Monday, September 10, 2007

Fear,Hunger and corruption

Fear Hunger and Corruption are the Principal three anathemas to Democracy.

Machiavelli taught the prince that the King should frame such laws, that subjects are compelled to break them. The moment they break the laws, they are reduced to law breakers or criminals and would be too scared to revolt against any misdeeds of the King.

This theory may had been an effective tool of subjugation in a Monarchy form of Dictatorial form of Government i.e, in a state and subject relationship. However in democracy the relationship is of state and citizen and not that of state and subject.
Ex President of US of A Bill Clinton once in an academic institutes felicitation speech had remarked that “The highest seat of power in a democracy is that of an ordinary citizen”
Hence it is the primary duty of a Democratically elected sovereign government to render that power to its common citizens and thereby have a fearless society of its citizens. Mahatma Gandhi defined independence as “ability to resist a wrong”. This ability arises out of fearlessness alone. Fear could be of the state, of the terrorists, of hunger or of any other impending peril.
To eradicate fear, the state has to first eradicate hunger and state autocracy. Very often state supposed to render succor to its citizens due to misperceived priorities becomes perilous. The fear of Hunger is a bigger fear then that of Death. Poverty is more treacherous then Death. Death kills one once . Its victims are the dependants/ family and not the dead. Whereas poverty kills every moment and the principal victim is the supposed bread earner. So the principal fear in India is that of Hunger.
Though law and order and safety of its citizens is always the primary responsibility of the state , in India the situation is dichotomous. Sizeable number of policemen are involved in providing security to the KING i.e, the law makers the so called VIP’s. Number of police personnel’s and other incidentals available for common citizen are woefully inadequate. Besides this political interference, political patronage to the criminals , hooligans functioning under the banner of political cadre skew the situation further.

Corruption is the biggest hurdle in eradicating fear and hunger. Moral poverty always precedes financial poverty. Today India has more billionaires then Japan. In fact it has highest number of billionaires in Asia. The flip side is that we have 77% of our population living on or below subsistence level.
The entire governance is VOTE centric and not people centric. The successive Governments have been fooling all the people all the time. Giving them slogans ,dividing them on the lines of cast, dividing them on the lines of linguistic chauvinism ,creating a chasm between the employers and employees has been the rule of the game known as administration. For the express and only purpose of creating of a Vote bank, Reservation is used as a subterfuge.
It is High time that Government (of whichever political hue) discarded expediency , vote centric antics giving them names of development policies and took a long term view.
As Swami Vivekanand once said that “Only people of high character can build a Great Nation. No people of small character have ever built a Great Nation.” Hence Nation building has to commence with Character Building. This was the priority enshrined in the directive principals of our Constitution too , the corner stone of our republic. Education and Health should had been the first priorities of the Independent India and not Building ASHOKA HOTEL to function as Indias Drawing Room. If the master of the house is more concerned about the drawing room, the kitchen is sure to be bereft of the necessary cereals.
Education that would convert children into responsible citizens required planning with great vision and substantial financial input. We in India are fortunate to have Great tools for Character Building viz., GITA. It has nothing to do with any religion in the conceited percepts of religion. It does not have the mention of the H word any where in its 700 shlokas. It should be included in school syllabus from class V. That’s the formative age of children. GITA would indoctrinate them about responsibilities of an individual. It would teach them the real meaning of DHARMA ( distinct from religion)
We would need different breed of teachers to show the results. The common frustrated illiterate gentry caricaturing as teachers would be totally disastrous. We would have to pick them up from places like “R K Mission”, “Chinmay Mission” etc.,
It’s a program that would need a decade to show results. Yet after the DECADE I would not venture to say that 100% of the students would metamorph into responsible citizens. Even if the number of HITS is barely 10% , we would race so far ahead of the rest of the World, that todays most developed America, would not be visible on the horizon, in our rear view mirror.
History records that he nations who have paid better emoluments to its teachers have progressed best. Its necessary in the long run to make teaching as a desired vocation and not the last refuge of a failure.

Monday, September 03, 2007


Happiness, Pleasure, Well being, Enjoyment are similar words with different meanings. Happiness without awareness is the most commonly afflicted disease in human being. The typical “I am ok ,u r ok” kind of syndrome is not happiness. Its blind selfishness. Happiness is not in fulfillment of desire. That’s pleasure.
Tilak in Gita Rahasya defined or quantified Happiness through a mathematical equation:

Happiness Quotient = Desires Fulfilled / Desires Entertained
He said its impossible to achieve happiness by increasing the numeratori.e,Desires Fulfilled. More the desire you fulfill more you entertain. The denominator increases at a faster progression as compared to numerator. That diminishes the quotient.
The only option is reducing the denominator. By reducing the denominator you can increase the quotient. By continuously reducing the denominator i.e desires entertained and finally reaching zero the quotient becomes infinite i.e, anant or ANAND.

As all external answers even this is merely interesting not complete. Primarily Happiness can not be measured. A caveman was happy if he got his stomach full. He did not look beyond. That can not be defined as happiness. Its stupor.
Desires per se are essential for growth and activity. Annihilation of desires is like killing of Cancer cells by radio therapy , it would kill lot of good cells too. Self centered desires like cancer cells do cause more harm than good though. Yet desires are an essential pre -requisite for Human evolution.
As defined by Aristotle , Happiness is an activity not a emotion. A contended person sans of any activity would seldom be really happy.
The safety catch is that one should not relate the fulfillment of desires with ones innerself or happiness.
Happiness must relate to being socially contributor, to being an active participant in general well being. An alcoholic maybe on the seventh cloud yet that emotion though devoid of any desires can not be termed as happiness.
Happiness has to be independent of desires. An old axiom “getting what u like is success and liking what u get is happiness” is again an incomplete definition.
Happiness most of the time is an illusion. We perceive well being, health, wealth, as happiness. All these are conditioned responses. A hand out of our accumulated subconsciousness.
As Dr. Radhakrishnan said in his book “An idealist’s view of religion” that the biggest challenge facing the mankind is that they have stopped thinking and have become robot automata”. A person looks for external stimuli, recognition to know or evaluate his self . He looks at the mirror to know if he is fairest of all. He does not have enough confidence on his own self. That’s the principal reason why happiness has become elusive.
Without thinking, we are in the danger of becoming the clones as described by Aldous Huxleys in “Bravo new world” and likely to seek induced happiness. The induction or stimuli could be “som” as in this book or any other tangible or intangible substance. These are extremely superficial and transitory.
Few occasions when I HAVE FELT HAPPY are related to the moments when I did though small deeds but made the environment or surroundings slightly better. I have committed several wrongs too for my benefits. They have given on occasions big profits yet seldom happiness. Those are moments of a trade off for immediate pleasure for sustained happiness . This is a subject on which one can go on and on and yet reach nowhere. Happiness is in the journey and not in the destination.