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Vol. 77 No 1

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THE RADICAL HUMANIST (Since April 1949) Formerly : Independent India (April 1937- March 1949) Founder Editor: M. N. Roy

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Inaugural Session of International Seminar organized in commemoration of the 125th Birth Anniversary of M.N. Roy


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A film on M.N. Roy ‘The Comintern Brahmin (The Untold Story Of M.N. Roy)’ directed and produced by Vladimir Leon being shown in the International Seminar organised by the Indian Renaissance Institute on the occasion of Roy’s 125th Birth Anniversary celebrations at India International Centre, New Delhi, on 16th March 2013.


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www.theradicalhumanist.com

The Radical Humanist Vol. 77 Number 1

April 2013

Contents

Monthly journal of the Indian Renaissance Institute Devoted to the development of the Renaissance Movement; and for promotion of human rights, scientific-temper, rational thinking and a humanist view of life. Founder Editor: M.N. Roy Editor: Dr. Rekha Saraswat Contributory Editors: Prof. A.F. Salahuddin Ahmed, Dr. R.M. Pal, Professor Rama Kundu Publisher: Mr. N.D. Pancholi Printer: Mr. N.D. Pancholi Send articles to: Dr. Rekha Saraswat, C-8, Defence Colony, Meerut, 250001, U.P., India, Ph. 91-121-2620690, 09719333011, E-mail articles at: rheditor@gmail.com Send Subscription / Donation Cheques in favour of The Radical Humanist to: Mr. Narottam Vyas (Advocate), Chamber Number 111 (Near Post Office), Supreme Court of India, New Delhi, 110001, India n.vyas@snr.net.in Ph. 91-11-22712434, 91-11-23782836, 09811944600

Please Note: Authors will bear sole accountability for corroborating the facts that they give in their write-ups. Neither IRI / the Publisher nor the Editor of this journal will be responsible for testing the validity and authenticity of statements & information cited by the authors. Also, sometimes some articles published in this journal may carry opinions not similar to the Radical Humanist philosophy; but they would be entertained here if the need is felt to debate and discuss upon them. —Rekha Saraswat 1

1. From the Editor’s Desk: Contemporary Relevance of the Radical Humanist Movement —Rekha Saraswat 2 2. Guests’ Section: Feminism’s New Indignation and the Increasing Relevance of International Women’s Day —Sonja Engericks 3 It is Nobody’s Job to Implement an Important Parliament Resolution —S.N. Shukla 5 Human Values in the Age of Technology —Gomti Chelani 8 On the development of Humanist Party of India —Sudhir Gandotra 12 3. IRI International Seminar Photographs —Day One (16.3.13) 17-24 4. Current Affairs’ Section: Who do I vote for: Modi or Rahul? Forgotten Bhagat Singh —Kuldip Nayar 25 Human Development & Dignity Primacy of Fiscal Deficit in Indian Budget —K.S. Chalam 29 5. IRI / IRHA Members’ Section: Imagination-A Scientific Thought Process —Swarajbrata Sen Gupta 33 6. Book Review Section: A Radical Rethink —John Drew 37 7. Humanist News Section: 39


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From The Editor’s Desk:

Contemporary Relevance of the Radical Humanist Movement Rekha S. Nath Roy dared to dream of Manabendra the resurrection of Common Man through the Radical Humanist Movement. He strove to build an India where Man would be considered to be the maker of his world; Where Man would have the freedom to be the archetype of a free-society; Where Man would be able to unfold his potential in co-operative social relationships; Where Man would become moral by virtue of his being rational; Where the degree of Man’s well-being would be directly proportional to his society’s progress; Where Man’s rational will and reason would rule supreme over emotion; Where Man would accumulate knowledge on the basis of truths collected by him; Where Man’s quest for freedom and desire to explore the natural phenomena would be promoted; Where scientific discoveries would gradually substitute superstition and blind faith; Where the State would rule by co-operation & consent and not by control & castigation; Where a country-side network of people’s committees would develop the parliament as its apex body; Where party-politics would not be able to render Citizens powerless and atomized; Where organized ‘people’s government’ would replace pseudo-representative democracy; Where politicians would act as friends, philosophers and guides of the people; Where enlightened public opinion and intelligent

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action of people would give rise to a ‘radical democratic state’; Where rational, ethical and spiritually emancipated men would collectively reconstruct this world into a commonwealth and a fraternity of free men. If all this was not a dream beyond comprehension and if it was not too much of an asking for the common man then the Radical Humanist Movement holds its contemporary relevance more than ever before. There is still some murmuring amongst some Radical Humanists that the actualization of this vision is not possible without giving the society an alternate choice of a Radical Democratic Political Party. But the apprehension that Roy began to have while disbanding RDP still remains. How a rootless party, without the support of an awakened and enlightened people of the renaissance would fulfil its mission needs to be pondered over. Continuing to live with a child’s innocent curiosity and exploring all the myths and preset notions of life; applying one’s mind to seek solutions for the uncontrolled obstacles that we face from our surroundings; remaining reasonably patient and cool in dealing with the powers of the society and the state — are habits to be formed with the continued efforts of many generations all together. Therefore, if what Radical Humanism says is relevant then we need to go on with our mission to inculcate its values in ourselves first, apply them in all the minor and major decisions of our own lives and then illuminate them upon others without becoming impatient in the process. The least that we can do is that we may try to be rational in our thinking and ethical in our day to day behaviour. We can continue to apply this litmus test upon ourselves all the time. It may not be as simple in practice as it appears here in words but we need to remember that perfection can never become a rule. It can only remain an ideal to be followed and cherished! The Radical Humanists must struggle on and put their best efforts in making the world a better place to live, wherever they are!!


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Guests’ Section:

Feminism’s New Indignation and the Increasing Relevance of International Women’s Day is a sexual assault that is carried out Rape by physical or psychological force, or

Sonja Eggerickx [Sonja Eggerickx (1947 - ) from Belgium was

involved in the humanist youth movement since 1972 and was president from the national group (1979 - 1981). She became member of the national board of the Flemish Humanist Union, was president of the organisation for teachers of non-confessional ethics and was chief editor of the magazine of the Humanist Union for the teachers. She was elected as a board member of UVV (the umbrella humanist organisation in Flanders) and became Vice President in 1998 and treasurer of the CVR-CCL (the council of French and Dutch speaking Belgian organisations). In 2002 she was elected as vice-president of IHEU, the first vice president (Kampala 2004). And in 2006 she became President of the International Humanist and Ethical Union's Executive Committee. She endeavours to unite humanists all over the world to promote education, science, tolerance and to ensure freedom of speech, democracy, against dogmatic, fundamentalist beliefs. I am republishing here the following article for the RH readers (published on 8th of March in IHEU journal) sent to me by Sonja to be read in the International Panel Discussion on Status of Women’s Human Rights in India and Abroad organized in R.G. (P.G.) College, Meerut on 18th March 2013.]

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abuse of authority, on persons who do not consent. Sometimes the victims fiercely resist, sometimes they are too afraid to speak out. Stories about rape and violence are probably as old as mankind and most victims are women. Often, around the world, it is the only crime where the victims are routinely blamed and sometimes are even punishable under law, instead of the perpetrators. It is also a common feature of warfare, where women of the defeated faction are raped as a sign of triumph for the victors, and annihilation for the losing side. Whether one is a woman in East Congo, India or Sweden, or anywhere else in the world, one is vulnerable. Here are some recent newspaper headlines: “6 men confess to the rape of 6 Spanish women in Acapulco, Mexico”; “Women in Syria are dragged away as if they were sheep”; “Rapes in Thailand are a big problem and a culture change will be needed to change this”; “The declaration of rape rose by 20% between 2009 and 2011 (from 3360 to 4038) in Belgium”. Too much of the time, society just rolls on; as if (while rape is horrible and a stain on humanity) it is nonetheless an unavoidable part of life. But in recent months and years many have sensed a shift in attitude. Last year in the United States anger grew over an apparent “war on women”, as hard-won rights appeared to become the playthings of a still male-dominated political game. Recently in India, the brutal assault on a young woman and her male friend in Delhi was followed by a mass protest, reported around the world, with thousands of people marching in the streets and not only asking for severe punishments for the perpetrators but also highlighting the wider inequalities and indifference of society and flaws in the justice system.


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Though the horror hasn’t stopped, the awareness is growing. Now there is public indignation when a six-year-old girl was kidnapped, raped and abandoned, in Delhi, and she was understood as a victim; she was not blamed for the attack. In countless similar situations previously, even this very young girl might have been blamed for the crime. Indignation: There is a new wave of indignation rippling around the world. It is public moral outrage at crimes and injustices perpetrated against women and girls, whether because they are socially vulnerable as women or because they are targeted due to their sex. Not so widely reported as India’s outrage, last month in Saudi Arabia a prominent TV cleric was charged with raping and torturing to death his own five-year-old daughter. It was reported that he had been released having paid only a fine (“blood money”) to the girls’ mother. But there was national outrage, even here fomented on social networks and spilling into wider society. Regardless the traditional status of women, regardless the tendency to turn away, regardless the established religious and cultural pattern of victim-blaming, the response was outrage. Apparently stung by the criticism, swelling like a revolution, the authorities insisted that the trial was not over and the cleric would remain in prison. International Women’s Day: The examples show that this day is not a superfluous luxury. Even in 2013 women are blamed for ‘inviting’ rape, are still not respected as equal members of society. Ahmad Mahmoud Abdullah, a Salafist preacher, declared that ‘female activists don’t go to Tahrir Square to protest but to be raped! They are “crusaders” who don’t know shame, fear or even feminism.’ According to such people, a woman clearly does not belong in public spaces, and could have no interest in society, politics or revolution. By appearing in a place where most are men, she could only be inviting rape.

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It is not only women who suffer rape, of course, and the rape of men where it occurs is often spoken of in hushed tones, if at all. But is a fact that cruelty and violence against women – very often domestic violence – is taken for granted too much of the time and in all regions of the world. A few years ago, Amnesty International launched a campaign on sexual violence. In Belgium, leaders of different life stances – including me as a humanist – were asked to put their signature on a manifesto declaring that they would do everything possible in their organisations to fight rape and violence against women. Ironically they all signed, they all declared that violence was not acceptable by their organisations, but also they said that their real followers weren’t the culprits. What I heard time and time again was a denial of the existence of sexual violence, it was declared that all their laws, holy books, commandments, etc condemned it fiercely, therefore by definition this is not a problem for my religion, for my community. It was even categorically stated that there was no discrimination against women. Only my response stated that sexual violence occurred everywhere, and that we must promise to fight it as it happened regardless of conviction, social status, and so on. There is hope: The demonstrations all over India, at the end of last year and beginning of this one prove that more and more people are channelling their indignation, revolting against injustice. We should not be afraid of indignation, of expressing our moral outrage. Indignation is not unbecoming, it is not shameful, and it is not frivolous. It will change the world. This is the reason why girls should be educated and schooled. They have to learn what the world and society is about. They should be given all the possible means to grow up into self-conscious, autonomous women. It goes without saying that boys should be educated and schooled in order to become self-conscious autonomous men who are aware that women are human beings equal to them and thus to be respected.

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S.N. Shukla [Mr. S.N. Shukla belonged to 1967 batch of IAS and retired as Chairman State Vigilance Commission, U.P., after serving as Industrial Development Commissioner and Administrative Member Board of Revenue. Topper of the 1964 L.L.B. Exam of undivided Agra University, he has taken to legal profession after his retirement from service in February 2003 basically to take up public issues and to procure justice for the poor. As ‘General Secretary of ‘Lok Prahri’, he has been conducting several PILs in Lucknow Bench of Allahabad High Court and also in the Supreme Court. shukla.sn@gmail.com Tel.-9415464288]

It is Nobody’s Job to Implement an Important Parliament Resolution his last address to the Constituent InAssembly Dr. Rajendra Prasad had said: “If the people who are elected are capable and men of character and integrity, they would be able to make the best even of a defective Constitution. If they are lacking in these, the Constitution cannot help the country.” However, the framers of the Constitution failed to provide necessary safeguards to ensure that only persons of character and integrity are elected. Being themselves dedicated selfless persons fired by patriotic sentiment; in their

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enthusiasm and euphoria of newly won independence they ignored the statement of Winston Churchill that in free India “Power will go to the hands of the rascals, rogues and freebooters”. The cautious ones, however, had sounded a warning during the debate on the Representation of the People Bill 1951. Shri K.C. Sharma said: “It is of great importance that the altars of democracy in our land should be kept pure and unblemished”. Likewise, Shri Munishwar Datt Upadhyay had cautioned: “But so far as this Bill is concerned, it has an intimate relation with our life and everyone among us who is present here thinks that if any defect or any other thing is left out then we may not be able to set up this House and the States’ legislatures and Councils properly, and such a thing may cause a grave harm to the Country”. The degeneration in the polity of the country during the last 60 years shows how true and prophetic the above observations were. Over the years number of persons with criminal background has shown alarming increase in Parliament and State Legislatures. Due to faulty interpretation and implementation of existing laws Chief Ministers and Ministers facing CBI inquiry for corruption and even murder convicts refuse to resign from their membership of Parliament and State Legislatures and continue to adorn these August Houses as their Hon’ble members. The Resolution, unanimously adopted by the Parliament in 1997 at the time of Golden Jubilee of Independence, began by saying “That meaningful electoral reforms be carried out so that our Parliament and other Legislative bodies be balanced and effective instruments of democracy; and further that political life and process be free of the adverse impact on governance of undesirable extraneous factors including criminalization”. However, since nothing has been done in the last 15 years by the successive governments to implement the aforesaid resolution the result is there for all of us to see. The number of members with criminal background in the present Lok Sabha is more than


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100 and in present UP Assembly it is more than 150. Thus, we have the sad spectacle of law breakers becoming and remaining as law makers jeopardising the future of democracy in the country. If the present trend continues unchecked soon persons with criminal background may have majority in the Legislatures and the democracy in our country may get a new definition of “government of the criminals, by the criminals and for the criminals”. In this scenario, this writer had sought from the CPIO of the Legislative Department, Ministry of Law and Justice, under the RTI Act information about the follow up action taken to implement the aforesaid resolution. The CPIO gave a vague reply saying that “Electoral Reforms” is an ongoing process; with a view to carrying out comprehensive electoral reforms a Core Committee has been constituted on 1.10.2010; on the basis of seven regional consultations held by the Committee discussion with all political parties is contemplated; and since the matter is under consideration of the government photocopies of the notes and orders in the concerned files sought by the applicant are exempt under item (i) of Section 8(1) of the RTI Act. Thereupon, an appeal was filed before the Joint Secretary and First Appellate Authority of the department pointing out that (i) CPIO’s reply made no mention of the action taken before October 2010 for implementing the Resolution (ii) in case any file would have been opened on this subject upon receipt of the resolution from Lok Sabha Secretariat, the CPIO should have had no difficulty in supplying the requisite information, (iii) Section 8(1)(i) was not attracted in this matter as the applicant had not sought record of deliberation of the Council of Ministers or officers in respect of any Cabinet note which is under consideration of the Cabinet, and (iv) instead of evading reply to point no. 3 of the application; it could be referred to Lok Sabha/Rajya Sabha for reply. The First Appellate Authority instead of looking

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into the aforesaid points simply disposed of the appeal on the basis of the report of the concerned administrative unit which said that due to fire accident in the year 2010 it is difficult to ascertain whether the said resolution was received in the Section and any action was taken on it. Evidently, this belated alibi has been given to cover up inaction on the resolution during all these years. This is also confirmed by the fact that instead of listing measures which have been taken by the government for implementing the resolution the report simply listed the subsequent amendments in the RP Act 1951 which have nothing to do with the resolution. Having failed to get a satisfactory reply from the Ministry of Law and Justice who should know the laws enacted to implement the resolution, the writer approached the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs and the Lok Sabha Secretariat. Vide application 18.9.2012 he sought from the CPIO of the Ministry photocopies of the letters/reminders sent to the concerned Ministry for necessary follow up action for implementation of the aforesaid portion of the resolution and the replies received from that Ministry to these letters as also photocopies of the notes and orders in this regard in the concerned file. A similar application seeking same information was sent to the CPIO of Lok Sabha Secretariat. The CPIO of the Ministry of the Parliamentary Affairs transferred the application to the CPIO of Lok Sabha Secretariat saying that the subject matter of the application did not pertain to that Ministry and related to the Lok Sabha Secretariat. On the other hand, the CPIO of the Lok Sabha Secretariat transferred the application directly addressed to him to the Under Secretary (Implementation) and the CPIO of the Ministry of the Parliamentary Affairs. Not to be outdone, the CPIO of the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs returned the application transferred to him by the Lok Sabha Secretariat for providing the necessary information to the applicant. Apparently, neither the Lok Sabha Secretariat nor the Administrative Ministry knows anything about the implementation of the aforesaid 6


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important resolution adopted by the Parliament. Subsequently, vide application dated 16.2.2013 the writer sought from the CPIO of the Prime Minister’s office information about action taken on the letters dated 22.11.1999, 5.7.2004, 27.10.2006 and 13.4.2012 from the then Chief Election Commissioners to the Prime Minister urging immediate consideration of the Commission’s proposals for Electoral Reforms. Photocopies of notes and orders in the concerned file(s) relating to these letters were also sought. Information about steps taken by the Prime Minister, as Leader of the House in Lok Sabha was also requested. The CPIO of the PMO transferred the said application to the Lok Sabha Secretariat, and vide his letter dated 6.3.2013 forwarded to the applicant copy of the input provided by the office that “Section 8(1) (i) of the Right to Information Act, 2005 may be invoked”. The Under Secretary of the Lok Sabha Secretariat vide his letter dated 12.3.2013 has informed that “this Secretariat does not have information in this regard”. The input provided by the PMO’s CPIO is patently misleading, incomplete, evasive and against the letter and spirit of the RTI Act. Section 8(1) (i) of the RTI Act relates only to the Cabinet notes. It

does not cover file notings which have been made available by various CPIOs in several other cases. Moreover, there can be no justification not to provide information in respect of the action taken on the letters mentioned in the application. It looks strange that the PMO should have no information about the repeated letters from the successive Chief Election Commissioners to the Prime Minister on this very important subject. The silence of the PMO in this regard indicates that no action was taken on these letters. What is worse, the input does not even mention, leave alone deal with item 3 of the application. It is surprising that PMO has no information about steps, if any, taken by the PM for implementing such an important Resolution of the Parliament. It speaks volumes about the seriousness with which the Resolution was taken by the PMO and successive Prime Ministers. Hence it would be logical to conclude that nothing has been done in the last 15 years to implement the solemn resolve of the Parliament which claims to represent the will of ‘We the People’. Possibly, there cannot be a more glaring instance of indifference and lack of accountability of the successive governments and our so called ‘public representatives’ even in such important matters.

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Research Paper Contributed for the M.N. Roy 125th Birth Anniversary International Seminar organised by Indian Renaissance Institute at India International Centre, New Delhi, on 16 & 17th March 2013. I

Human Values in the Age of Technology —by Dr. Gomti Chelani [Dr. Gomti Chelani is Professor and Head of the

Department Political Science, Govt. Maharani Laxmibai Girls P.G. College, Indore, M.P. ] rapid advances of Science and TheTechnology has radically altered our circumstances over just a few centuries. The population has increased a thousand times since the agricultural evolution eight thousand years ago. Where our ancestor’s tools shaped the few acres on which they lived, the technologies we use today have effects across the world, and across time, with the hangovers of climate change and nuclear disaster stretching far in to the future. The pace of scientific change is exponential. But has our moral psychology kept up? 1 With more power comes greater responsibility. However, evolutionary pressures have not developed for us a psychology that enables us to cope with the moral problems our new power creates. Our political and economic systems only exacerbate this. Industrialization and mechanization has enabled us to exploit natural resources so efficiently that we have over-stressed two-thirds of the most important eco-systems. Scientific developments have enhanced our capacity to benefit, but they have enhanced our ability to harm still further. As a result, our power to harm is overwhelming. We are capable of forever

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putting an end to all higher life on this planet. Our success in learning to manipulate the world around us has left us facing two major threats: climate change along with the attendant problems caused by increasingly scarce natural resources and war, using immensely powerful weapons. 2 Values are useful at every step of human existence. The activities of individuals and the society should be in accordance with certain values or ideals. Man is essentially a value-conscious and value-pursuing being. Individual as well as society cherish some ideals or values. Humans cultivate faith in values and also create new values. The effect of technology upon the values of our society is going to be discussed in this paper. Values and Technology: “Whether the restoration of arts and sciences has had the effect of purifying or corrupting morals” Discussing this issue philosopher and thinker Jean Jacques Rousseau expressed the view that our minds have been corrupted in proportion as the arts and sciences have improved. The daily ebb and flow of tides are not more regularly influenced by the moon, than the morals of a people by the progress of the arts and sciences.3 The present human society is faced with a paradox. The paradox is due to the fact that if human society is technologically advanced, it is faced with evil, and if it is technologically backward, it is evil because man loses his humanity. Technological backwardness also causes evil because man suffers and lives in poverty. The prime object of the invention of new technology is to get rid of backwardness, so naturally we have to choose technology as an instrument in order to ameliorate conditions of the suffering humanity. But there is an opposite view also that considers technological progress to be a great source of present evils prevailing in the society.4 It is true that technological society is responsible for dehumanization and degeneration of culture. Technology has managed to throw human relations in to disorder and chaos. On the other hand,

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communication technology has made it quite easy to develop relationship with other nations. In technological society, technology determines the direction of development of society and its values. But technology is ethically neutral and value-free. The benefits of technology are mainly the use to which it is put by man. It is neither good nor bad. The use of technology determines its values. We cannot pass any value judgment relating to technological society, whether it is a good society or a bad one. Is Technology Value Free? In this century life and society will be governed by technological relations. The technology advances rapidly. If we do not prepare the new generation to adopt new technology and new values of life, the new generation will lack behind. Though technology is value-free yet it creates conditions for new ways of life and its values. Values do change in accordance with the change in technology. We think that technology is an instrument in the service of humanity. By the phrase “value-free” it means that technology is neither evil nor good in itself. It is a means and not an end. Bruno Latour observes, “As one can see, the relation of technology to morality is somewhat modified as soon as we renounce the idea of putting the first on the side of means and the second on the side of ends.”5 It is the use which makes technology either good or bad. The new technology facilitates to coin words and assign new meanings. Technology creates new values. It also formulates new language. It gives new meaning to words. Technology affects our value system and thus affects our culture. For example, Russell considers that, “efficiency” and “speed” have emerged as new values with the growth of new technology. Efficiency is value but is not moral value. Efficiency and speed are immoral. Both are values because they are valuable in life.6 Technology does affect culture. In this regard, it may be mentioned that Leslie White has introduced

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the most important theory of “technological determinism”.7 According White, “Not only technology determines the direction of cultural development but it also determines the need of building social foundation.” Technological society presupposes technological determinism. The technological determinism assumes that the technological innovation is the driving force behind the social change imposing its own logic. Interface of Technology and Culture: The social development leads to the question of interface of technology and culture. In ordinary parlance, development cannot be equated with economic progress. Development is a multidimensional process. It includes economic, social, political and cultural spheres. Development is an important factor for economic well being. Technology has not been created and developed in isolation. The introduction of new technology is also a cultural phenomenon. Technology directly affects cultural values and also behavior of human beings living in society. It is responsible for new ways of life and culture. Morality versus Technology: Prof. Tsjalling Swierstra, professor of Philosophy at Maastricht University (UM) focuses on the relationship between technology and morality, and therefore on ethical and societal aspects of technology.8 Morality influences technology, but the opposite is also true according to Swierstra: “Technology is a dynamic factor in our society that continues to alter many habits and routines. Old practices are destabilized, causing controversies, arguments and discussions surrounding the question: do we all want this?” Developers of technology often present a new technology in such a way that people believe it is only progress. Swierstra disagrees: “The classic tale of technology developers, is often based on the idea: ‘We’re offering something new - a device or other technological application - so you can do what you always wanted to do better and faster. You don’t have to change; we only offer you


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a new technology that makes your life easier.’ History teaches us, however, that technologies are never just ‘neutral instruments’.” Whatever technology you think of, according to Swierstra, it always has unexpected consequences. Sometimes these are clearly visible in the form of risks of explosion, poisoning or environmental pollution (so-called ‘hard impacts’), but the consequences are often subtle. These may include changes in behaviour, needs and expectations people have of each other. Swierstra calls these kinds of less tangible effects ‘soft impacts’. And it’s these ‘soft impacts’ that largely determine whether or not the new technology enhances our quality of life. “It used to be normal to wait a few days before you got an answer to a letter. Nowadays, you expect a response to an email within fifteen minutes. And with mobile phones, you’re almost always required to be reachable. In the past no one had these kinds of expectations because there simply were no mobile phones”, explains Swierstra. Another example is the development of new reproductive technologies. In the past if a handicapped child was born, the ethical question was: how can you deal with it in a good way? Through the knowledge we have today of the foetus, many new choices and questions come in to play: Should a child be born unhealthy? Or is that a form of child abuse? Is it conceivable that a child in such a case is ever going to sue his parents? “Many people think that these new technologies are inevitable and that they have no control. But it is indeed possible to influence them, because technology is ultimately the work of people. It’s also not unjustified that people want to have a say in something that greatly affects their lives. Therefore, we must—in addition to ‘hard impacts’—also look at these ‘soft impacts’ and learn from past experiences, so we can better detect and anticipate the ‘soft impacts’ of new technologies. That way you can see the problems in the promises of technology developers.” Technology is a means in the service of human

beings. It can help us to utilize natural resources in a better way. It can play a positive role in safeguarding the cultural identity for the unity and the survival of the nation. The appropriate use of technology should be made so that we would not be affected with its negative outcome. Technologically advanced societies have solved many of the problems, e.g. hunger, disease, poverty, epidemics, illiteracy, physical discontent, lack of means of communication and movement etc. If technology is taken as the part of life, then we cannot say that technology is value-free. We think technology has direct or indirect impact on values, traditions and human life. Technology actually transforms cultural values. It is a means for change in our civilization. Technology and Indian Culture: The problem is how Indian culture can accommodate technology without going astray. How Indian culture can at one and the same time satisfy Indian tradition and technology. This brings in to the consideration as to under what conditions technological society can be interface with Indian culture without destroying its inner harmony. In traditional societies like Indian, the situation is more complicated because technology will be made an alien entity which appears an independent system in the face of existing cultural system. Culture determines the way in which individual identify one another within their own social spheres of actions. Indian culture and its value system constitute the factors of social harmony of Indian pluralistic society. Indian value system gives a special cultural identity to Indian society. In the process of social evolution and change which emanates from the introduction of values and models of foreign technologies, the Indian cultural systems in entirety are attacked. Therefore, the main risk lies in the endangering of Indian cultural identity, which is rooted in tradition. With the development of communication technology, the ability to record and transmit sounds and images

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over distance have changed the value system. It has changed the face of contemporary Indian culture. With the enormous development in communication technology, the culture has enormously changed. The masses are not culturally neutral. This reflects the thinking, the idea and the value. Communication technology serves as a channel of transmitting values or ways of life. Technology and culture both are concerned with man and society. Both attempt to contribute in social development. Social development has two aspects one is economic development and other is cultural. Technology takes care of economic development. Culture is rooted in value system. But this is a misconception that technology and culture are not interface to each other. The technological development cause change in our value system. Moreover, Spiritual values give ontological dimension to technological society. Indian culture is integral in nature. Now the integration may be turned outward or may turn inward. These two ways are not mutually exclusive. It is possible to emphasize either the outward character of integration or the inner character of integration. Social integration is integration turned outward. Self-integration is integration turned inward. Technology integrates society. Culture is self-integrating. Technology is concerned with man’s world, and therefore its aim is to have integrated social reality. The integration that it attempts is social. Indian culture is spiritualistic and the integration that it values is self-integration. Thus, it can be argued that it is not proper to say that Indian culture is far removed from the technological ways of the modem times. Conclusion: Philosophers and social scientists have spoken about the negative effects of technology. Technological society is characterized as full of environmental pollution, deterioration of the quality of life, threat to the beauty and balance of nature and ecological imbalances are cited as

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examples of the negative effects of technological society. But we are here concerned with the technological effects at the level of human sensibility, because it is at that level that Indian culture can be relevant. Technology persistently causes alienation and estrangement. It upsets the established order and uproots man from his moorings. This is apparent also in developing countries like India where lure of industrialization, urbanization and computerization have upset the life-styles of the Indian society. It has led to the disappearance of privacy and of personal human relationship. Technology is causing social and psychological tension. The life is becoming more and more mechanized. The man has lost his zest for living. Man creates technology but in course of time he becomes dependent on technology. When technology is controlled and utilized by man for social well-being then, it is useful. But when technology becomes the master of man then it is bad. There is need to overcome the sense of being overwhelmed by technology. Here Indian culture can be of great help. Indian culture can help man to get rid of dehumanization and can attempt to shift its importance from technique to man. References: 1.Moral Enhancement by Julian Savulescu and Ingmar Persson; article is drawn from their book Unfit for the Future: The Urgent Need for Moral Enhancement 2.Ibid 3.Discourses on Arts and Sciences by Jean Jacques Rousseau, translated by G.D.H. Cole 1750 4.The Interface of Swadeshi Culture and Technological Society by R. C. Sinha 5.Morality and Technology - The End of the Means by Bruno Latour, translated by Couze Venn 6.The Interface of Swadeshi Culture and Technological Society opcit 7.Ibid 8.Morality versus technology by Dunja Bajic


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Research Paper contributed for the M.N. Roy 125th Birth Anniversary International Seminar organised by Indian Renaissance Institute at India International Centre, New Delhi, on 16 & 17th March 2013: II

Sudhir Gandotra [Sudhir Gandotra is General Secretary, Humanist Party of India. He may be contacted at - 91-93124-65666. info@humanistparty.org; www.humanistparty.org]

On the development of Humanist Party of India world has huge problems and Today’s difficulties. Issues are manifold. At times, one cannot think of just where to start and where to end! So, let us go to the root of the situation; ask, is there a root cause? Is there a connecting thread among these issues that plague the world today? The value-system has gone hay-ware, to say the least. Dignity of life seems to have lost its importance. There is violence everywhere, be it physical violence, economic violence, gender violence, religious, racial, psychological and moral violence, increasing all the times without any recourse. We will surely agree that the situation needs a change, a thorough trans-formative change. But, then, who will make these changes? What is

needed is a system which is conducive to change, to life. Who will build this positive system and how? We all are influenced by the current system, are products of this system, as are our families, friends, cultures and nations. The system is within us. This point at another aspect of ‘trans-formative change’, on the personal level: An intention of personal change is needed simultaneous to working for society’s betterment. A parallel effort that works to balance the person, essential for equilibrating development. Next question is - where are we going to get these people? Answer, we will build an environment, a system that will bring them forward, elect them into office and strengthen them. This is what the Humanist Party (HP), born of the international Humanist Movement, is all about. This is what I share with you today, our plan, our non-violence methodology, our insistence on non-discrimination. The various political change experiments that we have seen over the last decades have failed us, simply because those who led the changes were no different than the corrupt ones. The new elected politicians using people’s frustrations, grabbed power and then they turned out to be just the same type of politician whom they had replaced. We now have certain interesting personalities who have recently become popular as potential change makers. While we wish them, & we all, the best, and they need support to attempt building a viable alternative, we also need to look at the components needed for this change to actually take place in the world. How are we going to get people to be the candidates, yet remain assured that they will stick to their honesty and the promised-program? It is one thing to get someone into power, but how are we going to ensure that their original intentions will remain with the democratic program and not be changed in front of the all-around pressure they will undoubtedly feel with the power and the lure of personal wealth that comes with the position? That

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note on personal trans-formative change, simultaneous with deep systemic changes, is our answer – and, we believe, to be the only answer. But aside from that fundamental need there are other essential elements. These are what we all agree are the essentials of real democracy. Humanist Party proposes a bottom-up system and not the top-down one. Humanists believe in grass roots social connections as the base of its activities, organizing people from the neighborhood level, and of decentralization of everything, not only the decision making. This of ‘placing the human being as central value’ places our humanist solution into the process. Humanists also want to bring in a “Law of Political Accountability”, where control over the elected representatives, stays with the electorate, the people, on a continuous basis, instead of once-in-5-years. With this law, any elected representative can be taken out of office through a set simple legal procedure, if their platform promises are not fulfilled within the set time. All public posts (police, law, bureaucracy) to be subject to people’s choice, once a year. Another introduction is a Law of Political Parties, to ensure internal elections and transparent funding. We are laying the basis for a new political party, but much ‘more than a political party’, a party with an internal motor fired by trans-formative change. This new political party is a platform of action for people of good faith to come forward without any discrimination whatsoever. HP is not owned by a family, corporate, religion, caste, region, group, or any faction. HP belongs to each of its volunteer member and supporter and all are welcome to be active part of it, without any discrimination whatsoever. This new political party is based on “active non-violence”, meaning, its activities are based on non-violence - which is a step beyond pacifism. A party that goes beyond the mere (though important) act of criticizing the current violent system, and

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moves ahead with positive proposals of building the new system based on Non-violence, No-discrimination, Dignity to all, keeping Human being as the Highest value. We prefer to get at and address the root cause and not try to blame things or people at the edge. People of good faith are those who work voluntarily for the society, selfless volunteers. We question politics as a career. We suggest politics as the best form of selfless social work. We need to build, simultaneously, both, good people’s teams and positive platform of action. We need a positive system that will encourage good people to come forward and take social charge, selflessly and fearlessly. We need a new spirituality - and in this, we are not talking of any religion, but of spirituality, whatever the religion. The new spirituality is about the meaning of life, about love, about friendship, about all those things that make up the poetry and the greatness of human existence. A few examples from India’s past: Imagine if our politicians were the likes of some of the many selfless people we have had in history: Vivekananda, Mahatma Gandhi, Subhash Bose, Bhagat Singh, to name a few. We also have the examples of Vinoba Bhave, Baba Amte, Asghar Ali Engineer, Binayak Sen, among many others – your own Mr. M.N. Roy. We think it is possible to bring-forward many more like them, if the intentions are applied in terms of value-inculcation; and a conducive environment is created. Some points for further consideration, discussion and debate to create a People’s Humanist Manifesto: Let us consider: Minimum wages for elected representatives. Politicians who need security are not needed. “Real-life grass-roots Leaders” who earn people’s respect, have none to fear from. Maximum age for a candidate to any level (Village to Parliament as well as President) to be 60 years. Compulsory retirement on the day of reaching 60


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years. No one can be a candidate more than 3 times (even losers). Elders will have plenty to do within the party and other aspects of life, guiding the younger ones. Maximum age for any elected post (Minister, Prime Minister, Chief Minister, Councilor or whatever) should be 55. Compulsory retirement on the day of reaching 55 years. No one can be in any of the elected posts more than once. This will give rise to new leadership being created. Preferable age for all Humanist legislators to be between 25 and 45. Voting age to be 15. Fifty percent participation to women on all elected posts. Education to be free for all, at all levels, without discrimination and at a local school. Health-care to be free for all, at all levels, without discrimination and be available locally. Housing a must for all. No displacements for developments, unless people want it and a part of the plan, managing it, without damaging the environment. Transportation and Internet to be of highest standards and for all on a near-zero minimal cost basis. Alternative energy to be the main source of supplying energy needs, ending, asap, the need of oil and middle-men in its economics and distribution. No to Nuclear energy in any manner whatsoever. No to speculation and/or hoarding of any kind. Farmers’ cooperatives to be owned and managed by the farmers concerned, linked into consumers’ cooperatives to bring good rates and good prices to all. No to genetically modified foodstuff. No to FDI unless it is locked-in for a minimum of 10 years in infrastructure. No FDI at the cost of local employment in any areas, especially such as retail. No to monopolies of any kind. We are for free flows of people and knowledge

without any controls and limitations at any level. Need to discuss and build a new model of life across the globe. Research on these and all educational subjects to be encouraged and open to all without recourse to any regimented system. Some Of The Core Aspects Of The Personal Transformation Process: Relaxation: It is very important that to be a Change-Maker, we remain relaxed. Tensions do not help in taking any positive decisions. So, the learning and mastering of relaxation (physical and mental) is a basic need. Physical-Mental Balance: I am sure we will agree that to achieve the ability of a selfless Change maker, one needs to have a good balanced personality. Learning the working and relationship of body and the mind helps in doing that. Through brief theory and practical, it is possible to learn this and improve one’s lacking points. Self Knowledge: Why do I behave the way I do? Why habits are difficult to be changed? How to change oneself overcoming various resistances that we face on the way? Change is neither simple nor easy, as it requires a disciplined way of constant working. Knowledge of oneself, of how one got formed till now helps in achieving this. Pathways of suffering: We suffer because of frustrations of the past, disorder of the present and fears of the future. We call them the 3 pathways of suffering. There are precise issues like injustice, enmity, feeling of having committed a grave mistake, nostalgia of broken relationships, resentments, physical inabilities, false hopes, fears, frustrations, and things not working out in day-to-day life, among others that keep us blocked from being able to use all our potential for a change. There are precise, well documented simple methods developed for understanding and overcoming these issues. Process of Transference & Transformation: These processes, built on the above three basics and leading to further work help us undertake a serious

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and enjoyable journey to the world within us, giving us the realization that has the potential of building Change makers who build/change History for billions. Principals for guiding the Change Makers on the way to Non-violence action, helping in their search for internal unity: 1.To go against the evolution of things is to go against your own self. 2.When you force something toward an end, you produce the contrary. 3.Do not oppose a great force. Retreat until it weakens, then advance with resolution. 4.Things are well when they move together, not in isolation. 5.If day and night, summer and winter are well with you, you have surpassed the contradictions. 6.If you pursue pleasure, you enchain yourself to suffering. But as long as you do not harm your health, enjoy without inhibition when the opportunity presents itself.

7.If you pursue an end, you enchain yourself. If everything you do is realized as though it were an end in itself, you liberate yourself. 8.You will make your conflicts disappear when you understand them in their ultimate root, not when you want to resolve them. 9.When you harm others you remain enchained, but if you do not harm anyone you can freely do whatever you want. 10. When you treat others as you want them to treat you, you liberate yourself. 11. It does not matter in which faction events have placed you. What matters is that you comprehend that you have not chosen any faction. 12. Contradictory or unifying actions accumulate within you. If you repeat your acts of internal unity, nothing can detain you. These are a few examples from the process of internal transformation that has been developed by the Humanist Movement and is freely available to all change-makers, through the nearest humanist inspired “Parks of Study & Reflection” that are now operative across the world and managed by volunteers.

An Appeal for Donations: Indian Renaissance Institute (IRI) was founded by M.N. Roy, noted revolutionary and thinker, in 1946. The main objective of the Institute is to promote scientific thinking, rationalism and values of ‘Renaissance’. You may visit our website to know more about our Institute:

www.theradicalhumanist.com Cheques /bank drafts may be made in the name of the ‘Indian Renaissance Institute’ and may be sent to the following address: Shri B.D. Sharma, Advocate, Chamber No.111 (Old), Supreme Court, New Delhi-110001 Online donations can be sent to at the following address: ‘Indian Renaissance Institute’- Account No: 02070100005296; FISC Code: UCBA0000207 UCO Bank, Supreme Court Branch, New Delhi (India). Appeal made by: B.D. Sharma, President; N.D. Pancholi, Secretary; Narottam Vyas, Treasurer

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Declaration of ownership and other particulars regarding

The Radical Humanist Place of Publication:

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Dated: 1st April, 2013

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French Director,Vladimir Leon; Former Attorney General, Adv. Ashok H. Desai; Asia Project Director, Dr. Kapila Vatsyayan; Art Critc & Poet, Keshav Malik and Chief Editor, Dainik Divya Marathi, Kumar Ketkar being felicitated at the Inaugural Session of the IRI Seminar on 16.3.13.

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Chair person for the Inaugural Session Adv. Ashok H. Desai, Chief Guests Dr. Kapila Vatsyayan & Mr. Vladimir Leon, Chair Person for the first Technical Session Mr. Keshav Malik, Key note Addressee of the 1st Technical Session Mr. Kumar Ketkar delivering their addresses. Rekha S. introducing them.

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Key note Addressee Prof. D.K. Abrol (Snr. Scientist NISTADS), Chair person Mr. J.K. Mehta (Retd. NTPC Gen. Manager) being felicitated & delivering their addresses. Dr. Bulbul Gupta (Modinagar/CCS University) and Dr. Asha Kachru (A.P./Germany) presenting their research papers on 16.3.13.

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Adv. B.D. Sharma (President, IRI) and Mr. Somayya Ravela (Veteran Radical Humanist) garlanded M.N. Roy’s photograph commemorating his 125 Birth Anniversary on 17.3.13

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Manvendra Nath Roy (M.N. Roy) 21st March 1887 - 25th January 1954 Remembering him on his 125th Birth Anniversary

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Some precious Moments from the Inaugural Session of the Seminar on 16.3.13

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Attentive Audience sitting in all corners of the Hall during the Inaugural Session on 16.3.13

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Delegates and participants in the Second Technical Session and post screening discussion on Roy’s Film with its Director Producer Vladimir Leon in the Evening on 16.3.13

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Current Affairs Section: I

Who do I vote for: Modi or Rahul? am apprehending a situation where I might Ihave no option except to vote for either Kuldip Nayar

[Kuldip Nayar is a veteran Indian journalist, syndicated columnist, human right activist and author, noted for his long career as a left-wing political commentator. He was in Indian Foreign Service a diplomat and also nominated as a Member of the upper house of the Indian Parliament in 1997. He is also a human right activist and a peace activist. He was a member of India's delegation to the United Nations in 1996. He was appointed High Commissioner to Great Britain in 1990 and nominated to the upper house of Indian Parliament, Rajya Sabha in August 1997. He writes columns and op-eds for over 80 newspapers in 14 languages including The Daily Star, The Sunday Guardian, The News (Pakistan), Express Tribune (Pakistan), Dawn (Pakistan). Every year since 2000, Nayar has been leading peace activists to light candles on the Independence days of Pakistan and India (14/15 August) at the Attari-Wagah India-Pakistan border near Amritsar. He has been working to free Indian prisoners in Pakistan and Pakistani prisoners in India, who have completed their sentences, but have not been set free. He has also authored 15 books, including “Beyond the Lines”, “Distant Neighbours: A Tale of the Subcontinent”, “India after Nehru”, “Wall at Wagah, India-Pakistan Relationship”, “The Judgement”, “The Martyr”, “Scoop” and “India House” kuldipnayar09@gmail.com.] 25

Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi or Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi. Both have thrown their hats in the ring. True, neither the BJP has announced Modi officially as its candidate for Prime Ministership in the 2014 parliament elections, nor has the Congress nominated Rahul for the position. Yet, it is clear who the two parties have in mind. My predicament is that I do not consider either of them the prime ministerial timber. They may be suitable for the offices they occupy, but do not deserve to be elevated. However, both have made their presentation speeches as Modi did at New Delhi this week and Rahul before the Congress conclave at Jaipur. The two are not similar in any way. Yet both left none in doubt about what they seek when they exhorted the people to prepare themselves for the new India which the two foresaw as a fresh, dynamic country that would take them over the green mountains into a sunny valley. The comparison ends here. They are so different and so distant from each other that they do not come anywhere in either character or comportment. Modi hides his anti-minority stance behind the flourish for development. He is still involved in some court cases arising out of the ethnic cleansing carried out in Gujarat in 2002 and may find him involved in the days to come. Therefore, it would be unfair to regard him as the right person for the highest executive position. Rahul is a babe in the woods, lionized by the Congress which his mother, Sonia Gandhi heads. He is found out of depth whenever he is asked


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questions on serious matters. He was not interested in the budget speech and left in the middle even though he was late to arrive. His knowledge about policies is rudimentary and reactions off the mark. For example, on the liberation of Bangladesh Rahul said that whenever his dynasty decided to do something, it had come out with flying colours. He should have realized that East Pakistan was liberated by the Bangladeshis themselves. India did help, but its role was secondary. Leave Rahul and Modi apart, the ominous part of the forthcoming elections is that they would be probably the dirtiest, divisive and most violent polls ever held in India. The nation would be arrayed on the lines of religion and caste. A country which is already ill at ease because of never-ending corrupt cases and scams might have to go through a phase where no method would be considered mean enough by the contestants to win votes. The BJP seems to have concluded that the country has already veered towards Hindutva. Otherwise, BJP president Raj Nath Singh would not have gone to attend a meeting at Haridwar during the Kumb Mela where the Sangh parivar and the extremist sadhus chalked out the strategy to revive the demand for building Ram temple, the symbol of Hindutva. Understandably, the conclave of Sangh parivar does not bother about the cases pending against the BJP leaders for demolition of the Babri masjid. The Congress-led government does not want to accelerate the pace of disposal of such cases. It looks as if the party wants to ride two horses at the same time. It does not want to follow a clear-cut policy on secularism, fearing that if it were to do so, it would alienate the wavering Hindus. On the other hand, the party is certain that the liberals would have no option except to vote for it if and when Modi becomes the BJP’s candidate. The Congress, particularly the BJP, is not assessing the country’s mood correctly. An average person or the aam admi is secular in temperament and does not want to join issue with the fanatics when he

labours under the impression that he can defeat them at the polls. It happened that way in 2004 when the BJP thought that its slogan of ‘India Shining’ was sure to return it to power. In fact, the adoption of Hindutva by the BJP may help the Congress since a Hindu does not feel insecure about his religion in India. Had it been so, he would have founded the Hindu Rashtra long ago because 80 per cent of the country’s population is Hindu. It is clear from the current political situation that no party is in a position to get a majority—the minimum requisite figure of 273 in the Lok Sabha which has the strength of 543 members. If Modi is adopted by the BJP, he may scare away its allies without which the party cannot form the government. Janata Dal (United), one important ally of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA), has already announced that it would not accept Modi as the Prime Ministerial candidate. Under the circumstances, it is difficult to believe that the BJP, which is keen to come back to power, will still go ahead and nominate him. Yet I wonder why it is incumbent on us to confine our choice to the BJP and the Congress. Both have been tested, tried and found to be hopelessly wanting. In the first, the saffron considerations have crept at every level. In the second, corruption has come to dominate every segment of government’s activity. Also, there is not much of secular foundation left on which the party’s edifice rested once. Maybe, either the non-Congress or the non-BJP combination would emerge to provide an alternative to the country. Whether there is a formal constitution of a third front or not is not yet clear. But the general perception is that the nation cannot be left at the mercy of the Congress or the BJP. The voters do not want a choice where they would have to either jump into the sea or the river. Why is the nation doomed to repeat the mistakes of the past?

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II

Forgotten Bhagat Singh: there was no meeting or seminar Strange, to remember Bhagat Singh who still lives in the memory of every Indian. I was still in a primary school when the revolutionary Bhagat Singh was hanged 82 years ago, to be precise on March 23, 1931. Even though more than eight decades have passed, the feeling of his loss has not lessened. An uproar against the British united the country and so strong was the feeling that nobody was willing to name his son (Hans Raj Vohra), who betrayed his comrades and agreed to be the official witness. Hans Raj was a close companion of Bhagat Singh and spilled the beans as soon as he was arrested. Although his version is different, he said that since Sukhdev, one of the persons who were hanged along with Bhagat Singh, told everything to the police, Hans Raj told the British the whole thing in detail, where the revolutionaries would make the bombs and where some among them were located in the country. Although he had not forgiven his father for making a written request to the tribunal saying that his son was innocent and that he had nothing to do with police officer John Saunder’s murder, he knew his father was a sincere patriot who had devoted his life to the cause of independence. His father’s filial affection at times had embarrassed Bhagat Singh the revolutionary. But he knew the harrowed look in his father’s eyes was his way of saying sorry. Bhagat Singh had chided his son through a letter. He wrote to Hans Raj, saying: “I have not been able to understand how you could think it proper to submit such a petition at this stage and in these circumstances…You know that in the political field my views have always differed with those of yours. I have always been acting independently without having cared for your approval or disapproval.” 27

Head jail warden Charat Singh indicated to him that the time allotted for the mulaqat (meeting) was over. But Bhagat Singh lingered. His family’s love had overwhelmed him. He was pensive. Charat Singh told him to hurry up. His relatives embraced Bhagat Singh one by one. He touched his mother’s feet. It was a gesture of reverence but it brought tears to everyone’s eyes. His sisters sobbed openly. Bhagat Singh was greatly upset. “Stay together,” were his last words to them. Then he folded his hands and left. On his way back to his cell he saw Sukhdev and Rajguru still standing behind iron bars, forlorn and lonely. Despite Charat Singh asking him not to, he stopped to chat with them. It will be any day now, he told them. The last meeting with his family was indicative of it. They nodded in assent. Back in his cell, Bhagat Singh touched his kurta which was damp with the tears of his family. Little Kultar, his youngest brother, had wept incessantly. As he clung to his older brother and said goodbye he had sobbed, “Life will not be worth living without you.” His innocent, grief-stricken face haunted Bhagat Singh. As the cell door closed behind him, he reached for his pen and wrote him a letter in Urdu, the language he normally used in personal letters. The letter to Kultar was done. He hoped his words would soothe his brother. But what about the millions of people who believed in him? After writing to his brother, Bhagat Singh reached for a notebook he maintained. It was neither a personal account nor a record of his reactions. He just jotted down his favourite passages from the books he was reading. They were passages, mostly in English, by thinkers like Aristotle, Plato, Descartes, Hobbers, Locke, Rousseau, Trotsky, Bertrand Russel, Karl Marx and Engels. Among the Indian authors he read were Rabindranath Tagore and Lajpat Rai. Bhagat Singh was also fond of poetry. He would recite even from Wordsworth, Byron and Omar Khayyam. But his favourite was Ghalib whom he quoted frequently.


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The meeting with his family had shaken him emotionally but Bhagat Singh took it in his stride and immersed himself once again in his books. As the news of his execution spread, the nation went into mourning. There were processions throughout the country. Many went without food. People wore black badges and shut down their businesses to express their grief. The British stayed indoors. Among the Indian political leaders, Jawaharlal Nehru was the first to pay his tributes. Nehru said that Bhagat Singh was a clean fighter who faced the enemy in an open field. He was a young boy full of passionate zeal for the country. He was like a spark that grew into a great flame in a short time and spread from one city of the country to the other, illuminating darkness everywhere. Mahatma Gandhi was profuse in his praise for the courage of the executed heroes. He said: “Bhagat Singh and his companions’ death seem to have been a personal loss to many. I join in the tributes paid to the memory of these young men…”

But these words were lost on many people who were angry with Gandhiji for not having done enough to save Bhagat Singh and his comrades. Faced with public’s ugly mood, Congress leaders tried to come up with several explanations for their failure to rescind the sentence. But nothing worked to soothe the frayed tempers of the public. For the past three years, we the Indians and the Pakistanis have been celebrating Bhagat Singh’s birthday at the very crossing where he was hanged. We have been lighting candles and garlanding his life size photo at the site. We have recalled the hanging of Ashfhaqullah, who went to the gallows with the Koran dangling from his neck, by reciting one of his couplets which reflected his patriotic sentiments, not religious. Kuchh aarzoo nahi hai, Hai aarzoo to yeh Rakhde koi zarasi khake watan kafan mei (I have no desire. If at all there is one, it is that someone should place the earth of my country in the coffin).

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K.S. Chalam

[Prof K.S.Chalam is a former Member, Union Public Service Commission, New Delhi. He was Vice-Chancellor, Dravidian University, Kuppam, A.P. and earlier Prof of Economics at Andhra University. He was the first Director of Swamy Ramanand Tirtha Rural Institute, Bhoodan Pochampally during 1997-98. He is known as the pioneer of the Academic Staff College Scheme in the country as the scheme was strengthened by UGC on the basis of his experiments in 1985. He became the first founder director of the Academic Staff College at Andhra University in 1987. He was actively involved in the teachers’ movement, secular and rationalist activities and served as the National Secretary, Amnesty International during 1984-85. chalamkurmana@gmail.com] I

Human Development & Dignity Human Development Report 2013 of TheUNDP was released recently with HDI ranks of different countries of the World. The theme of this year’s report is ‘Human progress in a diverse World’ and appears to have covetous tone towards the rise of the South or developing countries. We are aware that HDI is popularly used now in all debates to insinuate the development of a country and not GDP. It is because of the fact that HDI gives a better understanding of the human progress achieved in a country than the mere income expressed as GDP. HDI is an aggregate

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estimate of three indicators of life expectancy, education attainment and income of a country during a year. The UNDP has been publishing the annual reports from 1990, incorporating new and innovative ideas in each report. The Indian subcontinent takes pride in the intellectual inputs contributed by Pakistani and Indian scholars for the popularization of the concept which is universally accepted now. I may also add an anecdote that Andhra University is nostalgic for the vision of Prof SarveswaraRao who offered a course in 1970s at the Department of Economics and had correspondence with Amartya Sen. The subject based on human capital theory in the West later seemed to have degenerated in the hands of one group of scholars and Nobel laureates (Schultz, Buchanan, Becker and others) who considered education as an investment in man. The premise has enabled World Bank scholars to reduce education, particularly higher education as private investment and made countries like India to play nominal role. One of the reasons for the present crisis in higher education can be attributed to this plunge. Yet, it has also enabled scholars like Huq, Sen and others to take it to a different level and produced a civilized concept called human development. The 2013 HDR has made an important statement that, “no country for which data was available had lower HDI value in 2012 than in 2000”. It has further added that there is convergence of HDI values arcos the world. A key message of the report is, economic growth alone does not automatically translate in to human development progress. Therefore, it is necessary to concentrate on four important issues. 1. Enhancing equality, 2 including the gender dimension, 3.enabling greater voice and publicity of citizen including youth, and 4. manage the demographic change. The report has demonstrated by data and regression results how inequality holds back HD in many countries. While discussing some individual countries, it is pointed out, “India’s performance in accelerating HD, however, is less impressive than its growth


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performance”. Indeed Bangladesh, our neighbor is doing well compared to India’s rate of growth in HDI over a period of time. The report has also presented HDI ranks for different countries over a period of three decades. We feel sorry to note that India is ranked 136 in 2012, a few ranks down between the years. It is strange to find that the rank of India has been lingering around 131-136 during 1990-2012 with increase in the member countries over time. It is notable that among the BRICS, India is the only country that is not even close to any one of them: Brazil 85, Russia 55, China 101 and South Africa 121. The HDI value of India was 0.345 in 1980, raised to 0.410 in 1990 to 0.507 in 2000 and now stands at 0.554. If the ranks are adjusted for inequalities, the value of HDI comes to 0.392, a loss of 29 per cent. What is like to be a Human being?, is given in Box 1.3 of the report referring to dimensions of freedom, well being, deprivations and even cited the classic paper by Philosopher Nagel on, ‘the experience of being a bat’. But, the authors have failed to grapple with philosophical nuances of the essence of man in the context of freedom from fear as an important human value. It is here the authors of the report mentioned about human emancipation from human condition like Auschwitz (Poland), the place where millions of Jews were butchered. I had the opportunity to visit Auschwitz in 1981 and stumbled to witness the savage brutality meted to a community. Did human society learn lessons from such events? Are there similar or broadly related issues; may be lesser malicious practices, perpetuated even in contemporary world or in India? Human dignity seems to have something to do with the essence of man. It is not possible here to discuss about the metaphysical elucidations of Kant or Indian sages Sankara or Ramunauja to convey that essence as per their exposition being spirit is outside mind and body. Is it consciousness or higher feelings beyond self that bring the essence of man? Or is it simply reduced to the feeling that we are all basically same humans? The West has tried to address this question and brought the idea of

human dignity. In fact, the Frankfurt school scholars like Adorno, Horkheimer and others have published volumes on this question. But, the mundane sciences like Biomedical and Human Genome project have brought out future issues like how the endangered human species ( due to unethical Bio-medical practices), a threat to human dignity. However, the genome project has clarified that the human DNA is 99 per cent common with chimpanzee and only less than 1 percent of genetic information is typical. Therefore, it is the intrinsic worth of human beings which is inalienable, irrespective of age, sex, religion, color, social group, nation etc, seem to be identical. Then, why is that, there are more poor people in India than in China, Brazil, Cuba or Albania. Are the social institutions and practices responsible for this? As part of human dignity paradigm, the HDRs have introduced a concept called Gender Empowerment Measure (GEM) to identify how women are discriminated. Interestingly, it never occurred to our scholars to use the methodology to produce a caste related development index (CDI). An attempt was made by me to estimate the CDI and published it in a professional journal has very few takers, as it is not a priority area of research. It is still surprising to note that when a paper, first of its kind, was presented in ISEC, Bangalore and published in ICSSR journal and also in a book in 2000, highlighting the unique contribution of reform movements in the South, as Dravidian marvel for gender equality, education and social mobility etc, they were totally ignored in a report of a south Indian state in 2007. But, they seem to have claimed that they are the unique contributors of the idea. This is only an example to show how the dignity and respect for human beings are measured even in academic circles known to be above narrow considerations. Therefore, human dignity would become an important measure of advancements in future, if HDIs converge in a diverse world. India, being a country with several contradictions should learn from others and excel in dispensing dignity and fairness?

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II

Primacy of Fiscal Deficit in Indian Budget since the Whig Prime Minister Ever Robert Walpole referred to the budget opening the leather bag in British Parliament in 1733, the term became popular throughout the world about an annual financial exercise. The first budget in our country was presented for seven and half months in November 1947. The Constitution has made special provisions for the presentation of the annual financial statement (budget) in the Parliament. It has undergone far-reaching changes in the budget speech of Finance Minister starting with few pages to that of volumes in print, comprising different aspects of revenue and expenditure and other matters. The latest is about the ‘Fiscal Policy Strategy Statement’ presented by Chidambaram along with other budget papers, appears to be continuation of a new structure initiated in 2005. There was hardly an occasion to look at fiscal deficit except the overall budget deficit of excess expenditure over revenue immediately after independence. The federal structure of the country and the separation of functions between union and states along with the division of resources are clearly laid in the constitution. Of course, they are increasingly becoming contentious with growing aspirations of provincial groups and parties. In fact, the liberalization of the economy has further strengthened these divisions with regional satraps wielding more power. However, the central leadership and the union governments have been trying to resolve some of these issues with the existing institutional structures of fiscal federalism. But, a new regime of fiscal prudence with measurable indicators was brought in to the jargon of our budgets from 1991. It is noted that, “ a more complete measure of macroeconomic imbalance used internationally is the concept of gross fiscal 31

deficit which reckons the total resource gap in terms of excess of total Government expenditure over revenue receipts and grants. This concept fully reflects the indebtedness of the Government”. This shows the philosophy behind the concept and the conditions of the fiscal profligacy of the period resulting in alleged crisis in Balance of Payments. Expertise in Public Finance is not a pre condition for budget making as the trajectory of a budget is decided prior to its presentation. It seems three important quantitative indicators now dominate the field: The Rating agencies, SENSEX and the Fiscal deficit. A new piece of legislation is also brought in 2003 known as FRBM and amended in 2012. Some of the parliamentarians who talk about the defects or merits of the budgets appear to be unfamiliar with the constitutional provisions in Articles 107 to 117. Are they not infringed? For instance, 6 important policy modifications were made to give primacy of Fiscal Deficit to arrive at 5 percent of GDP in 1991. They are; 1 reduction in the fertilizer subsidy by increasing the average price by 30 percent. 2. Abolition of cash compensatory support for exports, 3. Abolition of subsidy on sugar through PDS, 4 Offering 20 percent Government equity in PSEs to public, 5. A 20 per cent increase in the prices of motor spirit and LPG, and 6. Adjustment of Tax rates to yield net revenue of Rs 2500 crores. The approach of the policy makers in Delhi appears to be that of a banker and not necessarily that of an economist. A banker looks at the credit worthiness of the loanee (barrower) and not his needs. This is alright for an individual, but can we treat a country like this? However, the World Bank and IMF institutions look at the barrowing country like a customer and prescribed prudential norms. The concept of Fiscal deficit is part of that strategy. Fiscal deficit is total expenditure of the government (revenue and capital) minus revenue receipts minus loans and other capital receipts, expressed as a proportion of GDP. It was around 7 percent before 1991 and is brought to 5.4 percent in 1995-96 and further reduced to 4.4 in 2004-5. It is again moved


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to 5.7 percent in 2011-12 and is being regulated to get 4.8 percent in the current budget. It is noted by the FPSS that “the fiscal policy of 2013-14 has been calibrated with two fold objectives-first to aid economy in growth revival and second to bring down the deficit from 2012-13 level so as to leave space for private sector credit as the investment cycle picks up.�There are two other deficits; the revenue deficit consisting of revenue expenditure minus revenue receipts and the primary deficit is fiscal deficit minus interest payments. The two deficits along with capital formation are sufficient to look at the financial health of a domestic economy. No one argues for free ride or advice to sell/mortgage family silver to buy/import Kurkure. But, subsidies have been evolved as sinews of political war. We have calculated the gross capital formation of the country as per cent of GDP was 10.89 percent in 1950-51, reached 17.24 percent in 1974-75 and around 20 percent by 1980-81. The percentage has arrived at 26.0 in 190-91 while the GDP growth was considered small. Strangely, the proportion in 2000-01 came to the pre-reform period at 24.36.The recent budget report projected it at 35.0 percent for 2012-13. Similarly, the tax-GDP ratio was highest in the year 1989-90 with 14.2 percent and has not so far reached that level during the reform period as it stands at 10.4 percent. The policy makers are found telling us that the way

to reduce fiscal deficit is through reduction in Government expenditure on subsidies and social sectors as they consider them unproductive. It is only half truth. There may be leakages in the subsidies and are guilty of inefficient administration of the schemes, but, has the money gone the drain? We do not know who the neo-rich, the share holders of companies etc and for the rise in aggregate demand for the white goods. Yet, the fiscal deficit can be reduced without affecting the expenditure by broadening revenue. Fresh public resources are always found in knowledge society like 3G/4G or expansion of service sector and the tax, bourgeoning of capital market and the transactions tax etc. It is more than two decades now that the state has given enough concessions to these sectors; it is now their turn to contribute to the development of the country. In this context, Chidambaram budget seems to have a mixed bag. He has shown the way to get money but not courageous enough in touching the super rich who are the beneficiaries of liberalization. It is noted that FM has reduced the tax on securities transactions, exemptions to Securitization Trusts and paid little attention on commodity markets. It is here the so called black money goes in, and the Finance Minister has the moral and legal right to grip them for the good of all. This would help reduce the fiscal deficit and ought to satisfy the fiscal fundamentalists.

Dear Friends, Please email your articles at: rheditor@gmail.com. Send them by post (if you are not able to email them) at: C-8 Defence Colony, Meerut, 250001, U.P., India. Please try to keep them within the limit of 1500-2000 words. You should also inform me whether they have been published elsewhere. Do email or post your passport size photographs as separate attachments (in JPG format) along with your brief introductions, if you are contributing in the RH for the first time. Please feel free to contact me at 91-9719333011 for any other querry. —Rekha S.

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Swarajbrata Sengupta

[Dr. Swarajbrata Sengupta is a celebrated author, editor and linguist from West Bengal. He is a permanent Fellow, South East Asian, Underdeveloped Language Communities (Manila). He has authored many prominent books; some of them being—Modern Science: Man and his Imagination; Modern Science: Philosophy of M.N. Roy; Science, Society and Secular Humanism; Gathering Fuel; Jean Paul Sartre; Surrealism; Poem in the Ear; Arts and Semitics. Ph. 91-033-6730398]

Imagination-A Scientific Thought Process man hesitates because the call of When his body seems clear, simple, and natural, he easily convinces himself that any act characterised by these qualities cannot be evil, some irrational doctrines have upheld these elementary arguments without realising that they lead man back to the slavery from which he is slowly trying to liberate himself. The other alternative often seems unnecessarily arduous. He thinks it inhuman, where as it is simply too human for him as yet. He does not understand why he should deny himself ‘natural’ pleasures in a cause which, outside of philosophy, appears neither clear, simple, nor natural. If he does not have faith, or the innate sentiment of human dignity he does not

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hesitate for long. He does not even choose, he submits, he obeys his instincts, he falls, and he eliminates himself from evolution. If he possesses the sense of truth and beauty and deliberately chooses evil, he betrays. Our attachment to material pleasures which recall our origin affords the proof that we are still at the beginning of human evolution. The fact that certain individuals have revolted against this physiological slavery demonstrates that something else exists within us. The presence of the superior degree of freedom which characterises man and makes him master of his destiny is manifestly, established by this will to break his chains, which no other living being had felt up till then. It proves the existence, the reality of his imagination. The human being ceases to obey the rigorous physic-chemical determinism which lowered him to the rank of an irresponsible, indiscernible particle, without greater individual importance than that of an ant or a bee. If man does not use the privilege offered to him, if he does not understand the greatness of his role, he confines himself to prolonging the species, blindly, as did his inferior brothers before him. He only differs from them by his morphological characters, and fulfils but half of his task. He has not yet acquired the right to the title of true Man. He only exists statistically; he is not a progressive element so long as he has not convinced himself of the value of his effort. This idea of the value of effort is not new. We find it in art and literature. The aesthetic spirit is in us. It preceded the arts and works of poetry, and their task as well as that of the artists and poets, consists in releasing, directing and developing it. This aesthetic aspiration is an essentially human trait. It slumbers at the bottom of our minds awaiting the event, or the man capable, in the manner of an enzyme, of transforming it into true art, into truth. This explains why a minor poet with his power of imagination can electrify the masses and can arouse as much devotion, as the great ones.


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How is it possible to distinguish a minor poet from a great poet, a minor artist from a true artist? Br means of the criterion we have proposed. The minor poets and artists preach a theory of imagination opposed to evolution, or which does not take it into account; a theory which ignores human dignity and the value of freedom. For the individual, the effort counts irrespective of the cause. Arts are opposed to one another in their form, in the material details of the cult, and in the human interpretations of symbols. They all agree on the existence of life, on the ethical virtues, and on moral rules, purity, goodness, beauty are venerated everywhere, and it is they which should rule. But any doctrine which liberates itself from material contingencies and recognises the necessity of disinterested effort toward a transcendent ideal can, therefore, be attacked. Men must be made to understand that the important thing is to develop what is within their reality, to purify themselves, to better themselves, to come closer to the perfect ideal which is truth. The rest is secondary. No matter what our doctrine, we are all like people at the bottom of a valley who seek to climb a snowy peak that dominates the others. We all have our eyes fixed on the same truth – the truth of life- , and we agree that there is but summit to reach. Unfortunately we differ on what road to take. Critics come forward and we follow them. Some go one way, others choose different paths. All are convinced that their trial is the best, and all are sincere. By following them we approach the one goal, but when the groups which started from different points meet, instead of uniting, they seek to convince each other mutually that is they who have discovered the best road, and they sometimes end by throwing insults and stones at each other. Yet they know that one day, provided they never stop ascending, they must all meet at the top of the mountain and that the road to reach it matters little. Diverse in their form, modelled by the external conditions, varying according to the climates,

adapted to the soil, to the people, to the traditions, social rules are all arrayed under a universal rule the source of which is natural and constitutes their reason for existence. Intolerance is a proof of incomprehension. The intellectual elite demands a reasonable foundation, whereas the mass is content with sentiment and turns instinctively toward those whom it believes capable of guiding it, just as a flock blindly follows the direction given by the leader. If the orientation of this group is bad or dangerous, so much the worse for the flock! Somehow the crowd must be made to understand that the important thing is, not to follow, but to make an individual effort, and it is imperative for the critics of arts and literature to comprehend that their task is to obtain this effort. Those who draw from within themselves the necessary element to feed their imagination and direct their creations are fortune. They do not need this book, and it was not written for them. There are many others, however, whose moral ego is not in harmony with their emotional and rational selves. Because of this they cannot imagine even if they are poets or artists. The idea of universal unity thus introduced is satisfactory because it attributes certain homogeneity to our conceptual worlds. It may be pointed out at the beginning of this essay, that unification, namely, the interpretation of complex, phenomena by means of simple common elements, represents the general and natural tendency of rational thinking. In this way the psychic, moral and aesthetic realms become incorporated into the scientific realm and science at last is permitted to re-join another form of intellectual activity, purely based on intuition, which culminates in art and poetry. The ethical conclusions reached by imaginative thinking were attained several thousand years ago by the rationalists, which prove that, when they are envisaged from a certain angle thought processes are strangely faster than others. It now becomes imperative for the rational and moral efforts to blend. This imposes a broadening

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of science, but also a unification and clarification of thoughts, for they must rid their rites of the remains of superstitious pollution, which, much more than the principle of divinity, have alienated a great number of honest people from rationality. This clarification, which simply means a return to the elemental teachings of philosophy, must not be brutal, but progressive, and should closely follow the evolution of man. It is certain that the pure aesthetic principle can no more be absorbed by the majority today than the theory of relativity. But the crowd can dispense with the idea of relativity, whereas it cannot dispense with science. However, the pursuit of quality must not overshadow the importance of quality. The desire to spread superficially and win over an immense number of men must not obliterate the fact that the supreme goal is the psychological improvement of the individual by a sincere and enlightened personal effort, and not the more or less indifferent obedience to religious rites considered as a gratuitous insurance against the eventual danger of hell. Our period is a period of transition and, as such, painful for certain persons who suffer from having to adapt themselves. A child adapts itself instantaneously. An elderly man is sometimes incapable of doing it. This is true in every realmbiological, social, industrial, intellectual, or literary. The evolution of the brain is revealed by pure, abstract or aesthetic ideas, by desire and aspirations capable of completely dominating the body, and we can act systematically on this evolution only through the intermediary of similar actions, through psychological actions, through imagination. To be sure, when we write poetry or create art, the immaterial ideas we try to convey correspond to material modifications, structural or other, in our brain cells of other; but the perceptible, controllable reaction which follows in the brain of an artist is of a psychological nature and escapes physical detection and measurement. Even if we were capable, as we already pointed out, of 35

measuring the quantity of energy transmitted by an effort of the imagination, we would still be incapable of appreciating its qualitative result. The mechanical effort is probably the same when we say “yes” as when we say “no”. We can whisper No and shout yes. Yes the “no” can signify the despair of a man and his suicide, whereas the “yes” can bring him consolation and life. The amount of energy spent seems unconnected with the effect produced. We can act on the mechanism of human thought and imagination chemically (by hormones, drugs), or mechanically (surgical ablation of the endocrine glands), but never in a systematic, progressive manner. We can neither direct nor perfect it, unless we employ processes borrowed from its specific activity. We are faced with a peculiar phenomenon, the mechanisms of which are still tributary to the physical-chemical laws and to living matter, but the activity of which is subjected to other disciplines derived from this selfsame activity, and directly dependent, if our hypothesis is correct, on the transcendent laws of evolution. Every man must tend to approach, within the limits of his ability, the most perfect human ideal, not only with the selfish aim of acquiring peace of the mind, internal happiness and immorality through integration in the rational task, but for the purpose of collaborating with this task and of preparing the advent of the superior race promised by evolution. Consequently, this theory creates a new link between all men, a profound universal solidarity, free from any personal or even racial preoccupation, men must all contribute to the common task of humanity, and as the individual aim identifies himself with the general aim, the effort demanded from each one no longer constitutes a sacrifice but, one might almost say, an investment. This fusion of individual and general interest can only be realised on the rational and humanist plane. Collectivists have studied the question for a long time but have never succeeded in solving it because they have conceived and sought only a community of material interests.


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Collectivistic ethics have always shown an appalling lack of artistic imagination. Not only do they completely neglect human psychology and its infinite wealth- imagination, but they only advocate adaptions, modifications of existing systems. They always respect the dangerous concept of political or partly groups which are artificial and which, although sometimes useful, when a wrong has to be corrected, usually end by bringing about restrictions to freedom and imagination. That is the fate of any ethics tainted with irrationalism. The world has witnessed many experiments of the kind, not only recently, but in every period. All similar attempts are eventually doomed to failure; it is as if a chemist hopes to change the nature of a reaction by modifying the shape of the vessels in which it takes place. The source of psychological impotence is in the very substance of man. To extirpate this evil we

must neutralise not only the instincts inherited from our animal ancestors, but the superstitions transmitted by our human ancestors, the excrescences of an uncontrolled mental activity, of misguided ambitions, and replace them with the sense of human dignity. This is not easy, for the ordinary man knows well, or guesses, that the flattering title of conscious Man is only acquired at the cost of restrictions in the activities from which he usually derives all his pleasures. When we speak of the fight of man against himself, we think not only of the solicitations of the flesh, but also of the deformations of the mind-learn of life in common. They are the “excrescences� mentioned above which stand in the way of progress. There are many of them, but let us take one example: the desire to shine, to be in the first row, in the lime light. All of us are more or less afflicted with it.

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Book Review Section:

John Drew

[Mr. John Drew is a poet and the author of India and the Romantic Imagination (Oxford India) He was introduced to Radical Humanism by the artist Nautiyal in Dehra Dun. He writes that his besotted view of India were thoroughly shaken after reviewing the following book. cambridgepoetry@hotmail.com]

A Radical Rethink [Rai Mohan Pal, Human Rights Issues and other Radical Essays (Aakar Books, 2010). ISBN 978-93-5002-060-9, Rs. 275/-] book, written by R.M. Pal, a former This editor of The Radical Humanist, consists of succinct, pungent essays on social and political life in India written and published in periodicals over the past 20 years. Familiar as many readers will be with the content of the essays and their conclusions, they reward re-reading since few of the shortcomings they expose have been addressed and, as we approach the 2014 Election, the critique is more pertinent and urgent than ever. The Present: The continuing cankers of caste and communalism are the primary targets Pal has in his sights and he sees little reason to suppose from his observation of civil society that the current instruments of power of a self-serving middle-class, their legislative and judicial arms, are likely to set things right.

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Pal believes that India is not, and cannot be, a genuine democracy as long as there is a discriminatory system of caste that, contrary to the UN ideal of human rights, denies to the children of SC/ST’s even the bare promise of equality of opportunity. According to Pal, India fails the acid test of a free and thus civilized society – enunciated, incidentally, by Lord Acton as a result of his acquaintance with Asoka’s proclamations – in that the majority are failing to accord equal treatment to its minorities. The massacre of the Delhi Sikhs and the murder of the Gujarati Muslims are simply high-profile examples of a widespread intolerance and violence. Pal is quick to remind us that not only do such things happen but that there has been no redress for such atrocities, justice has not been done. The Constitution is conveniently amended when it comes to tribal land rights; the Law is conveniently bent in police action in Punjab, suspended altogether during communal riots in Gujarat. The dates 1984, 1992, and 2002 are as shaming of India’s own rulers as 1857 and 1919 were of an alien British raj. Within the existing system, Pal has worked for NGO’s, espousing civil liberties and human rights and has been a thorn in the side of the Establishment, cataloguing time and again how the standards of a bourgeois society have been violated by its own exponents: politicians, judges, police force, academics. With an intellectual and logical rigour he inherited from his teacher, M.N. Roy, he has exposed the complacency and hypocrisy that has followed the wrong-doing. The Past: Pal’s critique is anchored in his commitment to a far-reaching political principle. Like his mentor, Roy, he rejects the whole imperial legacy of parliamentary democracy as being merely the kinder face of a Janus-faced capitalism whose other face is Fascism. India’s present form of democracy fails because it is not government by the people nor is it for them. Several of his essays ruminate on the crucial moment in the past that


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determines the shape of India’s present: the war-time run-up to Independence. M.N. Roy, the most politically experienced of all the figures involved in the Independence movement, eventually abjured politics in the new India so that he could educate people into an understanding of the need for a more radical and genuinely humanist concept of democracy. Roy, like the Gandhi whose religiosity he deplored on account of the fatal contradictions it caused in his otherwise brave approach to caste and communalism, believed in the direct democracy of de-centralized self-governing communities. Though Pal does not say so in these essays, the inspiration for this was the great might-have-been (and yet might-be) of Communism, the non-Marxist Anarchism, later Anarcho-Syndicalism, pioneered by the watch-makers of the Jura (and still evident in the Swiss system) and briefly practised by the peasants in Andalucia and by the citizens of Barcelona before Franco crushed the Spanish Republic. The Future: Pal charts the course of an India that is in a state of crisis, its integrity threatened by the increasing criminalization of all its instruments of state. A ruling class for whom conspicuous wealth ornamented by a culture of commercialized

religiosity is the hallmark of civilization is headed towards Fascism, a propensity for which was already implicit in the high-handed procedures and wrong-headed policies of Congress in the 1940’s, let alone explicit in those of the current BJP and any demagogic Mussolini variant they may acclaim. Pal’s essays take in Pakistan and Bangladesh as well as India and it is Pakistan’s Mr Justice Dorab Patel, threatened with death for attacking the mendacious use of his country’s criminally-amended Blasphemy Law, who reminds us that a gang of Nazi thugs were able to seize power in Germany because a complacent middle class believed that such things simply couldn’t happen there. Against the coming crisis, Pal, following Roy, fosters the alternative and antithetical vision of direct party-less democracy practised by self-governing co-operatives of ordinary people. His essays pre-suppose a day when the poor and dispossessed people of India not only speak up loud and clear as they did in 1977 but are no longer subject thereafter to a Five-Headed, or Ten-Headed, or One-Headed Monster dictating to them from remote New Delhi. The notion, some might say, is as visionary as the abolition of slavery.

Justice V.S. Deshpande is no more: We have been informed by Ms. Shobha A.Naik (shobha_naik@hotmail.com) from Anandnilayam, N4 H52 CIDCO, Aurangabad, Maharashtra, 431005, on 15 March 2013 that her father Shree Justice V.S. Deshpande, veteran Radical Humanist, and a life subscriber of The Radical Humanist, breathed his last on 4th Feb. 2013. The entire Radical Humanist fraternity sends its condolences to Ms. Shobha A. Naik and other members of the bereaved family. We request them all to continue their association with the Radical Humanist Movement like their father did. —Adv. Badri Das Sharma, President, IRI

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Phone no.- 011-22756203

Humanist News Section: I

Tribute By Qurban Ali Mastram Kapoor (1926-2013)

Mastram Kapoor Passes Away socialist thinker and Hindi writer Veteran Dr. Mastram Kapoor passed away in Delhi today in the evening. Dr. Kapur, a staunch follower of Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia had done a monumental work of editing and compiling his writings in Hindi and English in 9 volumes. He was a prolific writer of Hindi who used to write fiction, poetry, essays and literature for children. He has several books to his credit. Born on 22 December 1926 in Sakadi village of Himachal Pradesh Dr. Kapur, worked in Delhi government as press relation officer. He was the founder of Samajwadi Sahitya Sansthan after his retirement. He had a close association with late Shri Madhu Limye. Recipient of several awards, Dr. Kapur got this years prestigious Yash Bharti award of the Uttar Pradesh government on 23 March, the birth day of Dr. Lohia. News sent by Dr. Prem Singh (National General Secretary) Socialist Party (India) 270-A, Patparganj, Opp. Ananadlok Apartment, Mayur Vihar-1, Delhi-110091

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With the sad demise of Mastram Kapoor on April, 2nd, 2013, India has lost one of the veteran socialist writerS and thinkerS who would always be remembered for his simple life and high thinking. Mastram Kapoor was known for his intellectual honesty, moral uprightness and personal sacrifices. He died at a time when he was planning to revive a third front and only last month he organized a meeting of left-Socialist leaders on the 104th birth day of his political mentor Dr Ram Manohar Lohia. His associates and friends described him as the “encyclopedia of Socialist movement�. He had good connections with socialists all over the country and had personal rapport with Gandhians, civil society movements and intellectuals. He was an ideal socialist. Till the end of his life he struggled for the propagation of socialist ideology. He made it a point to come to all programmes big and small, for the causes he believed in. He was a fighter of socialist ideals for an egalitarian and just society. Mastram Kapoor was a prolific writer and regular columnist in many Hindi and English newspapers. He has published more than hundred books. Of late he published Collected works of Dr Rammanohar Lohia in nine volumes in English and in nine volumes in Hindi and five volumes of his speeches in Lok Sabha (lower house of Parliament). So committed was he to the cause of socialism that for several years he did not pay attention to family. He was 87 and is survived by his wife, a son and three daughters. A friend of all the pro-people initiatives in the country, he would be missed by a wide range of friends and admirers across the political spectrum, socialist workers, pro-people intellectuals and peoples movements across the country.


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IRI President Adv. B.D. Sharma being honoured by Film Director Vladimir Leon. The audience applauds.


RNI No. 43049/85 Post Office Regd. No. Meerut-146-2012-2014 to be posted on 2nd. of every month at H.P.O. Meerut Cantt.

Director Vladimir Leon sharing his experiences of making the film on M.N Roy

Published and printed by Mr. N.D. Pancholi on behalf of Indian Renaissance Institute at S-1 Plot 617 Shalimar Garden Extension I, Sahibabad, Ghaziabad-201005 Printed by Nageen Prakashan Pvt. Ltd., W. K. Road, Meerut, 250002 Editor-Dr. Rekha Saraswat, C-8, Defence Colony, Meerut, 250001

THE RADICAL HUMANIST - April 2013  

Monthly Journal Editor: Rekha Saraswat