Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Nyaya, Tyaga and Bhaichara

 Yesterday was the day of martyrdom of Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru. It is always a very big occasion to seek invigoration from positive social values whose great source it constitutes. It was also Dr. Lohiya’s jayanti. His followers call him ‘aadi vidrohi’ and others do not object to it. We need to reflect deeply in the context of the ongoing farmers’ movement.

The farmers have rebelled since the imposition of Zamindaari by the British through the Permanent Settlement Act back in 1770s. There have been innumerable peasant struggles and movements since then. The methods and forms of enslaving the peasants and looting their produce have kept changing. The government and the corporations have now come up with the three new farm laws relating to agricultural production, exchange and storage and doing away with the MSP to loot farmers’ knowledge and labour. They want to appropriate land and exercise complete control on farmers’ lives. The farmers are fighting and other sections of population have come forward in a big way to support them. They seem to be taking the Nation to a promising future. Martyrdom of hundreds and express sacrifices in a highly fraternal atmosphere seem to be drawing new contours for us as a Nation and a society. Can we decipher it?
If we think in the context of the values like Nyaya, Tyaga and Bhaichaara ( न्याय, त्याग और भाईचारा) then we may understand what the farmer is saying. Farmers are great carriers of the traditions of this country. They retain the good and the desirable and enrich it with new experiences to create and recreate life incessantly.
‘Just’ is not separable from ‘logical’. A major aspect of Indian philosophical tradition known as ‘Nyaya Shastra’ is referred to as Indian Logic in modern scholarship. For women, peasants, artisans, daily service providers and adivasis, broadly speaking in ordinary life, ‘just’ and ‘logical’ or rational’ are not seen as separate entities. ‘Tyaga’(sacrifice) does not only mean ‘asanchay’(non-storage), giving one’s time to society is part of it. ‘Tyaga’ clears the way to free oneself from moha (greed) and aham (ego). It has its direct role also in regulation and governance of society. The stories of kings like Harshavardhan, Bhoja and Vikramaditya are not prevalent for no reason. Nyaya and Tyaga fuse to make clear the path of truth and knowledge.
Bhaichara is rooted deep in our tradition, in ways many of us may not be able to imagine. Before the British intervention there were spread all over the country villages known as ‘bhaichara villages’. In the South they were called ‘manyam villages’. The fertile lands of these villages were redistributed among the peasants’ households every few years. There the land revenue was small and they were models of self governance.
In the end only this that the farmers’ movement is telling the way to a ‘khushhaal samaj’(flourishing society). Farmers will be masters of land. They will decide what to do with it. And if they get a just price for their produce, things will change in a big way. It is known that when farmers get a better price for their produce, local markets buzz with activity. They flourish to everybody’s advantage there. It is in this that lie the roots of reconstructing a distributed and flourishing society. Centralized political power, big capital and big markets are the hurdles in such a path, they need to be confronted in the immediate space in the guidance of social values like bhaichara, tyaga and nyaya.

Sunil Sahasrabudhey
24 March 2021


न्याय, त्याग और भाईचारा
कल भगत सिंह, सुखदेव और राजगुरु की शहादत का दिन था . बहुत बड़ा दिन था. यह समाज में सकारात्मक मूल्यों के संचार का एक बहुत बड़ा स्रोत है. सोचने के लिए एक सहारा है. कल ही डा. लोहिया का भी जन्म दिन था. उनके अनुयायी उन्हें ‘आदि विद्रोही’ कहते हैं, बाकी लोग भी इस पर आपत्ति नहीं करते. कोई तो सबक लेना ही चाहिए. खासकर किसान आन्दोलन के सन्दर्भ में.
अंग्रेजों ने ज़मींदारी की व्यवस्था लागू की तबसे किसान विद्रोह कर रहा है. आन्दोलन कर रहा है. ज़मीन पर नियंत्रण और उसके फल की लूट के तरीके बदलते रहे हैं. सरकारें और पूँजी के बड़े घराने अब इन नए तीन कानूनों को बनाकर और एम.एस.पी. को वेदी पर चढ़ा कर किसान के ज्ञान और श्रम, उसकी ज़मीन और ज़िन्दगी पर क़ब्ज़ा करके लूट के नए पैमाने गढ़ना चाहते हैं. किसान लड़ रहा है और बड़ी तादाद में और लोग उसका साथ दे रहे हैं. देश के लिए कुछ अच्छा होने वाला है. सैंकड़ों लोगों की शहादत, आन्दोलन में दिन रात शामिल लोगों का त्याग और उनके बीच का भाईचारा देश के लिए एक नई इबारत लिख रहा है. क्या हम उसे पढ़ सकते हैं?
न्याय, त्याग और भाईचारा मोटे तौर पर वे मूल्य नज़र आ रहे हैं जिनके सन्दर्भ में सोचने से किसान की बात कुछ समझ में आ सकती है. किसान-समाज देश की परम्पराओं का बहुत बड़ा वाहक है. अच्छी बातें संजोकर रख लेता है और उसके सहारे जीवन का निर्माण और पुनर्निर्माण करता रहता है. न्याय से तर्क को अलग नहीं किया जा सकता. भारतीय दर्शन की ‘न्यायशास्त्र’ की धारा को आधुनिक पठन-पाठन में इन्डियन लाजिक के नाम से जाना जाता है. महिलाओं के लिए, किसानों, कारीगरों और आदिवासियों के लिए, मोटे तौर पर कहें तो, सामान्य जीवन में, न्यासंगत होने और तकर्संगत होने में फर्क नहीं किया जाता. त्याग का अर्थ केवल असंचय नहीं होता. अपना समय समाज के लिए देना उसका हिस्सा है. मोह और अहं से अधिकाधिक मुक्ति के लिए त्याग सक्षम रास्ता बनाता है. समाज के नियमन और शासन में भी इसकी प्रकट भूमिका रही है. हर्षवर्धन, भोज और विक्रमादित्य जैसे राजाओं की कहानियाँ अभी भी ऐसे ही नहीं सुनी और सुनाई जाती हैं. न्याय और त्याग का अद्भुत संगम है सत्य का मार्ग प्रशस्त करने में.
अंग्रेजों ने जो ज़मीन की व्यवस्थाएं बनाई, वो आज भी बनी हुई हैं. उन्होंने भाईचारे को पट्टीदारी में बदल दिया. क्या अद्भुत क्षय है समाज और उसके मूल्यों का ! किसान के अलावा और कौन हमें इस गहरे गड्ढ़े से बाहर निकाल सकता है ! अंग्रेजों के कब्जे के पहले भारत में काफी तादाद में ‘भाईचारा गाँव’ हुआ करते थे, दक्षिण में ये मन्यम गांवों के नाम से जाने जाते थे. इन गांवों में उपजाऊ ज़मीन का कुछ वर्षों की अवधि में गाँव के किसान परिवारों में पुनर्वितरण होता था. वहां राजस्व बहुत कम होता था और वे स्वशासन की प्रतिमूर्ति हुआ करते थे.
अंत में केवल इतना ही कि किसान आन्दोलन एक खुशहाल समाज की ओर बढ़ने के रास्ते बता रहा है. किसान ज़मीन का मालिक होगा, उस पर क्या करना वह खुद तय करेगा, और उसके उत्पाद को न्यायसंगत मूल्य मिलेगा तो बात बड़े पैमाने पर बदलेगी. सब जानते हैं की किसान के उत्पाद को जब मूल्य मिलता है तब स्थानीय और क्षेत्रीय बाजारों में बड़ी गति आ जाती है. इसी गति में समाज की पुनर्रचना और खुशहाल समाज की और बढ़ने के सूत्र निहित हैं. केन्द्रीय सत्ता, बड़ी पूँजी और बड़े बाज़ारों के मूल्य इस प्रक्रिया को रोकने वाले हैं, उनसे सामाजिक मूल्यों के स्तर पर मुकाबला करना होगा. भाईचारा, त्याग और न्याय वे सक्षम मूल्य हैं, जो हमें आगे बढ़ने की गति देंगे.

सुनील सहस्रबुद्धे
24 मार्च 2021


Friday, March 19, 2021

For The Alternative to Emerge : Lalit K Kaul

 

For The Alternative to Emerge 

(Technology & Automation is the Challenge)

                                                                                                                Lalit K Kaul

To start with it may be useful to state that self centeredness and self interest are the basis for the contemporary societies driven by materialism; the political leadership has been assiduously driving our society towards achieving more and more material gains as that is the main index for economic growth and when they talk about human resource development, it’s all for the purpose of attaining higher and higher economic status. Human development has become synonymous with economic development sans concerns for deteriorating value system, ethics and the means adopted to achieve the desired economic goals. To look for the much cherished ‘Human Angle’ in this jungle shall be at the cost of being designated as retrograde. To compete is the Mantra and those unable to do so are not worth their existence; never mind the absence of level playing field. How well versed one is with the technology and its usage decides the winner in the competition which is merciless; what to talk of those who could never become part of this modern set up. Those left behind- by design and not by choice- the pressure release valve has been the distribution system of doles like, cheap food grains, cheap housing, cheap toilets etc that not only is insulting to the very existence of this human specie the Creator endowed with ever evolving Mind, but enslaves the very life and its dynamics to the machinations of a privileged few. This is a Monster out to devour the very life it did not create.

For the class of hapless people, there is no choice but to appreciate whatever fell into their laps in the last 6 years as had not happened in the preceding 69 years because everybody wants to live, no matter how and why. For them, a Messiah has arrived and they intend to stand by Him as by doing so material benefits are accrued; who can have any complaint against them? This, in my opinion and understanding, is the ground reality and would continue to be unless a viable alternative emerges.

For any new world view/philosophy of life & living to emerge the greatest impediment as also the challenge is ‘Technology’ and its offspring ‘Automation’, both set to increase productivity (enhanced profits) no matter if millions go out of work and lose the opportunity to apply their minds to make their own choices and bear its consequences. Again the pressure release valve is: unemployment allowance; social security; national health scheme and public distribution system. So the message to a vast majority of people across the Globe is that ‘you are being taken care of to the extent that you may keep breathing’ while We, the manipulators, having nearly completely exhausted the resources of Mother Earth are, now, “exploring” Space to make Colonies in Mars/Moon and/or any habitable planet in the “neighbourhood” of Earth. The propaganda is so powerful that even the hapless is compelled to clap and admire the spectacular “progress” the “Mankind” has made since World War II. These hapless ones are so bewildered by the power of the Media & IT that they forget their pain & miseries and stay convinced that yes, indeed, they deserve the place they are in & continue to live in the fond hope that One Day their siblings/ grand siblings/ great grand siblings shall make it to the members of the ‘enlightened’ society which is in the process of conquering Space.

Those who look outwards; how to make them look inwards? In a situation where an individual’s progress in life is determined by the fact whether he/she could make it to a city life starting from the native village; make it to the US or Europe, UK having got educated in professional institutions in India. Only if technology is brought to the door steps of a village, migration to towns & cities may start diminishing. In the neighbourhood of villages with the availability of barren lands or by the process of acquiring agriculture lands (due compensation as per the Act as amended by the SC), large scale investments can pour in to raise capital intensive industries which will absorb the locals    (with SSC certificate) for menial jobs & those decorated with certificate courses with some artisan kind of jobs; who would object? Who would object to availing a chance to go through the Gateway leading to “world of learned people” in the hope that their generation next will be able to climb up the ladder a few steps by availing the facilities like schooling & health care as provided for by the multi-national enterprise? The Corona pandemic & the exposed game of the CCP, the supply chains are being shifted out of China to places like Vietnam South Korea and India. The fact that many airports are being built in the state of UP is the pointer towards the things to come. The technology is going to shape the destiny of the people who hitherto were unconnected with the ‘modern world’. More than the employment generation, it’s that distant hope that this infrastructure generates in the minds of ‘not so well to do’ class that one day their siblings will also make it to such ‘temples’ of knowledge & this may lead to parents spending more on their children to get quality education. When Yogi and Modi call it Vikas in Janhit; everybody not only nods in agreement, but also shower praises on the duo for their commitment to development of their state.

For the leadership who continues to be inspired by the economic development paradigm of those who colonized and tormented us for more than 200 years, what processes can be thought of that may give birth to a leadership that decisively challenges the extant one? Or, by what mechanism/ people’s participation can an equilibrium point be reached between the usage of technology and empowerment of people? How to evolve a dispensation which doesn’t allow Technology to enslave/marginalise people to the point of them becoming irrelevant to the dynamics of the society they are a part of? Can a set up be envisaged where ‘Man the Maker’ is supreme & its progeny does not devour it?

Farmers’ Movement:    

Sorry, but Rakesh Tikait has lost his way. Sure, he did not understand the political import of his demand: “Repeal All Laws. No Negotiation”. He further ceased to be a farmer leader when he started campaigning for & against a political party. His panchayat with farmers in Bengal, I thought was a good step forward. Media criticised him by belittling his effort, citing the numbers present in the meeting; not impressed by 500! However, numbers never matter as it’s the Idea/Thought that mobilises people. If he could communicate to Bengal farmers the essence of his demand, then those present are bound to discuss with others in their fraternity for the idea to grow further & gain acceptability within a larger cross section of them. His idea to hold panchayats in different states was, in my opinion, a very unique initiative, but his seeking votes for a political party in Bengal may have exposed him to the charge of being anti BJP and he unwittingly gave a huge handle to the media to expose him as a political agent & not a farmer leader. Curtains closed.

I have always believed that the farmers alone have the capacity to redefine politics, social relationships and economic model of growth, but again they too look outwards instead of looking inwards. Al along during their agitations/movements they have failed to present themselves as leaders of a socio economic group and while earlier they used to be One with each other, in gross terms, across the country on their demands; this time around that kind of unity is found lacking as is borne by the fact that in the government appointed committee under the directive of the SC had one of its members from Shetkari Sangathana! Unless I missed out on the statements made by farmer leaders in Karnataka, Tamilnadu, Gujarat, Rajasthan etc; I did not come across any such statement(s) opposing the laws. In fact within UP, many farmers have spoken against Tikait & even questioned his credentials as a farmer!  

However, farmers across the country are part of the panchayats and as food producers may be having a say in the affairs of the panchayats. I think that it is through those panchayats that the farmers collectively can set up a political agenda associated with the socioeconomic one, if only they can rise above caste considerations and various other professional discriminations. Likes of Tikait may end up serving a better cause than siding with one political party or the other as all the parties are votaries of a highly exploitative socio economic and political system.

Sunday, March 14, 2021

विद्या आश्रम के नये प्रकाशन

विद्या आश्रम से हाल ही में प्रकाशित पुस्तकें 'स्वराज परम्परायें' और 'लोकस्मृति' अब विद्या आश्रम वेब साईट पर भी उपलब्ध हैं. नीचे दिए लिंक्स पर इन पुस्तकों को पढ़ सकते हैं. विद्या आश्रम, सारनाथ, वाराणसी से इन्हें पोस्ट से भी मंगा सकते हैं.

स्वराज परम्परायें

https://vidyaashramnew.files.wordpress.com/2021/03/swaraj-paramprayen-book.pdf

लोकस्मृति

https://vidyaashramnew.files.wordpress.com/2021/03/loksmriti-book.pdf

विद्या आश्रम

Friday, March 5, 2021

India Lives in Villages - Sri M K Gandhi: Lalit K Kaul

                                India Lives in Villages – Sri M K Gandhi

                                                                                                               Lalit K Kaul

Village is the basis (fundamental unit) of Swaraj. How possibly can a village be defined?

In the era prior to the advent of modern technology and associated advances in the means of

transportation and information sharing, leading to the ease of travel and ideas exchange; the people

living in different geographical locations mostly remained confined to it and its surroundings. The

natural outcome of this confinement was to be that the communities living in disconnected

geographical areas evolved on their own-may be differently from others- by way of interacting

within their commune as also with the surrounding Mother Nature. It may be said that because of

this intra community dynamics evolved a locally acceptable World View that defined a Value System

comprising Right Vs Wrong, Moral Vs Immoral and Ethical Vs Unethical. The social, economical and

political conduct came to be governed by the institutionalized Value System. This socio economic

political set up that bound people together may be called a Village. So, it may be said that there

existed village based civilization.

Travel or movement from one place to another was either by foot and/or bullock cart. So, the

accessibility to villages in other geographical areas may have been defined by the transit time. The

lesser the transit times the more the accessibility leading to interactions with different village based

civilizations. A totally decentralized set up with the possibilities of one merging into the other for

enabling access to wider spectrum of human and natural resources, willingly or otherwise. The ease

of accessibility to surrounding villages may have also contributed to inter village trade; cultural

exchanges and exchange of ideas insofar as relationship of this Human to the Mother Nature is

concerned. It can be expected that feasibility of such interactions may have facilitated evolution of

the Value System to accommodate different World Views thereby rendering it mutable. Evolution of

innumerable languages can be said to be a direct outcome of this decentralized set up as ordained

by the geography and constrained movement of people due to limitations of the means of transport.

Cultural diversity can be a direct outcome of this geographical separation which was not easy to

overcome.

So, it may be said that institutionalized Swaraj in the true sense of the word existed.

In the modern world/civilization it is said that the World is one Global Village and that the

revolutions in transport industry and information science has made it possible. The information

technology and transportation means have integrated the hitherto inaccessible areas at such a scale

that was incomprehensible, say, even 30 years ago or less. Owning a mobile phone may have no

relationship with the economic status of an individual because they are available to people of all

strata. With digitization of economy and ever diminishing dependence on paper currency, these

mobiles are being used by the smallest vendors to receive payments for the sale of their goods

including the payments they make for buying their inventory. Distance is no constraint; sitting in

Kashmir one can make payment to a distributer in Trivanthapuram through his/her mobile and

goods would be received in time. The reason why these small footpath vendors prefer digital

payment for their sale is that it secures them from any chance of losing their hard earned money by

accident or under duress.

The proliferation of mobile phones is quite matched by that of two wheelers; added to all this is the

network of highways and river ways that are being built to reduce commutation time. The whole

infrastructure is laid only to integrate each and every nook and corner of this land mass called India.

The underlying motives may be questionable / debatable; the economic policies can be questioned /

debated; the degeneration of political system and politics based on falsehoods & half truths can be

questioned / debated; there can be no two opinions on these issues. Alternative to present political

dispensation is the most urgently required as is the search for growth and development model that

affords each one to make a livelihood on the strength of his/her knowledge base so that this stigma

of ‘being poor’ and perpetuating existence on doles is done away with for a dignified existence that

allows an individual make his/her own choices in his/her personal world.

But, in today’s world,

How do we define a village?

In today’s world the basis for Swaraj need not be a Village, in the traditional sense; but a democratic

set up that allows direct and not indirect way of electing people’s representatives. So, the question

may be framed as: What can be the fundamental unit that enables people to choose / elect their

representatives directly to various Assemblies and the Parliament? The contemporary system of

elections deprives people of that fundamental right.

In my opinion, whatever be the limitations of Rakesh Tikait & the attempts of other vested interests

to hijack his platform; basically he is questioning the Parliamentary Democracy; MSP etc are not the

issues as the government has shown willingness to accommodate the farmers’ demands including

putting a hold on the new laws for 1 ½ to 2 years. He is not budging as he wants laws to be repealed

& that’s the political message. January 26 flag hoisting hijacked his agenda & farmers started

distancing themselves from him. His fallibility lies in the kind of threatening language he uses. Yet

the message is loud & clear that has rattled the government. Slapping of charges against him

including imprisonment may not annihilate the political seed that he has sown. If it sinks in the

minds of well meaning people, his demand may usher in an era of new politics.

Sunday, February 28, 2021

Swaraj Dialogue -3

Farmers’ Movement : Is Sovereignty at Issue ?

What is the destiny of the farmers’ movement? Let us divide this question into two parts : one, whether their demands as they are of repeal of the three farm laws and a law on MSP are going to be met?  and two, what could be the pointers for societal future emerging from a farmers movement so large as this? 

The entire media and the world of activists is discussing the first question and I have no special or further insight to add to that discussion. I wish to focus on the second question, which, we shall see through this piece, also has a bearing on the first question.

Through the 1970s, 80s and 90s farmers of this country had been in great movement. The big names associated with that movement were Narayana Swami Naidu from Tamil Nadu, Nanjunda Swami from Karnataka, Sharad Joshi from Maharashtra, Mahendra Singh Tikait from Uttar Pradesh,  Mangeram Malik from Haryana, Balbir Singh Rajewaal, Ajmer Singh Lakhowal and Bhupinder Singh Maan from Punjab. Leadership of this farmers’ movement was in farmers’ hands. The primary understanding was that the causes of poverty of the farmers lay outside the villages. The chief issue was just and remunerative price for agricultural produce. Major other issues were debt relief and electricity tariff. The farmers’ leadership was rather clear that although expressed in terms of wellbeing of the farmer, their demands, position and understanding of the world were directly in the interest of the whole society. It was argued that ‘just’ prices is the path of eradicating poverty from the root and enabling society at all levels and in all regions towards higher and higher levels of economic activity. They had argued that ‘just’ price for agricultural produce would lead to much greater economic activity in the local bazar and to improvement of wages of the workers. There was an imagination of entering the 21st century on farmers’ terms. This simply meant that the farmers saw themselves as assuming the leadership of the society to build the world afresh- regulations from below, from the villages, to produce a distributed economy. This was in tune with the idea of local self governance or swaraj.

The practice of the present farmers’ movement has all these indicators. The rejection of the three laws is not just for preservation of autonomy but the claim of sovereignty may be seen not far below the surface. Is there a new idea of sovereignty involved here? It is this that gives the feeling that a new political idea is in the making. So far all politics has been subservient in thought as well as in practice to the stream of ideas and practices that were born about 500 years ago in Europe.  

Through this period the world saw the emergence of colonialism, imperialism, big industry and large markets. The shine and wealth that we see in the large cities is sourced from the village, from the farmer’s activity. Through this period also emerged the thought that farmers in this process will cease to remain as a social class. Perhaps it was only a wishful thinking that those who were looted would not remain organisable at all, having ceased to be a social class.  Gandhi belied these theories and sourced his strengths from the villages of India. Then the matter got focused again in the last decades of 20th century with the nationwide rise of the farmers’ movement, which largely called itself non-political and was particularly intend in the state of TamilNadu, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Hariyana and Punjab. Chaudhary Charan Singh though part of the political establishment, coined the term ‘Kisan Satta’ on the occasion of almost a million strong  kisan-sammela, in the Boat Club in New Delhi in 1978.

It was around 1780 that this country saw, with Permanent Settlement, the beginning of the slavery of peasants. 200 years of struggle against zamindaars, the British and governments of independent India by the peasantry seem to have finally entered a phase where the farmers are up to contending for sovereignty. If we go by Mahatma Gandhi’s understanding of pre-British India the peasant and the village was a sovereign entity then. The present farmers’ movement seems to lay the basis for a claim to sovereignty again. Any  such claim naturally must be associated with movement towards a different political order, best described by ‘swaraj’. Sovereignty in swaraj is distributed both vertically and horizontally. The contestation between the Kisan Mahapanchayat and the Parliament both in the realm of power and leadership of society seems to be carving that space where direct participatory democracy and representative democracy fuse to produce qualitatively different methods of decision making and governance, ideas about which may possibly be also unearthed if people of India excavate deeper into their memories, into lokasmruti.

A debate must start in all earnestness among all the concerned on what it means to see a peasant household as a sovereign.

Sunil Sahasrabudhey

28 Feb 2021, Vidya Ashram, Sarnath


  स्वराज संवाद- 3

किसान आन्दोलन : सवाल है मालिक कौन?

 

किसान आन्दोलन किधर चला? इस सवाल के दो हिस्से हैं. पहला यह कि क्या हाल में बनाये गए तीन कृषि कानून वापस होंगे और न्यूनतम समर्थन मूल्य को वैधानिक दर्जा मिलेगा? दूसरा यह कि पूरे समाज का रूप लिए यह विशाल किसान आन्दोलन समाज के भविष्य के बारे में क्या कह रहा है ?

मीडिया और सामाजिक कार्यकर्त्ता सब पहले प्रश्न के इर्द-गिर्द बहस कर रहे हैं तथापि उसमें हमें कोई नई बात नहीं कहनी है. इस पोस्ट में हम दूसरे प्रश्न पर ध्यान केन्द्रित करेंगे तथा यह बातचीत पहले प्रश्न के लिए भी प्रासंगिक होगी ही.

 1970, 1980 और 1990 के दशकों में इस देश में किसानों का एक देशव्यापी विशाल आन्दोलन हुआ जिसकी धार विशेषतौर पर तमिलनाडु, कर्णाटक, महाराष्ट्र, उत्तर प्रदेश, हरियाणा और पंजाब में बड़ी तेज़ रही. इस आन्दोलन के साथ जुड़े बड़े नाम हैं- तमिलनाडु के नारायण स्वामी नायडू, कर्नाटक के नन्जुन्द स्वामी, महाराष्ट्र के शरद जोशी, उत्तर प्रदेश के महेंद्र सिंह टिकैत, हरियाणा के मांगेराम मालिक और पंजाब के बलबीर सिंह राजेवाल, अजमेर सिंह लखोवाल, भूपिंदर सिंह मान. हम लोगों ने मज़दूर किसान नीति पत्रिका के मार्फ़त इस आन्दोलन में समन्वय की भूमिका निभाई और इस आन्दोलन के सन्देश को मध्य वर्ग के लोगों तक पहुँचाया. आन्दोलन का नेतृत्व किसानों के ही हाथ में था. मूल समझ यह रही कि किसानों की गरीबी के कारण गाँव के बाहर हैं. मुख्य मुद्दा रहा- कृषि उत्पाद के लिए न्यायसंगत लाभकारी मूल्य, क़र्ज़ मुक्ति और बिजली का दाम भी बड़े मुद्दे रहे. नेतृत्व को यह साफ़ था कि हालाँकि प्रमुख बात किसानों की माली हालत से जुडी रही, उनकी मांगें, उनका दृष्टिकोण और दुनिया की उनकी समझ, सीधे पूरे समाज के हित में रहे. बड़ी सफाई से तर्क पेश किये गए कि किस तरह कृषि उत्पाद के लिए न्याय सांगत मूल्य मिलना गरीबी को जड़ से ख़त्म करने का पक्का रास्ता बनता है. क्योंकि इसके चलते हर स्तरपर और हर क्षेत्र में आर्थिक गतिविधियों में इजाफा होता है. साफ़ तौर पर यह कहा गया कि कृषि उत्पाद को ढंग का दाम मिलने से स्थानीय बाज़ार में एक चमक और गति दिखाई देती है और कामगारों के श्रम के मूल्य में वृद्धि के रास्ते खुलते हैं. बड़ी कल्पना देश को किसानों के नज़रिए से इक्कीसवीं सदी में प्रवेश करने की रही. सरल शब्दों में यह कि किसानों ने पूरे समाज का नेतृत्व अपने हाथ में लेकर दुनिया को नए सिरे से बनाने के ख़्वाब देखे, ऐसी दुनिया जिसमें नियमन नीचे से हो, गाँव से हो और एक वितरित अर्थ व्यवस्था का निर्माण हो. यह बात स्थानीय प्रशासन अथवा स्वराज के विचार से बहुत मेल खाती है.

वर्तमान किसान आन्दोलन में ये सब संकेत मिलते हैं. उत्पादन, वितरण और भण्डारण से सम्बंधित तीन नए कृषि कानूनों को सिरे से ख़ारिज कर देने के आधार में स्वायत्तता का आग्रह तो है ही तथापि संप्रभुता का विचार भी नज़र आता है. क्या यहाँ पर संप्रभुता का कोई नया विचार आकार ले रहा हो सकता है? यह सोचकर लगता है की इस प्रक्रिया में राजनीति का एक नया विचार जन्म ले रहा है.

अब तक विचार और कर्म दोनों में ही सारी राजनीति यूरोपीय विचारों और शासन क्रियाओं से सीख लेकर ही होती रही हैं. करीब पांच सौ साल पहले यूरोप में जो क्रियाये और विचार शुरू हुए उन्होंने ही आगे चलाकर उपनिवेशवाद, साम्राज्यवाद, बड़े उद्योग, और बड़े-बड़े बाजारों का रूप लिया. जो चमक और सम्पदा बड़े शहरों में दिखाई देती है उसका स्रोत गाँव में है, किसान की गतिविधि में है. इसी दौर में यह विचार भी सामने आया कि इन प्रक्रियाओं में किसान का एक सामाजिक वर्ग के रूप में अस्तित्व ही समाप्त हो जायेगा. शायद यह केवल मनमाफिक सोच ही रही कि जिसको लूटा गया है वह संगठित रह ही न जाए यानि उसका सामाजिक अस्तित्व ही समाप्त हो जाये. गांधी ने अपनी ताकत का स्रोत गांवों को बनाया और इन वैचारिक स्थापनाओं को झुठला दिया. फिर 20वीं सदी के अंतिम दशकों में किसानों को एक नये आन्दोलन ने इस ताकत का फिर से एहसास कराया. यह आन्दोलन अधिकतर अपने को अराजनीतिक कहता रहा. तथापि राजनीति के अन्दर से ही चौधरी चरणसिंह ने 1978 में नई दिल्ली के बोट क्लब में लाखों किसानों के सम्मलेन के मौके पर ‘किसान सत्ता’ का विचार दिया.

1780 के आस-पास इस देश में अंग्रेजों ने ज़मींदारी की व्यवस्था लागू की जिससे किसानों की गुलामी का युग शुरू हुआ. ज़मींदारों, अँगरेज़ शासकों और स्वतंत्र भारत के हुक्मरानों के सामने अपना एतराज़ और विरोध दर्ज करते हुए दो सौ साल के किसानों के संघर्ष अब उस मुक्काम पर पहुंचे हैं, जहाँ वे अपनी संप्रभुता का दावा पेश कर रहे हों, कह रहे हों कि मालिक वे हैं.

महात्मा गाँधी की समझ में अंग्रेजी राज के पहले भारत में किसान और गाँव मालिक हुआ करते थे. किसान आन्दोलन एक बार फिर उनके मालिक होने का दावा पेश करने का आधार बनाता मालूम पड़ रहा है. ऐसे दावे के साथ जाहिर तौर पर वह गति भी दिखाई देनी चाहिए जो एक अलग राज और शासन व्यवस्था की और ले जाए, जिसे स्वराज कहा जा सके. स्वराज में संप्रभुता (सभी आयामों में) वितरित होती है. सत्ता और सामाजिक नेतृत्व दोनों ही आयामों में संसद और किसान महापंचायत के बीच प्रतिस्पर्धी दावे दिखाई दे रहे हैं. जिनके चलते उस स्थान का निर्माण हो रहा है, जहाँ सीधी भागीदारी का लोकतंत्र और प्रतिनिधि लोकतंत्र के आपसी संस्लेषण से सर्वथा नये किस्म की निर्णय के तरीके और शासन के प्रकार आकार ले सकते हैं. इस सृजन में बड़ा योगदान हो सकता है यदि भारत के लोगों की यादों, लोकस्मृति की गहराइयों में उतरा जाये.

पूरी गंभीरता के साथ इस विषय से सरोकार रखने वालों को आपस में बात करनी चाहिए कि किसान परिवार की संप्रभुता का क्या अर्थ निकलता है?   

 सुनील सहस्रबुद्धे

28 फरवरी 2021, विद्या आश्रम, सारनाथ            

 

Friday, February 19, 2021

Swaraj Dialogue – 2

Farmers Movement : Is there a Knowledge Conflict?

The conflict between the Government and the Farmers’ Movement does not appear to be heading towards a solution. On one side is the government (majority in the Parliament) and on the other is the farmers’ understanding of the three laws finding expression in the statements of Samyukt Kisan Morcha and the Mahapanchayts.

The government is talking about the advantage/profit to the farmers and the farmer is talking about ‘justice’. The world of knowledge, with which the parliament and the political processes their off are connected, is tied to the logic of ‘profit and loss’. This world of knowledge was born some 4-5 hundred years ago in Europe in a process in which were also born the new cities, trade and market which pushed the village and the farmer to the secondary position. Those who lived in the new cities became the citizens. Over time this process gave birth to parliamentary democracy. Morality, justice, and sacrifice have no place in this world of knowledge . It is this knowledge that is the ideal of the universities today. On the other hand, the worlds of knowledge to which the farmers belong have different traditions. We can call them swadeshi traditions of knowledge’ where justice, sacrifice and peoples’ agree-ability (lokasammat) are present intrinsically.

It appears that the stalemate, in the ultimate analysis, stems from the deep differences between these two worlds of knowledge. It is not easy to find a way in such an impasse. The government commands greater physical force and may find a solution based on such force. However, it will not be respectable and both sides would be hurt albeit in different ways. Anyway, the solution to be found will be determined by the leaderships of the two sides. They may be able to find a respectable solution, but one thing is certain that ways will have to be found to move towards a new arrangement of things and men/women, which incorporates the values of both, the Panchayat and the Parliamentary Democracy.   

Broadly speaking the whole society ought to be part of this search for the new arrangement, the systems of governance and conflict resolution. It will require fraternal relationship between various ways of thinking and streams of knowledge in society. Specifically, what is needed is a friendly relation between the knowledge in the university and the knowledge in society, namely lokavidya. Each will have to recognize and respect the interdependent, autonomous and sovereign nature of the other. This sub-continent is not unaware of such governance and social regulation. Traditions of swaraj is where we need to look to.

Sunil Sahasrabudhey 

19 February 2021

Vidya Ashram, Sarnath 


स्वराज संवाद – 2

किसान आन्दोलन और सरकार के बीच की जिच कुछ हल होने का नाम नहीं ले रही है. एक ओर सरकार (संसद में बहुमत) का निर्णय है और दूसरी ओर किसानों की समझ जिसकी झलक संयुक्त किसान मोर्चे के वक्तव्यों और महापंचायतों की प्रक्रियाओं में मिलती है. सरकार किसानों के फायदे की बात कर रही है और किसान न्यायकी बात कर रहा है.

संसद जिस ज्ञान की दुनिया से जुड़ा राजनीतिक उपकरण है वह ज्ञान की दुनिया फायदे और नुकसानके तर्कों से बंधी है. यह वही ज्ञान की दुनिया है, जिसका जन्म कुछ 4-5 सौ साल पहले यूरोप में हुआ, उसी प्रक्रिया में हुआ जिसमें नये शहर और नये व्यापार व बाज़ार ने आकार लिया, जिसने गाँव और किसान को दूसरे नंबर का बना दिया. नागरिक वे हो गए जो नगर में रहते थे. समयांतर में इसी प्रक्रिया में संसदीय लोकतंत्र का जन्म हुआ. इस ज्ञान की दुनिया में नैतिकता, न्याय, त्याग, आदि का कोई स्थान नहीं होता. यही ज्ञान आज के विश्वविद्यालयों का आदर्श है. दूसरी ओर जिस ज्ञान की दुनिया में किसान बसता है उसकी परंपरा अलग है. इसे हम स्वदेशी ज्ञान परंपरा कह सकते हैं, जहाँ न्याय, त्याग अथवा लोकसम्मतकी अन्तरंग उपस्थिति होती है.

इन दो ज्ञान-विश्वों के बीच के गहरे अंतर ही हल न निकल पाने की पृष्ठभूमि में हैं, ऐसा लगता है. इसमें से रास्ता निकालना आसान नहीं है. सरकार के पास भौतिक ताकत ज्यादा है और वह कोई बल आधारित हल खोज सकती है, लेकिन दोनों ही पक्षों के लिये वह सम्मानजनक नहीं होगा, उससे दोनों ही पक्ष आहत होंगे. बहरहाल रास्ता क्या निकलेगा यह तो इस गतिरोध के विविध पक्षों का नेतृत्व करने वाले ही तय करेंगे. शायद वे दोनों पक्षों के लिये सम्मानजनक हल भी ढूंढ लें लेकिन एक बात तो साफ़ नज़र आ रही है कि न्यायोचित और प्रभावी शासन के लिये संसदीय लोकतंत्र और पंचायत दोनों के मूल्यों को समाहित करने वाली नई व्यवस्था की ओर बढ़ने के रास्ते भी ढूंढने होंगे.

नई व्यवस्थाओं की खोज में पूरे समाज को शामिल होना होगा. समाज में जितनी भी ज्ञान की धाराएँ हैं उनके बीच भाईचारा और सौहार्द से ही वांछित उद्देश्य की प्राप्ति हो सकती है. मोटे तौर पर कहें तो विश्वविद्यालय के ज्ञान और लोकविदया यानि समाज में ज्ञानके बीच दोस्ताने का सम्बन्ध होना होगा. दोनों को एक दूसरे में निहित पारस्परिक निर्भरता, स्वायत्तता और प्रभुसत्ता को मान्यता देनी होगी. भारत देश ऐसे शासन और समाज सञ्चालन से अनभिज्ञ नहीं है. स्वराज की परम्पराएँ कुछ ऐसी ही हैं.

 सुनील सहस्रबुद्धे

19 फरवरी 2021

विद्या आश्रम सारनाथ


Sunday, February 7, 2021

Swaraj Dialogues

Farmer's Movement : Is Ethics at Issue?  

     All our friends and co-workers who have social concern are in support of the ongoing farmer’s movement in the country. They are pained by the suffering of the farmers and want the matter to be resolved soon. There have been several rounds of meetings between the Movement and the Government. But it is difficult to say whether any actual dialogue is taking place. Why is the dialogue not taking place? Perhaps because the idea that the farmers have of the future of this country, the society and their own well-being, is at great variance with the dominant view in the upper classes of the country and the world today. A farmer is not ready to accept his pauperization and also does not want that someone else take the decisions about his work and life. In the modern world, in the world of industries and metropolis and in the world governed by centralized rule, the farmer and the village have always been at the receiving end, forced to live a life without dignity and without resources. Value created by their labour and knowledge is transferred away from them and is used to build industry, metropolis and, as if, the entire modern life style. This happens both in the world of private or public enterprise. Therefore even if some solution is found to the immediate crisis, it is only legitimate to think about the long term. A small effort in this direction is attempted below.

It is necessary to keep the market away from food grains. And it is also necessary that the production of food grains be as attractive as any other agricultural production. It is here that the agricultural sector needs major governmental intervention. It is said that the year in which agricultural produce gets reasonable price, the market in the villages and small towns see visible increase in activity. This is where development and well-being meet. The extent and type of modernization such economic activity may lead to is what the nation needs. Hence, if capital unrelated to agriculture is invested in agriculture and that too without government control, it will lead to increased exploitation of the peasantry and profits generated in that process will propel the activity in the markets of the metropolis and in international market. This may enrich further a small percentage of people in the country, otherwise this is that jobless growth where the West has already arrived and our governments are so eager to follow suit.

People with social concern have been saying this for a while that our political system has become such that those sitting in the legislatures do not think about the well-being of the people in general or the farmers in particular. The chief reason for this seems to be that questions related to morality have become irrelevant in the public social space. That is if someone talks about morality in the market, people may call him a fool. The biggest question of today seems to be how morality finds a place in markets and politics. This means that in matters of buying and selling the issues of being morally correct and just would have precedence over considerations of profit. When the government makes a policy or passes a law, questions of justice would take precedence over other considerations. When the moral consideration takes a back seat in electoral contests and the political parties decide on contestants keeping only win-ability as the criteria, it is precisely here that the idea of honest ‘representation’ finds its burial. Those who win are under no constraint to be sensitive towards people’s needs, similar to what we find in the market place, namely that those who make money in the market through their cunning and heartless management, hardly have any fraternal feeling towards others in society. It may not be difficult to see that absence of dialogue between the Farmers' Movement and the Government, in spite of several rounds of meetings, is due to some such situation. It is only when morality gets its due place in public discourse that we can expect the dialogue to resume effectively and not to run into such dead end.

  We need to think deeply and dialogue on how to keep the market away from the food grains. Such reflections can take us towards including morality as an essential part of public discourses and this may give direction to thinking about systems of society and government which have at their center considerations of the well being of humanity, nature, society and country. Let us remember that some ten years ago there was a huge anti- corruption movement in this country which brought ‘swaraj’ in public discourse again. Perhaps in the understanding of ordinary men and women swaraj means that system of society and government which is based in morality, truth and bhaichara and not in competition, profit and power. Can starting a dialogue on swaraj open pathways for re-instituting morality among public criteria. This dialogue on swaraj will require to be wholesome- politics, society, economics, nature, culture, philosophy, global and local, everything to have its share. 

Sunil Sahasrabudhey 

Varanasi 7 Feb. 11.50 AM     

 

Monday, February 1, 2021

The Farmers Movement: the Political Message is Loud & Clear Lalit K Kaul

 The Farmers Movement: the Political Message is Loud & Clear

                                                                                                                        Lalit K Kaul

What Farmers’ movement in the 80s & thereafter stood for, is of no relevance; what Sri M S Tikait, Sharad Joshi, Prof. Nanjundswamy, Sri B S Maan, etc stood for and what were their demands are declared irrelevant today; the reasons why Dr. Swaminathan Report came into existence and what the farmers’ unions demanded based on the report is not relevant today; because all these have been consigned to the dustbin of history.

The trade unionism of farmer community (the numerical strength does not matter) seems to be approaching THE END while transforming itself into a political movement origins of which lie in the disillusionment with the extant democratic political dispensation. The call is loud and clear: Don’t have any faith/trust/confidence in what laws get enacted in the Parliament as it has ceased to reflect mood/aspirations of the people and has evolved into being an instrument for thrusting an ideology/agenda of development and growth on the people of India.

Therefore the call for unconditional withdrawal of all the newly enacted Agri laws while showing belligerent repudiation for any negotiations with the government of the day is a very momentous political event that has the potential to redefine the relationship between the ruler and the ruled.

The government of the day seems to have bowed down a bit by offering to withhold implementation of the new Agri laws for a period of 1 & ½ years. So, in a way, to a certain extent the government has acknowledged the irrelevance of the Parliament to the ground realities. The import of this offer from the government is that in future it shall be difficult for any government to enact a law in the Parliament without being sure of the ground realities.

How far can the farmers’ unions go? Let there be no mixing of what the farmers are demanding and what out of power political parties are doing to find for themselves a political space. While the farmers may not draw any strength from their support, the political parties hope to reap some harvest in upcoming elections next year. Whatever be the compulsions of the political parties, there is no imperative for the farmers to boycott them so long as they have an independent agenda.

By coming in support of the farmers, the participants in the degenerate politics that has been in vogue almost since the birth of independent Indian Nation have put themselves on a suicidal path in that they have ended up joining hands with the farmers in denying the supremacy of the Parliament in a parliamentary democracy. Either they don’t hope to capture power at Center for an unbearably long time – that may witness their disintegration from within- or they have unwittingly/ inadvertently and/or motivated by their blood boiling opposition to Modi ji  become pawns in the agenda set by the farmers; for, if this partial surrender by NDA culminates into total surrender to the farmers’ demands then those in opposition now wouldn’t know how to legislate in an irrelevant Parliament if & when they are elected to rule this cursed land.

Not very sure whether the farmers themselves have understood the import of what they have been demanding from the day one of Gherao for, if they succeed in rendering the Parliament Infructuous   then to run the parliamentary democracy would be the impossible task because no laws would be enacted for fear of the Gheraos. Shaheen Bagh is the Mother and has legitimized such activities. Not just farmers, but anybody/group can just do Gherao and the response of the law and order machinery will depend upon the election influencing capability of the mob.

The seed sown by the farmers for the change in the way this country of ours should be governed, in time they need to come up with alternative ways/set ups for governing this country. The farmers representing 2 & ¼ states have taken the lead and therefore they may have to take the farmers of other states in confidence to redefine & restate the parameters for governance of our country in a democratic way. Else, it will end up as an exercise that destabilized the extant political dispensation and governance model without throwing up a viable alternative. A huge responsibility now lies on the shoulders of the farmers’ leaders. 

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

A Civilizational Perspective on the Farmers' Movement

(Hindi Facebook post on 4th January 2021,        

 Sunil Sahasrabudhey )

The very serious and locked situation between the present Farmers’ Movement and the Government of India draws ones attention to questions of civilizational importance - what constitutes humanity and how should we reconstruct and relate again to the philosophies of life in the present century?

It is said that where there is no village, there is no civilization. We had heard this from Rin Po Che, a Buddhist scholar-philosopher many years ago in a discussion at the Gandhian Institute of Studies in Varanasi, when he was the Director of The Tibetan Institute of Higher Studies at Sarnath. It appears that some such thought was the backdrop of Gandhi’s insistence on village being the primary unit in swaraj. The supporters of the present farmers’ movement have again and again called the farmers ‘annadata’ meaning those who feed the world. It may be said that those who are not simply a tail-piece of the market or the state see the farmer as annadata, women as annapoorna (those who provide a square meal) and the village as both an existential and an epistemic condition of civilization. If we look at the tradition of wholesome thought , we are likely to find that no distinction is made between the concrete and the abstract, between the physical and the spiritual, between the body and the soul and between being and knowledge. Just as the Gandhian movement has given the slogan that ‘Khadi is not just a cloth, it is a way of thinking’, similarly his insistence on the village may allow us to say that village is as much a spiritual entity as a physical one. Gandhi did believe also that there is no difference of level between the evening prayer of a peasant and the most abstract philosophies. In different words it may be said that truth lies in the fusion of the concrete and the abstract.

It is not just that the BJP government and Adani/Ambani are the issues or hurdles, they are of course that, however the practice and policy of the farmers’ movement appears to say that we need to learn from the wholesome traditions of thought (sant parampara) and in accordance with that develop the human code of conduct. Will ‘food’ occupy the centre stage then? Is food then both physical and spiritual? Handling of food in the movement appears to point to that. Dialogues on the concerned laws are necessary but let this not circumscribe our present thinking. Appropriate respect ought to be paid to representative institutions, legislatures, but let us not take them to be everything. Peoples’ ways and thought should ultimately hold the sway. It is humans who will build the future of humanity. Capital and market need to be brought down from the high seat they have been given. The farmers’ movement is saying that this is possible.