Thoughts on economics and liberty

Deendayal Upadhyaya’s integral humanism #1 Principles and Policies of Jan Sangh

As indicated here, I'll now publish – in rapid succession – Deendayal Upadhyaya's philosophy in five different blog posts, each being effectively a different "chapter". Then I'll provide comment – time permitting either soon or possibly in a week or two. 

The consolidated text of this conservative philosophy is available as a Word document here. As you read Upadhyaya you'll soon recognise what a significant impact he has had on the way of thinking of most Indians.

Principles and Policies

[Extracts from a document drafted by Pt. Deendayal Upadhyaya and adopted by the A.B. Pratinidhi Sabha of the Bharatiya Jan Sangh in its meeting at Vijavawada from 23rd to 25th January, 1965.]
 
DEMOCRACY, equality, national independence and world peace are inter­related concepts. But in the West these concepts have often clashed with one another. The ideas of socialism and one-world government have stemmed from efforts at resolving this conflict. However, they have not only failed to do so but have weakened these concepts and created new problems. Bharatiya Sanskriti offers the philosophical substratum on the basis of which these concepts can be harmonised and cherished objectives realised. In the absence of such a basis, human thought and development have been stultified. The basic truths propoun­ded by Bharatiya Sanskriti have a validity beyond country and age. So, knowledge of these truths will provide a direction not only for our own advancement, but for the world's progress as well.
 
The outlook of Bharatiya Sanskriti is integral. It accepts the seeming differences among various entities and aspects of life, but it seeks at the same time to discover the unity underlying them—and takes an integrated view of the whole scene, In the manifold activities of the world, Bharatiya Sanskriti sees inter-depen­dence, cooperation and concord rather than conflict, contradiction and discord. Its perspective is all-comprehensive, not partial. It wishes and works for the well­being of all. Integralism is thus its key-note.
 
Individual And Society
Several ideologies of the west are based on the assumption that there is an inherent conflict between the individual and society. These ideologies then take up the cause either of the one or of the other. But the fact is that there is no such inherent conflict between the two entities. The visible entity— the indivi­dual—is also the representative of the invisible society. It is through him that the society manifests itself. He is in fact the chief instrument of society, and the measure of its fulfilment. Destruction or constriction of his individuality would leave the society stunted. A flower is what it is because of its petals, and the worth of the petals lies in remaining with the flower and adding to its beauty. Development of the individual and social good are not contradictory interests.
 
All-round Progress of The Individual
An individual is the aggregate of body, mind, intellect and soul. !Anyone desirous of all-round progress of the individual must keep in mind all these attributes of his. All of them need to be satisfied. Only then would an individual experience real happiness. This means that both, material as well as spiritual, progress are to be aimed at. The wherewithals for fufilling these four- fold wants are material means, peace, enlightenment and a feeling of tadatmva (identification). It is the comprehensive nature of this aim which inspires the individual to exert for social good.
 
The four Purusharthas of Dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksha have been con­ceived as means for the achievement of this twin objective of individual advancement and social welfare. Dharma, Artha, and Kama, sustain one another and are com­plementary. To accept any one of them as the sole inspirer of human activity and to evaluate actions by that measure alone, would be to take a lop-sided view of things. However, Dharma, being the means for realising Artha and Kama, is of prime importance.
 
Nature of Dharma
A lot of confusion is caused by equating Dharma with religion or creed. Dharma really means those eternal principles which sustain an entity – individual or corporate—and abiding by which, that entity can achieve material prosperity in this world and spiritual salvation in the next. The basic attributes of Dharma are eternal and immutable. But in the matter of a detailed spelling out of these principles, Dharma does vary in accordance with place and period. Nevertheless in this chang­ing world, Dharma is the only factor that brings stability to society. According to Indian polity, therefore, absolute sovereignty is vested in Dharma alone.
 
Society is not just a conglomeration of individuals. It is a living entity by itself. A society which has filial devotion to its own land and a characteristic genius of its own, constitutes a nation. The genius is innate and inborn and not the product merely of geography and history. The rise and fall of nations depends very much on how far their conduct has been in conformity with their own genius. But despite these variegated characteristics of theirs, different nations can play a complementary role in the building up of world unity. If any nation does not do so and impairs unity it should be considered a perversity. To seek to do away with nations in order to build up world unity would be like demolishing the individuality of the individual in the name of promoting corporate weal.
 
Genesis of Institutions
In order to manifest itself, and to help the individual exercise these four Purusharthas, society gives birth to a variety of institutions such as marriage, family, property, caste, clan, community, guild, panchayat, state, etc. The State is impor­tant, but not supreme.
 
In the Krita-yuga, they say, all men were guided in their conduct towards one another by Dharma, so there was no State. That is our conception of the idealstate of society—stateless, and regulated entirely by Dharma. This is possible only when everyone becomes selfless and Dharma-nishtha. But ordinarily, the institution of state is necessary to maintain order and to assure to every individual all opportunity for following his Dharma.
 
Dharma Rajya—Our Ideal
The ideal of the Indian State has been Dharma Rajya. Tolerance of and respect for all faiths and creeds is an essential feature of the Indian State. Freedom of worship and conscience is guaranteed to all and the state does not discriminate against any one on grounds of religion either in the formulation of policy or in its implementation. It is a non-sectarian State and not a Theocracy.
 
Dharma Rajya does not recognise any individual or body as sovereign. Every individual is subject to certain obligations and regulations. Rights of the executive, of the legislature, as well as of the people, are determined and regulated by Dharma. Licentious conduct is not permitted. The nearest English equivalent of Dharma Rajya is Rule of Law. Dharma Rajya ensures on the one hand a curb on arbitrariness and totalitarianism, and on the other it prevents democracy from degenerating into mobocracy. While other concepts of state are right-oriented, the Indian concept of Dharma Rajya is duty-oriented. Naturally, therefore, there is no scope here for rights being trampled upon or for any hankering after unlimited rights. Also, there is no danger of dereliction of duty, of power-madness, or of any conflict of rights.
 
Duties and Rights
In a Dharma Rajya people's rights are inviolate. It is the duty of the people to guard these rights of theirs zealously because it is through the exercise of these rights that they can fulfil their Dharma. In fact, according to our concept, a rightis an instrument which enables the individual to carry out his duties and experi­ence a sense of being, and belonging. Duty and right are thus two sides of a triangle which has Dharma as it base. it is the right of a soldier to be equipped with arms, for without arms he cannot fulfil his duty of defending the people. But how these arms are to be provided, and used, is a matter governed entirely by Dharma.
 
Democracy
Democracy, or people's rule (Lok- tantra) is a means for upholding Loka­dhikar (people's rights) and promoting Lok-kartarya (people's duty). Democracy has to be established not only in the political field but in the economic and social fields as well. In fact democracy is indivisible. It cannot be viewed in fragments. The absence of democracy in any one sphere is bound to affect the growth of democracy in the rest. Tolerance, dignity of the individual and a feeling of identi­fication with the demos, the people—these are the essentials of democracy. Without these, the mere paraphernalia of democracy would be purposeless. And if these essential are there, the institutional form can vary from time to time and from country to country.
 
The main feature of political democracy is the right to elect representative rulers and to be elected as such. Freedom of occupation and free choice of goods are imperative for economic democracy. And social democracy arises from equality of status and opportunity. Efforts have to be made to ensure that all these rights complement one another and do not detract from the others' effect.
 
Freedom
For individuals as well as for nations, freedom is a natural urge. In bondage there is neither happiness nor peace. Along with political freedom economic and social emancipation is also necessary. Non-interference by the state in the natural interests of the individual and society constitutes political freedom. Economic freedom lies in Artha not proving an impediment positive or negative for man's progress. Lastly a condition in which society contributes to the individual's natural progress, rather than restricts it, is social freedom. These freedoms accrue to the individual only when the nation as such enjoys them.
 
Like democracy, freedom too is indivisible. Without political freedom, it is impossible to have the other two freedoms. Without economic freedom, a people cannot have social freedom, and to a great extent political freedom also. And with­out social freedom, economic as well as political freedom will also lose substance.
 
Regulation of Economy
As in the realm of politics, so in economic matters, laisse.: faire belongs only to the Krita-yuga. It can have relevance only in such an ideal state. Ordinarily, therefore, to ensure proper production, distribution and consumption of wealth, regulation of economy (Arthayama) is necessary. For this purpose a variety of institutions has taken shape. On the State too a heavy responsibility rests in this regard.
 
But to vest the ownership and control of all means of production in the state would lead to the centralisation of economic as well as political power. This would be wrong. It must, however, be admitted that to set the process of economic develop­ment moving, to keep the economy on an even keel and for the attainment of the nation's basic objectives the state must undertake in general to plan, direct, regulate and control economic effort and in certain specific spheres and circumstances to accept the responsibility of ownership and management too.
 
Want of Artha and Affluence
For want of Artha, Dharma suffers. By its affluence also Dharma may suffer. In both circumstances, economic independence is curtailed. Non-availability of adequate livelihood or lack of capital necessary to maintain production or increase it, consti­tutes want of Artha. This applies both to the individual as well as the society. Attachment to wealth forgetting the fact that wealth is but an instrument, lack of a Dharma-regulated desire, knowledge and capacity for enjoyment of wealth, undue influence of money and wealth, economic disparities in society, inflation and devalua­tion—all these are conditions which connote an Artha-complex harmful to Dharma. Such excess undermines human energy and ultimately leads to the dissipation of wealth and prosperity.
 
Ownership of Property
The issue of ownership of property is important. Some hold that an indivi­dual's right to property is absolute. There are others who consider ownership of property and particularly of means of production, as the root cause of all evil. There are thinkers who subscribe to the view that all property belongs to God and man is but a trustee for the same. As a philosophy, this concept of trusteeship is com­mendable. But in actual practice, the question would always remain as to what regu­lations and limitations should guide the trustee's conduct.
 
An individual or a group of individuals, with which the individual is insepara­bly related in regard to all his needs and activities, cannot live without property. With Karma (action) is associated the fruit thereof. From freedom to consume and use what one has earned stems the concept of property. Not to consume the entire earnings but to save therefrom is a natural tendency and a national virtue. Property gives to the individual a sense of dignity, security and satisfaction. So property cannot be done away with.
 
The right to property is subject to social sanction. This concept about pro­perty is a fairly complicated one and varies with time, place and object. Differences arise with the varying needs of society. Those who deny society's right to regulate property, simply wish that there should be no change in the concepts about property prevalent at a particular moment. Society has the authority, and often it becomes its duty, to alter property rights. There is no such thing as an absolute and immuta­ble right of property.
 
The right of property however will have to be recognised subject to limitations. These limitations are determined in accordance with the needs and life-values of the society and the individual. When affluence of property renders some person indolent or parasitical and its lack deprives others of their independence, it becomes imperative to regulate property.
 
Primarily, it is the responsibility of society to provide for the rehabilitation of persons affected by changes in the prevalent concepts of property. But the princi­ple of compensation is essential in view of the definiteness and stability it imparts.
 
Touchstone of a Sound Economic System
Themain desideratum of a country's economic system, as of its polity, should be the all-round development of the individual. Production of wealth aims primarily at giving happiness to man. Human labour is the primary means of production. The objective of man's economic activity is to exploit natural resources in an endeavour to fulfil his requirements. That system, therefore, is the best which aids him to fulfil these requirements as also promotes his all-round welfare. A system which advances his economic good but impedes his progress in other directions cannot be considered beneficial. The focal point of interest for every economic system should be man.
 
The capitalist system of economy which accepts the 'economic man' as the central point of all its activities is inadequate. The selfish desire to acquire more and more profit is the motivating force in this system, with competition as its regulator. This does not conform to the Bharatiya philosophy. Socialism originated in reaction to the problems created by Capitalism. Its objectives are commendable but in its end-result, it has failed to profit mankind. The reason is that the analysis of society and individual by Karl Marx, the propounder of scientific socialism, is basically materialistic and so inadequate. The concept of class-conflict cannot give rise to a spirit of spontaneous and permanent cooperation.
 
Capitalism and socialism differ in their view of property. But both lead to its centralisation and monopolisation. So man is neglected under both. We need a system in which man's own initiative remains unobstructed but in which, in his relation with the rest of society, human values do not suffer. This objective can be fulfilled by adecentralised economy.
 
Decentralised Economy
Concentration of power is repugnant to democracy and human freedom. Subject to considerations about national unity, economic power should be decentralised both horizontally as well as vertically. The process of industrialisation in the West has led to concentration of power. The institutions of public limited Company, Managing Agency, Holding Company, etc. have furthered this accumulation of wealth and power in a few hands, Most of the evils of capitalist economy owe to centralisation. Socialist system saw no evil in this centralisation. They simply sought to transfer the ownership of capital from private hands to the state. In fact under a socialist regime both economic and political powers are concentrated in the same hands, and therefore, evils due to concentration become even more accentuated. These ills can be remedied only through decentralisation. Accordingly social and economic institutions will have to be recognised. The latest inventions of science and technology favour decentralized industries. Decentralisation is highly congenial to the all-round development of human personality. Small scale mechanised industries, small trades and farms that can be run and managed under individual, family or cooperative ownership should be the basis of our economy. Large units should be exception to this rule.
 
Criteria of Progress
It is the responsibility of society to arrange for the upkeep of every child that is born, and to provide him with education which would enable him to develop his individuality even as he contributes to the well-being of society as a responsible mem­ber. It is the responsibility of society again to assure every able-bodied person employ­ment and adequate leisure and every person a living. Every civilised society fulfils these obligations in some form or the other. In fact, these have become the main criteria of progress. Therefore, right to a minimum living standard, education, employment and social security and welfare will have to be accepted as fundamental rights.
 
Integral Humanism
The individual occupies a pivotal position in our system, According to the principle of 'Yat pinde tad brahmande' (what is in microcosm is also in macrocosm), individual is the representative and chief instrument of society. Material wealth is a means to man's happiness, and not an end in itself. But a system which is based on the assumption of a mass-man and fails to take into account the living man having an individuality characteristically his own is not adequate. Inadequate also is a system which looks just at one attribute of man and fails to take a comprehensive view of him as an organic being comprising of Shareer, Mana, Buddhi and Atma having a number of urges requiring to be fulfilled by the Purusharthas. Our ideal is the integral man, who has the potential to share simultaneously innumerous individual and corporate entities. Integral Humanism is the corner-stone upon which our entire system needs to be built.
 
There have been a number of schools that have propounded humanism. But their thinking has been rooted in Western philosophies and so it is essentially materi­alistic. These thinkers have not been able to offer any philosophical explanation for the ethical nature or behaviour of man. If you deny spiritualism, then human rela­tions and behaviour and the relationship between man and the Universe cannot be explained.
 
Aping Western Ideologies
Most of the politcal parties in India are inspired by Western ideologies. They are linked with one or other political movement of the West and are mere replicas of the corresponding institutions there. They cannot fulfil the aspirations of Bharat. Nor can they provide any guidance fora world standing at the cross-roads.
 
There are a few political parties which voice allegiance to Bharatiya Sanskriti They miss the dynamism of Bhara4iya Sanskriti, and the eternal and enduring nature of Bharatiya values appears to them as evidence of a static and inflexible character. So, they try to defend decrepit instructions and practices of the past ageand plead for the status qua. They fail to perceive the revolutionary element in Bharatiya Sanskriti. In fact very many malpractices prevalent in society, such as untoucha­bility, caste discrimination, dowry, death feasts, neglect of women, etc. are symptoms of ill-health and degeneration. Many great men of India devoted to Bharatiya Sans­kriti have in the past fought these evils. An analysis of very many social and econo­mie arrangements of ours would reveal that they are either the outcome of society's incapacity to change and adjust with the times, or they are institutions which at one time served as society's shield against the foreigners or they have been thrust on us by foreigners or have been adopted by us from them in sheer imitation. Such insti­tutions cannot be preserved in the name of Bharatiya Sanskriti.
 
Integral Humanism—the Only Way
Integral Humanism must necessarily make a balanced appraisal of both Bharatiya as well as Western ideologies. On the basis of this evaluation it seeks to show a way which would make man progress further from his present position of thought, experience and achievement.
 
The Western world has achieved great material progress but in the field of spiritual attainment it has not been able to make much headway. India on the other hand lags far behind in material advancement and so its spiritualism has become a hollow-sounding word. Nayam alma halheenena labhyah (The soul cannot be realised by the weak)—There can be no spiritual salvation without material prosperity. it is necessary, therefore, that we strive for strength, and material hap­piness, so that we may be able to build up national health and contribute to the progress of the world, instead of being a burden on it.
 
Integral Humanism is the name we have given to the sum total of various features of Bharatiya Sanskriti, abiding, dynamic, synthesising and sublime. This is the ideal which determines our direction. But our idealism does not men any doct­rinair obtuseness. An ideal has to be translated into practice. Our programme, therefore, has to be grounded in realism. Indeed realism is the forte of our pro­gramme, the measure of our achievements and the touchstone of our ideal.

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