Strengthening the weakest link will lead the nation to development - Dr Mohan Bhagwat

Deendayalji was a reluctant politician. By nature, he was a thinker and organiser. Still, when he was told to take the responsibility of Bharatiya Jana Sangh, he tried his best to transform the nature of Bharatiya politics with his golden touch. This 25th September marks the beginning of his birth centenary year. On this occasion, RSS Sarsanghachalak Mohan Bhagwat had a frank conversation with Prafulla Ketkar, Editor, Organiser and Hitesh Shankar, Editor, Panchjanya about this committed swayamsevak and Pracharak, and relevance of his thinking propounded in the form of Integral Humanism. Excerpts:

Do you see reflection of Deendayalji’s political philosophy in the present day party politics? Is reality in tune with his vision?

It is clearly evident that the nature and conduct of the present day politics is not in tune with the principles of Integral Humanism. Presently, politics is not for nation, not for the last man standing, but revolving around the interests of political parties. In rajniti (politics), raj that means power comes first, followed by niti (policy). When everyone thinks in the same way, everything revolves around ‘power’. Attaining power is an easy task, but policy making on certain principles is difficult. Society also thinks on the same lines, as people also evaluate political parties and politicians on electoral victory and defeat, and not what they do after victory or defeat. Victory and defeat depend on momentary waves, issues converted into calculations for votes. I am not saying it is because of the Constitutional provisions or political parties and the politicians are responsible for this, but this is a general malady. Even if a political party decides to work on ideological and policy lines, it gets defeated by people with selfish interests. In the absence of political maturity, parties tend to play with emotions for gaining power. Politics thus has become a race for attaining power.
This political system, revolving around shortcuts for political power, has to be transformed and merely people sitting there cannot do that. Society has to do that. If voters come out of petty interests, forgoing individual, caste or community interest in larger national interest, only then will the situation change. Then, political parties will also have to follow the rule. If real political reforms take place, then things can change.
Sometimes at critical junctures, when the situation becomes unbearable, people have voted for change, going beyond narrow interests. But this has to be more permanent than momentary.  Consistent and stable political maturity of the society can transform the system in line with Integral Humanism.

We are celebrating birth centenary year of Deendayalji. This year is also the golden jubilee year of his enunciation of Integral Humanism. The contexts have changed. How far do you see the relevance of his thinking in the present context?

Context has definitely changed, but relevance of Integral Humanism will remain as the philosophical framework since it is based on eternal principles. Of course, principles have to be redefined in the present context. The strength of a society depends on the condition of the last man standing. Weakest link should be strengthened. This should be everybody’s concern. This will never change. But what kind of schemes should be devised to strengthen the weakest link so that it can change according to the context. This has to be done in the light of Integral Humanism.

When Integral Humanism was articulated, Socialism was the buzz word in Bharat. Now there is talk of liberalisation and globalisation. How far has the context changed and Integral Humanism re-contextualised?

The real issue is not about which word or ideological framework is in fashion, but honesty and intention in implementing the principles that ideology espouses. Both, Socialism and Liberalism were propounded for the overall development of the humanity. After establishing Communist rule in Russia in 1917, the credibility of Socialism and Communism deteriorated. The same is true for Liberal Capitalism. The US is trying to dominate the world in the name of Liberal Principles, but in reality there are only selfish interests and no liberalism. There was never a struggle for ideological supremacy, but of selfish interests.
The action verifies the principles and not the other way round. Tomorrow if Communists come to power and sincerely follow the principles of Communism after attaining power, then perhaps they will realise the limitations of Communist ideology and can make necessary amends. Both Socialism and Capitalism come and go in reaction to each other. Socialists become Capitalists and vice a versa. But no one says that it is the failure of Socialism or Capitalism as for them it is not an ideological question, but just of power and selfish interests. In Bharat, can we really address this issue of sincerity about ideological positions, nurture the political culture of being honest about our ideological principles and act accordingly, is the real question. Here Integral Humanism shows the way.

‘Politics for Nation’ was at the basis of Deendayalji’s philosophy. Now there is a political change in the country and people have lot of expectations. Do you see this as an end of divisive and appeasement politics and beginning of a new era?

I think I have addressed this in my answer to the first question. They will have to do it, but merely change of guard is not going to change the overall situation. If only one party tries to do that then there will always be doubt about how far they can go. If appeasement policies are followed, then how far they can go, I am not sure. Social awakening is also necessary for this. Ultimately, people get the government they deserve. Whether the society is ready to live and die for the nation is the real issue we need to address. Politicians will have to play their role, but society has to create the environment for as per that role. Both should go hand in hand. Slogans such as Garibi Hatao (eradicate poverty) will work until there is poverty. Once poverty is eradicated, once people are educated, then people in power will have to face more questions and challenges. So they may not like to face such a situation. Politicians should stay away from such temptation. They should facilitate all efforts to change the atmosphere towards national reconstruction.

What can be the practical approach to bring Integral Humanism in practice?

Whenever we think of a Darshan or philosophy, we do not limit it only for Bharat, but extend it for the whole universe. Saintly figures like Dyaneshwar also said that the whole world should see the rise of own Dharma. Dr Hedgewar also proposed a resolution in the Congress session on ‘Complete Independence for Bharat to free the world from the capitalist imperialism’, unfortunately which was not accepted. This goal of Bharat as Nation should be clear to the common people of Bharat. Integral Humanism is the thought process to realise the true potential of Bharat. This can resolve many problems of the world and not only of Bharat. World over all ideologies are exploitative and suppressive. Deendayalji provided alternative to all of them through Integral Humanism, based on the concept of Dharma. Till date, we have experimented with the system on the basis of foreign ideologies. This has been the fashion of the day. Without completely discarding them, we need to accept their positive aspects and adding inputs from the soil of Bharat we need to think of constructing a new model. Some efforts are going on in this direction through the present dispensation. This darshan of a powerful and prosperous Bharat is for the welfare and peace all over the world, which is all the more relevant today. To realise this, we need to explore relevant policy experiments.

Though Bharat is primarily considered an agrarian nation, the plight of farmers is really sad. How can we find solutions to the problems of farmers in the light of philosophical direction shown by Deendayalji?

Our inherent connectivity to Nature including agriculture and forests is the secret of our enriched life values and culture. We consider Nature an integral part of human life. We always lived as a unit in the world.
Presently also, Bharat is primarily agrarian. Farmers and Vanvasis are true carriers of Bharatiya interests and way of life. Even policy reforms should follow them. While doing this, one thing should be clear that industries should also be in tune with our conventional wisdom. Before British started ruling us, 200 years ago, we were leaders both in agricultural and industrial production. Many researchers have proved with data that we integrated these two ways of production for thousands of years. After British ruining this tradition, we are also thinking in a fragmented way where we think agrarian and industry in isolation and antithetical to each other. This is typical a western approach. We need not carry either agrarian or industrial tag, we need both. All the policies should be such that even poorest of the poor farmer should come out of poverty. Landless labourer should not be forced to commit suicide. At the same time, to be relevant in the world, we need to move ahead in the field of industry and technology. Deendayalji said, necessary industrialisation should take place without deforestation and maximum utilisation of barren land. Once we should assess our need of agricultural land so that we can fulfil our needs and also ensure some food supplies to the world. We need to evaluate the forest covers to ensure environmental balance. Then how much land to allocate for the industry, can also be calculated.
In this regard, Man. Sudarshanji, former RSS Sarsanghachalak, did an exemplary experiment in Jharkhand. Calling a group of Scheduled Tribes, he presented a technology of iron making with a small tandoor like mould. Taking such examples into account, we need to find new ways and do new experiments. American and European conditions are different. Therefore their systems of planning are different. They cannot be uniformly applied everywhere. Whatever is good with them we will definitely learn, but primarily we need to devise technology and policies as per our needs. I firmly believe that the integration of our technology, knowledge and tradition of Bharat can give a system, which can ensure happiness and welfare of all.

In political science it is taught that pressure groups make democracy vibrant. Panditji believed that we need to take care of each other’s interests and move forward. How you see agitations such as demand for ‘One Rank, One Pension’ or reservations from the Integral humanist perspective?

I do not think that Integral Humanism has negated the role of interest groups. Interest groups are formed because we have certain aspirations in democracy. At the same time, we should remember that through interest groups we should not strive to address those aspirations at the cost of others. We should have integral approach of welfare for all. It is sensible to realise that my interest lies in larger national interest. Government also has to be sensitive to these issues that there should not be any agitations for them. From the Integral Humanist perspective, the thinking that Government is different from us, should be altered. For instance, you need a fan on fast speed while I don’t want it at all, still we can both agree to have a fan on lesser speed. Harmonisation of interests is possible with this perspective. We can move forward with synchronisation and not struggle. My interest is in collective interest, should be realised by both, government and society. This balance is required from both sides. In fact, they are not two sides but just parts of the integral whole. Everyone should realise that suppression and oppression of one section by the other is against the interests of all. That should be the approach we need to inculcate.

There seems to be a contradiction here. On the one hand you are saying that society is not that matured but at the same time you expect this weakest link to perform a transformative role. Don’t you think this is more ideal than practical?

This may look impractical and difficult, but this is the only way forward. There is no alternative. Government has to formulate effective policies and society should be organised with integral perspective. These complementary processes have to go hand in hand. Political parties will have to resolve that ‘yes we can do this’. We have not tried this so could not achieve it. If both, social and political elites, accept this and strive in the same direction we can achieve this. Sometimes we will have to pass through difficult situations but we have to continue in the desired direction. For instance, while taking a route march with drums, we face a situation where instruments cannot be played, but marching has to be on by finding the alternate route. Finally, we have to synchronise again. This may look a small example but this is the right example as it reflects the mindset. People in power and those working in society together can make the nation stronger, not with struggle. Integral Humanism is the most practical approach, we have to walk a bit with this approach to realise it on the ground. Unless we demonstrate it through adequate experimentation we cannot prove the practicability of the same.

There have been strains in the Centre-State relations. Sometimes in the name of special packages, while sometimes on identity issues. How can we find a way out to this problem through Integral Humanism?

Emotional cordiality is the only solution to this. Both Centre and States are running governments for the Nation. Unitary states are constituents of the nation, they are not separate. As hands, legs or brain cannot claim that they are independent; similarly states are also integral parts of body politic. Until, this bonding is there, everything will be in line. Once special packages become a political tool and all other constituents feel that political blackmailing can take them forward then it leads to unhealthy competition. We need to logically justify and act for harmonious relations.

You said integrity and honesty are the main parameters. Do you see any such policy initiative, undertaken or suggestive, which is in tune with Integral Humanism?

Reservation for socially backward classes is the right example in this regard. If we would have implemented this policy as envisaged by the Constitution makers instead of doing politics over it, then present situation would not have arrived. Since inception it has been politicised. We believe, form a committee of people genuinely concerned for the interest of the whole nation and committed for social equality, including some representatives from the society, they should decide which categories require reservation and for how long. The non-political committee like autonomous commissions should be the implementation authority; political authorities should supervise them for honesty and integrity.

Integral Humanism links education and education policy with both employability and sanskars (values for balanced life). Can you suggest some measures to reform the present education policy?

First, if all we need to reform the prevalent thinking about education. All important education centres accept that education should be employable and at the same time it should produce good human beings. Post-Independence, we never thought of our own model of education based on our values. Whatever little suggestions were made, those were never implemented. Based on the integral approach, we need to completely transform the condition and direction of our education system. Education policy should focus on the making of good and motivated teachers, for which, interference of people in power in the field of education should reduce. Education should be based on truth; it should give confidence to the citizens. It should make us good human beings. I am not limiting education to what is provided in schools. Education should get conducive atmosphere in family and society as well. Deendayalji used to talk about society-centric education. We need to sincerely think and move forward in that direction.   


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