Sri Aurobindo’s Action – April 2014
The need of a fundamental equality
Today India is an organised nation with a strong sense of
unity, despite certain fissiparous movements and tendencies
in some parts of the country. However there is one area of
very serious concern which is coming in the way of complete
unity: It is the emergence of a dominant class made up mainly
of the political and corporate worlds. Added to that is the
huge mass of poverty and the glaring difference in standards
of living. According to a new Oxford University study, 55
percent of India’s population of 1.1 billion, or 645 million
people, are living in poverty. To illustrate this huge gap
further, here is an extract from the New York Times written
by Manu Joseph:
“Daily life in India is a fierce contest between the
affluent and the educated on the one side, and the brooding
impoverished on the other. The pursuit of India’s elite is to
protect themselves from India — from its crowds, dust, heat,
poverty, politics, governance and everything else that is in
plain sight. To achieve this, they embed themselves in their
private islands that the forces and the odours of the republic
cannot easily penetrate.
The islands that protect Indians from India are simple and
material: A luxurious car with an unspeaking driver who
works for 12 hours every day at less than $200 a month, or
at least an S.U.V. with strong metal fenders that can absorb
routine minor accidents. A house in a beautiful residential
community that the Other Indians can enter only as maids and
drivers. Membership in an exclusive club. Essentially a life in
a bubble where there is no sign of the government except for
the treachery of the service tax.
This is not the life of the terrifyingly rich alone but also
the skilled middle class employed in the private sector….. The
numbers of these “sovereign republics” inside India are small,
and there are islands within islands, each one characterized
by how much money it can invest to make its walls higher
and thicker to keep India out. The best protected are, of
course, the 60-odd billionaires and almost-billionaires, who
are even shielded from the justice system. They escape India
even when they go to meet their gods in the country’s holiest
temples. While hundreds of thousands jostle for a glimpse of
the deities, and scores routinely die in stampedes, the rich are
whisked away from their choppers for special appointments
with their benevolent gods.”
It is evident that this cannot go on much longer. Here is
what Sri Aurobindo writes:
“But this phenomenon, whether of dominant classes or
dominant nations, can never be more than a temporary necessity;
for the final aim of Nature in human life cannot be the exploitation
of the many by the few or even of the few by the many, can never
be the perfection of some at the cost of the abject submergence
and ignorant subjection of the bulk of humanity; these can only
be transient devices. Therefore we see that such dominations
bear always in them the seed of their own destruction. They
must pass either by the ejection or destruction of the exploiting
element or else by a fusion and equalisation…….
Absolute equality is surely neither intended nor possible,
just as absolute uniformity is both impossible and utterly
undesirable; but a fundamental equality which will render the
play of true superiority and difference inoffensive, is essential
to any conceivable perfectibility of the human race.
Therefore, the perfect counsel for a dominant minority
is always to recognise in good time the right hour for its
abdication and for the imparting of its ideals, qualities,
culture, experience to the rest of the aggregate or to as much
of it as is prepared for that progress. Where this is done, the
social aggregate advances normally and without disruption
or serious wound or malady; otherwise a disordered progress
is imposed upon it, for Nature will not suffer human egoism
to baffle for ever her fixed intention and necessity……. For
where her aims are frustrated, Nature inevitably withdraws
her force from the offending unit till she has brought in and
used other and external means to reduce the obstacle to a
nullity.” (CWSA Vol 25 P287-288)
It is time the Government of India woke up to this harsh
reality and took immediate and necessary steps to reduce this
gross inequality.
Kittu Reddy

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