Mahatma Gandhi cautioned all citizens about 7 evil tendencies or sins increasingly enfeebling ideals of Indian culture and ethos. These sins are
1. Education without character.
2. Pleasure without conscience.
3. Worship without sacrifice.
4. Wealth without work
5. Service without humanity
6. Commerce without morality
7. Politics without Principles
Lofty universally acceptable ideas have been generated by Indian Civilization from Vedic days in 1500 years, Before Christian Era (BCE). But due to dialectics of human psychology, trends countering the values of truth, justice, liberty, equality, fraternity and human dignity were germinated in course of time. Factors of in-born inclination (Vasana) acquired culture (Samskara) and Socio – Economic ambience had propelled humans towards both altruism and selfish pursuit of evil as well. In the perspective of modern psychology negative traits have emerged during the existence of homo-sapiens in the pre-society, and pre-state period of primitive life, when the struggle for existence and survival of the fittest was the normative order. Apprehension about danger from fellow humans and nature evoked extreme complex of fear and concomitant mind set of insecurity, fear, belligerency, hatred, excessive greedy acquisition of wealth and sexual partners, domination and subjugation of others and so on. Unlike in the animal world, a minority of humans developed positive response and attitude to counter negativity and had endeavoured to pursue motto of “accepting noble thoughts from everywhere” (Rig Veda Sukta). They had also asserted that “truth upholds the Earth” Satyanathabhita Bhumi (Rig Veds 10-85-1). Resultantly, prevalence of peace, sanity, order, multifaceted evolution of collective human consciousness, in a given period of time, was proportionate to the intrinsic adherence of people to spiritual, ethical and intellectually elevating experience and exhortations of great men/women of wisdom, through their teachings and deeds.
Historically India had witnessed struggle between forces of self-centred, un-empathetic, power/pleasure seekers on the one side and champions of righteousness and justice from the dawn of civilization, on the other. The cycle of rise and spread of inclusive, equalitarian, ennobling spiritual concepts was followed by the operation of the law of diminishing merit of all renaissance and enlightening movements. Once the Satanic forces push society to the bottom of evil and degradation, the Nature/God set in motion the counter trend through philosophers, self-less saints and reformers. When Vedic enlightenment declined by the 9th to 7th centuries of BCE, the Buddhist, Jaina, Ajivika and Lokatana movements emerged. Their impact generated the Sangham literature in Tamil language in early centuries of CE. Tirukural by Tiruvalluvar, the best book in all Indian literature, is its creation. The Bhakti movement commenced in the 15th to 16th centuries of CE was another upheaval propelling Indian society towards civilisational progress, by stressing on accessibility of God to all, irrespective of one’s political, social, cultural, economic and gender status and conferring the right of liberation (moksha) to everybody.
The modern India is the product of the Indian Renaissance started in Bengal by Raja Ram Mohan Roy and others in the 18th century. Rabindranath Tagore was its rising sun and Mahatma Gandhi was its midday sun. But steady retrogressive counter action started from the post –Nehru period that culminated in the Emergency of 1975. Perhaps, India is now in the night of this modern Indian Renaissance and the nation is imperatively in need of another enlightenment movement to neutralise commodification of human beings and commercialisation of human relations. In fact these tendencies have degenerated into the 7 sins cautioned by Mahatma Gandhi. Widely practiced hypocrisy by Indian elite by behaving like Dr. Jycall and Mr. Hyde in R.L. Stevenson’s novel bearing the same title, had thrown up many paradoxes.
Some illustrations are obvious. India has the highest number of religious and out worldly spiritual centres – temples, ashrams, dargas, churches, mosques, gurudwaras and congregational centres of all religions – proportionate to the population, in the whole world. But the level of corruption, low quality of justice and service delivery, poor adherence to the Rule of Law and so on are much below the rank of nations in sub – Saharan African countries and many nations who do not have any long, lofty and elevating civilisational heritage. World contemptuously ridicules tall claims of Hindutwavadis tom toing glory of India by ignoring rigours of religion-sanctified slavery of graded inequality of Varnavyavasta (caste system), practiced for 3000 years, custom of widow burning (Sati), untouchability etc. We have an instance of senior politicians, bureaucrats and Army Generals misappropriating land and houses meant for widows of Kargil War. (Reference in Bible, ST Luke 20-46/47).
Present Indian Education system did not exorcise the ills of colonial days viz bureaucratism, failure to evoke the sprint of enquiry and urge for truth, coupled with the educated remaining empathy – deficient and integrity proof. None of the Indian Universities is in the list of 100 excellent institutions in the world - case of education without character.
Despite rampant poverty, malnutrition, multiple types of deprivation of nearly 35% of Indian people, the elite in the helm of affairs in all fields indulge in nauseating extravaganza and often pursue and take care of the greed of those in the top of the social pyramid -- reversal of Gandhian ideal of Antyodaya and focus on Aadyotaya. Case of pleasure without conscience.
Religious institutions are extensively de-spiritualized, politicised and in some cases criminalized. Most of them are in pursuant of competitive communalism and sensuous pleasures, boasting in superfluous, extravagant ceremonies for impressing people with their clot in politics and segments of Administration. Practices of inflicting bodily pain though injurious rites like mutilation of male and female sex organs, suspending infants in contrivances above ground level ( Tukam in Devi Temples) piercing iron rods (Trishul) in body etc. are rampant. How can inflicting pain in body by a devotee, without following spiritual and ethical discipline prescribed, result in grant of Gods’ grace? Bhagavad Gita Shloka 19 of Chapter 17 condemns such austerity. Thousands are deprived of basic necessities due to corruption, mis-management and neglect of service delivery, by those who indulge in showmanship of devotion. Such are instances of worship without sacrifice.
Indian economic scenario is abysmally obnoxious due to a minority of influential people practicing crony, predatory and incestuous capitalism. Democratically elected governments are supporting plutocracy and clyptocracy. This is unlike western capitalism which by following the tenets of Liberalisation, Privatisation at Globalisation (LPG) in positive manner, often produces new products through research and inventing purposeful skills in science and technology and many new goods are manufactured for reducing rigours of human life. In India all political parties support ecologically damaging developmental pursuits through injurious projects and abusing natural resources. Without disciplining polluting industries, Central Government is projecting reduction in public defection as a great achievement. Last year national capital was inoperative for five days due to low quality air and not due to inadequacy of toilets and wash rooms. Plenty are instances of the rape of mountains of Aravalli, Western Ghats and Himalayas. Even in making new products by utilising the science of Ayurveda and patenting of these, India is much behind the Western nations and China. Many value added products from Indian spices are patented by foreign countries. These are cases of wealth without work.
Indian Scientific research have seldom evolved products for helping the toiling Indians, in the perspective of improving their working conditions, particularly, in rural areas. Unscientific use of insecticides had debilitated health of many in areas like Kasaragod district (Endosulphan toxification) – science without humanity.
Pursuit of wealth creation through unrighteous means is explicit in commercial dealings in India, even in comparison with under developed neighbouring countries. So India is assessed by international agencies as more corrupt than Bangladesh, Sree Lanka and many African and Lain American nations. No country in the world who adopted modern capitalism has seen the tragedy of 5 lakh farmers committing suicide due to un-viability of agriculture as a means of livelihood. The undue favours showered on industries (who can provide larger donation to political parties) created this precarious situation. Amazingly even religious centers like Tirupati and Sabarimala temples, Dargah of Ajmer Sharif and rich Catholic Church did not evolve any scheme to provide interest free loans to even devotees of respective religions, among the farmers. Social cost of females in families, who lost their bread winners (in suicide), forcing to indulge in immoral survival means is not yet fully assessed. Drama of worshipping female deities as custodians of knowledge, wealth and power is enacted every year in Navaratri celebrations. Political patronage to Mafiacracy strengthened organised social vices like, illicit trade in fire arms, liquor, narcotics, prostitution, gambling, hawala, human trafficking and so on. Lakhs of educated and ineligible Indians filed false affidavits to secure BPL ration cards, concessions under Right to Education Act, sanction of loan etc – all illustrative of commerce without morality.
Politics in India have been depoliticized. Communalism and Casteism are ruling the roost. We have proclaimed communal parties like BJP, Akalidal, IUML etc but most of the secular parties conveniently adopt opportunistic communalism, appeasing to sectarian agenda of religious groups for electoral dividends. One can witness the strange scenario of a political leader defecting to its rival party getting declared as a paragon of virtue by his new party. Corruption –free good governance is not the intrinsic agenda of any political party. Infact, practically all developmental projects launched from Panchayats to National level are over assessed for making ill gotten money. There is consensus among political parties on taking bribes and often those who take economic ventures proportionately pay to all parties as per their mischief value and vote bank potential. Mafias operating in fields of forest, sand, timber, drinking water, stone quarry operations etc. have a system of making regular payments to all political parties, bureaucrats, police and even social groups. They provide money and muscle power and for practicing mobocratic operations like, 1984 anti-Sikh massacre, 1992 Babri Masjid demolition, 2002 Gujarat pogrom, mobs often assaulting police stations and liberating criminals in police custody and so on are illustrative instances.
Solution to neutralize the ill-effects of practioners of Gandhiji’s seven sins lies in citizens, honest social groups and activists coming together and invoking their innate residual sovereignty. After all, the Constitution of India is the product of Indian people –“We the people of India, having solemnly resolved to constitute India” (Preamble of the Constitution). The Executive wing of Central and State Govts have largely failed to live up to the lowest levels of expectations of the people’s (there are brilliant exceptions) social contract, in the Constitution of India. Legislature and the Fourth Estate (media) is under stress of Big money, and organized vested interest groups and so often underperform. People should take up any violation of the Rule of Law through legal, non-violent and demonstrative action at grass root mycro level. Success of anti-corruption movement led by Anna Hazarae was a laudable venture. Such moves will reduce, if not totally eliminate the intentional deviant acts by creamy layer of the elite at the helm of affairs in political, economic, social, religious and cultural fields, enveloping all facets of Indian life. This well focused positive action can be the commencement of a new Renaissance and Enlightenment movement. The situation is similar to disrobing of Draupati in the Court of Kauravas by Dusshasana, on the orders of Duryodhana. The guardians of law and morality like Maharathis – Bhishma, Drona, Kripa, Vidhura – did not effectively intervene and stop the atrocity on a helpless woman. They did not want to incur the wrath of Duryodhana and lose their position and power. Will the real Indian citizens courageously initiate action for actualizing the core values of Indian heritage enshrined in the foundational, unalterable structure of the Constitution of India? Whoever proceeds on such a road map will emerge as morning stars of post-modern Indian Renaissance.
R. B. SreekumarFormer DGP, Gujarat
Dated : 27-09-2018.