PREPARATION FOR A
PREPARAZIONE PER UNA CAMPAGNA
Sono nato nell'India post-indipendenza e conosco la lotta per l'indipendenza e il sacrificio e la perdita di vite che ciò ha implicato solamente
attraverso la lettura e l'ascolto degli altri. Ma, quando ero un bambino, alla scuola media i nostri insegnanti ci parlavano spesso e dettagliatamente
dell'aggressione cinese e ci imbottivano di patriottismo.
Fu lo stesso quando il Pakistan ci attaccò nel 1965 e nel 1971 - la fonte del patriottismo si riversò in noi.
Quando crebbi e conobbi la nostra società, governo ed organizzazione, fu il disgusto a crescere in me. Il fatto che metà della popolazione viva ancora
oggi senza essere capace di permettersi un pranzo al giorno o un tetto sopra la testa, dopo cinquanta anni dall'indipendenza, è una verità troppo
evidente da tollerare.
Qual'è la ragione per un tale stato di cose? Perfino un momento di ponderazione può riempirti di giusta
rabbia. Carestia o insurrezione? Guerre o disastri naturali? L'eredità che abbiamo avuto dai Britannici è una
situazione in cui i governanti si rimpinzano col cibo e vivono aridamente felici mentre chi è governato morde la polvere. Questo tipo di
organizzazione fu benaccetta per quei pochi che si radunarono per
alimentare di errori l'indipendenza.
La riunione al vertice delle forze maligne, politici balordi, aridi burocrati corrotti si sono garantiti che il loro standard di vita lussuoso
passasse per l'eternità ai loro successori stringendo il cappio del debito intorno al collo del paese, immergendo i poveri in uno stato d'inedia e
fuorviando la gioventù.
I nostri ministri viaggiano in automobili con l'aria condizionata e vivono in spaziosi bungalows che coprono acri di terra mentre la favola della
democrazia è sparsa intorno e i poveri sfortunati, tirano avanti mezzo affamati e a piedi nudi.
Mi chiedo se abbiano un briciolo di coscienza dopo tutto. Perfino quelli che provengono dalle classi disagiate e dichiarano di rappresentare i poveri si
dimenticano della propria gente che ancora vive in baracche, non appena arrivano al potere.
Se non è facile vedere tutto questo e cominciare a parlare della filosofia del Karma per soddisfare i propri desideri. Non si è meglio di un uccello o
di una bestia se si riordina un piccolo appezzamento di piccoli bianchi mucchi di spazzatura, lo si recinta e si vive tappandosi naso occhi e
orecchie. Si deve fare tutto il possibile per spazzare il posto, lavarlo, e renderlo abitabile. La luce risplende quando i nostri bisogni
diminuiscono. L'anima brilla quando il desiderio e la rabbia diminuiscono.
L'umanità si risveglia in noi quando proviamo compassione per l'esistenza della povera gente.
"Resterò mezzo affamato finchè tutto il mio popolo non sarà ben nutrito. Andrò mezzo nudo finchè tutti i nostri bambini non saranno
vestiti." Il desiderio in queste parole del Padre della Nazione saranno la torcia che ci guida.
Essendo stato ispirato dalle grandi anime e dal sogno di una terra ben nutrita e felice, decisi di non sposarmi. Avendo ora realizzato che
persino il matrimonio è un errore, ho deciso di dedicare tutto me stesso al servizio della società. Voglio vivere una vita semplice e sviluppare la mia
personalità senza biasimare nessuno e guardando criticamente a me stesso.
Ho discusso la possibilità di cambiare la presente fondazione a seconda delle circostanze tenendo in mente l'intero paese. Contributi per favorire
questo scopo sono benaccetti. Proverò ad adattarli al mio schema e mi metterò al lavoro.
Grazie a Claudio Pozzi [firstname.lastname@example.org] per la traduzione.
I was born in post-independence India and know the fight for independence and the sacrifice and loss of lives that it entailed only through reading and listening to others. But, when I was a child, studying in the Middle School, our teachers used to tell us in great detail about China's aggression and filled us with patriotism. It was the same when Pakistan attacked us in 1965 and 1971
- the spring of patriotism welled in us.
As I grew up and watched our society, government and organization, it was disgust that was born within me.
The fact that half the country's population lives even today without being able to afford a meal a day or a roof above their heads after fifty years of independence is too naked, a truth to bear.
What is the reason for such a state of affairs' Even a moment's deliberation fills one with righteous anger. Famines or riots? Wars or natural disasters? The inheritance we got from the British is a state in which the rulers gorge themselves with food arid make merry while the ones that are ruled bite the dust This type of organization was welcome to the few people who camp to power error independence. The caucus of evil forces, rotten politicians arid corrupt bureaucrats has ensured that their life of luxury is passed on eternally to their successors by tightening a noose of debt around the neck of the country, plunging the poor into a state of starvation and misleading the youth.
Our ministers drive around in air?conditioned cars and live in spacious bungalows that cover acres of land while the, talk of democracy is bandied about and the hapless poor go half?hungry and carry on walking on bare foot. One wonders whether they have any conscience at all. Even those that came from backward classes and declare that they represent the poor forget their own people, still living in huts once they come to power.
If is not easy to watch all this and keep talking of the philosophy of Karma to suit our selfish needs. One is no better than a bird or a beast if one tidies up a small plot white heaps of filth surround it and lives plugging his nose eyes and ears. One should do all that is possible to sweep the place clean, wash it and make it habitable.
Light shines when our needs grow less. The soul becomes lustrous when desire and anger decrease. Humanity is awakened in us when we feel compassion for fellow human beings.
'I shall go half hungry till all my people are well-fed. I shall go half?clad till all our children are clothed. 'The desire in these words of the Father of the Nation should be the torch that leads us.
Having been inspired by great souls and dreaming of a land, well?fed and happy, I wanted to stay unmarried. Having now realized that even marriage is a blunder, I have decided to dedicate myself fully to the service of society. I want to live a simple life and develop my personality without blaming anyone but looking at myself critically.
I have discussed the possibility of changing the present setup under the existing circumstances keeping in mind the entire country. Suggestions to further this aim are welcome. I shall try to adapt them into my scheme and get down to work.
PREPARATION FOR A
An activity regarding which we should hang our head in shame is being carried on in our midst everyday for decades. A vehicle arrives at dawn to almost everyone of our villages. It collects milk from the cattle, which has been denied to the economically impoverished farming community, and brings it to the town. Another vehicle comes to the same villages in the evening and distributes arrack in an organized manner. Should we call this system a democracy which takes away nectar from growing children and dispenses arrack which destroys families in an efficient manner? Should we call such an organization which feeds poison to its own people a government? Should we consider ourselves a civilized?
Only the ones that live in towns and are affluent are humans, the ones in villages who are poor are semihumans. Though the poor have no water to drink, not even a single meal a day and no roof over their heads, the rich and the bureaucrats who take care of them and the honorable ministers are provided with clean water, spacious 4
air conditioned bungalows; servants, cars and cinemas.
This is the India of Gandhi's dream.
There is no use blaming only the set up for this state of affairs. In a democracy, the king is like the subject he rules. It is because the people are dishonest and selfish and think that what matters is their own lives, that our society and land have come to this pass. The democracy we should have tended with care has become an object of ridicule.
The system is in a sorry state, caught as it is in the monkey grip of a few. All the governments, both at the centre and the states have used all their powers to perpetuate a system in which the rich get richer and is opposed to any change.
When we cried out asking the British to quit India, the identity of our enemy was clear. We should have attained self?rule when we brought to an end to the British rule. What is the reason for our people's suffering and who is responsible for it even after the change? It is not that there has been no change at all. The point is that there has not been enough change. We have efficient administrators, excellent scientists and competent officers. Why have we failed even though we have the strength of a huge population and unending riches? The only reason for this state of affairs is that those who control the affairs of the country are men of no vision. They are no more than a bunch of selfish politicians. They are no strangers to us. They are our kinsmen from our own villages, community and caste who grew up amongst us. They are men who know that they can gel inside this system which provides them with every kind of comfort for eternity if only they have either money or caste behind them.. They need not have any qualification for their position as long as they can kill a crow and feed the eagle, as long as they win in the burlesque called an election without having to sweat or shed blood. For how long do we have to suffer this laziness, this cowardly life? Courage is not just in bearing arms and fighting. It is in the power of the soul which exercises control at all times and does not lose its cool 'We have to make our people aware of the magnitude of this power and convert them into honest and courageous workers.
It is our duty to drive out the phantom of caste, keep at arm's length the false leaders, attain self?reliance through self?rule at the rural level and help the coming generation to grow into a community of strong, proud and educated men and women.
Dozens of governments have laid hundreds of plans and spent funds in order to achieve this end. But the funds did not reach the intended destination. They dried up as they crossed the desert called bureaucracy. Salary for coming to the office and bribe to do the work.'? thus goes a saying. They are enemies of the people who act in line with it as it is if a commandment from Heaven and they have politicians protecting them and the government is in the politicians' hands. In their turn, they have the police to protect them, How can the poor get food to eat in a system like this?
What we need now is the will to take such a system head on. Shall we pray for Lord Krishna to come as he had said that he would arrive in each and eveiry age? Or call on the son of Dasharatha to come and establish Ramarajya? Or ask the Mahatmatma to be born among us once again? Our forefathers evolved the concept of God so that we would drive away the beast in us and become human. Everyone of us has a soul. What we need is the refinement to see its light. The first step towards it is to develop compassion towards fellow human beings and have a harmonious relationship with nature.
It is our duty to transfer to nature we have lived in and experienced with a great deal of pleasure to our coming generation without spoiling it. But, what is happening now? Seasons are changing as a result of the atrocity which man's selfishness has perpetrated on nature. Nature is angry, Forests and the birds and beasts in it have been destroyed and water and air are polluted with the result that we are on the edge of annihilation. The lives of our children are fraught with danger. We have to find solutions immediately for all these problems.
Slogans, seminars and a week's celebrations highlighting the problem will not provide us with solutions. We need to develop wisdom in both the knowledgeable ones who know what they are doing and in the illiterate ones who do not understand what they are doing. Who is to undertake this task? Is it the group which builds mutts in the name of dharma and caste and get their funds from people who run factories in the name of education? Or is it the pleasure seeking politician who holds the strings of power in his hands and works for the welfare of his kith and kin? Or the intelligent ones who derive satisfaction by making speeches, giving me messages and making analyses? None of these can accomplish the task. Our welfare is in our own hands. We should be the ones who can do it, should do it, once we are able to earn enough to meet our basic needs and live with dignity. This is a question of our own children's future. Once we are able to five such a life of pride and contentment, we shall be in a position to stand in front of officers who are no more than the 'yes men' of the government and say, you are not my masters but my servants.' It is only then that the democracy will have attained its meaning.
No Kannadiga is a stranger to Basavanna's statement that Work is Worship (Kayakave Kailasa). What appear to be great problems will melt away like ice if only we come to appreciate the greatness of this statement. Our land which is primarily agricultural was prosperous when cultivation of land and occupations connected with it had a pride of place. Each village was an independent and selfreliant unit. It did not matter whether the outcome of its fight with kings was victory or defeat. It would make sure that its life of peace and well?being was not affected and would pay the king his dues. But, life in the villages has become intolerable as a result of unscientific growth. Lakhs of acres of cultivable land are lying fallow as a result of excessive reliance on the city. Rainfall has gone haywire as a result of the destruction of forests. There has been a reduction in the quantity of water under the ground. Incompetence has caused havoc in the management of power. The ones who should be addressing these problems lack the necessary will and the political climate is rotten. Bureaucracy is sunk deep in corruption and so we have to do what we can and act.
Why do you try to fill pits in the world? Attend to your own mind, attend to your own body, said Basavanna. True, we have to attend to our house through honest work. We have to provide our dependents with food, clothes and shelter. It should be possible to give our children good education and health and not make them a burden on society There is never enough money to satisfy one's needs when prices of goods keep soaring to the sky. Added to this, we have lost the capacity to tall the difference between need and luxury We should have a good understanding of these points and should be able to explain them to the members of our family In clear terms and simplify our living to fit into what we proudly earn through honest work. If we adopt this as a first step, we shall develop ourselves morally and our souls shall become stronger. We will be fully armed, even have the atomic weapon of truth so that no enemy will dare attack us. No one can force us to be caught in a net of longings unless we are willing to fall into it.
If, along with this, we shed all thoughts of the difference between castes, religions and dharmas, adopt the principle of the Universal Man and Prepare for sacrifice on the strength of our conviction that every human being is for every other being, we shall be able to change the present system.
The term workers itself has become a dirty word in our political setup. Workers are now the agents who collect people by paying them money and bring them in tempo, lorry and matador to come and listen to the speeches of political leaders. They are above all values and principles and work for anyone who pay them money. Money is the only thing that matters. Their service is badly needed for political parties with the result that people are no more than saleable commodities.
It is such helpless that form the majority of Indians. They barter their self?respect for the fifty or hundred rupees the worker gives them and stand in the sun all day. Don't they have any ability to think on their own? Or is this any easier than the thirty or forty rupees they earn by sweating it out under the sun? Who is to blame in this instance? The people who come after having received the money? Or the workers who give them the money? Or the political parties which use them in this manner? Or the leaders who secure a majority of votes and come to power by exhibiting their strength in such a fashion?
It is the time of harvest for these workers when it is election time. The money the political leaders have amassed through illegal means is used to buy votes. The leaders meet the important members of their caste, party and locality secretly and arrange to have fake votes cast in an organized manner. They are ever ready to bring their leader's plans to fruiton at the time of the formation of the ministry and the distribution of portfolios. At a price, though.
It is impossible either to achieve the prosperity of the country or the upliftment of the poor with such workers on the scene. The ones who should spare some time for organization should be those who have attained self?reliance by working with dignity in a profession. A man who is a burden on his family is not fit to be a worker. Such a man is a burden even on the society? Expecting any service to society from such an individual is like desiring mangoes after having sown seeds of neem.
Self?reliance, pride in self, honesty, truth and nonviolence. Only those workers who adopt these five principles and are firm in walking their chosen path under the most trying circumstances without succumbing to temptations are entitled to attain freedom. It is our life that should exhibit idealism, not our speeches or preaching.
Gandhi knew that full freedom is not attained just by transferring authority from the white?skinned to the ones with brown skin. It is because of such a conviction that he went about emphasizing the need for rural development in India. The ones who were in a hurry to seize power did not realize this and we are now reaping the fruit thereof.
The British brought into existence a system of protecting brokers who harm both the grower and the consumer. Vested interests among us have carried on with such an arrangement even after we attained freedom. Neither the farmer nor the helpless will survive unless we change this system.
The authorities and the servants of the government at the centre and the states are a tremendous burden on the financial organization of the country. The country will not progress unless we break the tree from system which the British introduced in order to show off their superiority, a system which still smacks of the colonial status of the nation. We will have to establish the simple fact that both the authorities and the workers of the government in a democratic setup are the servants of the citizen and not their masters. It does not speak well of a democracy if an illiterate farmer from the village has to kowtow in the presence of the most junior worker in a government department.
The present practice of permitting multinational companies to start projects without deliberating on the need for them or their impact on our environment and nature is wrong. We will have to mount an organized campaign against this. We have before our eyes the tradition of injustice which started with one company, The East India Company. What consequences will follow if thousands of such companies get a foothold in our country is beyond one's imagination.
More than anything else, the whole system around us is collapsing because principles and values have weakened over the years in our politics. Our political parties are going their own sweet way with no control over them. We have now to mount a campaign against our own men in authority, like the nonviolent one under the leadership of Gandhiji against the British.
Let the movement start based on our sense of responsibility and principles. Let us not wait for leaders. Self?reliance, pride in ourselves, honesty and nonviolence
let these be our guiding lights. As we shall have no selfish ends to attain, the well-being of the society will be our own well?being too. We should take great care to see that selfish individuals do not get into the movement. The basic qualification of the worker is not his caste, religion, education or his standing in society self reliance. We should keep out the evil men who seek self?reliance by using their families, society or movement.
There is nothing novel in any of these proposals. This is the path which Gandhiji walked with success after thinking, planning and experimenting with it. There are hundreds of his writings available for any worker who wants more details about the path. The ones that Gandhiji had to confront were foreigners. We have a greater challenge on our hands because we are confronting our own people. We have to be prepared for any kind of sacrifice as a result. it is not easy to get into fight with men who join us, look and talk us only to stab us In the back in the end. We don't need to lose our heart because of it. Our success is guaranteed if only we listen to the voice of our soul and take care at every stage.
This is the debt we owe to this land which has brought us up. Ours is a fight which has become inevitable in view of the future of our children. It is a movement which is needed to save our environment and nature. It is a sacrifice we have to make in order to protect our freedom.
Prof. B.C. Ramachandra Sharma
TOTAL FREEDOM FORUM
After reading this booklet, if you agree with my views please write a line about yourself and a few lines of suggesstion. Let us build a honest Society based on Self Respect, Self Reliance, Humility Simplicity, Truth and Non?violence.
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