Sunday, 05 Apr, 12.00 pm

Society was source of knowledge for Deendayal: S.Gurumurthy

(5 Apr) Kochi, April 5: The late Pt. Deendayal Upadhyaya, who gave this invaluable treatise of Integral Humanism or Ekatma Manav Darshan to the human society, always looked to the society as source of knowledge, said noted economist S Gurumurthy. He was delivering the key note address at a seminar "Ekatma Manav Darshan-A vision for Better Tomorrow". The seminar was inaugurated by RSS Sahkaryawah Dattatreya Hosabale. Former Union HRD Minister Dr Murli Manohar Joshi was specially present. Here are the excerpts of his speech. Some say the time has come for this. This is the expression of an intellectual. 'The time for this action has come, the time for this thought has come, the time for this movement has come, the time for this party has come.' These are all the jargons of an intellectual. But a seer foresees much ahead of time. At the time when the seer conceptualizes the thought, the time for the thought had not come. And he prepares the society, prepares the intellectuals, prepares the institutions, he prepares all those who are involved in the overall conduct of the society and polity. He foresees and forewarns them. That is why the gap of 50 years between how and when Deendayal Upadhyaya conceptualized the idea of Ekatma Manava Darshan and how the time for the thought has come today. It is not that we are recalling Ekatma Manava Darshan today. Deendayal studied society empirically. Empirical study is the essence of seers. It is not research, it is backed by intuition, it is backed by intense identity with the people, a practice of self-discipline of a higher order which enables the person to intuitively understand what society is, which Mahatma Gandhi did. Sardar Vallabhai Patel, in 1942, starts speaking against Quit India Movement, because the Congress people had given the commitment to the British that they will not agitate against the British till the war was over. Mahatma Gandhi decided, 'no.' 'We will go back on this commitment and we will ask them to leave.' It was a huge Catch-22 situation between the commitment and the necessity, between the moral stature of the Congress and the revolting mind of the Mahatma. So Sardar Patel comes lecturing, this is written in a book by Rajmohan Gandhi about Sardar Patel, and he travels across and his mind comes to the conclusion that none of us know this country better than Mahatma Gandhi because his hand is on the pulse of the country. He is not a research institution, he didn't conduct surveys; he identified with the people, by his mind, by his dress, by his body language. So a seer is able to understand things which an intellectual, a scientist, a social scientist, a research scholar may not be able to do. So when we understand Deendayal we have to understand him in the context of a seer, he was a drishta. A thinker and a drishta are two different paradigms. Karl Marx was a great thinker. He thought of the context and produced a solution. A thinker
moves away from the conduct and sees whether the context is lost. A thinker's capacity is to see the limitations of the context. A seer moves away from the context and thinks about the limitations and the transitory nature of the context. An intellectual is caught in the context and he produces a response, which is actually a reaction to the context. There is an intellectual catch in our society, in our polity, in our educational institutions, in the public discourse, in the media. My entire understanding about our country, its economy, its society, underwent a change when I began travelling across the country, when I began seeing the country. Seeing things face to face. This started with my involvement in the Swadeshi Jagran Manch in 1992. I have been an advisor and friend of the corporate. I've been studying their problems, trying to look for solutions. I was trying to look at the whole world, the economy, the country, society from that perspective - the economic, the commercial, import, export, finance. But when I joined the Swadeshi Jagran Manch, I started travelling across the country. I went to Ludhiana, Batala, Rajkot, Morwi, right down to Thoothukudi. I went to 42 industrial clusters in a matter of two-and-a-half to three years. It completely changed my perception. It is not economics that changed my perception, it is society. You set out to teach society, but ultimately you end up learning from society much more than what you thought you could tell society. Society is a huge open air university. This is precisely what Deendayalji did. In this background came, in 1931, Winston Churchill said it is a barbaric society. In 1963, John Kenneth Galbraith, an economist for whom I have great respect, said when he saw India, 'It's a functioning anarchy.' We in India kept quoting Galbraith. Leftist thinkers in India would say Karl Marx said India is a barbaric society. These are nomenclatures, names, brands, assessments given by people who had nothing to do with India. Something dramatic happened in 1983, GATT gave very important assignment to a Belgian economist by the name Paul Byro. He was told to study the world economy from 1750 to 1900s. Paul Byro came out with the finding in 1983 which shocked the West. In 1750 if you tabulated the economic growth of countries, China was leading with 33 % of world's GDP, India with 24.5%, England and America put together 2 %. The entire picture changes in 1900. China and India crashed to 8% from almost 60 %. India 1.8% and China 6.2%. England and America shot up from 2 % to 41%. And this entire collapse and building took place in 150 years. In 1850, India had 16% share of the world's GDP. In the next 50 years we crashed to 1.8%. Between 1880 and 1900, when Swami Vivekananda travelled across the country and saw only hunger, poverty, 22 large famines occurred in India. This is how India crashed. Paul Byro set the whole world in a mood of revolt. They said it can't be true. So the OECD countries constituted a study under Angus Madisson and gave him all the support and made him study 2000 years of world history to find out whether what Paul Byro said was true or not. He said it came out to be true. The West has not come up because of any precocity or any financial genius, or any organizing models. It has come up only by suppressing and exploiting people through colonialism. In the first year of the Common Era, if you take the share of India in the world GDP, India was number one, after 1400 years India was number 1, after 1500 years India and china equal, 1600 years China overtakes India. 1700 India overtakes China, the game was between these two countries. There was no other country in the picture. Where has it landed the West? In 1965, the divorce rate in America was very little. Today, 55% of the first marriages held in America end up in divorce. 67% of the second marriages end up in divorce. If somebody had the tenacity to marry a third time, 73% of those end in divorce. 51% of families are led by single parent. This is the result of hyper-individualism practiced over the father, over the mother, over the family, the neighbourhood, over society. You produce a shameless society. At a G20 governors' meet in October 2005, they said there is no uniform development model that fits all countries. Each country should be able to choose the development policies and approaches that suits its specific characteristics, while benefitting from the accumulated experiences in policy making. This is the first admission of failure by the West in its own economic architecture. In our village, we have a custom, you cannot cut a tree unless you ask permission of the tree. We will tie a letter around the tree. 'I'm forced to cut you. Please 15 days I will wait, if there is no bad news in my house, I will consider you have given me permission.' You owe a relationship to your tree. In my house, we remodelled the house so we don't have to cut the tree. This is integrity. This is what we are going to discuss in greater detail. I'm extremely happy that I got this opportunity to share some of the thoughts based on the studies I have been making for the last 25 years.