Monday, July 15, 2024
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Lohia, brilliant and original

Avadhanam Raghu Kumar

(Transcription of video)

  • Dear to Gandhi, nearer to Ambedkar
  • A karma yogi with poetic heart

Most political movements in India today are inspired by the thoughts of Rammanohar Lohia. 

If a country loses a philosopher, it loses a vision.  But if a country loses a political leader with a philosophy, it is very difficult to fill the vacuum. 

Lohia is not just a political leader with a philosophy, but a polymath, a man of aesthetics, a man with poetic heart.  He was also a karma yogi.  No one knows how long it takes for a nation to have such a personality again. 

We have, in this country, hundreds of great men, who are well-read, knowledgeable and who propound new theories.  There are many, who having read hundreds of books, are the cause of further strife and dissensions. 

But there are very few who practise what they preach.  There are very few who live with a heart of universal range.  They continuously correct themselves and try to accommodate the interests of as many as possible.  They strive towards universal peace with renewed energies every moment.  Lohia stands tall among such few.

In a nation, deeply entrenched in social injustice for generations, he did his best to address the humongous challenge.   He left this world.  He has shown the possible path for the next generations for deliverance. 

Though born in the upper caste Vaishya community, he clamoured for the uplift and welfare of those sections who are socially oppressed and exploited for generations. 

He recognized much early that caste is the most destructive force in India.  He gently advised the upper caste people to function as manure to these oppressed communities. 

He stood for giving representation, if necessary beyond proportion, to the shudras, harijans, women and Muslims to enable them to come up in the ladder of power. 

He also lived by that proposition.  In 1960s, even though, he or Madhu Limaye, had all the possibility to be the Leader of the Socialist Party in the Lok Sabha, he gave it to Sri Rabi Ray.  Similarly in Rajya Sabha also, he proposed Sri Murahari, a leader from the Perika caste from Andhra Pradesh, as the leader of the party, instead of Raj Narayan. 

He also held the opinion that even those downtrodden castes, once they attain power, shall take along with them the upper castes, without any hatred, because there are victims even among them. 

He cautioned the people struggling for social justice, well in advance, that harshness and hatred enthrones injustice in the seat of authority forever. 

He was saying that Draupadi never easily accepted unequal treatment or defeat from men, either in terms of status or knowledge.  The Indian women must take her as the role-model for feminism and struggle for their space bravely in the family or in the society.  A woman should not be like mannequins, a lifeless body wrapped in cloths.  She must, if need be, bundle the man and shall take him along with her in her struggles.

He suggested one that we must learn from the indigenous people how to live naturally and happily within the available means. 

He tried to take all together, and learn from every one. 

He also advised that there is a lot to learn from Marx to Gandhi, but learning can be fruitful only when you don’t get into the frame of others.  It means we have to be our own selves ultimately.  We can see a sober truth-finder in Lohia in this regard.  That is why he was dear to Gandhi; he was nearer to Ambedkar. 

All through his life he has been flowing like a stream of pure water from an eternal river.  He was also resplendent like the flow.

He thought that in India we can’t attain socialism without resolving the caste question.  In that process of his endeavours for social justice, he was instrumental in dismantling Congress governments and establishing alternative governments in northern India. The wonder he created in this milieu was the emergence of leadership from the Backward Communities. 

But one question needs our immediate attention! Could we resolve the social problems on the basis of Lohia’s theories?  Are there any limitations to his philosophy? 

We may differ on this, but we can’t doubt his brilliance and originality of theory and practice in identifying and attempting to resolve them in an innovative way. 

Lohia long back cautioned the backward classes from adopting the same old characteristics of the upper castes, after coming to power.  He wished that the leadership of the backward castes, who came up in the ladder and enjoyed the fruits of social justice, shall share them with the others who are still struggling to find space.  It is only then, according to him, the idea of social justice percolates down.  If not, the power gets concentrated in those hands who achieved power.  The indifference in  sharing the fruits of growth, consolidates into new castes even here more rigidly. 

Where the father who becomes MLA, his family members and wards continue to become MLAs, and opportunities are not extended down the lane below, it may not serve the cause of social justice. If this were the case, the collective efforts would not be of any avail.

In fact, today a communist is not a communist and Gandhian is not a Gandhian.   One doesn’t talk to the other. 

Is it the effect of the times we are living in?  Is man by nature selfish? We have to search within honestly.  Is it the time to redefine our theories?

If a man doesn’t come out of this selfishness and doesn’t cleanse himself of this, but tries to reform the external society, he can’t be said as genuine.  He is surrendering his self to the drama of the ego within.

If that be the case, the problem moves from one circle to another but remains unresolved.  In order to cover his failures, the human being will be inventing an absent enemy and tries to throw the blame on that imaginary enemy.  If we do not conduct self-examination every second, we will be escaping from the reality.

Lohia laid a path of spring for those, who desire to concretise their ideal!  Whether that spring blossoms or dries up before, we have to wait and see!

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