Social Restructuring and Spirituality
After seventy years of Independence, India is still searching afresh, the path for swadeshi-based, social transformation. It is now intensely felt that even after seven decades of hard-earned Independence, we have not been able to evolve a self sustained, vibrant, peacefuland cohesive society in our country. Like pre-Independence era, we continue to depend largely on the central or state governments for the desired solution of social problems and different needs of social development. Even after attaining respectable scores in information technology, agriculture, space science, infrastructure development, trade and business, scientific advancement & so on, we are still struggling with many contradictions and social adversities, which are major stumbling block, in the healthy and balanced social evolution of our country and development of a cohesive as well as well-meaning society, across the country.
Historically, India was divided into hundreds of princely states, before Independence. Even beyond that, each state, irrespective of its geographical location, had a well trenched caste system in its social order with documented trend of class difference and a section of people who were deprived of their dignified place in the society. It is to address this class difference which was weakening our social fabric and to inculcate a sense of a cohesive society in our entire nation, that in 19th and early 20th century Swami Dayanand Saraswati, Raja Rammohan Rai, Rama Krishna Paramhans, Swami Vivekananda, Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Maharshi Arvind, Bhagini Nivedita, Ravindra Nath Tagore, Raman Maharshiand many more put their best efforts for the desired social development and value system in our society. These great spiritual souls tried to bridge the caste based gaps in the society and helped in bringing up other social parameters as well e.g. education system, female empowerment, female literacy, revival of scriptures for social value system and much more. These efforts had been instrumental in evolving an inspiring vision, leading to the spirit of patriotism, across the country. These noble efforts by different great social leaders were addressed to revive and strengthenour social institutions. It had generated fresh energy & enthusiasm in the society, across the country, even in the dark period of slavery. This social revival and rejuvenation had re-established ancient Indian culture in the modified form and percolated deep into the Indian society resulting into the growth and development of a value based, new social order, to a great extent.
It may be unpleasant to recall the deficiencies and defects which we are experiencing in our social fabric and political system, after Independence. We are largely dependent on our political system for our social transformation and development. Unfortunately, in the name of democracy our political system has significantly degenerated. Value-based politics has been replaced by caste/family based politics. Many political leaders have criminal background and are part of central/ state legislature, which is responsible for social and political development of our country. Use of money power & muscle power is a norm to win the elections. This has also adversely affected social fabric and social development.
In pre-Independence era, country had witnessed the up-coming and growth of many educational institutions, which were the seat of vibrant Independence movement. Those were also the seat of cultivating the spirit of strong nationalism. In post Independence era, education system has also suffered a serious set-back. Deliberate attempts have been made to misinterpret the school syllabi with baseless contents which are not only historically wrong but also create doubts on our cultural heritage and dilute our patriotic spirit. More seriously, many subversive and anti-national forces have high-jacked many renowned educational institutions for addressing their political agenda and extending their financial and pseudo-intellectual support to such outfits, for their subversive and antinational activities, patronized by them. There cannot be more serious degeneration of educational institutions then this on account of dirty political impact. Country has witnessed many violent agitations on account of religious confrontations and caste based social divide. More we talk about it, less it is.
This shocking and painful state of our social development and itsdependence on our political system, may force many social reformers and visionaries to think, if there is a way out?
I may quote a relevant story from Mundokpnishad, in this reference. Once upon a time, hundreds of years back, a batch of scholars finished their Gurukul education and prostrated before their Guru, with the request to bless them with his permission to offer some Guru-Dakshina. The Acharya asked them once to visit their home and after their return, he will disclose, what he will like to accept as Guru-Dakshina. The disciples followed his instructions. One of them encountered a very difficult and thorny track, for back home. So he decided to stay in between and went back to his Guru after a gap, saying I have come back from home so please pronounce my Gurudakshina. The Guru told him that your education has not yet completed, so you stay one more year. It was shocking to the pupil but there being no way out, he stayed for one more year. At the end of year again Acharya asked him to go home and come back, if he wants to offer Gurudakshina. This time with great difficulty he went to his far village home, removing thorns and other such obstacles, just sufficient to put his foot for forward march and managed to return back to Gurukul. Now he requested Acharya to permit him to offer some Gurudakshina. The Guru told him that your education has still not completed, so you stay here for one more year. It was again a shock to the pupil but he stayed for another year. Third time when he finished his education again he was asked by his Guru to go home and on return he can offer Gurudakshina. This time this disciple thought that my path back home is difficult and thorny. I wasted two years of my life on account of this. Like me, many people must have not travelled this path on account of similar difficulties so I should clear the path while travelling in this direction, so that other people may not face the similar difficulties, as I had to face. So he reached home in long time cleaning the entire track for all the passers buy. This time when he returned to Gurukul, his Guru clasped him and pronounced that now your education is complete. In true sense you have now developed a vision for the welfare of the society, which is the objective of education. Never use the education for the personal-self only. It should be utilized for your personal evolution as well as welfare and growth of entire society.
I understand this approach could be the foundation of various initiatives and schemes which are planned and introducedfor any sector of social life. There should also be independent growth and promotion of various social institutions which are aimed to address any specific growth area of the society, for a cohesive and positive development. It will help in the development of our society, independent of political initiatives. However, various social development schemes, planned by any State Govt. should also invite and involve broad based relevant social leadership. There is a fair scope to modify and amplify such an approach for genuineness and much desired social development of our society, across the country.
(this writer is CEO-Pushpawati Singhania Hospital & Research Institute)
By DR. Dipak Shukla