to these Panchayats in their own right. They exist at the mercy of the states only as delegated authorities. It is necessary that their powers be considered fundamental. In this way, the decentralization of power will be accomplished. The authority will be distributed to the lowest level, and will be fully decentralized. At the same time, all these entities of power will be centered around the unitary State. This arrangement will embody Dharma.

If we carry this concept of Dharma even further, not only the State and the nation but the nature of the entire mankind will have to be considered. In other words, the constitution of a nation cannot be contrary to the natural law. There are a number of norms of behavior which are not found in any statute book, yet they do exist. At times they are even stronger and more binding than any statutory law. The precept that one should respect one’s parents is not written in any law. The present day governments which are turning out variety of laws, day in and day out have not passed a law to this effect. Still, people respect their parents. Those who do not are criticized. If tomorrow there arises a discussion, even in a court. it will be generally accepted that as long as a person does not attain majority, he should accept his parent’s decisions and should respect them.

Thus the fundamental law of human nature us the standard for deciding the propriety of behavior in various situations. We have termed this very law as’ Dharma’. The nearest equivalent English term for Dharma can be “Innate law”, which, however, does not express the full meaning of Dharma, since ‘Dharma’ is supreme; our ideal of the state has been “Dharma Rajya”. The king is supposed to protect Dharma. In olden times at the coronation ceremony the king used to recite three times. “There is no authority which can punish me”. (Similar claim was made by kings in the western countries. i.e., it was said, “King can do no wrong”, and hence there too, nobody could punish the king). Upon this, the Profit used to strike the king on his back with a staff saying.

“No, you are subject to the rule of Dharma. You are not sovereign”. The king used to run around the sacred fire and the Profit would follow him striking him with the Staff. Thus after completing three rounds, the ceremony would came to an end thereby the king was unambiguously told that he was not an unpunishable sovereign. Dharma was above him, that even he was subject to Dharma. Can the people do whatever they please? It may be contended that democracy means just that. The people can do what they please. But in our country, even in people wish, they are not free to act contrary to Dharma. Once a priest was asked: “If the God is omnipotent, can he act contrary to Dharma. If he does, then he is not omnipotent”. This was a dilemma. Can God practice Adharma or is lie not omnipotent? Actually God cannot act contrary to Dharma. If he does, then he is not omnipotent. Adharma is a characteristic of weakness, not of strength. If the fire instead of emitting heat dies out, it is no longer strong. Strength lies not in unrestrained behavior, but in well regulated action. Therefore God who is omnipotent is also self- regulated and consequently fully in tune with Dharma. God descends in human body to destroy Adharma and re-establish Dharma, not to act on passing whims and fancies. Hence even God can do everything but cannot act contrary to Dharma. But for the risk of being misunderstood, one can say that Dharma is even greater than God. The universe is sustained because he acts according to Dharma. The king was supposed to be a symbol of Vishnu, in as much as he was the chief protector of Dharma Rajya.

Dharma Rajya does not mean a theocratic state. Let us be very clear on this point, Where a particular sect and its prophet or Guru, rule supreme, that is a theocratic state. All the rights are enjoyed by the followers of this particular sect. Others either cannot live in that country or at best enjoy a slave-like, secondary citizen’s status. Holy Roman empire had this basis. The same concept was existing behind “Khilafat”. The Muslim kings world over used to rule in the name of Khalifa. After the First World War, this came to an end. Now efforts are afoot to revive it. Pakistanis the most recent theocratic state, they call themselves an Islamic State. There, apart from Muslims all the rest are second class citizens. Apart from this difference there is no other sign of Islam in Pakistan’s administration.

Quran, Masjid, Roja Id, Namaz etc. are same both in Bharat as well as in Pakistan. There is no need to the state and religion. By such a tie-up, there is no increase in an individual’s capacity to worship God. The only result is that the state slips in its duty. This does not happen in a Dharma Rajya. Rather there is freedom to worship according to one’s religion. In a theocratic state one religion has all the rights and advantages, and there are direct or indirect restrictions on all other religions. Dharma Rajya accepts the importance of religion in the peace, happiness and progress of an individual. Therefore the state has the responsibility to maintain an atmosphere in which every individual can follow the religion of his choice and live in peace. The freedom has its inherent limits. I have the freedom to swing my hand, but as soon as there is conflict between my hand and someone else’s nose, my freedom has to be restricted. I have no freedom to swing my hand so as to hit another person’s nose.

Where the other person’s freedom is likely to be encroached upon, my freedom ends. The freedom of both parties has to be ensured. Similarly every religion has the freedom to exist. But this freedom extends only as far as it does riot encroach upon the religion of others. If such encroachment is carries on, it will have to be condemned as misuse of freedom and will have to be ended. Such limitations will be required in all aspects of life. Dharma Rajya ensures religious freedom and is not theocratic state.

Now-a-days the word “secular state” is being uses as opposed to theocratic state. The adoption of this work is mere imitation of the western thought pattern. We had no need to import it. We called it a secular state to contrast it with Pakistan. There is some misunderstanding arising out of this. Religion was equated with Dharma and then secular state was meant to be a state without Dharma. Some said ours is a state (without Dharma), whereas others trying to find a better sounding word, called it Dharmanikshepa (indifferent to Dharma state). But all these words are fundamentally erroneous. For a state can neither be without Dharma nor can it be indifferent dharma just as fire cannot be without heat. If fire loses heat, it does not remain fire any longer. State which exists fundamentally to maintain Dharma to maintain law and order can neither be Needharma nor Dharmanipeksha. If it is Needharma it will be lawless state, and where there is lawlessness, where is the question of the existence of any state? In other words Dharma and State are self-contradictory. State can only be Dharma Rajya (rule of Dharma) nothing else. Any other definition will conflict with the reason of its very existence. In a Dharma Rajya, the state is not absolutely powerful. It is subject Dharma. We have always vested sovereignty in Dharma. Presently there has arisen a controversy. Parliament is sovereign or the Supreme Court? Legislature is higher or judiciary?

This quarrel is like a quarrel whether left hand is more important or right hand? Both are limbs of the state, the Legislature is well as Judiciary. Both have distinct functions to perform in their individual sphere each is supreme. To consider either one above the other would be mistake. Yet the legislators say, “we are higher”, On the other hand members of the Judiciary assert that they have a higher authority, since they interpret the laws which the legislature makes. The Legislature claims to have given powers to the Judiciary. If necessary, legislature can change the constitution. Hence it claims sovereignty. Now since powers are bestowed by constitution, they are talking of amendment to the constitution. But I believe that even if by a majority the constitution is amended, it will be against Dharma. In ‘reality’ both the Legislature and the Judiciary are on an equal plane. Neither the Legislature is higher nor the Judiciary. Dharma is higher than both. The Legislature will have to act according to Dharma and the Judiciary will have to act according to Dharma. Dharma will specify limits of both. The Legislature, the Judiciary or the people, none of these are supreme. Some will say, “Why! People are sovereign. They elect”, But even the people are not sovereign because people too have no right to act against Dharma. If an elected government allows people to go against Dharma and does not punish, then that government is in reality a government of thieves.

Even the general will cannot go against Dharma. Imagine the situation if by some maneuvering, thieves gain a majority in the government and send one of their ranks as an executive! What will be the duty of the minority if the majority is of thieves and elects a thief to rule? The duty clearly will be to remove the representative elected by the majority. During the Second World War then Hitler attacked France, the French army could not stall the onward march of Nazi troops. The then Prime Minister of France, Marshall Petain decided to surrender. The French public supported the decision, but De Gaulle escaped to London where he declared that he did not accept the surrender. France is independent and will remain so. From London, he formed a Government of France in Exile and eventually liberated France. Now if the majority rule is to be considered supreme, then De Gaulle’s action will have to be condemned. He had no right to fight in the name of independence. De Gaulle derived his right from the fact that the French nation was above the majority public opinion. The national Dharma is above all.

Independence is Dharma of every nation. To preserve independence and to strive for regaining it when lost is the duty of every citizen. Even in our country a majority had not risen against the Britishers; only a few had. Some revolutionaries arose; some brave people arose and fought. Lokmanya declared “Freedom is my Birth right”. He did not declare this birthright with the support of a majority or by a referendum from the public. Nowadays people advocate that the merger of Goa should be decided by referendum, that there should be plebiscite in Kashmir etc., etc. This is wrong. National unity is our Dharma. Decision concerning this cannot be made by plebiscite. This type of a decision has already been taken by the nature. Elections and majority can decide as to who will form the government. The truth cannot be decided by the majority. What the government will do will be decided by Dharma.

You all know that in the USA where they swear by democracy, at one time Lincoln did not accept wrong public opinion. On the question of the abolition of slavery when the southern states declared their intention to secede, Lincoln stood firm and told them: “You have no right to secede even in a democracy”. He fought against this and did not allow them to secede. Nor did he tolerate slavery. He did not show readiness for a compromise whereby there may continue partial slavery to accommodate southern states. He did not accept the principle of meeting halfway. He categorically declared that the system of slavery was against tradition, the Dharma, the principle which was at the basis of American nation. Therefore the system of slavery had to be abolished. When the Southerners decided to secede he told them “You cannot secede”. On this point there was a civil war and Lincoln did not compromise with Adharma.

Here in our country the situation in this regard is very much like old Hindu marriages where a married couple could not divorce even if both the parties wished. The principle was that their behavior should be regulated not by their sweet will but by Dharma. The same is case with the nation. If the four million people of Kashmir say that they want to secede, if the people of Goa say they want to secede, some say they want the Portuguese to return, all this is against Dharma. Of the 45 million people of India, even if 449,999,999 opt for something which is against Dharma, even then this does not become truth. On the other hand, even if a person stands for something which is according to Dharma, that constitutes truth because truth resides with Dharma. It is the duty of this one person that he treads the path of truth and change people. It is from this basis that a person drives the right to proceed according to Dharma.

Let us understand very clearly that Dharma is not necessarily with the majority or with the people. Dharma is eternal. Therefore,  in the definition of democracy to say that it is a government of the people. It is not enough; it has to be for the good of the people. What constitutes the good of the people? Dharma alone can decide. Therefore, a democratic Government “Jana Rajya” must also be rooted in Dharma i.e. a “Dharma Rajya”. In the definition of ‘Democracy’ viz. “government of the people, by the people and for the people”, of stands for independence, ‘by’ stands for democracy and ‘for’ Indicates Dharma. Therefore, the true democracy is only where there is freedom as well as Dharma encompasses all these concepts.

(Source: http://deendayalupadhyay.org/speeches.html)

Lecture #1: https://arisebharat.wordpress.com/?p=5281

Lecture #2: https://arisebharat.wordpress.com/?p=5290

Lecture #4: https://arisebharat.wordpress.com/?p=5298

Emulate the great qualities of Sri Ganesha – Dr Mohan ji Bhagwat

Speech by Dr. Mohan ji Bhagwat at Bhagyanagar, Sri Ganesh ShobhaYatra on Anantachaturdashi , 12th Sept 2019.

Organised by Bhagyanagar Ganesh Utsav Samiti

Video of Dr. Mohanji Bhagwat : 

English Translation 

Namaste to all.

My Namaste to today’s excitement and joy. The excitement and festivities of Ganesh Utsav in Bhagyanagar are always the best when compared to anywhere in India. The excitement with the festive procession is moving forward. The atmosphere is full of happiness and joy. The procession paused here for a while, people are gathering here to listen to a few thoughts. This is a good thing on this great occasion.

Along with excitement and joy, we should have intelligence and wisdom. Today Ganesh Nimajjanam- Immersion is going on. Vinayaka is the son of Shakthi, son of Parvathi Devi. She is Jagath-janani, Goddess of Universe. Ganesh is her great devotee.  Once there was a question among the Gods, `Who’s the best among all’? So it was decided that whoever circumambulates the Universe thrice will be declared the best of all. All Gods and Goddesses arrived on their vehicles, Sri Lakshmi Devi came on her uluka- owl vehicle, Sri Saraswathi devi came on her hamsa – swan, Sri Mahavishnu came on his Garuda, Karthikeya on his peacock vehicle and so on. Everyone stood in line, ready for the competition. So they said to Sri  Vinayaka ‘you are so plump, and your vehicle is the small mouse, how can you participate in the competition, have you just come here to watch the race?’. Sri Ganesh answered that he too came to participate. Everyone started on their journeys around the Universe. Sri Ganesh simply circumambulated around Sri Parvathi Devi with Sri Mahasiva as his witness and won the competition.

We also travel here and there and around the world. We enter into the world of sciences and knowledge. We do extensive research in various fields. But people who have true devotion towards the mother will obtain everything. Our mothers are in our homes; after Jaganmatha, the mother of Universe, Bharath matha- Mother India is our true mother. Through these Ganesh festivities, we should inculcate devotion and care towards Bharath matha. Our victories, fame and welfare are embedded in that. But it’s not enough to have the feeling, we should increase our capacity. Sri Ganesh is a symbol of Shakthi, he’s the son of Shakthi, he is also the God of Wisdom and Intelligence. Without wisdom what is the use of power?

A man taught everything to his pet monkey, he used to talk to the monkey and it would understand. Once he was sleeping under a tree, gave his knife to the monkey and asked it to guard and protect him. After sometime, a fly came and sat on the man’s nose, it wandered around and came back again and again. The monkey was furious, took out the knife and cut the man’s nose, the fly simply flew away. We cannot use power without intelligence. And Sri Ganesha is the God of Wisdom.

Intelligence teaches us about everything and everyone, what are you as a person, what am I as a person and so on. We understand everyone’s secrets too. But we should keep those in our stomachs, and for that we need big stomachs, Lambodara like Ganesh. Ours is a very big society, with different kinds of people. To keep everyone bonded together, we need to understand the mentalities of everyone. We should discuss everything. Ganesha is the Lord of Word; Speech does good for everyone. It digests all the faults and mistakes in it’s stomach, and corrects it in a timely manner.  Not just that. Lord Ganesha has a big nose, two sharp eyes and very big ears. Nothing is hidden from Him. He knows everything and whether people are thinking correctly or wrongly.  To the right thinking people, he gifts them laddoos. If people are eating too many laddoos and getting diabetes, he has 21 kinds of leaves as a remedy for that. And for the people who are thinking wrong, He has the Trunk to tie them up with.  And for those who keep the society bound in discipline, and have self-discipline themselves, he is represented with the Spike in His hand.

Sri Ganesha comes to us with all these qualities for 10 days. Comes from where? Goes where? He neither comes from somewhere nor goes anywhere.  I will tell you where all he resides, all 24 hours, in all this creation, in eternity, he is available to us there; the very first, in our Mooladhaar – the root and very basis of the Existence; second, everywhere in this creation- all permeating, he’s Gana-nayaka, the commander of forces- he binds everyone and leads everyone. He who binds everyone, resides with everyone and directs everyone. He is also very alert and careful, our country needs to be alert all the time, even in smaller things. In bigger issues, we succeeded. People wanted to win the country with their arms and power, people wanted to defeat our country by deluding us with their brains, nothing has worked.  Now they are trying smaller narrower ways to win. By showing some small snippets on TV, a few people writing something, and by pitting one against the other. We should remain alert and aware, should not get trapped in these minor ways, not misunderstand our own people, we should bond with and take everyone along.

Sri Ganesha is the Lord of Organization, and organizing ourselves is what we need today in our society, we don’t need anything else. If we organize and remain united, the good people find relief, and bad people go silent. Just by seeing us. Even with Sri Ganesh ji it’s the same, our wishes are fulfilled, if we see and sight him, and if we remember and recall him, we don’t even have to seek anything. Let us remind ourselves that we all belong to the same society, we invite Sri Ganesh ji who resides everywhere for eternity, He the form of Atma and Parmatma, to our homes. We as hosts, give Him offerings, we keep Him with us as ourselves. Then He goes away on a world tour to take care of the world and He will return next year.

 

When we worship Sri Ganesh ji in this form means, we try to become like Him. The offerings we give, like flowers, fruits, water etc  are all symbols, but the real meaning of worship is, we must try and become like Him.  We must become strong and powerful like Sri Ganesha. People don’t listen to even good things without power. Power is not to kill, hurt or harass others, but to strengthen ourselves so that killers and harassers don’t overpower us. Our shakthi –power is to protect the good people. It is to protect the weak and helpless. Our power is never to frighten or hurt others. We neither fear nor frighten others. Another shakthi-putra like Sri Ganesh is Sri Hanuman. There is great friendship between Sri Ganesh and Sri Hanuman.

To worship Sri Ganesh means to try and become powerful like Him. But Shakthi –power needs direction from Buddhi – Wisdom. And both Power and Wisdom require Bhakthi – Devotion in their minds towards Bharat Matha. Devotion to Bharat matha- Mother India means devotion towards India’s nature, people, water, forests, land, trees and animals. Keeping all these in mind, if we have that fervent devotion towards motherland, then the shakthi and buddhi- power and wisdom will be completely beneficial to all the people.  Along with these qualities, we should imbibe Sri Ganesh ji’s liberal and tolerant attitude, and His capacity to absorb and correct the mistakes of others; the qualities represented by His long trunk, sharp eyes and big ears, and His vehicle, the small mouse. There is no place the mouse can’t go, it goes into all nooks and corners, we can’t catch it. The mouse has even learnt to escape mouse-traps. It goes everywhere  and brings information from all places, yet it remains within itself. We have to become like that, reach everywhere, become well-informed, and think about welfare of all, like a well-wisher.

Today  we are bidding farewell to Sri Ganesh ji, we are saying to Him, you have work everywhere, please go and complete, but come back early next year.   In Maharashtra we say, Ganapati Bappa Moraya, Agle Baras Thu Jaldi Aa, meaning come back early next year.  Sometimes there’s an extra month’s delay due to calendar. But He can’t stay away without returning. Why does He return every year?  Because He feels that if he resides in our homes, as one amongst us, we will learn some good things from Him. He’s not afraid to stay with us, He is God, nothing wrong touches him. There can be no wrong, where He stays. But we have to learn good things from Him. We should learn good things from everyone, ignore the bad things in others. If we can help end bad things in others with affection and friendship, we should try. But get together with everyone, there is strength in being united with others. We should build that strength by unifying people.

The thought about welfare of the world is embedded in joining with others, we should awaken that unifying spirit. In doing this, we should not look at our selfish interests. Why are we doing this? We are doing this for Bharat matha. `Tere vaibhav amar rahe maa, hum din chaar rahe na rahe’!  We should work with this spirit. Sri Ganesh ji has achieved that, when he circumambulated the universe. We should strive to emulate Sri Ganeshi ji in our lives, not just make him a festival entity. If we are able to do that, this holy day of Ananta chaturdasi when we are bidding farewell to Sri Ganesha  will be cherished.  If I come to know that the participants of this farewell journey are trying to become like that, then I will visit you all once again to fold my hands in gratitude to all of you.

Namaskar. Dhanyavaad.

  • Translation : Pradakshina