Sudhir Gandotra, Humanist Party of India General Secretary, participating at the Seminar : Humanism & Contemporary Politics, presenting a paper under the category of Social, Political and Moral Crisis – titled:
“On the development of Humanist Party of India”
Today’s world has huge problems and 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 haywire, 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 points 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, and us 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-programme? 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 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 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 no one to fear.
” 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 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 local schools.
” 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 Foreign Direct Investment (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 practicals, 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 not 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 the grave mistake, Nostalgia of broken relationships, Resentments, Physical inabilities, False hopes, Fears, Frustrations, 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 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 yourself.
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.
For More Information & Participation, contact us : HUMANIST PARTY
Phone : +91-93124-65666. E-Mail : firstname.lastname@example.org InterNet : www.humanistparty.org
INDIAN RENAISSANCE INSTITUTE (IRI),
organizing an International Seminar to commemorate the 125th Birth Year of M. N. Roy
16th & 17th March, 2013 – at India International Center, New Delhi, India.