If it is true, then humans will change forever! Welcome New Year AD 2017


By: Shreepal Singh

If it is true, then humans will change forever!

It is said:

“Much more than half our thoughts and feelings are not our own in the sense that they take form out of ourselves; of hardly anything can it be said this is truly original to our nature. A large part comes to us from others or from the environment, whether as raw material or as manufactured imports; but still more largely they come from universal Nature here or from other worlds and planes and their beings and powers and influences; for we are overtopped and environed by other planes of consciousness, mind planes, life planes, subtle matter planes, from which our life and action here are fed, or fed on, pressed, dominated, made use of for the manifestation of their forms and forces.”

These are the words of Sri Aurobindo, modern sage and visionary of our age dominated by stark materialism. What are the credentials of Sri Aurobindo – credentials in the eyes of modern men of science and reason?

From the perspective of these rational people – people who put their faith in an assertion only if it is proved by adopting a scientific method (which method includes experimental proof of the forecast derived from such assertion) – the only credential of Sri Aurobindo is the rational worth of what he wrote in his numerous books.

Rational worth! It becomes really difficult for these rationalists to judge the “rational worth” of those assertions (of Sri Aurobindo) when they (assertions) go to the very foundation of what constitutes “reason” and dissect and analyze them. The only way left to verify the truthfulness of such assertions is to prove them by experimental results. To carry out such scientific experiments, we need highly developed technology; and humanity has come of age and we are in the process of developing the required (neurons et al) technology.

The life of Sri Aurobindo (after 1910) was exclusively devoted to spiritual discipline of an accomplished Yogi and the mystical phenomenon unknown to ordinary humans. Ordinary humans have no inkling – and no means to know – what he achieved and witnessed in the unfathomed mystical worlds existing in dimensions unknown to humans. But fortunately, Sri Aurobindo also authored many books. Among those books, the masterpieces are “Life Divine” and “Synthesis of Yoga”. Of what types these books are? Please Google these books and read the reviews of those who read them saying these books changed their lives forever!

Sri Aurobindo says, “Much more than half our thoughts and feelings are not our own in the sense that they take form out of ourselves; of hardly anything can it be said this is truly original to our nature. A large part comes to us from others or from the environment, whether as raw material or as manufactured imports; but still more largely they come from universal Nature here or from other worlds and planes and their beings and powers and influences; for we are overtopped and environed by other planes of consciousness, mind planes, life planes, subtle matter planes, from which our life and action here are fed, or fed on, pressed, dominated, made use of for the manifestation of their forms and forces.”

If it is true that much more than half our thoughts and feelings are not our own in the sense that they take form out of ourselves – and if we are technologically able to detect them so coming from outside us – then we humans will change forever in our behavior and culture. This change will drastically alter our economy, society and social institutions.

But is it true? Let us wait for our modern technology to answer this question. With this, let us welcome new year AD 2017!

Sanskrit, Dravids, Tamils and South East Asia: No scope for ‘Divisive Agenda’


By: Dr. Nellutla Naveen Chandra

[This write-up by Dr. Nellutla Naveen Chandra is part of one of his several emails, which he sent to one Tamil friend (whose name is being withheld) who had strong thoughts ingrained in his mind of a divided India along the lines of South and North; Dravida and Arya; Tamil and Hindus; Dalit and so-called Upper Castes etc. We are reproducing it here as an article for the general public awareness and as an answer to the artificially bolstered agenda of vested interests to divide India along such fictitious claims.]

Through a good Tamil friend of mine I came to learn about Sangam Literature. This ancient Tamil literature is a rich source on society, intellectual activity, spirituality, literature and sciences and it can be broadly divided into two categories- Puram, external pertaining to nature and Akam, internal pertaining to personal relations.

There are 18 Sangam books translated by Vaidehi Herbert of Hawaii, USA who dates them from 3rd century BCE to 3rd century CE, pre-Pallava.  In the opinion of some of my Tamil friends conveyed to me personally part of Sangam is at least 5000 years old. Vaidehi describes this first Tamil Literature as secular though several Hindu passages are found in them. The latter unsecular Jain, Buddhist, Saivait and Vishnavait literature drew inspiration from Sangam.

The word itself is modified Sanskrit word “Sangham”, probably taken from Buddhist lore especially the norm “Sangham saranam gacchaami”.

This rich source of history contains many references to Mahabharata and Ramayana characters, Tamil Kings (Cholas, Pandyas and Cheras) and their rule, conquests and achievements. It describes a society based on Vedic concepts particularly the Four Purusharthas namely dharma, artha, kaama and moksha and four varnas also of Vedic origins. The morals, customs, social norms, administrative structure, temple life etc. all conform to Vedic culture. The very number of 18 volumes reminds us of 18 Parvas in Mahabharata and 18 chapters in Bhagavad-Gita and 108 Upanishads.

Love stories in Purananuru, one of the volumes, remind us of the great stories narrated in Mahabharata such as Nalopakhyaanam, stories narrated by great Sanskrit poets like Bhasa, Kalidasa, Sudraka, Bhartrihari and others.

It is safe to say that the word “Dravida” is not mentioned as a different race anywhere in Sangam literature. The word Aryan was used as a geographical reference such as “northern people.” The same word was also used to describe a different literature like Aryan Literature.

A later poet Banabhatta who lived in 7th century CE refers to “Dravida” in his novel Kadambari (first novel that was ever written anywhere in the world) also in the context as “a man from south”.

The original Tamil culture was essentially Vedic culture as explained in the book, “Tamil Nadu, The Land of Vedas” written by Dr. R. Nagasamy only this year. Vedic features of Sangam are explained by Rangasamy – see pages 24-29 for verse 166 of Purananuru and pages 29- 39 for verse 18 of Purananuru. Poem 166 points to the immense faith the ancient Tamil society had for Brahmins as leaders among the men of knowledge. The poem 18 is just a translation of Taittiriya Upanishad Brguvalli, perhaps the first of its kind, for example Sanskrit Upanishad annam anne pratishtitham is rendered into Tamil as unti mutarre unavin pintam.

In the same book, we find that –from the very beginning of ancient times, Tamilnadu was the land of Vedic traditions in every field of life – kings, merchants, cultivators, brahmins, hunters, hill tribes, fishermen, chiefs and soldiers, cowherds, artists, musicians, dancers (page 1, Introduction). This book by Rangasamy is an essential reading for all students of nonexistent Arya-Dravida divide concocted by the Colonial Power in their divide and rule policy.

Read this passage in the verse 17 of Purananuru: “From southern Kumari to the mountains in the north, from the oceans on the east to those on the west, the hills, the mountains, and the forests and the land, sing your praises in unison! You are heir to those who ruled this entire world as their bright wheels rolled sweetly!”

This is the Vedic description of Bharata Varhsa accepted by the poets who wrote Tamil Sangam Literature. This is the legacy of all Tamils in as much as it is the legacy of all Kashmiris. Where else will you find evidence of Bharat even though American Orientalists don’t accept this truth?

The contacts made with Southeast Asia by Indian Kings probably started with Ashoka who sent his daughter Sanghamitta and son Mahinda to Sinhala (the present Sri Lanka) at the request of the King Devanampiya Tissa (250 BCE – 210 BCE) for propagation of Buddhism. Look at the Pali names equivalent to Sanskrit words Sanghamitra, Mahindra and Devanampriya Darshan strongly suggesting the language they used was not Sanskrit.

Later many Tamil Kings sent navies as far as Cambodia where is located the world’s largest Hindu Temple, Angkor Wat, nay it is the largest religious structure larger than Vatican or Tirupati. You probably know the great Samudra Mathanam sculpture in the Suvarna Bhumi Airport in Bangkok and Garuda Airways of Indonesia and many other vestiges of Hindu contacts with SE Asia.

Saudis wanted Indonesians to remove all references to Hinduism but were flatly refused. A previous President of Indonesia was named Sukarno who explained “My father liked Mahabharata very much and Karna character was his favourite. He named me Sukarno meaning good Karna.” Thus, all through SE Asia, Hindu culture is fondly remembered and cherished suggesting historical amity that could only stem from cultural ties rather than a forceful occupation which would leave hatred and resentment behind.

Tamil Kings throughout the history patronized Vedas, Sanskrit and Brahmins. None of the Indian Kings (north or south) were predators in the same sense as Europeans who brutally installed their religion, languages and culture- the greatest example is India. Tamils Kings did not impose Tamil language or Hinduism on South East Asia. A Tamil friend of mine wistfully says they should have imposed.

The Hindu kings followed the great example of Rama himself as described by Valmiki in the Yuddhakanda of Ramayana. Seeing the wealth of Sinhala, the Vanaras and even Lakshmana wanted to stay there and occupy the land they just conquered. Rama admonished them saying:

अपि स्वर्णमयी लङ्का न मे लक्ष्मण रोचते जननी जन्मभूमिश्च स्वर्गादपि गरीयसी|”

“Lakshmana, even this golden Lanka does not appeal to me, mother and motherland are greater than Swarga itself.” Many people don’t know it was Rama who first said this great line. He installed Ravana’s brother Vibheeshana as the King of Sinhala.

Thus, Indians never used force to impose Sanskrit on SE Asia. Then how did Sanskrit spread? It was first Ramayana itself that was so dear to all people in Myanmar, Indonesia, all the way up to Cambodia. It was cultural  not political. You can’t name a Tamil King who used force to spread Sanskrit or Hinduism.

Even today perhaps after 10000 years or more Ramayana is recited all over in the most endearing manner. Then as we saw in the case of President Sukarno, it was Mahabharata as well. Even in Vietnam Hindu symbols such as Ganesh and Hanuman are used in taxis.

In the book Akananuru of Sangam literature stanzas 276,336,376,396 describe Aryans. . In all these references the word is used in the context of geography and not a race.

In Valmiki Ramayana, Sita addresses Rama as “Arayputra” and Mandodari addresses Ravana also as “Aryaputra”. If Ravana was Dravidian why was he called Aryaputra by his wife? Moreover, Rama was black and Ravana, a Brahmin was white. Kaurananidhi the propagandist par excellence does not mention these facts. Rama an Aryan from North India was black and Ravana a Dravidian from South India was white! Can DMK and other division seeking traitors explain this fact?

Who are Dravidas? Among the many sects of Brahmins, Dravidas was and is one. For example, Sreeman Adi Sankara was a Dravida Brahmin. But Sreeman Ramanuja and Sreeman Madhva were not Dravidas. They all came from South India. Does Karunanidhi know this? In Telangana, in Vemulavada region there many Dravidas, all Brahmins. None belongs to a non-Brahmin Varna. Why is that so? By the popular theory, you should find Dravidas in non-Brahmins and not find them at all in Brahmins.

 Brahmins living south of Vindhyas were called Pancha Dravidas and north of Vindhyas were called Pancha Gaudas. Pancha Dravidas were Gurjaras (Gujarati Brahmins), Maharastrikas (Maharashtrian Brahmins), Tailingas (Telugu Brahmins), Karnaticas (Kannada Brahmins) and Dravidas (Tamil and Malayalam Brahmins). Kalhana’s Rajatarangini, Muthu Tambi Pillai’s Abhidana Chintamani and in N. Kathiravar Pillai’s Tamil Moli Akarathi mention this division. This definition of Dravida based strictly on Geography and secondly on Language is a sampradyaya parampara from Bana (8th century), Kalhana (circa 12th century), Muthu Thambi Pillai (18th century) and Kathiraver Pillai (20th century).

When Maxmuller proposed that Aryans invaded India where Dravidians were living, he did not follow up the details in Indian history books, creating two races that never existed (Dravidas became Dravidians). This is not evidence based. When the Marxists proposed Aryans as Brahmins and Dravidians as non-Brahmins, distorting history beyond recognition, they did not take into consideration the historical facts. This is also not evidence based. The idea that Dalits are Dravidians and others are Aryans, is a further distortion of truth. This is also not evidence based.

Two great leaders of Tamilnadu Sreeman Rajagopalachary and Sri Kamaraj Nadar never mentioned Dravidian race as different from Aryan race. It was demagogues like Anna Durai who publicized the idea of difference to get elected.

Scientists and their social responsibility: Indian view


By: Dr. R. R. Kishore, MD, LLB

(Chief Medical Officer, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India, President, Indian Society for Health Laws & Ethics, New Delhi. Telefax: +91-11-6876621 e.mail: rrkishore@vsnl.com

– This paper was presented by the author at Workshop organized by the Hastings Centre at New York, USA, 27 June-3 July, 2003)

Introduction

On September 11, 1990, following the disintegration of Soviet Union, President Bush, , sounded very optimistic while announcing emergence of an order “free from the threat of terror, stronger in the quest for peace, an era in which the nations of the world can prosper and live in harmony”. (1) For hundreds of years, economists and politicians have been experimenting with different philosophies and systems of state policy, ranging from monarchy to democracy but they have not been able to provide a secure and peaceful social order. By means of continuous and sustained efforts, in the hope of achieving a uni-polar world, easier to govern and administer, they demolished a communist system which stood erect for nearly seven decades. But, the outcome belied their assessment and expectation. Even more than a decade after the iron curtain was torn, world is as insecure as ever, perhaps more, and the perceptions remain drastically heterogeneous. People, in the same society and culture, continue to perceive aggression and liberation differently. There is no unanimity even on fundamental issues of human quests and values? The global village, shrinking day by day through faster communication and cultural assimilation, presents a painfully disintegrated picture in terms of human quests and goals. Science by its very nature is unanimous and integrative. It does not vary according to political systems and boundaries. Scientists worldwide share common principles and theories for their operations. As such, they are part of an independent and transparent civilization, offering a ray of hope in this multipolar world divided by race, religion, history and politics. This paper seeks to examine the socio-economic obligations of the scientists in the face of fast advancing science and technology and the strategies adopted in this regard by a developing country like India.

Existing Scenario

During the last decade there has been spectacular progress in science and technology. Capabilities in information, communication and transport have increased manifold and several areas of space have been successfully explored. Fast advancing biotechnology has turned fiction into reality. Human genome has already been mapped. Thousands of diseases are already known to result from defects in single genes and the screening of defective genes has become a practical possibility. Transplantation technology holds the promise of improving millions of lives by replacing diseased organs. Reproductive technology has transformed the life of many sterile couples into hope and joy. However, there are many areas in biotechnology where enhanced capabilities have added to human dilemmas. Genetics, in its attempt to understand life in molecular terms has led to objectification of human subjects, affecting person’s identity, autonomy, and equality. Individual’s body and its characteristics have become the object of commercialization leading to prolonged legal battles , with no definite results. (2) Non-existing are taking precedence over the existing (3) and the embryos are being subjected to inheritance rights (4). Claims for the “custody” of fertilised ova, “wrongful birth” and “wrongful life” are challenging judicial capability. (5) Human relationships and institutions like ancestry, parentage, marriage, and family are being redefined — and even collapsing. The rights of the mother and the embryo/foetus continue to interfere with each other increasingly and the search for ‘normal’ children by selection of embryos remains surrounded by ethical obscurity. End of life decisions, stem cells, genetic patentability, research involving human subjects, organ donation and allocation, and many more issues display lack of conceptual clarity. On top of all this has come the “Utility” with its vast potential of making the life worthless and misconceived, compelling one to search new meaning in the objects and phenomena.

Of the world’s 6 billion people, 2.8 billion – almost half – live on less than $2 a day, and 1.2 billion – a fifth – live on less than $1 a day, with 44 percent living in South Asia ” (6) Poverty is a complex phenomenon. It breeds many negative forces such as illiteracy, superstition, ill health, social bias, injustice, dependency, genderization, outsized families and migration, enhancing poor’s vulnerability. Media is full of disquieting reports indicating exploitation of the poor for organ removal, womb hiring (surrogacy), sale of dead bodies, sale of children, sale of foeti, DNA sampling, clinical research and experimentation. Malnutrition and communicable diseases are still the major killers in developing countries and the poverty-health nexus continues as ever before. World has slipped into 21st century with loud thinking, utopian goals, and health-starved people, and many questions remain unanswered.

It is very clear that the international pronouncements affirming human dignity and individual autonomy as essential components of contemporary ethics have failed to protect the poor. Despite enormous scientific and technological advancement today’s world displays following disappointing features –

1. The life of common man has not improved. The inventions and innovations have brought comfort and luxury to those who belong to higher income group.

2. A large portion of the world’s population continues to live in poverty.

3. Genderization is prevalent in many parts, with blatant discrimination against women

4. Many vulnerable groups have emerged, with huge possibilities of coercion and exploitation

5. Social sectors such as healthcare, food, water, sanitation, housing, education, and justice have been ignored.

6. There has been extensive degradation of earth’s environment and natural resources are rapidly depleting.

7. Future generations are getting increasingly insecure

8. Political tensions and religious rivalries are mounting and the people are exposed to newer forms of threats

9. Individual is becoming more and more institutionalized, with loss of privacy, freedom and choice.

10. Growing commercialization is eroding the wealth of cultural and traditional knowledge

A scientist is not expected to watch the above trends as a mute spectator. As a member of civilized society he has to play a proactive role in its formation and betterment.

 Science, humanities and values

For centuries science and humanities have been treated as two different extremes for the understanding of universe, resulting in to inadequate utilization of both. While the former discovers the power of Nature, the latter determines its application. Technology therefore contemplates a matching human content in order to unfold itself for a purposeful role. Since technology is rooted in urge for productivity, resource optimization, automation, and innovation, there is a general belief that it improves the quality of life by imparting higher functionality, comfort and security. But, technology, in fact, acts in a strange paradox. On one hand it enhances human capability by increasing access to knowledge and resources, on the other hand it encourages concentration of scientific and economic power, leading to inequality and vulnerability.

In the recent years the common man who was earlier concerned with the problems of his daily life has become increasingly conscious and inquisitive of the scientific progress around him. He has become a part of interactive and proactive world, asking many questions concerning moral, economic and social implications of scientific pursuits. Three vital questions in this context are-

1. What is the human face of scientific research and development ?

2. Are the scientists a mere tool in the hands of economists and politicians or are they bestowed with a vision and commitment to use their knowledge and skill for evolving a secure and peaceful world order?

3. What is the interplay between human resources and scientific pursuits? Is it worthwhile to spend billions of dollars of people’s precious money on the development of spacecrafts while millions are hungry and devoid of basic necessities of life?

These questions point towards the basic human values associated with scientific and technological development. These values are truth, common good, transparency, independence and responsibility. In a civilized society, therefore, scientific advancement and moral evolution should proceed simultaneously and technological pursuits ought to be founded in deeper perspectives of human needs and aspirations than merely the desire for quantitative gains. Primacy of the human being is a uniformly recognized principle and the “ interests and welfare of the human being shall prevail over the sole interest of society or science” (7) No research or research applications “should prevail over respect for human rights, fundamental freedoms and human dignity of individuals or, where applicable, of groups of people” (8) Based on these perspectives one can identify following goals of scientific and technological advancement-

1. To preserve and sustain nature

2. To bring peace and security to the people.

3. To impart equity and justice to social dispensation

4. To enhance unity and integrity of the world.

 Science and social responsibility

Public responses reflect fairly widespread moral concern about advancing technology and its applications. Instances such as Bhopal, Chernobyl, depleting ozone layer, green house effect, genetic interventions and nuclear arsenal have shaken people’s faith in science and technology. Many feel that since it is not possible to regulate and control such outcomes it is safer not to have such capabilities. This mistrust about science and technology is partly because of lack of people’s participation in the decision making process. “Exaggerated reports of success are likely to hurt the very people who we were trying to help.” (9) The situation calls for a continuous dialogue between the scientists and the general public in order to discuss the ethical, social and economic aspects of scientific and technological developments. Such a dialogue would lead to wider public acceptance of scientific promises. It is therefore necessary that scientists come out of their laboratories and research establishments and share a common platform with the general public.

Failure of political and religious leaders to take clear position on the issues emerging out of advancing technology has added to scientist’s responsibility to educate the public about the nature and consequences of their pursuits. In today’s democratic societies it is not possible for the politicians and the policy makers to ignore the public opinion even if such opinion is not scientifically well-founded. This may lead to discouraging impact on the scientists due to fear of getting their grants stopped and also on the industrialists due to fear of not getting adequate markets. In the process, many valuable opportunities may be lost. “… what can be done to change the present situation? The scientist must enter the public arena and must explain what he is doing and why it is important to the public. He must speak of it with same passion as the activist, and without condescension. He must abandon the jargon of his guild and speak in ways the public can understand” (10)

Science is becoming increasingly inter- and multi-disciplinary, and calls for multi-institutional and, in several cases, multicountry participation” (11) Rapid advancements in science and technology have thrown profound and formidable ethical, social and economic challenges. Knowledge which was considered to be a universal asset has become a commodity, with severe restrictions on dissemination and sharing. Scientific knowledge for its adoption, transfer and diffusion requires participation of scientists in social tasks. Those engaged in research and development in the field of basic sciences ought to be conscious of the needs and aspirations of the community in which they live. The scientists must regularly interact with those who are involved in social sectors and humanities. This is necessary in order to impart social perspective to scientific pursuits. Many problems in today’s world can be attributed to rigid compartmentalization of disciplines. Human existence in its essence is holistic. No scientific pursuit is complete unless the resulting knowledge is integrated with social, economic and emotional aspects of human personhood. There are several other intelligible reasons justifying close interaction between scientists and society. Some of them are as follows-

1. Mundane breeds subtle: Practical circumstances and challenges provide the best impetus to scientific discoveries and inventions. Most of the scientists feel that the only places for them to pursue their knowledge and expertise are research and development laboratories. But, it ought to be realized that laboratories are not the only places to practice the art of science. Had Newton not been sitting in a garden he would not have discovered the laws of gravitation. Real life situations provide perspectives and insight which are not available in a study room or a laboratory. Working with lab rats and guinea pigs is one thing, working with human beings in flesh and blood is another. Interaction with surroundings is the best source of imagination and creativity. As such it is in the interest of science and technology that their initiators remain close to nature and community.

2. Scientists are a part of common intellectual stock of the society. Substantial natural and social resources are spent in making each one of them. They owe an obligation to return the debt by means of effective service to humanity i.e., the common man. The best service a scientist can render to the society is to use his scientific knowledge and expertise in a manner that improves accessibility of fruits of research and development to the common man.

However, the above social obligations notwithstanding, the choice of pursuit adopted by a scientist depends on a variety of factors such as –

  • Pesronal likes and dislikes

  • Individual circumstances

  • Nature and quantum of incentives by the state

  • Political atmosphere

  • Civil rights consciousness of the society

  • Economic status of the community

  • Cultural milieu

  • Historical background

As such, the scientist will behave differently in different societies. In an economically developed society most of them may like to pursue a purely research and development career. Scientists in a developing country, confronted with many a social problems may prefer to devote his knowledge and acumen in order to find solution to the problems in various social sectors.

Indian Scenario

Science and technology have been an integral part of Indian civilization and culture over the past several millennia. India was the fountainhead of important scientific discoveries which cover many great areas in the field of mathematics, astronomy, architecture, chemistry, physics, metallurgy, medicine, and several others. India too learnt a great deal of science from other jurisdictions. Many Indian scientists such as Chanakya, Aryabhatta and Sushruta who gifted the world rare ideas and discoveries were not only involved in scientific research and development but were also social reformists actively associated with community’s daily life and spirit. For this reason, the scientific discoveries and inventions in ancient India were never contrary to the interest of common man. Such scientific advancement was a part of overall social development, intermingled with economic, moral and religious processes.

Indian culture displays a unique universalism, perceiving the whole world as one big family-

“That person is my own, and the other one is not

my own is a thinking of small-heartedness. For the

generous ones the entire humanity is one family”

The above cultural thought provides a valuable direction to scientific pursuits.

India is committed to play her role in the global as well as national fields of science and technology. The emphasis has been on sustainable and equitable development of technology. The country has been successful in building a sound infrastructural base of scientific institutions and a highly skilled human resource. Indian capabilities in science and technology span through a wide range of disciplines. Agriculture, healthcare, education, information, communication, chemicals, fertilizers, nuclear energy, civil aviation, defense production, astronomy an astrophysics are some of the areas in which country has made remarkable success. A scientist cannot remain unaffected by the social milieu to which he is continuously exposed. In a country like India there are many specific challenges contemplating involvement of young scientists. These areas reflect a unique blend of scientific talent and social commitment. Areas like safe drinking water, nutrition, control of pests, flies, rodents, low cost housing, irrigation, power generation, indigenous system of medicine, and a host of others contemplate active involvement of scientists. Some of the common goals to be pursued by the Indian scientists may be identifies as follows-

1. To raise the quality of life of the people, particularly of the disadvantaged sections of the society

2. To generate wealth for all

3. To make the country globally competitive

4. To utilize natural resources in a sustainable manner

5. To protect the environment

6. To ensure national security

Scientists enjoy a unique social credibility which was never as compelling as it is today in view of increasing commercialization and politicization of resources in the name of globalization. The basic goal of all human development is to enhance access to justice. Scientists can be part of important policy initiatives in this direction.

Scientific and technical manpower (S & T) constitutes one of the major input resources for scientific and technological development. It provides measurement of country’s development potential. India has 7.27 scientists, engineers and technicians (SET) per thousand of population as compared to 180.66 in Canada, 139.16 in Russian Federation, 113.63 in Sweden and 112.77 in Japan. India’s per capita research and development expenditure was Rs. 130.26 (US $ 3.1) during 1998-99. There were 220 universities, 11 institutions of national importance and 11397 colleges in 1998-99 imparting higher education in the country. In 1999 the total strength of S & T personnel was 7.24 million. Many of these scientists and technicians are not gainfully employed. As per the data on the S & T personnel worn on the Registrar of Employment Exchange the number of unemployed S & T personnel was 1.72 million in 1998. (12)

India’s Science & Technology Policy for 2003

In the words of M. M. Joshi, India’s Minister for Science and Technology, “Our new policy is anchored in our abiding belief that for science and technology to grow, it must be green, it must be ethical, it must have a human face, it must be gender sensitive, it must be region and contest specific, reflect our enormous diversity and plurality, and it must empower the community as a whole and not merely a section of it.”(13)

In order to ensure integrated and fruitful development of science and technology and assimilation of country’s scientists in the socio-economic and cultural mainstream of nation’s life the Government of India announced a comprehensive policy for the year 2003. The policy takes in to account the emerging global and national challenges in the field of science, technology, economics and politics and the part to be played by the Indian scientists in this regard. The evolving world order founded on liberal economic policies, changing political equations and expanding people’s aspirations contemplates a proactive and multisectoral role by the scientific community. The Indian policy identifies several distinct objectives and envisages a multi-pronged approach in order to address the emerging imperatives. Some of the policy objectives are-

1. To inculcate scientific temper amongst the Indian people so that they emerge as a “progressive and enlightened society” and are able to participate in the development of science and technology and its application for “human welfare”

2. “To ensure food, agricultural, nutritional, environmental, water, health and energy security of the people on a sustainable basis.”

3. “To mount a sustained attack on alleviation of poverty, enhancing livelihood security, removal of hunger and malnutrition, reduction of drudgery and regional imbalances, both rural and urban, and generation of employment, by using scientific and technological capabilities along with our traditional knowledge pool.”

4. To ensure that science and technology enterprise in the country is “fully committed to its social responsibilities and commitments’

5. “To integrate scientific knowledge with insights from other disciplines, and ensure fullest involvement of scientists and technologists in national governance so that the spirit and methods of scientific enquiry permeate deeply into all areas of public policy making.”

Thus, it can be seen that the nation’s science and technology policy perceives the scientists not only as initiators of research and development but as persons capable of playing a much wider role in the country’s overall development. The policy seeks to realize this goal by adopting a dynamic and flexible approach, necessary to accommodate the evolving world order. The policy reiterates India’s “commitment to participate as an equal and vigorous global player in generating and harnessing advances in science and technology for the benefit of all humankind”

While spelling out the strategy and implementation plan the policy recognizes the need for the development of technologies which address the “basic needs of the population” and lays special emphasis on “equity in development” so that the benefits reach the “disadvantaged section”

 Conclusion

Unregulated technological advancement generates serious socio-economic challenges. It causes diversification of resources for the comfort and luxuries of few, imparts higher power to certain sections of society, neglects social sectors, exacerbates people’s vulnerability and aggravates overall inequity. Owing to past bitter experiences and lack of conceptual clarity the promises of technology seem to have turned into suspicions and many technological feats have been shelved for fear of moral miscarriage. In a civilized society the economists, politicians and religious leaders are not the only characters cast with responsibility to ensure people’s development. As enlightened members of society scientists have a complementary role to play in the people’s development. No technological development is complete unless it is integrated with social sectors. Scientists can utilize their scientific knowledge and skill in order to address many socio-economic challenges. They are bestowed with unique human attributes namely the truth and transparency and, as such, they are the founders of bright future. Scientists must understand that they are not robots operating at the command of their economic and political masters. They have an obligation towards disadvantaged sections of population which means that their scientific knowledge and skill should unfold itself in order to discover methodologies capable of liberating such sections from deprivation and neglect. Scientists also carry an obligation to ensure that their discoveries and inventions are not misused by business entrepreneurs and the industry to mislead the people by false claims and publicity. They should therefore engage themselves in dialogue with general public. With this perspective in mind, India’s Science and Technology Policy for the year 2003 seeks to integrate development of science and technology with social sectors, by encouraging scientists to play a complementary role, along with other players, in the overall development of the people.

References

(1) U. S. Department of State, Current Policy Document No. 1298

(2) Moore v Regents of the University of California, 793 P.2d 479, 271 Cal, Rptr, 146 (1990), Cert. Denied, 111 S.Ct. 1388 (1991), as reported in the Journal of Legal Medicine, Vol. 14. No.3, September, 1993

(3) C Byk “A Map of a New Treasure Island”, Journal of Medicine and Philosophy, 1998, Vol 23, pp234-246 at p 236

(4) In the Matter of Estate of Late K and In the Matter of the Administration and Probate Act 1935 ex parte The Public Trustee , as commented upon by Derek Morgan, in “Rights and legal status of embryos”, Australian Health Law Bulletin, Vol, No7, April/May, 1996).

(5) Michael S. Yesley. “Bioethics in the United States of America: Who Decides?” Human Genome Research and Society. Proceedings of the Second International Bioethics Seminar in Fukui, 20-21 March, 1992. P34-45

(6) World Development Report 2000/2001 Attacking Poverty, published by the World Bank, p3

(7) Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Dignity of the Human Being with regard

to the Application of Biology and Medicine: Convention on Human Rights and Biomedicine,

Oviedo, 4 April 1997, (Article 2)

(8) Universal Declaration on the Human Genome and Human Rights, UNESCO, 11 November,

1997, Article 10

(9) Heiner Westphal, M. D. Animal models of human diseases. Genethics. Published by Ciba-Geigy Limited, Ciba Communications, Basel, Switzerland, 1995, p28

(10) Gerald E. Gaull, M. D. The new biotechnology: communication with the public. Genethics. Published by Ciba-Geigy Limited, Ciba Communications, Basel, Switzerland, 1995, p68

(11) Science and Technology Policy 2003, Ministry of Science & Technology, Government of India

(12) Research and Development Statistics 2000-2001, Govt. of India, Ministry of Science and Technology, Deptt. Of Science and Technology, New Delhi, May 2002

(13) Dr. M. M. Joshi, Minister for Human Resource Development, Science and Technology, India. Science and Technology Policy 2003, Ministry of Science & Technology, Government of India

Demonetization: Modi or Manmohan Singh: Who is Credible?


By: R. Veera Raghavan, Advocate, Chennai

Did you read  Manmohan Singh’s  newspaper article  on the recent demonetization of 500 and 1,000 rupee notes?  If not, please flip through The Hindu of 9th Dec. and have a look or view it at

http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/lead/Making-of-a-mammoth-tragedy/article16779252.ece

The government’s initiative is important, and so is the writer who was India’s prime minister for ten years before Narendra Modi assumed that post.

Manmohan Singh quotes Modi on the primary reasons for demonetisation, viz., one was to check “enemies from across the border …. using fake currency notes” and the other was “to break the grip of corruption and black money”.   He agrees saying, “Both these intentions are honourable and deserve to be supported whole-heartedly” and adds, “Counterfeit currency and black money are as grave a threat to India as terrorism and social division. They deserve to be extinguished using all the firepower at our disposal”.  So far so good.

The former prime minister faults Modi on an assumed underlying premise behind demonetisation, viz., Modi’s “false notion”, as he put it, that “all cash is black money and all black money is in cash”.  Anyone who is 18 would not believe that all cash is black money.  Did Manmohan Singh really think that Modi held a false notion that “all cash is black money”?  No, the former governor of Reserve Bank of India could not have honestly believed what he wrote.  If one imagines that “all cash” is black money, it means he thinks Reserve Bank of India routinely prints and issues black money!

Manmohan Singh could not also have believed, as he wrote, that Modi held a “false notion” that “all black money is in cash”.   Anyone who is a little older than 18 will not have that notion, and Manmohan Singh cannot be naive to think that Modi hoped all black money to be in cash.  Not just Modi, his peon and cook too should know that blackmoneywallahs gain nothing by keeping their entire illegal cash incomes in not-to-be-used bundles of paper currency.  They would enjoy enough of that income by buying gold, land, buildings or other assets and by splurging.  Some have also been caught keeping their black money in bank fixed deposits.  So Manmohan Singh was wrong in imputing these false notions to Modi.  But more than that, the former prime minister has damned himself severely.  Here is how.

Manmohan Singh writes  further: “Black money is a menace to our society that we need to eliminate. …… This is wealth that has been accumulated over years by those with unaccounted sources of income.  Unlike the poor, holders of black money have access to various forms of wealth such as land, gold, foreign exchange, etc. There have been various attempts by many governments in the past decades to recover this illicit wealth through actions by the Income Tax department, Enforcement Directorate and schemes such as Voluntary Disclosure.”  And he adds: “Evidence from these past attempts has shown that a large majority of this unaccounted wealth is not stored in the form of cash”.   What an unconscious confession!

Without saying it, but clearly implying it, Manmohan Singh admits that it is mostly during past Congress or Congress-led regimes at the Centre that black money in India was “accumulated over years”.   He admits too, indirectly, that attempts by those governments to unearth black money in the country and book offenders yielded no good results. What follows? When his party ruled the central government, people could freely generate and acquire black money, coolly convert it into other forms of assets and merrily keep that wealth, and they would not be traced and booked at any of those stages.  This showcases the sheer inefficiency, unwillingness, and possibly more, of the ruling governments of those times in battling black money.

We know that the 2G spectrum scandal at the central ministerial level, storming around minister A. Raja, heaping a huge revenue loss on the government and involving massive kickbacks – God knows how much it was, and how much of it was black money – was enacted when Manmohan Singh was prime minister.  We know too that his minister for communications and IT, Kapil Sibal, certified that the scam caused “zero loss” for the government.  Time magazine knew more.  In 2011 it gave that scandal its pride of place in its all-time list of “Top 10 Abuses of Power”, and put it second in the list behind the Watergate scandal.

Manmohan Singh implies this too, though he feels shy of saying it explicitly.  He would like us to believe that it is impossible to curtail the never-ending generation and growth of black money in the country, that no action such as demonetisation can be effective against that menace and that all any government can do is lament it like what he does.  He takes that stance by implication, so he can portray all the past Congress or Congress-led coalition governments at the Centre as doing their best to contain black money – and hope that no one may accuse those governments of inaction.  A futile hope.

Many advanced nations do not  permit  black money to be continuously generated and spread in their economies, like India does.   Those countries do not witness so much of free-wheeling corruption.  Their top government officers who have to watch over and report or act against corruption are themselves not corrupt, and that checks corruption down the line. More important, ministers who run governments in those countries are largely clean and so they inspire officers on integrity at work.  A few exceptions can always be tackled.

If a ministry is not perceived  to be clean in its dealings with businesses, many government officers will take the cue and benefit themselves financially in illegal ways.  That ministry will have no mind or energy to take serious and imaginative actions against governmental corruption and its byproducts like black money.  Officers of such a government cannot also check or go after black money.  Modi has given the impression that he is honest and determined, and so long as that impression stays many government officers would feel inspired to implement his drive against black money.  Reports coming in every day since demonetisation that unaccounted old currency notes, new currency notes, gold and other assets worth in crores are being seized from every nook and corner of the country are a testimony to Modi’s moral leadership in India’s fight against black money.

After 2014 elections, the prime minister and his ministers changed, while officers of the central government remained. How come the same officers now uncover hidden black money and suspicious wealth in large chunks through their raids and inspections across the country, while they did just a little of that under decades of previous governments, mostly Congress-propped or Congress-led?  The reason is, they derived no inspiration from those governments to go on a mission mode and act boldly and honestly in searches and seizures.

Economists and other experts have expressed varying degrees of approval or disapproval on Modi’s demonetisation and allied measures for their worth in producing results.  So, for the layman theses conflicting opinions cancel out themselves and he has to go by what he sees around and senses. India’s common people seem to see the difference between years of previous central regimes and Modi’s government now scrapping high value notes and acting against black money.  That is why, while queuing up before banks and ATM’s to withdraw small amounts of cash in a regulated post-demonetisation period, and putting up with other hardships, they have backed the party headed by Modi hugely in civic polls in three States and in Chandigarh, all held after demonetisation was announced.   This is also an answer to a good part of other comments of Manmohan Singh in his article.

Sure, swift legal action against the corrupt and the blackmoneywallahs is a warning to them, and others wanting to emulate them.  It will hold them in perennial fear that they could be caught anytime, shamed and brought to justice, and will keep most of them largely contained. That is how it works in advanced countries, and not because angels live there. So the present demonetisation and its follow-up actions will have a good preventive effect on corruption and black-money holding, and that is a huge national benefit.  That will last as long as we have a central government that shows a clean image and acts tough on corruption and black money.  Manmohan Singh has not also acknowledged this national benefit.

Wikipedia  introduces  Manmohan Singh as  an “Indian economist and politician”.   Viewing him as an “economist-turned ordinary politician” would be closer to reality.  Manmohan Singh will know it.

(More articles of R. Raghavan, Advocate, Chennai may be read at the following site)

http://rvr-india.blogspot.in/

Happy Yuletide (or Christmas)!


By: Prashant Parikh

All I Want for “Christmas”, is ‘Yule’
https://prashantparikh.wordpre ss.com/2016/12/25/yule-not- christmas/

 

Inline images 2

Aside from wishing my friends a Happy Yuletide, I also take this occasion to pray for the resurrection (bad pun) of faiths/cultures that have been methodically minimized, maligned by, and misappropriated into the dominant and expansionist monotheistic systems most prevalent today.

My Guru, Pujya Swami Dayananda ji spoke highly of the need to protect ancient traditions and their heritage from disappearing (be it the grand Pyramids of Egyptians or the colorful Creation Myths of the Mayans).

In light of the same, and in hope that we keep them alive in our living memory, I wish to share some background on the lovely festival ‘Yule’, of the Germanic people whose celebrations have been variously connected to the Norse God (the capitalized ‘G’ should not be exclusive to only one cult) ‘Odin’, and the Anglo Saxon ‘Modraniht’, the traces of both of which, over the centuries, have all but vanished. Their remnants have been repackaged into a multitude of festivities we associate today with Christianity (this includes, Christmas and Easter ), but whose antecedents date even further back, beyond the historical era. Thus, too, Yuletide (a festival dismissed pejoratively as “pagan”/”heathen”) morphed into Christmas-tide (or ‘Christmas time’).

Quoting a sentence from Pūjya Swāmi Dayānanda ji’s groundbreaking speech- Conversion is Violence: 
///Aggressive religions have no God-given right to destroy ancient faiths and cultures///

Regrettably, this is precisely what has happened to indefinitely many pagan/heathen faiths around the globe, and continues, with equal vigor, even in India (Hindus, too, are considered heathens), to our art-forms and cultural symbolisms, by the Missionary bodies.

Picking just one example to illustrate: Here, in some village in South India, while depicting the ‘Ratha Kalpanā’ (imagery of the chariot), Missionaries have supplanted Krishna with Jesus. One of the horses has even been re-imagined as a reindeer- antlers and all!

unnamed

Since the time of the European Renaissance, and the rise of the Secular movement in Europe during the Middle ages, Christian Missionaries lost their power to stamp out native cultures, as they did so well during the Crusades, and also later during the Inquisition (just prior to the Renaissance movement) and Witch-hunts (which continued on for a period of time). This reformation Christianity underwent was not a voluntary one, but a means of survival, in the new political milieu they found themselves facing. In time, they perfected new methods of subjugation, which took the following form:

1) Denigrate what pagan traditions one can
(Embodied in the writings of Wendy Doniger, Sheldon Pollock, Jeffrey Kripal, Paul Courtwright, the hoardes of British and German ‘Indologists’ during the Colonial rule in India, and so on…)

2) ‘Digest’ and re-package what one cannot
(As seen in the ‘Ratha Kalpanā’ imagery, or examples where the Iśāvāsyopaniśad is presented as being written in praise of Jesus (since the Hindi word for ‘Christian’ in India is ‘Isāi’, Iśā Upaniśad was a sly attempt to re-cast it as “Christian” (evidently funny to us, but it finds many believers in India, especially in the rural/poor/uneducated pockets of society)))

Quoting Pūjya Swāmi Dayānanda ji further:

The world’s religions can be categorically said to be either aggressive or non-aggressive. Each religion has a certain promise in the form of an ultimate goal. Their faithful people try to live the prescribed life and reach the promised goal. Neither they nor their clergy are out to bring the people of other religions to their flock. Zorastrians follow their religious tradition without attempting to convert anybody to their religion. This is true with the followers of the Jewish tradition, Vedic religion (now known as Hinduism), Shintoism, Taoism and the many other religions of various tribes in the world. I call these religious traditions non-aggressive because they do not believe in aggressive conversion.

Then there are religions like Christianity, whose theologies, containing a number of basic non-verifiable beliefs, advocate conversion. Evangelism and proselytization are sacred commitments of the entire cadre of the highly organized clergy. The clergy-inspired laity are not any less committed to conversion. They are zealous in their mission of preaching and conversion. In their zeal, the end more often than not justifies the means. From the days of the Inquisition, every attempt recorded in history to stop their program of conversion only stoked their flame of zeal.

As a result, many religions with their unique cultures have disappeared, leaving behind only mammoth relics, like the ones in Greece and Mexico. The loss of such great living cultures of the world is the mark of success for the zealous of the aggressive religions. The truth is that where there should be a sense of guilt and remorse, there is a sense of achievement and pride. Many leaders of non-aggressive traditions think that the charity of the missionaries is designed to neutralize any protest from the native religious community. One cannot totally dismiss their thinking.

Religious conversion by missionary activity remains an act of violence.

At times I have to convince myself to remain silent, and at least pretend to be Politically Correct, especially in esteemed forums such as these where I understand people peacefully gather to reflect upon Self Knowledge- but that does not serve any good in giving shape to an informed cultural narrative. And truly, reading Pujya Swamiji’s resoundingly clear message, and seeing all that he accomplished (and in some cases what he began, but could not complete- such as the appeal to the Pope to cease Conversion activities in India- which the Pope bluntly refused to do) this seems pretty high on the priority list of Important Conversations to Have. What prompted this message and the stream of thoughts that followed was an innocuous and well-intentioned, but in my humble opinion, a mistaken “Christmas” greeting from a good friend, in a group catering to students of Vedānta, to whom I consequently addressed this lengthy E-Mail response, which I now present as an Article.

On a lighter, and more Hopeful note, I am delighted to share news about the first Viking Temple, in over a 1,000 years, that is being constructed in Iceland. I would love to view photos of the final product!

http://www.history.com/news/fi rst-viking-temple-in-1000-year s-coming-to-iceland

Hope to see this trend continue, and for the subjugated native traditions to rise from their graves (another bad pun), one after another, all around the world.

Yule greetings to one and all!

A letter to US Representative Ed Royce: Do not support NGOs indulging in Evangelical Conversions in India


Mr. Ed Royce

US Representative, 39 District of California, Orange County, 210 W. Birch Street, Suite 201, Brea, CA, 92821

Dear Sir

I talked to Mr. Eduardo Duarte on Wednesday, December, 14 and he suggested I write to you. At the time, I was not sure if I would write. I revised my opinion and writing this letter to you.

The history of Jewish people in India dates to 721 BCE. The Bene Israel community living in Kolaba south of Mumbai are believed to be Hanukkah refugees. Marco Polo records meeting Jewish people in India in 1293. I quote “When the Jewish community was threatened by attacks from South Arabian and Portuguese invaders in the 1400s, the maharajah in the nearby town of Cochin invited them to settle and even build their synagogue next to the town’s Hindu temple.” Jewish people thrived in India accepted by Hindus in peace for centuries.  Famous stars of Bollywood are of Jewish origin. An Indian Lieutenant General Jack Jacob of Jewish origin brilliantly helped creating Bangladesh in 1971. Israel Parliament honours India for its record on Jews.

Christian refugees were accepted into India by Hindus and were given shelter. They followed their religion without any persecution.

Even Muslim refugees escaping the persecutions that followed the death of their prophet were given refuge in India.

Hindus accepted and gave home to these three Abrahamic religions.

Farsies escaping persecution in Iran sought refuge in India and flourished there-an example, J.R.D. Tata.

Forgetting their past both Christians and Muslims launched a campaign of conversion denigrating Hindu customs, culture and beliefs. Under Muslim rule Muslims increased in numbers. Under the British rule Christian conversions reached large numbers. Hindus were victimized, their temples looted, their priests killed in millions (an estimate is 18 million- the worst offenders were Ghazni, Tamerlane, Khilji, Moguls, Nizam of Hyderabad and Tipu Sultan of Mysore and scores of other local war lords.)

In the post-modern era, the conversions into Christianity increased mainly funded by the US NGOs. Sometimes the cost of conversion is $1.00 as Hindus would accept any money. The main argument put forward is Christianity is superior to Hinduism for which there is no scientific evidence. Great intellectuals like Bertrand Russell, Christopher Hichens and Richard Hawkins of 20th century, Voltaire of eighteenth century and many others have not exactly complementary remarks to make on Christianity. If the world must survive we should learn to respect each other. As a Hindu I revere cow, I use curry and I do belong to a caste. Caste was introduced by British in India. The very word originates from a Portuguese word “casta”. It is well known that all Hindu transactions are done in Sanskrit language probably the richest in the world. In Sanskrit two words were used- Jati and Varna. In the great Bhagavadgita Krishna says he created Varnas based on Gunas (qualities) and Karmas(professions). Nobody was born into a Varna. In Vedic times Brahmans married Dalits- an example is the greatest Brahmarshi Vasisht married Arundhati, a Dalit lady. There were ascensions from lower ladder to a higher ladder if their Gunas and Karmas permitted. Similarly, there were demotions form a higher ladder to a lower ladder if Gunas and Karmas so demanded.  But British for their own administrative reasons made it birth related destroying Hindu society.

I expect respect form others because I respect others.

On September 4, 2014, Gary Dale, a Christian wrote a letter to Toronto Star mentioning that bible said:

  1. The earth was flat
  2. The earth was only 6000 years old
  3. Man was created before the nature.
  4. There is no such thing as “infinity”
  5. There is no such thing as “vacuum”.
  6. The sun rotated around the earth.

Modern science negates all these. We know the earth is round. We know the earth is 4.6 billion years old thanks to Uranium-Lead, Potassium-Argon and Lead- Lead decay methods of determining the age of rocks. We know that man was the result of evolution thanks to modern Biology. In mathematics infinity is an indispensable concept. Television would not exist without vacuum tubes. Of course, we all know earth rotates around the sun. Per Gary Dale Bible is wrong on these six issues. Let us just look what Hinduism says about these six factors;

  1. Mahabharata the great epic written thousands of years ago says the earth is round. Other Puranas also say this.
  2. The Hindu Sastras say the earth is 1.92 billion years old.
  3. Bhagavad-Gita says Nature created inanimate and animate matter.
  4. Infinity is an idea accepted by Hindu philosophers from time immemorial.
  5. Vacuum is embedded into Hindu psyche also from a very long time. We believe Universe came from Vacuum.
  6. “The sun rotated around the earth” was borrowed from Aristotle even though contested by many Hindu thinkers.

If we put this litmus test of Gary Dale Hinduism was right on 5 out of six, coming out with flying colours. Hinduism is not inferior to Christianity by this simple test.

I respect Christianity and expect all Christians respect Hinduism. Conversions carried out today by Evangelicals show total lack of such respect. NGOs in India promote breaking up of India, they promote conversions to Christianity and denigrate Hinduism.

I request you not you support any NGO in India. We Hindus will solve our problems. We don’t need others to do so. We are poor but our legacy is greater than any other in the world. Per Angus Maddison, a twentieth century economist, in 1750, 23% of world GDP was produced in India and 2% in England. When they left in 1947, we were producing 2% and they were producing 22% – a total reversal of fortunes. How much looting was carried out? But we are on the right path to reach our glorious past.

I am a Canadian citizen, and don’t belong to any religious or political organization.

Thank you

Nellutla Naveena Chandra, 543 Bellamy Road North, Scarborough, On, M1H 1G5, Canada 416 49 6630.

नोटबंदी – अंधेरे मे ध्रुव तारे से राह


श्रीपाल  सिंह

भारत में सरकार द्वारा ५०० और १००० रुपये के करेंसी नोटों को चलन से बाहर कर दिया गया है। जिस देश में सवा – डेढ़ अरब लोग रहते हों वहां इस कदम से होने वाली अफरा तफरी को कोई भी आदमी बखूबी समझ सकता है। यह क्यों किया गया है? क्या इस देश की राजनैतिक लीडरशिप ऐसा कदम उठाने के बजाय आराम से और बिना किसी अफरा तफरी के अपने बचे हुए कार्य काल को पूरा नहीं कर सकती थी ? आखिरकार क्या जरूरत थी इस संकटपूर्ण और जोखिम भरे कदम तो उठाने की ? यह सरकार भी सामान्य तौर पर अपने से पहले की ७० वर्षों की सरकारों की तरह समय गुजार सकती थी।  आम तौर पर सभी राजनैतिक नेता ऐसे ही आराम से समय गुजारना पसंद करते रहे हैं।  पहली बार किसी नेता ने – भारत के प्रधान मंत्री नरेंद्र मोदी – ने आज़ादी के बाद ऐसा जोखिम भरा कदम उठाया है।  आखिर क्यों ?

हमें किसी भी कदम को समझने के लिए उस कदम के पीछे रहने वाले आदमी की नीयत और चरित्र को समझना चाहिए। नरेंद्र मोदी एक आध्यात्मिक चरित्रवान व्यक्ती हैं।  लेकिन इस बात से बहुत से लोग सहमती नहीं रखेंगे।  आओ, इस असहमती का महत्व समझने के लिए हम एक बार फिर वही पैमाना इस्तेमाल करें और देखें की इस तरह की असहमती रखने वाले आदमी का व्यक्तिगत चरित्र कैसा है।  जिस आदमी का अपना व्यक्तिगत चरित्र नीचे स्तर का है, उसकी असहमती का कोई भी महत्व नहीं है। असहमती व्यक्त करने वाले राजनैतिक लोगों का व्यक्तिगत चरित्र कैसा है,  यह हम जनता के विवेक पर छोड़ते हैं।

सचमुच में भारत में सभी लोग इस कदम से बहुत परेशानी में हैं।  यह एक तरह का उनका बलिदान है।  इस कदम के क्या परिणाम होंगे ? उम्मीद है इस कदम से भारत एक शक्तिशाली और आधुनिक देश होकर निकलेगा।  आओ हम एक विहंगम दृष्टी डालें – दुनिया की एक बड़ी तस्वीर में भारत को समझें और इस तरह के कदम की जरूरत को समझें।

प्रकर्ति का अस्तित्व बड़ा रहस्य पूर्ण है ; चाँद, सितारे, पृथ्वी, जीवन, मानव सभी कुछ अनूठे रहस्य से भरे हैं।  ऐसे रहस्य जो मधुर आश्चर्य हैं; जो बुद्धिमानो में बच्चों जैसा कौतुहल जगाते हैं; जो सभ्यताओं को जन्म देने वाले अग्रदूतों, वैज्ञानिकों और महापुरषों को पैदा करते हैं।  इन रहस्यों में सबसे अधिक रहस्य पूर्ण हैं : मानव और मानव जाति की विकास यात्रा।

काल चक्र के पथ पर , जिसे हम इतिहास कहते हैं , बहुत सी सभ्यताएं उभरी हैं और नष्ट हुईं हैं। उन सभ्यताओं के समक्ष कई बार संकट के भयावह क्षण आये।  कई बार उन संकटों को हल कर लिया गया और कई बार उनको हल नहीं किया जा सका और वे नष्ट हो गईं।  लेकिन हर बार वे सभ्यताएं केवल कुछ जातियों या राष्ट्रों तक ही सीमित रही थी।

आज एक बार फिर हमारी सभ्यता के संकट ग्रस्त होने के स्पष्ट संकेत मौजूद हैं। लेकिन इस बार सभ्यता का यह संकट एक देश या जाति तक सीमित नहीं है।

इस बार संकट पहले से अधिक व्यापक और संहारक होगा।  समूची मानव जाति इस संकट की चपेट में आ सकती है और पृथ्वी पर जीवन का अस्तित्व ही दांव पर लग सकता है।

आज का संकट उस मानव के पतन का संकट है जिसके हाथ में जन संहारक शस्त्र हैं ; यह उसकी सभ्यता के पतन का संकट है।  यह उस संधिकालीन युग का संकट है जहाँ एक ओर तो आधुनिक सभ्यता अपने सार रूप में जर्जर हो कर अपने जीवन के सांध्यकाल में पहुँच गयी है लेकिन दूसरी ओर एक ऐसी बेहतर और नयी सभ्यता जन्म नहीं ले पाई है जो पुरानी का स्थान ले सके।

इस संकट के निवारण पर ही मानव जाति का भविष्य निर्भर करता है।

आज की दुनिया को विज्ञानं ने सचमुच ही एक छोटा सा गाँव मात्र बना कर रख दिया है।  संचार से लेकर युद्ध, पर्यावरण, व्यापार, संस्कृति आदि तक कोई भी देश शेष दुनिया से कट कर अलग थलग नहीं रह सकता।

जो राष्ट्र और संस्कृतियाँ मानव जाति की समस्याओं को समझने और उनको हल करने में जागरूक हो कर पहल करेंगे वे दुनिया को रास्ता दिखायेंगे और मानव जाति  के भविष्य को अपनी समझ, आकांक्षाओ और मर्जी के मुताबिक़ गढ़ेंगे और जो देश अपने अंतर्विरोधों और झगड़ों में उलझे रहेंगे उनके लिए इसके अलावा और कोई दूसरा विकल्प नहीं होगा कि वे दूसरों की बनायी सभ्यता , संस्कृति और विश्व व्यवस्था में अपने आप को ढालें।

पिछले सौ वर्षों में पश्चिमी देशों द्वारा की गयी प्रगति ने हमारी दुनिया को अभिभूत कर दिया है और उनकी सभ्यता आज मानव जाति की सभ्यता बन गयी है।  उनकी संस्कृति के मानदंड और कीर्तिमान पृथ्वी के एक कोने से दूसरे कोने तक मान्य हैं।  हमारे सभ्य होने की पुष्टि उस संस्कृति की अवधारणाओं से माप कर होती है।  स्वतंत्रता, समानता, धर्म निरपेक्षता, प्रजातंत्र, मुक्त स्पर्धा, भोगवाद  और समाजवाद जैसे बौद्धिक अवधारणाओ को नितांत पवित्र, शाश्वत सत्य  और सर्वश्रेष्ठ माना जाता है। उनकी अपूर्णता की ओर इंगित करने का अर्थ असभ्य संस्कृति का प्रतीक मात्र है।

पश्चिमी सभ्यता, जिसे आधुनिक सभ्यता कहा जाता है, के ये तथाकथित ऊँचे मानदंड – स्वतंत्रता और समानता जैसी बौधिक अवधारणाएं – वास्तव में पूर्वी देशों – जिन्हें आज पिछड़ा कहा जाता है – की आध्यात्मिक सभ्यता के खंडहरों  में से बाक़ी बची अच्छी चीजों पर ही  निर्मित हुई है।

लेकिन  आज पूर्वी देशों के लोग अपनी उस सभ्यता के बाक़ी बचे अवशेषों – पुराने खडहरों – से ही चिपके हुए हैं। ये लोग अपनी सभ्यता के खंडरहित अवशेषों – धर्म, मंदिर, मस्जिद, जाति, दहेज़, पर्सनल क़ानून, जेहाद, धर्म  राज्य आदि आदि – को अभी भी सीने से लगाये फिर से उसके लौट आने का इन्तजार कर रहे हैं।

लेकिन वह पुरानी सभ्यता फिर से लौट कर नही आ सकती; वह पुरानी सभ्यता फिर से आधुनिक मानव की गौरवपूर्ण सभ्यता नहीं बन सकती।  प्रकर्ति का यह नियम है कि वह आगे के ओर बढ़ती है, पीछे की ओर नहीं लौटती।  अब वह पुरानी सभ्यता एक मृत-सभ्यता है।

लेकिन पश्चिमी देशों की आज की सभ्यता – तथाकथित आधुनिक सभ्यता – भी अपने वर्तमान वैभव के बावजूद अब बहुत दिनों तक आधुनिक मानव द्वारा स्वीकार्य सभ्यता नहीं बनी रह सकती।

आधुनिक सभ्यता अपने पतन के कगार पर खडी हुई है।  इस सभ्यता के स्थान को लेने के लिए एक बेहतर , गंभीर और सशक्त सभ्यता ने अभी जन्म नहीं लिया है।  उसका जन्म लेना अभी बाक़ी है।

नयी सभ्यता के जन्म की प्रक्रिया एक युग परिवर्तन की तरह है। इस नई सभ्यता के जन्म लेने की शुरुआत इस बात से होगी कि पहले हमारी दुनिया नए सत्यों – विज्ञान द्वारा उद्घाटित सत्यों – को स्वीकार करे और उन सत्यों को अपनी संस्कृती में स्थान दे, वे सत्य उसकी रोजमर्रा की जिंदगी के हिस्सा बनें।

यह सब कुछ एक तरह से मानव के गहनतम और अंतस्थल के मनोवैज्ञानिक मर्मों और रहस्यों को उजागर करने और उनके अनुसार सांस्कृतिक मूल्यों को गढ़ने की प्रक्रिया होगी। इसमें मनोवैज्ञानिक और परा – मनोवैज्ञानिक खोजों और सत्य का बहुत बड़ा योगदान होगा; आज जहाँ तक विज्ञान नए मनोवैज्ञानिक और परा – मनोवैज्ञानिक सत्यों को खोज रहा है, वहां से सभी तरह के अध्यात्मवाद की मात्र शुरुआत भर होती है, किसके आगे बहुत कुछ बाक़ी है।  सौभाग्य से इस क्षेत्र में अति प्राचीन समय से भारत का लगभग एकाधिकार रहा है। नयी सभ्यता की बुनियाद उन्ही मूल्यों और मानदंडों से निर्मित होना निश्चित है।

भारत अपनी अत्यन्त प्राचीन काल से चली आ रही जिन्दा सभ्यता के अपने लम्बे अनुभव के बल पर उस नई सभ्य्ता को निर्मित करने मे दुनिया की बहुत मदद करेगा।

लेकिन भारत को पहले अपना पिछड़ापन दूर करना होगा।

इतिहास बताता है कि कमजोर की अच्छी बात भी कोइ नही मानता और ताकत वर के द्वारा कही गयी बाते दुनिया के लिये आदर्श बन जाती है।

हम जानते है कि १९३० और १९४० के दशक मे जब सोविएत संघ जब अपने चरम उत्कर्ष पर था तो सारी दुनिया में समाजवाद, मजदूर किसान का हक़, सबके लिए रोटी कपड़ा और मकान आदि सारी दुनिया के लिए आदर्श बन गए थे, इस बात की परवाह किये बिना कि वहां पर सोचने विचारने की आज़ादी, इंसानों की बराबरी, मानव अधिकार आदि को कुचल दिया गया है. इसी तरह आज पश्चिमी देश और यूनाइटेड स्टेट ऑफ़ अमेरिका अपने चरम उत्कर्ष पर है तो आज भोग वाद, भौतिक सम्पन्नता, प्रतिस्पर्धा, बोलने विचरने की आज़ादी, समानता, मानव अधीकार आदि दुनिया के आदर्श बने हुए हैं, बिना इस बात की परवाह किये कि यहाँ मजदूर किसान का शोषण होता है, सबको रोटी कपड़ा मकान नहीं मिलता, यहाँ केवल पैसे वालो की आज़ादी है, रोबोट आ जाने पर बेरोजगारी व्यापक इंसानी बीमारी बन ने के करीब है।

आज उस सभ्यता को जन्म लेना और विश्व स्तर पर स्थापित होना है जो इन सब समश्याओं को बेहतर तरीके से सुलझा सके।

ऐसी सभ्यता जन्म लेने की तैयारी में है और भारत का उसमे बहुत बड़ा योगदान होगा।

लेकिन अभी रात्री का अन्धेरा है। सवेरा होने में अभी कुछ देर है।

मानव मन की गहराईयों में आधुनिक सभ्यता के प्रति एक अस्वीकृति का भाव है ; उसके मनोवैज्ञानिक अस्तित्व के अंतस्थल में एक छटपटाहट और बैचेनी है।

ये भाव ही नयी सभ्यता के जन्म लेने की तैयारी के संकेत हैं।

नयी सभ्यता के जन्म को संभव बनाने के लिए आधुनिक विज्ञान उर्वर भूमि तैयार करने में लगा है।

आधुनिक सभ्यता के इस संकट काल में – दो सभ्यताओं के इस संधिकाल में – विज्ञान और उसके द्वारा उद्घाटित सत्य ही अस्थिर मानव-मन के लिए सहारा और आशा की किरण हैं।

भारत अभी भी अपने ७० वर्षों के हर क्षेत्र में पिछड़ेपन के बोझ को ढो रहा है।  बिना इस पिछड़ेपन को दूर किये भारत एक कदम भी आगे नहीं बढ़ सकता।

दुनिया में कई देशों में इस तरह के पिछड़ेपन को दूर करने के लिए “कम्युनिस्ट झंडे ” के तले बंदूकों का उपयोग किया था और वे विश्व शक्ति बन गए।  आज चीन उनमे से एक है।

भारत को अपना पिछड़ापन दूर करना है और विश्व शक्ति बनने का उसका बिल्क़ुल ही दूसरा लक्ष्य है, जो मानव जाति के सुख-शांति और कल्याण के लिए है, तथा उसे यह काम शांतिपूर्ण और लोकतान्त्रिक तरीके के करना है।

भारत के प्रधान मंत्री नरेंद्र मोदी आज इसी काम में जुटे हैं।  यह एक कठिन काम है. भारत एक कठिन दौर से गुजर रहा है. आओ हम भी इसमें सहयोग करें।

इस युग परिवर्तन की बेला में, आओ , हम भारतवासी जागृत हों, संगठित हों और पहल करें राष्ट्रीय और अंतरराष्ट्रीय स्तर पर मानव जाति के भविष्य को गढ़ने में, नयी बेहतर और स्वर्णिम सभ्यता के स्थापन में !

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