Why Women are still considered Second Class Citizen in Indian Society?

*[‘International Women’s Day’ – celebrating Womanhood that comprises of all the attributes that are natural to Women i.e., patient, affectionate, caring, emotional, generous, devoted, elegant, calm, sensitive, strong, courageous amongst the top ones.

In this era of male dominance our society is constantly dealing with conflicting issues such as gender equality & women empowerment. Recent movies for instance, Padmaavat and Manikarnika made a huge impact on mindset of people as the portrayal of Women therein, represents & redefine the multitude characteristics of a woman. How significant is to hold on to one’s individuality, is to be learnt from such powerful characters of Indian society. In this small initiative at Vedic WAVES Blog, an effort has been made through a survey to gather an opinion over the current status as enjoyed by women in present day society, in India.]  

*Editorial note by Dr. Aparna (Dhir) Khandelwal, Assistant Professor, School of Indic Studies, INADS, Dartmouth, USA

Women are not just considered but are also treated as 2nd to men in current society. Ancient social engineering made women equal half. First time a woman was considered an object … Bharata rose in arms to protect Dharma of equality and respect.

Ms. Neera Mishra, Chairperson, Draupadi Dream Trust

I consider the very question based on ignorance. Granted gender discrimination occurs around the world (in case of both sexes) and India would have it’s own share of problems. I grew up in villages and also spent time in cities of India. I also lived in multiple countries. Based on my limited experience I have not seen imbalanced discrimination against women.

That remains my experience.  If at all, I have noticed discriminatory laws against men, especially in family law courts around the world.

Mr. Nilesh Oak, Adjunct Faculty, School of Indic Studies, INADS, Dartmouth, USA

Theoretically, women are on a par with men but in actual practice they are considered second class citizens who suffer discrimination in almost all walks of life. This kind of mindset is starkly evident not only in the family for the upbringing of female child in comparison to the male ones but also in education, jobs, career opportunities, promotions and future expectations. The society must eradicate this obvious injustice and menace perpetrated by people in general and institutional biases in particular.

Dr. Dayanand Parashar, Former Associate Professor, Physics, ARSD College, University of Delhi, Delhi

प्राचीन भारत में महिलाओं को देवी के तुल्य सम्मान था। मनु के द्वारा भी इसकी पुष्टि की गई है। जो भी विषमताएं आईं हैं, वो निसंदेह मुस्लिम संस्कृति के प्रभाव से है और अब पाश्चात्य संस्कृति का प्रभाव भी दृष्टिगोचर है। समाज में महिलाओं की स्थिति सुधारने के लिए सर्वप्रथम उनको शिक्षित करना होगा, सिर्फ साक्षर बनाने से बात नहीं बनेगी। अब पहले से महिलाओं की स्थिति में सुधार है, इसका कारण शिक्षा ही है। समानता में लाने के लिए महिलाओं को मुफ्त में शिक्षा, और रोजगार के अधिक अवसर उपलब्ध कराए जा सकते हैं।

श्रीमति स्नेहलता उपाध्याय, पुस्तकालयाध्यक्ष, राष्ट्रीय संस्कृत संस्थान

Yes, women are better than men in respect of mental ability, farsightedness, sincerity, still they are treated as second grade citizens now. They are not getting their due recognition in nation-building. Even in Vedic times, they weren’t treated respectably. Apala can be cited as example, who was abandoned by her husband due to skin disease. Even Gargi was asked to keep shut when Yagyavalkya could not answer her queries. Situation is same even now!

Dr. Raj Kumari Trikha, Former Associate Professor, Sanskrit, Maitreyi College, University of Delhi, Delhi

In this materialistic world those who don’t earn/ have money are looked at as 2nd.

Mrs. Suvarta Vinod, Anandavan Bhakta Samudaya, Institute of Advanced Studies in Veda and Science.

Everything was balanced during Vedic period, but it is only after post Vedic era the misinterpretations of our ancient Indian texts that evolved such thought process in Indian society.

Secondly, It varies from culture to culture –via- family to family in the sense of treating their daughters-in-law, i.e., how families expect their daughter-in-law to behave in particular manner.

Dr. Pankaja Ghai Kaushik, Assistant Professor, Sanskrit, Lady Shree Ram College, University of Delhi, Delhi

भारतीय समाज में सम्बन्धों को महत्व दिया जाता है। ऐसे सामाजिक परिप्रेक्ष्य में महिला का स्थान माँ, बहन, बेटी, और धर्मपत्नी के रूप में सर्वोच्च विदित है। इन सम्बन्धों से वंचित यदि महिला का, या कि किसी और भी वर्ग का, अन्तर्राष्ट्रीय दिवस मनाना भारत में अजूबा सा लगेगा|

प्रोफेसर बलराम सिंह, सदस्य, बोर्ड ऑफ़ डायरेक्टर, वेव्स

Maintaining balance in the society is not a woman’s problem, it’s a national issue. The race is on for the gender-balanced business, a gender-balanced government, gender-balanced media coverage, a gender-balance of employees, gender-balance in wealth… Let’s hope this race ends, balance remains with gender equality.

Happy Women’s Day!!

Mrs. Shubha Rawal Wadhawan, Chief communications Officer – IG International pvt. Ltd.

I don’t consider there is a difference between men and women. So first of all there is no need for celebrating International Women’s Day. Is there any International Men’s Day? When you celebrate something like this then you producing yourself as victim. You already give an upper hand to men. In a civilized and sensible society in reality there shouldn’t be difference between men and women. Both have their own limitations biologically, physically and mentally. We should know each other limitations and respect similar to a normal Indian family. Once we understand this we will make a better society.

Dr. Raj Kumar, Assistant Professor, Botulinum Research Center, INADS, Dartmouth, USA

We live in a patriarchal society where in male members are given more liberty and decision making choices. It’s a woman who is expected to change her surname after marriage. It’s a woman who is expected to take care of cooking, cleaning, etc. It’s a woman who works even on holidays. There is no holiday for women. It’s a woman who is expected to take care of family and children after marriage. They are made to do work both inside and outside their homes. It’s just because women are not given a friendly environment to show their talents. The problem lies in our education system and Indian values. Women are still not given adequate education. Even the text books we read show women doing all the household chores like cooking, cleaning and taking care of men. They don’t depict men doing household work rather men are shown going to work or seeking leisure in their free time. Our Indian family values also don’t support a woman standing hand in hand with her male partner. From the very initial stages girls are taught to walk properly, dress properly, keep themselves presentable. The in-laws also expect their daughter-in-law to look after the entire family needs. Even in case of major decision making events the opinion of women is kept as second choice and the ultimate decisions are still taken by male members. Even in job sectors more preference is given to male members keeping less job opportunities to women.

Ms. Tanya Kumra, Accounts Assistant, Shreeram World School, Delhi

I always believe that women are same as the men. When I was a child my MAA always fulfilled my dreams, when my family faced economic problem my elder sister has been there to support me, and now when I  face ups and down in my life  my wife becomes my strength. My supervisor (Prof. Rani Majumdar), my well wishers like Prof. Shashi mam, Dr. Aparna Dhir di and many more always teach me, support me and advise me. They all are women. Therefore how can I believe women are second in Indian society? For me without these women I (men) am incomplete!!!

Kisi ne Kya khoob kaha

Soch ko badlo sitare badal jayenge/

Nazar ko badlo nazareyin badal jayenga/

kastiyan badal ne ke zaroorat nehin hai/

dishayein badlo kinare khud badal jayenge.

Mr. Tahasin Mondal, Research scholar, Department of Sanskrit, AMU, Aligarh, U.P

I don’t think women are considered second in the society. I think there is no society without women. Women are the ones who is giving birth to a child, upbringing the child and making of a future citizen. So in short women only are shaping the thoughts, values and the culture of the society. Whatever a woman teaches a child goes on for generations!! Women are also the biggest strength of a man! A woman who is strongly supporting a man that man is definitely successful in all spheres of life. In Ramayana, it is said man and woman are two wheels of the same chariot, if somehow one wheel breakdown the chariot automatically stop. So, both have to be strong to move in the sphere of life. It is just that every individual has to play his role in life. It is not about 1st or 2nd. I think it is about how efficiently you play your role in life, the tasks assigned to you, your duties towards your people and of course yourself too! It is definitely not about 1st or 2nd at least in today’s times. All the things have to go hand in hand for the smooth running of one’s life.

Mrs. Neeti Chawla, Housewife, Delhi

“As women, we have super powers. We are sisters. We are healers. We are mothers. We are goddess warriors”

It’s International Women’s Day, a day to honor and celebrate the cultural, social, economic and political achievements of women. It’s a day to remind ourselves why women are so amazing. They are the ones who are responsible for bringing new lives to existence. There’s no field where women are lagging behind men. It’s a day to be cherished… Happy Women’s Day to all the lovely ever smiling faces no matter what comes.

Mrs. Shagufa Afzal, Principal, Kuruom Vidayalaya, U.P.

In the modern era, Indian women are no more lacking behind men. They are equally capable and talented in all the fields, e.g., doctors, teachers, astronauts, etc. But still in some places Indian women have not got the equality as men due to religious or orthodox thoughts which need to be changed by giving proper education and awareness.

Mrs. Ankita Dhir, Teacher, K.R. Mangalam World School, Delhi

In present time, Indian women doing their empowerment and society also demand for Equality. The fearless woman today raises her voice against harassment like “MeToo Campaign”.

Mr. Yogendra Bhardwaj, Research Fellow, Sanskrit, JNU, Delhi

The Indian woman has to make her way through all the social prejudices against her, and the men yet have to allow and accept the women to be equal participants in the country’s way forward.

Mrs. Rajni Bhalla, Teacher, DAV Public School, Delhi

In my point of view women are considered to be an integral part of the Indian family and society. They are not given secondary status as we can see in our families or around us in the society.

Ms. Anuja Sinha, Director and Anchor, TCN Media

भारत में आज भी स्त्री का स्थान दूसरे नंबर पर है क्योंकि भारतीय समाज पुरुषों के द्वारा ही संचालित होता रहा है और कहीं ना कहीं स्त्रियां स्वयं भी जिम्मेदार हैं| उन्हें स्वयं को उपभोग की वस्तु के दायरे से बाहर निकलना होगा| वैचारिक रूप से स्वतंत्र होना पड़ेगा|

डॉ. सुषमा चौधरी, अध्यापक, संस्कृत, कमला नेहरू महाविद्यालय, दिल्ली विश्वविद्यालय, दिल्ली

The position and status of women in society has been changing from time to time. In Vedic India, woman was considered like a goddess. With time, the position of women received a set- back. But in modern context, women no longer depend on others. Education has raised her status. She holds equal status in society.

Ms. Suruchi Sharma, Teacher, Modern Public School

हिन्दू संस्कृति को जीवंत रखने का श्रेय नारी को ही है। नारी को परिवार का हृदय और प्राण कहा जाता है – न गृहं गृहमित्याहु गृहिणी गृहं उच्यते ।

श्री विकास शर्मा, तदर्थ अध्यापक, संस्कॄत, दिल्ली विश्वविद्यालय, दिल्ली

Women are a perfect combination of strength and beauty. 

Happy Women’s Day !!

Mrs. Rekha Khandelwal, Housewife, Mumbai

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Disintermediation: The Future of Higher Education (Part II)

(Continued from part-I)

– Sh. Rajiv Malhotra

The single most important trend that is revolutionizing education is information technology, especially the internet. Teaching platforms like the Khan Academy are the wave of the future, not the physical classroom in a brick and mortar building. The old-fashioned teacher is being squeezed out along with the physical classroom. The total cost of higher education in the US is estimated to exceed $500 billion annually, using the old delivery models. Many administrators in major universities are worried that their institutions are becoming like the dinosaurs. A disruption is long overdue and we should see this as an opportunity for creative entrepreneurship. This may be seen as a part of the wider trend in dis-intermediation (bypassing of the middleman) taking place in various industries.

  • The new cloud-based teaching methods are rapidly threatening the old school systems in many ways, such as the following:
  • Huge campuses are becoming obsolete. In the future, the buildings required will be mostly those with laboratories and high-tech infrastructure that cannot become virtual. The ordinary classroom will become almost extinct.
  • Old teaching materials are already obsolete. The teacher’s class notes that were once written on the board or handed out in class are now a waste of time because all that is readily available online. With video conferencing, considerable interaction is also available without physical meetings.
  • This trend will lower tuitions significantly because it is not necessary to hire full-time faculty.
  • This also changes the demand side of university professors and impacts the future of academicians as a profession. Many subject matter experts who are not formally classified as professors will be teaching part-time and sharing their knowledge and practical experience. The old style professor with limited real world experience will be replaced by learned persons who will also bring their lived experience to teach.
  • All this means an end to the ivory tower academic snobbery of the past, in which there was great prestige associated with being a professor disconnected from mundane life. Now the floodgates are opening for teaching that is brought by knowledgeable individuals who are embedded within communities and who also speak as voices of the community.
  • Higher education will be a lifelong pursuit and not limited to a few years of college/university. Most workers will take online courses as a regular part of staying current with the trends in their field. Education will be seen as something you do all your life and for which you do not need necessarily to take several years off.

While the above list of changes pertains to the teaching side of higher education, there are equally revolutionary changes expected in the research side, especially in the humanities. Let us discuss religious studies in the US academy, as an example.

Twenty-five years ago, when I first started monitoring and intervening in the American academic research on Hinduism, the academic fortress was a formidable center of power. To make any impact, it was crucial to get inside the system one way or another. But today, an increasing amount of high quality scholarly works are being published by scholars and practitioners outside the walls of the academic fortress. Many guru movements have their own writings and publishing houses. The new works produced by Hindu movements are not only about standard topics like Bhagavad Gita, but also pertain to issues of society, politics, family, health, etc. Many other groups started by civic society now nurture non-academic research and publishing. These new suppliers are seen as threats to the turf traditionally controlled by the academicians. The academic empire is fighting back, but it is a losing battle. (I am an example of someone seen as a threat to the officially credentialed producers of knowledge about my culture.)

The number of readers who receive their knowledge about religion from sources outside the academy far exceeds the number who are sitting in class to learn from their professor. The American academicians refused to accept this trend during the past two decades when I tried to explain it to them. They were too arrogant to be open to this new reality. The pride of being the exclusive source of knowledge had been instilled in them during their PhD, and was seen as their ticket to success that could never be taken away. This attitude of the senior professors has misguided the new generation of academicians, and made the academic system insular and vulnerable.

Today, most people get their knowledge about religions (their own and those of others) through television, online sources, personal travels to sacred and holy sites, teachings from their gurus and swamis, and reading materials published by non-academic writers. If someone wants to invest in spreading particular ideas about our traditions, the investment is better spent on such platforms and not on feeding the old system which is rapidly becoming obsolete. Instead, they should rethink the dynamics of this intellectual kurukshetra of civilizational discourse. Only then can they develop a more viable strategy for interventions.

Indians have in the past bought used technologies and obsolete models in certain industries, at a time when the Western countries exporting these were migrating to new paradigms. I feel many of us are being fooled into investing in what is rapidly becoming an obsolete model of higher education.

Instead of funding American higher education’s pre-internet era system, India should develop the next generation platforms. And India should not be content with a back-office role in this emerging industry, but should develop and own the brands seen by the end users (i.e. the students). Besides developing the platforms and delivery systems, Indians should also lead in content development and educational methodology, especially in areas where traditional Indian systems would give us a competitive advantage.

There are also examples where unethical opportunism is driving the disintermediation. For example, China is disintermediating the R&D centers of the West by stealing intellectual property. They take the lead in implementing others’ discoveries. We can argue about the ethics, but this is a ground reality shaping our world. The examples of disintermediation I am proposing in education are perfectly ethical and should be seen as natural evolution. The age of disintermediation is upon us. It is important to ride this wave rather than avoid it out of fear or ignorance.

– Sh. Rajiv Malhotra, Member, Board, WAVES-USA

Disintermediation: The Future of Higher Education (Part-I)

– Sh. Rajiv Malhotra

When I was consulting for AT&T, British Telecom and other IT giants in the 1980s on futuristic strategies, I used the term “disintermediation” to mean getting rid of intermediaries in various industries. The new technology would enable tech companies to replace the middlemen in a variety of fields. I argued that travel agents, stock brokers, record labels, book publishers, etc. were examples of highly vulnerable businesses. Displacing them with tech platforms presented great opportunities for my clients.

At that time, such ideas were considered too far out, but it made a lucrative consulting career for me to dish out path-breaking propositions for very large MNCs. They had virtually unlimited money to spend on exploring futurist ideas. Today, these ideas are considered established and even old school. Not only have the above mentioned intermediaries become obsolete, one can also see the same trend of disintermediation in retailing (i.e., Amazon), taxis (i.e., Uber), e-learning (i.e., education), to name a few.

One of my predictions for disintermediation that has not (yet) come true is politics. I had predicted that rather than democratic elections taking place every few years, there could be real-time measurement of the pulse of the voters and instant polls to make policies and elect/de-elect politicians. Further, one could envision an artificial intelligence system adapting itself in real time to reflect public opinion and have the authority to govern on some matters – subject to human supervision to avoid over-mechanization or abuse of some kind.

We must first understand how and why “intermediation” came about, before fully understanding dis-intermediation.

In the beginning, producers and consumers lived in close proximity to one another. The village was self-sufficient in many ways, and only certain kinds of products had to be imported from the outside. The industrial revolution changed this. It became more efficient and competitive to have middlemen between producers and consumers. The distance between the points of production and consumption increased and have become global. Distribution channels and supply chains are global today and there are many layers of intermediaries. This trend of globalized supply chains and distribution is likely to increase even further. It gives better resource allocation than the local model of small-scale self-sufficiency.

At the same time, every new wave of technology disrupts the supply chain and distribution channels. This means new opportunities for the creative and enterprising minds will continue to present themselves. My focus in this article is on the way such trends are rapidly disrupting the field of education.

Indians were once upon a time (during the days of Nalanda, Taxashila and other world-class universities) the preeminent producers and exporters of knowledge, ideas and values to the rest of Asia. Now we are consumers of what the Western institutions teach us. We are stuck in a system of dependency so serious that our elites feel they must get certified by the West in order to be credible back home in India. But a window of opportunity has opened up and we cannot afford to miss this chance to take back our leadership role as a knowledge producer and exporter. This window is due to the disruptions caused by the internet.

One of the latest trends in US universities is the growing role of foreigners, including Indians, in the affairs of these universities. First this role was only in the form of foreign students bringing in billions of dollars. Many US academic institutions are financially dependent on foreign students because they cannot meet their expenses through domestic student tuitions alone. An effect of this has been that a large number of Indian elites (both in USA and those returning to India) have been influenced by American values and principles, both good and bad. From the US side, this is not only a great source of tuition fees but also a way to spread its intellectual influence.

A more recent trend is for wealthy Indians to invest in US universities for personal brand building. (See an interesting article, titled, ‘Harvard is a hedge fund with a university attached.’) This is shortsighted and dangerous. Indians are giving grants and endowments to US universities without adequately evaluating the subject matter being produced by the scholars. It’s all about wealthy Indians seeking a seat at the high table of prestige in American society. They see their family name on a building or attached to an academic chair as their next step in climbing the social ladder. Few donors get sufficiently involved in the details of the subject matter and the impact that is being created by their donation.

A major contrast between India and China in this regard is that China retains strict control over the disciplines pertaining to its civilization, values, domestic politics and culture. They readily buy (or use unscrupulous means to acquire) Western science, technology and business knowhow. But they do not want to brainwash their youth with Western prejudices in areas of the humanities that are considered sensitive to the interest of national unity and security. India has not been able to appreciate this strategic point even now.

Against this backdrop, I want donors to understand some tectonic trends that are taking place in US higher education which are rapidly making brick and mortar university campuses obsolete. I wish to advise those giving donations to US academic institutions to step back and rethink their strategies keeping the future trends in mind. Most donations being given are wasteful because they fund obsolete models at a time when they should be funding the incubation of new models.

(to be continued….)

Sh. Rajiv Malhotra, Member, Board, WAVES-USA

सर्वरूप अटल : हम सब अटल, हम सबमें अटल

Alok Dwivedi

-Alok Kumar Dwivedi

अटल जी का व्यक्तित्व एवम् जीवन

अटल बिहारी वाजपेयी निहसंदेह भारतीय लोकतंत्र के प्राणपुरुष रहे। ग्वालियर में जन्मे अटल जी को कवि हृदय अपने पिता जी से विरासत में प्राप्त हुई। अटल जी के सम्पूर्ण जीवन में उनका द्रवित कवि हृदय प्रवाहमान रहा। आजकल प्रशासन में नैतिकता की विवेचना करते हुए जो सर्वप्रमुख गुण बतलाया जाता है वह है- ’सम्वेगात्मक बौद्धिकत’ अर्थात् प्रज्ञा और हृदय का सम्मिलित शासन। इस अवस्था में हृदय (भावनाओं) का निर्णयन में महत्वपूर्ण स्थान होता है। भारत में प्रधानमंत्री के रूप में अटल जी अपने इसी गुण के लिए अजातशत्रु के रूप में भी सम्बोधित किए गये। समाजिक व्यक्ति के जीवन में किस प्रकार से बदलाव लाया जाय, उनके जीवन को किस प्रकार से ख़ुशहाल किया जाय, लोकतंत्र में उनकी आवाज़ को सड़क से लेकर संसद तक किस प्रकार से गतिमान किया जाय ये सारी बातें ही अटल जी के अटल अंतस में प्रवाहित होती रहती थी। इसे मूर्त रूप प्रदान करने हेतु अटल जी ने अपना सम्पूर्ण जीवन तपस्या रत रखा। अटल जी का जीवन इतने आयामों को संजोये रहा है कि उनके महाप्रयाण कर जाने पर लोग उनके जीवन के एक-एक पक्ष को अपने में प्रतिबिम्बित होते देख रहें हैं। माता-पिता के प्रति सम्मान का भाव रखने वाला व्यक्ति अटल जी के बचपन में अपना बचपन देख रहा है, पिता से मित्रवत रहने वाला बालक अटल जी के कॉलेज के दिनो में उनमें ख़ुद को देख रहा है क्यूँकि अटल जी कानपुर के डी०ए०वी० कॉलेज में लॉ की पढ़ाई में अपने पिता जी के ही साथ एक ही कक्षा में पढ़ते थे और मित्र की भाँति हॉस्टल के एक ही रूम में रहते थे। पत्रकार अटल जी में पत्रकार देखते थे क्यूँकि प्रारम्भिक दौर में अटल जी पत्रकार थे। छात्र राजनीति में भी अटल जी कॉम्युनिस्ट छात्र विंग एस॰एफ०आई॰ से जुड़े रहे तो छात्र राजनीति में रुचि रखने वाले भी उन्हें अपने आदर्शों में मानते रहे हैं। राष्ट्रप्रेम के भावों से ओतप्रोत हो स्वाधीनता, स्वाभिमान और लोकतंत्रात्मक मूल्यों हेतु राष्ट्रीय महत्व के आंदोलनों में सक्रिय भागीदारी करने वाले लोग अटल जी में ख़ुद को प्रतिबिम्बित मानते हैं। 1930 के दशक के मध्य में अटल जी ने राष्ट्रीय स्वयंसेवक संघ में सक्रिय रूप में जुड़कर स्वतंत्रता आंदोलनों में भागीदारी दी। उन्होंने इस दौरान विभिन्न छात्र संगठनों के छात्रों को स्वतंत्रता आंदोलनों में भागीदारी सुनिश्चित की। आंदोलनों में सफलता या असफलता के पश्चात् किसी संगठन से वैचारिक स्तर पर मतभिन्नता होने पर नए संगठन की आधारशिला रखने वाले लोग अटल जी में अपना यह रूप देखते हैं। स्वतंत्रता प्राप्ति के पश्चात् कश्मीर के मुद्दे पर विचारों की सहमति न होने पर डॉक्टर श्यामा प्रसाद मुखर्जी ने जब जनसंघ की नींव डाली तो अटल जी इसके संस्थापक सदस्य रहें। जो लोग अपनी कार्यक्षमता से किसी-किसी के दिल में विशेष स्थान बना लेते हैं वे लोग  भी स्वयं को अटल जी में देखते हैं। अटल जी की कार्यशैली से अत्यंत प्रभावित होकर पंडित दीनदयाल उपाध्याय जी ने उन्हें संसद सदस्य बनाने हेतु तीन जगहों से लोकसभा का उम्मीदवार बनाया था अपनी कार्यशैली से विरोधियों को भी आत्ममुग्ध करने की शैली रखने वाले अटल जी में ख़ुद को देखते है । यद्यपि नेहरू जी के प्रधानमंत्री रहते हुए संसद में अटल जी कांग्रेस की नीतियों के प्रखर आलोचक रहे परन्तु उनकी वाक्शैली, कार्यक्षमता और जनहित के मुद्दों को प्रभावी रूप से उठाने से मुग्ध होकर नेहरू जी ने एक बार विदेश से आए प्रतिनिधिमंडल से इन्हें मिलवाते हुए कहा था कि यह लड़का भविष्य में इस देश का प्रधानमंत्री बनेगा। हिंदी, हिन्दू और हिंदुस्तान में आस्था रखने वाले लोग भी अटल जी में ख़ुद को देखते हैं जनता पार्टी की सरकार में विदेश मंत्री के रूप में संयुक्त राष्ट्र संघ में भारत का पक्ष रखते हुए अटल जी ने अपना भाषण हिन्दी में देते हुए आपातकाल के पश्चात् भारत में हुए लोकतांत्रिक स्थिरता को मज़बूती से लोगों के सामने रखा। अपनी कविता “हिन्दू तनमन हिन्दू जीवन” में हिंदुत्व के बारे में श्रेष्ठ प्रतीकों का प्रयोग कर हिन्दुत्व का विचार दृढ़ किया। जीवन जीते हुए अपने स्वाभिमान और अपने विचारों से कभी समझौता न करने वाले भी अटल जी में ख़ुद को देखते हैं। अटल जी ने जब भारतीय जनता पार्टी की स्थापना की तो संसद में इसके मात्र दो सदस्य थे परंतु अपनी राष्ट्रवादी विचारधारा और स्वाभिमान के आत्मबल से जन सरोकार के मुद्दों को निरन्तर प्रभावी रूप से सदन के पटल पर रखते हुए एक दिन सबसे बड़ी पार्टी के रूप में सामने आए और दुनिया  सबसे बड़े लोकतंत्र में सरकार बनाकर यह दिखा दिया कि यदि जीवन में निरन्तर हम नैतिकता के पथ पर चलते हैं तो निश्चित ही एक दिन सफलता ज़रूर प्राप्त होगी। व्यक्तिगत और सार्वजनिक जीवन में नैतिकता और मूल्यों को आत्मसात करने वाले लोग भी अटल जी के जीवन के एक पक्ष में ख़ुद को देखते हैं। जब संसद में सरकार को बचाने के लिए एक सदस्य की आवश्यकता थी तब भी ख़रीद फ़रोख़्त की राजनीति से ख़ुद को दूर रखते हुए अपने आदर्शो से समझौता न करते हुए विपक्ष में बैठना स्वीकार किया। १३ दिन के अल्पकालिक सरकार के गिर जाने पर अटल जी के संसद में दिए गये भाषण को लोकतंत्र के श्रेष्ठ राजनीतिक मूल्यों का आप्तवाक्य कहा जाए तो कोई अतिशयोक्ति नहीं होगी। संसद में भाषण के दौरान अटल जी ने कहा था कि “सरकारें आएंगी-जाएंगी, पार्टियां बनेंगी-बिगड़ेंगी पर यह देश रहना चाहिए…इस देश का लोकतंत्र अमर रहना चाहिए….” इन मूल्यों के साथ अटल जी राजनीति में आगे बढ़ते गये। समाज में वे लोग जो आपसी साझेदारी और सहयोग से किसी साध्य की तरफ़ गति करने को श्रेयस्कर मानते हैं वें भी अटल जी में स्वयं को देख सकते हैं। अटल जी ने लगभग २५ पार्टियों को साथ मिलाकर केंद्र की सरकार को सफलतापूर्वक नेतृत्व प्रदान किया यह स्वयं में अद्भुत रहा। इस दौरान देश के जनहित के मुद्दों को भी अटल जी ने सामंजस्यपूर्वक हल करने का प्रयास किया। कवि जो जीवन और जगत की यथार्थता को प्रकट करते हुए अपनी बातों में भविष्य के अंकुर प्रस्फुटित करता है वह भी अटल जी में स्वयं को देख सकता है। अटल जी विशाल हृदय वाले कवि जो जनसामान्य के अंतस के भावों को शब्दों के द्वारा प्रकट कर शासनसत्ता पर बैठे लोगों को उनके कर्तव्यों के निर्वहन हेतु प्रेरित करते रहे। अटल जी की ख़ूबी यह रही कि जब उन्होंने ख़ुद शासन सत्ता की बागडोर सम्भाली तब उन्होंने ख़ुद को भी काव्य के माध्यम से अपने कर्तव्यों और दायित्वों का बोध कराना जारी रखा। जो लोग एक कुशल प्रशासक के रूप में हैं वे भी अटल जी में ख़ुद को देखते हैं। अटल जी दूरदर्शी प्रशासक थे और प्रशासन में सम्वेगात्मक बौद्धिकता को अत्यंत महत्व देते थे। वे अपने पड़ोसियों से सम्बंध को सुधारने के पक्षधर थे और इस क्रम में पाकिस्तान के लाहौर तक मैत्री बस सेवा को प्रारम्भ कर वहाँ स्वयं गये और मित्रता का हाथ बढ़ाया परंतु वहीं दूसरी तरफ़ जब पाकिस्तान ने कारगिल पर हमला किया तो सेना का साहस बढ़ाते हुए भारत के पराक्रम और शौर्य को कम नहीं होने दिया। अमेरिका की तमाम पाबंदियों के बावजूद पोखरन परीक्षण विश्व पटल पर भारत की उपस्थिति का आभास कराया। सर्व शिक्षा अभियान “सब पढ़े सब बढ़े” और स्वर्णिम चतुर्भुज योजना उनकी दूरदर्शिता को प्रकट करती है। एक प्रशासक के रूप में अटल जी पंडित दीन दयाल जी के अंत्योदय के विचार को आत्मसात करते हुए नीति निर्माण करने और उसको मूर्त रूप प्रदान करने को सदैव प्राथमिकता देते रहे। एक प्रशासक के रूप में वह समावेशी विकास के पुरोधा माने जाते हैं।

Atal ji

अटल जी की विचारधारा

लोकतंत्र के प्रहरी अटल जी में स्वयं की दूरदर्शी राजनीति को प्रतिबिम्बित पाते हैं। एक बार संसद में केवल दो सदस्यों के होने पर कांग्रेस द्वारा उपहास करने पर अटल जी ने कहा था कि “आज आप लोग हमारी संख्या बल पर हँस रहें हैं, एक दिन ऐसा आएगा जब केंद्र सहित अन्य सभी राज्यों में हमारी सरकार होगी, हम सत्ता पक्ष में होंगे और आप विपक्ष में होंगे“। इस दृष्टि से अटल जी काल के चक्र घूर्णन को शाश्वत मानते थे। आज जो देश की राजनीतिक दशा है वह उनकी बातो को यथार्थ धरातल प्रदान करती हैं।

वैदिक मूल्यों के पक्षधर  ’अटल जी’ 

अटल जी इस प्रकार अन्य से भिन्न रहे। एक प्रखर राष्ट्रवादी के रूप में वह भारतीय संस्कृति और मूल्यों के उत्थान हेतु सदा प्रतिबद्ध रहे। सामान्यतः यह देखा जाता है कि राजनीतिक लाभ के लिए लोग जाति, धर्म, पंथ इत्यादि के आधार पर समाज को विभक्त करते हैं और अपना लाभ लेने की कोशिश करते हैं पर अटल जी सदा मूल्यों से युक्त राजनीति के पक्षधर रहे। मूल्य वैदिक परम्परा का आधार स्तम्भ रहा है और जब भी व्यक्ति अपने विचारों और कार्यों से मूल्यों के संवर्धन में योगदान करता है तो निश्चित ही वह कहीं न कहीं वैदिक परम्परा का ही संवर्धन करता है। वैदिक सभ्यता के इतिहास के लगभग 5000 वर्ष से अधिक के राजनीतिक इतिहास में सदा ही एक महत्वपूर्ण बात रही कि यहाँ राजनीति का धर्म रहा है, धर्म की राजनीति नहीं रही।अटल जी ने अपने कार्यों और व्यवहार से सदा ही राजनीति के धर्म की वकालत की जिसका ध्येय वाक्य रहा कि समाज में सदैव ही बिना किसी भेदभाव के समाज के समस्त वर्गों के हितो का संरक्षण करना और साथ ही समाज के वंचितो और पिछड़े तबक़ों के उत्थान के प्रयास किया जाय। एक समय देश में ऐसी स्थिति आयी जब लोग बच्चों के प्राथमिक स्तर की शिक्षा से अपने दायित्वों से विमुख होने लगे। इसके परिणाम स्वरूप देश में प्राथमिक स्तर के बच्चों में स्कूल छोड़ने की संख्या में व्यापक बढ़ोत्तरी हुयी। निश्चित ही किसी देश के लिए यह एक काफ़ी विमर्श का विषय होता है। अटल जी जैसे कवि हृदय को काफ़ी व्यथित करने वाली बात थी। इस संवेदना को महसूस करते हुए अटल जी ने शिक्षा के अधिकार को मूल अधिकार अधिकार माना। इसे मूल कर्तव्य की श्रेणी में भी डाला गया। इसके परिणामस्वरूप प्राथमिक स्तर की शिक्षा में बच्चों की संख्या में काफ़ी सुधार हुआ। भारत को परमाणु शक्ति बनाने के सम्बंध में अटल जी का संसद में यह सीधा वक्तव्य था कि देश को अपने सुरक्षा मानकों को लेकर सदा सचेत रहना चाहिए और हर प्रकार से सदैव तैयार रहना चाहिए। पड़ोसियों को लेकर भी अटल जी काफ़ी उदार रहे। वह सदा ही कहा करते थे कि पड़ोसियों से सम्बंध मधुर रखना एक कुशल रणनीति का हिस्सा है क्यूँकि पड़ोसी बदले नहीं जा सकते। इसी आधार पर उन्होंने पाकिस्तान से सम्बंधो को नया आयाम देते हुए भारत पाकिस्तान मैत्री बस सेवा भी शुरू की पर जब पाकिस्तान ने कारगिल पर आक्रमण किया तो उसका भी मुँहतोड़ जवाब देने से बाज़ नहीं आए।

अटल जी का महाप्रयाण अटलसत्य मृत्यु को साहचर्य प्रदान करने जैसा है। जिस प्रकार से संस्कृत का यह प्रसिद्ध श्लोक है-

   “ ॐ पूर्णमदः पूर्णमिदं पूर्णात् पूर्णमुदच्यते। पूर्णस्य पूर्णमादाय पूर्णमेवावशिष्यते॥”

अर्थात् वह जो दिखाई नहीं देता है, वह अनंत और पूर्ण है। यह दृश्यमान जगत भी अनंत है। उस अनंत से विश्व बहिर्गत हुआ। यह अनंत विश्व उस अनंत से बहिर्गत होने पर भी अनंत ही रह गया। इसी प्रकार अटल, अटल मृत्यु से समागम कर अटल सत्य ही रह गया। ना ही कुछ ह्रास हुआ ना ही कुछ वृद्धि हुई।

-Alok Kumar Dwivedi, Research scholar, Department of Philosophy, University of Allahabad

Relevance of Gandhi in Today’s World

AS

Dr. Anju Seth

Looking at the present state of affairs in India, the birthplace of Gandhi, one would probably surmise that Gandhism, whatever the term may mean, cannot have any relevance in this twenty-first century. Gandhi is rightly called the Father of the Nation because he single handedly stood up against the mighty British Empire, without any arms, and brought her independence. However, today, Gandhi is mostly forgotten and his relevance questioned even by his ardent devotees. Today Gandhi is remembered in India mostly on his birthday which is celebrated as a national holiday rather as a ritual.

Gandhiji Line Drawings (1)

(Source of Image : http://devang-home.blogspot.com/2011/08/sketches-of-mahatma-gandhi.html)

As a matter of fact, India is not following any of Gandhi’s teachings which are mostly confined to text books. In fact, since independence, the country has witnessed many violent communal riots in this multi communal country. Gandhi’s message of ‘swābalambī’, self-sufficiency with home spun ‘khādī’ cloth is not used now-a-days even as a social slogan. Statistics shows that the country is definitely not following ‘sarvodaya’, a broad Gandhian term meaning ‘universal upliftment’ or ‘progress of all’ reaching the masses. On the contrary, India today has the unique distinction of being the only country in the world which has the richest man in the world while at the same time more than 30 per cent of its population lives in dire poverty.

The above shows that today, Gandhism is a very confused ‘ism’ in India. Today many politicians in India use the term merely as a slogan and the common man make Gandhi almost out of reach of the younger groups by making Gandhi an unwilling ‘avatāra’. That may be one reason why the only photo we see of Gandhi in India is always that of an old man which brings the image of a very simple and pious man who was meek and mild like Jesus Christ. While Gandhi was not a simple man to say the least, the above does not gives the right image of Gandhi and does not bring any inspiration to the younger group, the group most relevant for Gandhi.

But Mahatma Gandhi, in this twentieth century, produced a very sophisticated approach because he implemented that very noble philosophy of ahimsā in modern politics, and he succeeded. That is a very great thing.”

And that is precisely the greatness of Gandhi and that is the message of Gandhi to the modern world. In the past century many places in the world have been drastically changed through the use of brute force, by the power of guns the Soviet Union, China, Tibet, Burma, many communist countries in Africa and South America. But eventually the power of guns will have to be changed by the will of the ordinary people. If we try to analyze the secrets of Gandhi’s success, we would probably find Faith and Action and Populism, the three most important aspects of his life. Gandhi’s extra ordinary communion with the masses of ordinary people was another of his secrets. In contrast to many of our present day leaders of this highly democratic world, Gandhi was a true leader and friend of the people. Disaku Ikeda, the Japanese Buddhist leader who takes great inspiration from Gandhi has this to say about him. “His activism is not mere action but contains many aspects of a spiritual practice that is inspired by the inner urging of the conscience”.

The phenomenal success Gandhi registered in far-away South Africa fighting for human rights and civil liberties has great significance when we find that later his teachings were adopted not only by Nelson Mandela, the South African freedom fighter, but it was also subsequently revealed that the former South African president De Klerk was greatly influenced by Gandhi’s principles. In fact, from Dalai Lama to Desmond Tutu and from Martin Luther King to Nelson Mandela, many world leaders were inspired by Mahatma Gandhi, all in their own different ways.

Gandhi left many valuable sayings for the modern man to fight for goodness in society in a non-violent way. “Good” Gandhi said “travels at a snails pace.” “Non-violence” Gandhi said “is a tree of slow growth. It grows imperceptibly but surely.” And then “Mere goodness is not of much use.” Gandhi stated. “Goodness must be joined with knowledge, courage and conviction. One must cultivate the fine discriminating quality which goes with spiritual courage and character.” The modern man can also take great wisdom from what Gandhi said the seven social sins: Politics without principles; Wealth without work; Commerce without morality; Education without character; Pleasure without conscience; Science without humanity; Worship without sacrifice.

It was the unique non-violent movement under his leadership that earned for India freedom from the colonial rule. In spearheading the campaign against the alien rule, Gandhiji adopted the innovative techniques of civil disobedience and social transformation, which had several exemplary features.

The Gandhian technique of mobilizing people has been successfully employed by many oppressed societies around the world under the leadership of people like Martin Luther King in the United States, Nelson Mandela in South Africa, and now Aung Saan Sun Kyi in Myanmar, which is an eloquent testimony to the continuing relevance of Mahatma Gandhi.

In India, economic development has been mostly confined to the urban conglomerates. In the process, the rural India that comprises 700 million people has been given short shrift. Gandhiji’s philosophy of inclusive growth is fundamental to the building of a resurgent rural India. He believed in “production by the masses” rather than in mass production, a distinctive feature of the industrial revolution. It is surprising, even paradoxical, that these days Gandhian philosophy should find increasing expression through the most modern technology! Now, it is possible to establish small-scale and medium-scale factories in smaller towns and remote corners of the country, thanks to the phenomenal innovations in communication and information technologies. New technologies have brought in widespread and low-cost electronic connectivity that enables instantaneous contact between industrial units and the sellers and consumers of their products. Location and logistics are no more a limitation or constraint for industrial development.

If we say that the twenty-first century is the century of the common man, then we see that Gandhism has even more relevance in this age, and Gandhi will inspire generations of individuals fighting for goodness of the society. If today we find that Gandhism is in severe test in countries like India, it is not because there is certain inherent weakness in Gandhism, but it is because we have not seen in India strong leaders with the required courage and conviction to fight the evils in society. We may borrow Gandhi’s own words on Ahimsā, and say that Gandhism is only for the courageous people.

-Dr. Anju Seth, Associate Professor, Department of Sanskrit, Satyawati College (Day), University of Delhi, Delhi, India

स्वतंत्रता की भारतीय शैली

-प्रोफ़ेसर बलराम सिंह

Independence का वास्तविक अर्थ आत्मनिर्भरता है। In का अर्थ है inside अर्थात् आत्मा के स्तर तक पहुँचना और फिर उसी पर निर्भर होना अथवा dependent हो जाना। जब व्यक्ति आत्मश: कार्यरत होता है तो उसका आत्मबल सदैव पुष्टित होता रहता है। उसके लिए सारा जग आत्मीय बन जाता है। वह ‘अयम निज: परोवेति’ की गणना लघुचेतीय समझता है। उसके अंत:करण में चिरक़ालीन उदारता झकोरे लेने लगती है, तथा ‘वसुधैव कुटुम्बकम’ के सम्मत भाव जागृत हो जाते हैं। यहाँ तक कि उनके यहाँ ‘संताने तनय व तनया’ तक न सीमित रहकर आत्मज और आत्मजा के रूप उत्पन्न होने लगती हैं अर्थात् आत्मबीज ही अंकुरित, पल्लवित, पुष्पित. व फलित होता है। ‘अहम् ब्रह्म अस्मि’ की अनुभूति सार्थक हो जाती है। ये है independence की वास्तविक महिमा! ये एक दिन में सीमित नहीं हो सकता, ये तो कल्पों का माजरा है जनाब!!

bharat

Independence का दूसरा अर्थ है है स्वाधीनता, अर्थात् अपने को पूरी तरह से पहचान कर उसके आधीन हो जाना अथवा उसी की सत्ता के आधीन कार्यरत हो जाना। अपने को पहचानने का अभिप्राय है अपने धर्म को पहचानना, और उसी आधार पर गुण और कर्म निर्धारित करना। स्वधर्म की पहचान का तात्पर्य है अपनी प्रकृति को गहराई से समझना, बूझना, और परखना। जब व्यक्ति इस स्तर पर पहुँच जाता है तब अपनी प्रकृति को ही आधार बनाकर उसी में श्रद्धा एवं भक्ति से संलग्न होकर कर्म करता है। उसके अतिरिक्त कुछ नहीं करता। श्रीकृष्ण ने भगवद्गीता में इसका उद्धरण इस प्रकार किया है- ‘स्वधर्मे निधनम श्रेय: परधर्मों भयावह’, अर्थात् अपने धर्म के अनुसार आचरण में सबकुछ मिट जाना भी श्रेयस्कर है। यही नहीं किसी अन्य के धर्म अर्थात् प्रकृति का आचरण भयावह होता है इसलिए स्वाधीनता अत्यंत आवश्यक मानवीय दशा है जो मानव ही नहीं बल्कि पूरी समष्टि के लिए कल्याणकारी है।

Independence का तीसरा अर्थ है स्वतंत्रता अर्थात् अपना ही तंत्र होना चाहिए चाहे वो पारिवारिक हो, सामाजिक हो, आर्थिक हो, शैक्षिक हो, अथवा राजनीतिक हो। दूसरों की व्यवस्था यद्यपि उनके लिए कितनी भी उच्च एवं सराहनीय क्यों न हो किसी और के लिए तनावपूर्ण, बलाघाती, भयंकर कलह का कारण बन सकती है। अतः किसी भी देश को एक ऐसी व्यवस्था का सृजन करना चाहिए जिसके अंतर्गत हर एक व्यक्ति को सम्पूर्ण मुक्ति रहे कि वह व्यक्तिगत, पारिवारिक, तथा सामाजिक स्तरों पर अपने ही तंत्र के अनुकूल जीवन यापन कर सके। यह व्यवस्था बाह्य रूप से प्रारम्भ में अनेकता के सिद्धांत पर ही आधारित हो सकती है, अर्थात् कोई uniform civil code नहीं, कोई संविधान नहीं, कोई अधिवक्ता या न्यूनतवक़्ता नहीं, कोई AC में विराजित न्यायाधीश नहीं। मात्र धरातलीय प्रबुद्धजनो की आवश्यकता होती है जिनमे आचार विचार से आत्मबोध झलकता हो। वही सर्वभूतानाम की स्वतंत्रता सुनियोजित व  सुनिश्चित कर सकते है इसीलिए भारत ऋषियों का देश रहा है, स्वतंत्रता के लिए। आधुनिक स्वतंत्रता दिवस  को प्रेरणा का आधार मानकर स्वतंत्रता को शाश्वत बनाने के लिए संकल्पित हों, और इसी का पर्व मनायें आज and forever!! शुभम्

– Prof. Bal Ram Singh, School of Indic Studies, Institute of Advanced Sciences, Dartmouth, MA, USA