Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Nyaya, Tyaga and Bhaichara - Potents for a New Interpretation

 Social Change and Nyaya(Equality), Tyaga(Duty) and Bhaichara(Kinship)

Every movement for social change over the past 2500 years has been initiated by a fresh interpretation of the concepts of nyaya(rationality & equality), tyaga(duty) and bhaichara(kinship with all life forms) in the realm of ordinary life practice. Such interpretations were put forth by gurus and sants/swamis(saints); ‘accepted and absorbed’ into the belief systems and life practices of ordinary people. Their lives thereafter underwent changes appropriate to the sustenance of such changes. Most often, this led to the ‘formation’ of different sects within the all pervading sanatana dharma that characterized Indian society.

Such interpretations can be seen, for example, in the teachings of the Buddha and Mahavira and later in the teachings of Basaveswara , Guru Gobind Singh and many others. More recently we find that Mahatma Gandhi too, offered a new ‘talisman’ for ordinary life practices through his interpretations of these concepts. All these ideas/interpretations formed the bases of mass ‘movements’ and we know, historically, that they did lead to social change. However, with the onslaught of capitalist mode of production, and the concomitant ‘destruction’ of the natural environment, such changes in society and life-style have been under severe pressure and the very sustenance of the belief system and social formations, that those interpretations engendered, have been pushed to the brink of ‘extinction’.

Nyaya, Tyaga and Bhaichara in the context of the Knowledge Movement


All characteristics of inter-relationships are primarily, and in the main, determined by interactions between individuals and between communities/collectives, and governed by the evolving worldview that determines these relationships. Concepts of equality(nyaya), fraternity(bhaichara) and collective governance(swarajya) evolve through such economic, social and cultural exchanges . The contemporary capitalist-market worldview, that influences ALL relationships today, will have to make space for Knowledge-based (Lokavidya) dharma which will henceforth influence ALL relationships within and without Lokavidya Samaj. This is the basis and agenda of the movement for social change.

The concept of dharma has NO equivalent in non Lokavidya-based societies and it has, therefore, been subject to 'silencing' by commentators and analysts trained in other knowledge traditions and influenced (unconsciously perhaps) by the prevalent market-driven values. Lokavidya dharma should incorporate Nyaya, Tyaga and Bhaichara Nyaya, Tyaga and Bhaichara as axiomatic principles.

Public discourse should be in the vocabulary of vidya and dharma ; their meaning is commonly understood by ordinary people albeit in different ways. Such understanding is not in conflict with principles of Nyaya, Tyaga and Bhaichara and should now serve as the basis of establishing a system of interactions for the protection of fundamental right to life and livelihood, in a globalised Knowledge-based society.

  1. The march towards the establishment of an order, based on Nyaya, Tyaga and Bhaichara, begins, in this 'Knowledge era', with ensuring the Right of individuals, individually and collectively, to live by and base their livelihoods on the Knowledge they possess and practice.

  1. The aspect of inequality, arising from the exchange-activity process, has to be addressed by redefining the concept of value of a commodity/service, by incorporating the idea of knowledge-based value. In a knowledge paradigm, that recognises the fundamental equality (in utility) between all knowledge and knowledge-based activity, the sustenance of a concept of knowledge-based value and the social and economic equality that it engenders, will not prove beyond the new political imagination, that will evolve in society.

[ Value:The value of a commodity ( this term to denotes ALL goods and services which are produced by and through human labour for self-consumption and/or exchange) is neither pre-determinable nor pre-assignable i.e. there is no intrinsic value to any commodity. A value accrues to a commodity as a result of it being essential to life and/or during the process of social exchange and is by nature a dynamic variable.]

Ideas on Knowledge equality- an important aspect of Nyaya

1. from Basaveshwara:

The inequality, which Basaweshwara lamented, was not the inequality of personal endowments, but of the social, economic, religious and spiritual practices which created inequality and came in the way of development of individual personality. He went to the very roots of the state of nature in attacking the inequality created by human beings.

Basaveshwara gave a concrete meaning to the conception of work or occupation in the form of

Kayaka which is regarded as an important means for the removal of all inequalities–economic, social,

religious and spiritual. Kayaka is a spiritual view of labor and not merely a materialistic view. Every

kind of labour is looked upon with high honor, dignity and spiritual significance. Kayaka doesn't

encourage amassing wealth or hoarding of money. It is NOT motivated by profit.

2. from Gandhiji's “Autobiography” summarising Ruskin's “Unto This Last”:

“A lawyer's work has the same value as the barber's, as all have the right of earning their livelihood

from their work”

“ A life of labour i.e the life of the tiller of the soil and the handicraftsman is the life worth living”

“ The right system respecting all labour is, that it should be paid at a fixed rate; but the good

workman employed, and the bad workman unemployed”

“The equality of wages, then, being the first object towards which we have to discover the road, the

second is that of maintaining constant numbers of workmen in employment, whatever may be the

accidental demand for the article they produce”

3. from Dharampalji's “Essays on Tradition, Recovery and Freedom” summarising the Chengalpattu


“An elaborately worked out system of sharing of the produce of the region also seems to ensured fairly equal distribution of economic and cultural prosperity among the various communities and occupational groups that inhabited the region”

4. from Paul Mason’s article in The Guardian titled” The end of Capitalism has begun”

A study for the SAS Institute in 2013 found that, in order to put a value on data, neither the cost of gathering it, nor the market value or the future income from it could be adequately calculated. Only through a form of accounting that included non-economic benefits, and risks, could companies actually explain to their shareholders what their data was really worth. ...The knowledge content of products is becoming more valuable than the physical things that are used to produce them. But it is a value measured as usefulness, not exchange or asset value... (but) information as a social good, free at the point of use, incapable of being owned or exploited or priced.

Ideas on Tyaga or Fundamental Duty

(Tyaga is neither renunciation nor charitable donation/alms-giving)

1.from Tirukkural (Valluvar's instructive text focused on wisdom, justice, and ethics.)

Goals of poruḷ (wealth obtained in ethical manner) and inbam( refers to pleasure and fulfilment of

one's desires) are desirable, yet both need to be regulated by aṟam(dharma). Valluvar holds that aṟam

is common for all, irrespective of whether the person is a bearer of palanquin or the rider in it.

2. from the Bhagavad Gita

Karmanye Vadhikaraste ma phaleshu kadhachana OR "Perform your duty but do not have any

expectation of the fruits". It speaks of being dedicated to your job, your art, your science (your

livelihood practice)as a fundamental duty. The Indian tradition also holds that there exists an inherent

tension between artha and kama. These must be pursued with "action with renunciation" (Nishkama

Karma), that is, one must act (do one’s duty)without craving in order to resolve this tension

3. from Basaveshwara:

Kayaka is to be done in the spirit of Dashooha. Dasooha meant working hard for one's livelihood and

for the maintenance of society. In his view, a dasohi should consider himself, but a servant of society. Therefore, Dasoha in principle assumed that what belongs to God must return to Him and what came from society should be given back by way of selfless service.

Kayaka is a duty by which each one has to maintain oneself, and render its proceeds to the welfare of all. As per the principle of Dashooha, since every one earns his minimum requirement through Kayaka he contributes the rest of his labour to the society rather than accumulating personal wealth. Therefore, Kayaka does not encourage the amassing of wealth if it is done in the spirit of Dashooha, Human beings are equal by nature in their wisdom and virtues, that should be maintained accordingly.

4. from Guru Gobind Singh

Dharam dee kirat karnee – Do your work(livelihood practice) as a duty

Dasvand denaa – Donate a tenth share of your earnings.

Langar Parshaad ik ras vartaaunaa – Serve Langar prashad(food) with impartiality.

Ideas on Bhaichara or Kinship

1. from the Maha Upanishad

Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam meaning "the world is one family".

The Gandhian vision of holistic development and respect for all forms of life; nonviolent conflict

resolution embedded in the acceptance of nonviolence both as a creed and strategy; were an extension

of the ancient concept of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam

2. from the teachings of Mahavira

A central tenet of his teaching was a renunciation of violence in all its forms and a concern for all

forms of life; that all living beings, irrespective of their size, shape, and form how spiritually

developed or undeveloped, are equal and we should love and respect them.

Social action for Change

It does not take much to see that ALL the great movements for Social change, in different parts of the

world, have been based on teachings (new interpretations of Nyaya, Tyaga and Bhaichara),such as the

ones quoted above, and have led to new social(religious) groupings based on belief systems which

have incorporated the essence of these teachings. These movements have been sustained through

centuries by the tyaga that dominated(and governed) these social groups; that is until the

onslaught’(both ontological and ethical) of modern western Science and Technology, especially and

very perceivably by the advent of the globalized capitalist market system.

Climate Change, a fallout of the Capitalist Development paradigm, is directly linked to the absence,

neglect or down-grading of Bhaichara (as enshrined in various belief systems ). Environmental

Movements against the ill-effects of Climate Change have , in almost all cases, re-emphasized the

understanding of Bhaichara; that was a given in the World of the Tribal/Indigenous Peoples of the


It appears that the space and opportunity for redefining Nyaya, Tyaga and Bhaichara has been opened

up by various peoples’ movements across the world. In India too, the current Farmers’ movement has

provided a space for this redefinition by ordinary people who form the bulk of this non-violent mass

movement. The reason for stating this is that this ‘movement’ has been going on for the past 6 months

attended largely by small farmer families from Punjab, Haryana and UP. The Langar, local

arrangements for stay & facilities and healthcare have been provided for by bigger farmers and their

organisations. It is my opinion, that the urge to stay together seems to be the overarching belief that the

(Khalsa)leadership is being guided by the teachings of Guru Gobind Singh: of grow food (as a

duty), share food through Langar(Bhaichara) while ‘fighting’ for justice(Nyaya) for the entire

community (that is dependent on agriculture). Those teachings will certainly be reset to the

contemporary context in order to sustain the movement, but this provides the hope that a new

interpretation of Nyaya, Tyaga and Bhaichara could well emerge and be ‘accepted’ by ordinary people,

through this movement.


25 May 2021

Thursday, May 13, 2021

Agenda for a Knowledge Politics

 Sunil Sahasrabudhey,   6 May, 2021              Posted at 7 pm on 13th May 2021

In recent elections the state level parties have performed very well , namely, Trinamool Congress in West Bengal, DMK in Tamil Nadu and the Left Front in Kerala. Local body elections in Uttar Pradesh have also given a general mandate against BJP. The idea of coordination and cooperation between regional political formations to stand up to, and emerge as an alternative to, the domineering positioning of the Central Government has started gaining some ground. This particularly so in the context of 2024 General Elections. Covid -19 and its spread was already an issue on which the Central Government was being heavily criticized. The focus is both on irresponsibility and incompetence. Corruption is soon likely to emerge on a big scale.  Another major issue which has suffered a partial eclipse because of these events is the farmers’ movement.  These three seem to define the present political agenda of the nation. A discussion is needed to figure out whether this situation creates a fresh and robust occasion to talk about and do something significant for bringing into the public domain the idea of a knowledge politics. The following points may help give a start to our discussion on this.

1.   How far such a political agenda can give space to basic issues of poverty, unemployment, disparity, social hierarchy, communalism, etc.

2.   How should this political agenda possibly be seen from a knowledge point of view. For example  -

·      Is it opportune now to put forward the thesis that governance ought to be at the State level, Centre being a coordinating agency? Is it opportune and correct to raise the question of education to be entirely the state subject. Lokavidya argument may be integrated with this.

·      If there is re-emergence of the identity (linguistic, cultural, historical) issue through these elections, it may be an occasion to formulate the concept of identity in knowledge terms, through mainly, formulating the lokavidya-knowledge discourse in the language of the region. 

·      Should there be a campaign to promote Loka Swasthya Paramparas in handling the Covid – 19.

·      Do we see openings for a campaign on Food Sovereignty meaning that agriculture should be a state subject and the state governments should facilitate farmers’ and artisans’  control over the local resources with the rider that farmers shall be responsible for sufficient availability of food in the region. If clothing, housing and general services (repairs included) is added, an imagination of swaraj comes forth.

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

न्याय त्याग और भाईचारा : ललित कुमार कौल


न्याय त्याग और भाईचारा

                                                                                                            ललित कुमार कौल

मेरा जन्म किसी एक परिवार में हुआ ; किसी एक गाँव या शहर में ; किसी एक देश में! हजारों गाँव और सेंकड़ों देश इस धरती पर मोजूद हैं! जिस गाँव में मेरा जन्म हुआ उसमें कई परिवार बसते हैं जो उस गाँव के समाज का एक हिस्सा हैं! हर परिवार का अपना अपना व्यवसाय/पेशा है या फिर कई परिवारों की जीविका एक ही जैसी हो, यह संभव है! हर गांव/शहर /देश वासी की बुद्धि या फिर शारीरिक और मानसिक क्षमताएं एक जैसी नहीं हैं ; शकल भी एक जैसी नहीं है! एक परिवार के सदस्यों के बीच भी इसी प्रकार के अंतर दिखते हैं! यहाँ तक कि दो भाइयों या भाई – बहन के स्वभाव में; रुचियों में; प्रवृति में ;सही-गलत आदि की समझ में; भी अंतर देखने को मिलता है! इंसानों और अन्य जीवों में ऐसा कोनसा गुण है जो एक दुसरे से प्रथक नहीं है? ऐसे में किस आधार पे बंधुत्व की बात की जाए? अपनेपन के एहसास बिना त्याग की भावना संभव नहीं! भौतिकवादी दुनिया में त्याग और भाईचारा जैसे जीवन मूल्यों का प्रभुत्व होना कुछ मुशकिल लगता है!

इंसानी रिश्तों का आधार:

प्यार मोहब्बत आदर इन सब की गहराई वक़्त के साथ रिश्तों के बीच बदलती रहती है और ऐसा होना स्वाभाविक है; ऐसा मेरा मानना है! जो नहीं बदलता वह एक इंसान का दूसरे के प्रति आभार / कृतज्ञता है, यदि उसके चरित्र या स्वभाव में ऐसा  अंश है! रिश्ता कोई भी हो नहीं टिक पाता यदि आभार का अंश अनुपस्थित हो; बाल बच्चे अपनी गृहस्ती सँभालते हुए माँ बाप के साथ किस प्रकार का रिश्ता निभायेंगे यह उनका माँ बाप के प्रति आभार तय करने वाला है क्योंकि दो पीड़ियों के बीच वैचारिक और नज़रिये के भेद भाव तो स्वाभाविक हैं! यदि बच्चों के जहन में यह जब्त है कि न केवल उनका वज़ूद पर उनकी उप्लब्दियाँ भी माँ बाप के निजी बलिदानों के कारण है तो भेद भाव कितने ही तीव्र क्यों न हों साफ़ सुथरा रिश्ता बना रहता है! माँ बाप कितने गरीब या अमीर रहे हों इससे रिश्तों में कोई फर्क नहीं पड़ता! भौतिकवादी दुनिया में थोड़ी बहुत आध्यात्मिकता नज़र आती है!

पारस्परिक स्वार्थ भी रिश्तों को जोड़ता है! सार्वजनिक या निजी इकाई जिनमें हर जाति वर्ग मज़हब के लोग काम करते हैं  पारस्परिक स्वार्थ के कारण मिलझुल के हर काम को अंजाम देते हैं क्योंकि सबकी जीविका का प्रश्न होता है! काफ़िर और मोमीन दलित और उच्च वर्ग मर्द और औरत गोरा और काला ऐसे सब भेद भाव इकाई के भीतर नहीं रहते भले ही इकाई के बहार प्रचलित हों! जीविका का स्वार्थ! इस आपसी व्यवहार में प्यार मोहब्बत इंसानियत इज्ज़त जैसे मूल्य किस हद तक मोजूद रहते हैं इसका अंदाजा लगाना मुशकिल है ! लेकिन जब कभी दंगे फसाद समाज में होते हैं तो दंगों का विश्लेषण वर्ग जाति और मज़हब के आधार पे ही होता है! पारस्परिक स्वार्थ के आभाव में भौतिकवादी दुनिया में इंसानी रिश्तों का  कोई आधार नहीं!

यदि होता तो आर्थिक कठिनाइयों के बावजूद किसान आत्महत्या नहीं करते क्योंकि किसान वर्ग एक जुट होकर संकट में गिरे हुए किसान की सहायता करते या फिर उस क्षेत्र से जुड़े समाज के अन्य लोग मदद करते; मदद करने का तात्पर्य यह है कि लोन की राशि अदा करते हुए पीड़ित किसान से सरल किस्तों में दीगयी राशी के भुगतान की व्यवस्था मिलजुल के तय करते! लेकिन ऐसा न हों पाया क्योंकि बंधुत्व का कोई आधार न बन पाया; कोई यह तर्क न दे कि पूरे समाज में लोन का कुछ भी हिस्सा वापस देने की क्षमता ना थी; इंसानियत की बात न करिये क्योंकि बात आध्यात्मिकता की नहीं हो रही!

ऐसा भी देखने को मिलता है कि दो भाई एक ही छत के अंदर अलग अलग अपना परिवार चलाते हैं! दोनों के बच्चे लिखाई  पढ़ाई में एक सामान हैं लेकिन आर्थिक असमानता कारणवश एक भाई के बच्चे पेशेवर विद्यालयों में दाखला नहीं लेपाते! यदि अपनेपन का एहसास अधिक संपन्न भाई में हो तो वह दुसरे के साथ मिलके कोई न कोई रास्ता निकालता है ताकि बच्चों की पढ़ाई में किसी प्रकार की रुकावट न आये; ऐसी पहल में  कहीं न कहीं त्याग का अंश है और जिसका वजूद अपनेपन के एहसास में है!

क्या हम यह कह सकते हैं कि यदि अपनापन और  कृतज्ञता मोजूद हो तो न्याय मिल ही जाता है? यदि हाँ , फिर भी न्याय का मामला पुर्णतः हल नहीं हुआ क्योंकि यह तो किसी एक के स्वभाव पे आश्रित हो गया! तो प्रश्न यह है कि : किस प्रकार से मानव जाति में प्यार मोहब्बत आदर कृतज्ञता और अपनेपन का बीज बोया जाए ताकि न्याय सार्वजानिक हो? क्या यह संभव है?

हक और फ़र्ज़ (धर्म):

प्यार मोहब्बत आदर कृतज्ञता और अपनापन; इन सब का एहसास होना या न होना; अधिक या कम मात्रा में होना; इंसान की  मूल प्रवृति के विषय हैं! बाहरी दुनिया का इन सब पे कोई अधिकार नहीं है; एक इंसान समाज में किस प्रकार का व्यवहार और कार्य करेगा यह पुर्णतः उसकी मूल प्रवृति निर्धारित करेगी यदि समाज में किसी प्रकार का कोई अंकुश न हो! आधुनिक समाजों में केवल इंसानों के हक और उन्हें सुरक्षित करने की चर्चा होती है; समाज के प्रति इंसानों के धर्म की कोई चर्चा नहीं होती!

सरकार की नीतियों का विरोध करने का हक सबको है और उसके साथ साथ सार्वजानिक सम्पति को तहस नहस करने का हक भी लोगों ने धारण कर लिया है! सार्वजनिक सम्पतियों की देख भाल करने का धर्म किसी का नहीं है; उनका भी नहीं जिन्हें इस काम के लिए मासिक वेतन मिलता है!

तो अपना हक पाने का संकल्प लेकर, निजी जिम्मेदारियों से बेखबर, समाज देश या फिर दुनिया में यात्रा करने वालों के लिए कोई मर्यादा रेखा नहीं होती! निजी स्वार्थ को फलित करने का हक सभ्य समाज के हर मूल्य को कुचल देता है, कानूनी व्यवस्था इसे संज्ञान में ले या न ले इसका बुरा असर तो समाज पे पड़ता ही है क्योंकि एक उधाहरण  इसके सामने पेश होती है , कि ऐसा भी संभव है!

हर एक को अपनी ज़िन्दगी अपने तरीक़े से जीने का हक है; निजी आकांक्षाओं की पूर्ति करने का हक है; इस छूट की कोई इंतिहा नहीं है ; कोई भी ऐसा रास्ता अपनाया जा सकता जिससे निजी आकांक्षाओं की पूर्ति  हो! ऐसे वातावरण में मूल्यों का  गतिशील होना स्वाभाविक है क्योंकि सब के सब हक की पूर्ति के आधीन हैं !

परिवार समाज की मौलिक इकाई है! परिवार बिखर जायें तो समाज के अस्तित्व क्या औचित्य?

यह धारणा - कि हर इंसान खुद का मालिक है, जो चाहे कर सकता है यदि वह संकल्प कर ले – सही नहीं है क्योंकि इंसानी उपलब्धियों में अवश्य ही समाज (परिवार) का योगदान निहित है जो धर्म निभाने स्वरुप है! प्रश्न जो हर आकांक्षी को खुद से पूछना चाहिए : जिन्होंने निजी धर्म निभाते हुए मेरी आकांक्षाओं की पूर्ति में मेरी सहायता की, क्या मेरा उनके प्रति कोई धर्म नहीं है? किसी का धर्म किसी की हक पूर्ति के काम आया बिलकुल वैसे ही जैसे आज के धर्म निभाने वालों की हक पूर्ति के लिए किसी औरों का धर्म काम आया होगा! यदि हक के पाते पाते धर्म की भूमिका को नज़रंदाज़ ना किया जाए तो समाज में न्याय अवश्य होगा!

निजी उपलब्धियों का श्रेय यदि किसी अनुपात में समाज और उसकी संस्थाओं को दिया जाये तो इससे बड़कर मिसाल कृतज्ञता की नहीं हो सकती और यही गुण इंसान को समाज के साथ जोड़ता है!

इंसानों की निजी मूल प्रवृति कैसी भी हों, धर्म का बीज उनके मन और चेतना में बोना तो असंभव कार्य नहीं लगता बशर्ते परिवार के बुजुर्ग (दादा दादी माँ बाप आदि) अंदरूनी मसले हल करने में धर्म का पालन करें! बच्चों का पहला और बहुत महत्वपूर्ण विद्यालय उनका घर है; अच्छे बुरे संस्कार , सही गलत की समझ आदि  सब घर के बुजुर्गों से मिलते हैं! आज की दुनिया में बुजुर्गों के आचरण पर भी बहुत बड़ा प्रश्न चिन्ह है!

जो भी हो धर्म के पालन में ही आशा की किरण दिखती है जब बात न्याय त्याग और भाईचारे की हो!