M. N. Roy Jawaharlal Nehru



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GREAT POLITICAL THINKERS

  1. help them to reorganize their lives on a self-reliant and self-controlling basis. One cannot help being reminded here of Mahatma Gandhi's Lok Sevak Sangh.

  2. Jayaprakash, at the same time, seemed to be anxious to change the persent form of society, which, according to him, was a complex and top-heavy society. The present society is only a heaven for bureaucrats, managers, technocrats and statists. It, in his views, cannot be a home for brothers to live together as brothers. Socialists also, in the name of science, production, efficiency, standard of living and other hallowed shibboleths, have accepted this "whole Franken­stein of a society—lock, stock and barrel—and hope, by adding public ownership to it, to make it socialist."30 Jayaprakash con­sidered such a society quite unsuitable for establishing real socialism. He said, "Self-government, self-management, mutual co-operation and sharing, equality, freedom, brotherhood—all could be practised and developed far better if man lived in small communities."18 Because man is a product both of nature and culture, it is necessary for his balanced growth that a harmonious blend between the two is effected. This blending of nature and culture is possible only, in Jayaprakash's view, in comparatively smaller communities. Gandhi also had insisted that the Indian village and village self-government (gram-raj) were the foundations for his picture of society—the society of equal and free beings living as brothers in peace. Non-violent Social Revolution


    1. 15 Ibid., p. 42.

    For establishing such a type of society . Jayaprakash relied on a non-violent social revolution, which Gandhi had long back advo­cated and which Vinoba had also tried a few years back to bring about through his programmes of Bhoodan, Gramdan and Sampattidan. Other revolutions, Jayaprakash believed, failed because those who brought them about used means that were inconsistent with their ends. But in the Sarvodaya method of revolution (which is the only non-violent method of revolution) the ends and means become one. This is a new technique of which the world has had no experience yet. It is, therefore, common for new ideas to be treated with suspicion and reserve. But for us "in India who have had the privilege of witnessing the miracle of national freedom being won with radi­cally new ideas and methods, which too had been met first with doubt and division, it should not be difficult to appreciate the new ideas and methods of Vinoba that are after all in the nature of an extension and development of the earlier ones used by the Father of the Nation. We in India have also the additional privilege as one of the youngest nations of today, of being in a position to benefit from the success and failures of others.31



  1. JAYAPRAKASH NARAYAN

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  1. Call for Total Revolution

  2. By the lapse of years, Jayaprakash Narayan's belief that for the reconstruction of socio-economic structure of Indian society, practice of self-discipline and the establishment of self-government in the country, which he often called a 'participating democracy' were essential, became more and more firm. He questioned, How long can a dictator, may be seemingly a popular one, go on whipping and prodding you up ? That is why Jayaprakash gave a call of 'total revolution'. It was in the last months of 1973 when he was at Paunar that he felt an inner urge to give such a call to the people. He arrived at the idea of 'total revolution' and got an inspiration to proceed in that direction after his encouraging experiences of a peace­ful revolution in Musehari sub-division of Muzzaffarpur, a strong­hold of Naxalites in Bihar, and re-settlement of the Chambal Valley dacoits. His faith in the power of the poeple and through them in the philosophy and action of 'total revolution' was further streng­thened by the subsequent events in Gujarat, where a powerful student-led movement to disband the State Legislature came up in 1974.

  3. As his call for 'total revolution' foreboded a death-knell for the then Government, the latter imposed an emergency on the country in the last week of June, 1975. Jayaprakash and his followers and sympathisers were sent to prison. But he was not dismayed ; and while in prison, he tried to elucidate the aim of his 'total revolution* in order to remove any kind of misgivings about it. He writes in his Prison Diary (1977): "The struggle for freedom was not fought simply for national independence. The establishment of democracy in free India was also an important goal of the struggle. It was in view of this goal that the Constituent Assembly had drawn up a Constitution for democratic India and adopted it on the 26th Novem­ber, 1949 on behalf of the Indian people."32 Because the spirit of the Constitution was much abused and the real democracy seemed to be in great danger particularly during the past few years in India, the call for 'total revolution' was given to the nation.

  4. Jayaprakash Narayan's 'total revolution' is a "combination of seven revolutions—social, economic, political, cultural, ideological or intellectual, educational and spiritual".33 This number, according to him, may be decreased or increased. For instance, the cultural revolution may include, educational and ideological revolutions. Likewise, social revolution in the Marxian context covers economic and political revolutions and even more than that. This is how we can reduce the number to less than seven. We can also add to this number by breaking up each of the seven revolutions into different categories. Economic revolution may be split up into industrial,



  1. .178

  2. GREAT POLITICAL THINKERS

  1. agricultural, technological revolutions, etc. Similarly, intellectual revolution may be split up into two—scientific and philosophical. And so on and so forth.

  2. The idea of 'total revolution' aims at bringing about a complete change in the present structure and system of the Indian society. It may be regarded as a considerable development of the philosophy of Sarvodaya. Jayaprakash was a great humanitarian, and his socialism, gradually developed into the philosophy of 'total revolution', is not only a system of social and economic reconstruction of the Indian society, but it is also a philosophy of moral and spiritual rebirth of the Indian people.

  3. 16


    1. Lohia : A Man of People

    2. Once Dr. Ram Manobar Lobia said : "I have nothing with me except that the common and the poor people of India think that

    RAM MANOHAR LOHIA (I 9 I O-1 967)



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  2. GREAT POLITICAL THINKERS

  1. to 1946, Lohia's life was one of continuous struggle against the British Government. During this period he worked under the gui­dance and leadership of Mahatma Gandhi, and passed about four years behind bars. In February 1947, the Congress Socialist Party held its session at Kanpur under the chairmanship of Dr, Ram Manohar Lohia. At the Kanpur Session the Party decided to drop the word 'Congress* from its name and assume a new status and title as an independent Socialist Party.

  2. Contributions to Socialist Movement

  3. In the post-Congress period, Lohia constantly pressed for adopt­ing new objectives based on new assumptions. Consequently, the socialist leaders resolved to ecshew doctrinaire political thinking in favour of pragmatic and empirical analysis of India's problems as a necessary first step in evolving a new democratic socialism.

  4. In 1952, there was a merger of the Socialist Party with the Kisan Mazdoor Praja Party (KMPP), with the result that a new socialist party, known as Praja Socialist Party, was formed. As the President of the PSP, Lohia pleaded for a greater incorporation of Gandhian ideas in socialist thought. He asked the Indian socialists to under­stand the importance of a decentralized economy based upon the resuscitation of cottage industries. He seemed to be against both capitalism and communism on account of their fad for big and heavy machines. According to him, both the systems are wasteful and hence unsuitable for India. In contrast to them, Gandhi's ideas and action, Lohia strongly pleaded, may act as a filter through which socialist ideas would flow and get rid of their dross. He said : "Nobody would be happier than I if Gandhi's ideas were also to in­fluence the other two systems, capitalism and communism, but one may reasonably doubt that this can be done."1


    1. Lohia", Dr. R. M. : Marx, Gandhi and Socialism, Navahind Prakashan, Hyderabad, 1963, p. 121.

    2. Ibid,, p. 120.

    Developing his argument in favour of Gandhian economy, Lohia explained that the world today was in the grip of two systems and the third one was in the making. He argued : "Capitalism and Communism are almost fully elaborated systems, and the whole world is in their grip, and the result is poverty, and war and fear. The third idea is also making itself felt on the world stage. It is still inadequate, and it has not been fully elaborated, but it is open."' Lohia called this idea the true socialist idea. This socialist idea, according to him, is to be based on Gandhi's ideas of decentralized economy and village government. He, therefore, urged the impor­tance of small machines which would utilize the maximum labour power with small capital investments. This type of thought-orienta­tion was not liked by many of his colleagues. About a year after



  1. RAM MANQHAR LOHIA

  2. 181

  1. (in June 1953), Asoka Mehta put forward his thesis of the 'Political Compulsions of a Backward Economy' in which he tried to maintain that the ideology of the Congress was coming near to that of the socialists, and hence he urged for an ideological alliance between the Congress and the PSP. Lohia, as counterbalance to it, presented his 'Equidistant Theory' and asserted that the socialists were still as much equidistant from the Congress as they were from the communists. He, therefore, did not like the PSP to have an alliance with the Congress on policy matters. However, he saw no harm in making an electoral adjustment with the Congress under special circumstances.

  2. Disapproving his party's policies of alliance and adjustments with the Congress in Travancore-Cochin, he demanded the resignation of Pattam Thanu Pillai's socialist ministry in the face of police firing in 1954 on a linguistic issue. When the Praja Socialist Government refused to resign, there came a split and a new Socialist Party of India was formed in 1955 under the leadership of Dr. Lohia. In the later years, efforts were made to bridge up the differences between the Praja Socialist Party and the Socialist Party of Lohia in order to propagate the ideals of socialism and work for a socialist order in the country. But there were three conditions on which Lohia was not ready to make any compromise with the PSP leaders. These were : No alliance with either the Congress or the Communist Party (as maintained in the Gaya thesis of the party) complete in­ternal democracy or freedom to discuss internal differences publicly ; and disciplined functioning of the party. It was on these issues that he had left the PSP. Till his death, the unity between the two socialist parties could not be made possible due to his upisconciling attitude. Lohia was a man who preferred to break with rather than to compromise with anybody at the cost of his policy and principles.

  3. Wheel of History

  4. Lohia not only contributed to the development of socialist move­ment in the country, but he also reflected on certain questions of political importance and thereby tried to build up his own socialist theory. Contemplating the process of history, he tells in his famous work, Wheel of History (1955), that history appears to move in an inexorable cyclical order and that it moves without emotion. He dismisses Hegelians' and Marxists' interpretations of history, for their answers do uot provide us with a definite clue to the workings of history. He writes : "For, those who profess to give us a law or even some inkling of a process as to how man has developed through various periods must be able to indicate why peoples and classes have risen and fallen. If there is no answer to that, it would be futile to speak of a law of history. To describe symptoms is not to indicate causes."34 According to Lohia, no fixed law can be established about



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  2. GREAT POLITICAL THINKERS

  1. the purpose or design in history. While thinking over the history of man, he remarks that "it would be well to remember that historical enquiry has still to concern itself with the discovery of facts and that some of these are undiscoverable. The conflict in testimony and facts is also not resolvable at all in some cases. When such is the condition in relation to facts of outward phenomena and events, what to speak of those subtler motives and feelings, which influenced the great men of history but dwelt either in the sub-conscious or have not been communicated to us and which are a vital key to the design and purposes of living."35

  2. But still the history moves in a cyclical order. Lohia's notion of history corresponds to the Aristotelian cyclic theory. He disagreed with the notion of straightlinear historical advance. According to him, while there may be no universal validity in the findings of most of the cyclical philosophies of history, they are certainly more objec­tive than the earlier philosophies of linear progress and have greatly leavened historical study. Lohia found himself in agreement with Spengler, Northtrop, Sorokin and Toynbee—the exponents of the cyclical theory of history in the West. Like them, Lohia also believed that "the rise and fall of peoples and civilizations have ever taken place and, as students of history, we must have all concerned over-selves with the rise of the British Empire, the fall of the Pharaoh Empire, the rise of the Gupta Kingdom and the fall of the Roman Empire and so forth. .. ."• In the course of cyclical movement, a country may reach the zenith of civilization and may also go down to nadir, perhaps, to rise again.'

  3. Lohia further tells in his Wheel of History that human history is characterized by a tussle between crystallized castes and loosely cohesive classes. The internal oscillation between class and caste is the chief factor of historical dynamics. He writes : "Castes represent conservative forces of stagnation, inertia and prescriptive right, while classes stand for a dynamic force of social mobilization." Thus all human history, according to him, has been "an internal movement between castes and classes."* This internal struggle between the castes and classes and between motives and civilizations will go in the history till the evil in man and society is not prevented from breeding. And he hoped that "the world might through intelligent design try to achieve a multi-coloured harmony of human race."36


    1. Ibid., p. 46.

    2. Ibid., pp. 50-51.

    Lohia came to believe that industrialization and mechanization of agriculture would not do much good to the human race as they would further accelerate the struggle for power on both national and international levels. Hence he advised the socialists to organize the



  1. RAM MANOHAR LOHIA

  2. 183

  1. state and society on the pattern Gandhi suggested in order to main­tain steady progress in society and achieve harmony of human race. He stressed the need of original thinking and initiative on the part of Asian socialists. He advised them to frame their policies in the context of a civilization emerging from centuries-old despotism and feudalism.

  2. Problems of Asian Socialism

  3. Discussing the problems of Asian socialism, Lohia tells in his speech, delivered at Rangoon to the preliminary meeting of the Asian Socialist Conference on 26th March 1952, that in Asia where the economic problem is still to be solved the European type of socialist democracy is of little use. The Asian masses will be willing to sell their democratic rights if they are convinced that they can procure bread through some economic system. And an attempt at tradi­tional rationalization in Asian countries "would be inevitably followed by an economy similarly constituted as either the capitalist or the communist pattern."37 Both capitalism and communism believe in the progress of the same types of economy. The only difference bet­ween a capitalist and a communist is that while the former encou­rages private property, the latter converts it into public property. Rationalization ultimately leads to unemployment. "Once you set about rationalization, hundreds of millions of people in India as also in other Asian countries, will be thrown out of employment."* As it cannot solve the problem of poverty in Asia, he stressed the need of rationalization with machines which do not need much capital.


    1. 9 Ibid. (Italics mine) 10 Ibid., pp. 56-57.

    Lohia came to believe that the methods adopted by European socialists for economic and political reconstruction were not suitable to Asian countries, particularly to India and Indonesia. A new method must, therefore, be sought. He writes : "The peasant must learn intensive agriculture and he must be persuaded to enter into cooperative farming of one type or another. Such machines should be made available to him as do not cost much capital. He must develop initiative and, therefore, maximum state power, both legisla­tive and administrative, should belong to him in his village commu­nity. Communist redivtsion of land is a hoax to begin with and a futile cruelty in the end. Socialist redivision cf land, because it is coupled with decentralization of power, will produce good economic results as well as a new way of living."13 According to him, European socialists ha"e always been trying to define socialism in terms of universal concepts, although they have achieved some successes.



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  2. GREAT POLITICAL THINKERS

  1. Their socialism is a gradual and constitutional socialism. Asian socialism cannot afford to be that. According to him, the whole Asian situation is such that its application must be drastic whether in agri­culture or industrial processes or in the process of nationalization. Capitalism is incapable of achieving economic reconstruction because of private capital. On this point Lohia was in complete agreement with Karl Marx. But he did net trust the communists because he thought that they bad always attempted to employ gross economic poverty for insurrectional pressure on the state. Asian socialists must understand this situation and be ready to fight against in­justice.

  2. Summing up the main objectives of Asian socialism, Lohia tells that it should strive for the attainment of such concepts as the demo­cratization of administration, small capital outlay such as small machines, socialized property and maximum attainable equality. And the method he suggested for their realization corresponds to the Gandhian method of mass action. He dismissed communist class struggle as immortal and violent because of its faulty analysis of capitali.m. Socialist class struggle, according to him, "must corres­pond to the aims of decentralized society, which alone can now pro­duce good economic and spiritual results."38

  3. Lohia considered the mixing of dogmatic religious and political considerations a bane of Asian politics, because it leads to the deve­lopment of sectarian and communal outlook. In the absence of any settled democratic tradition, terror and assassinations, often, assume the role of political technics. Another discouraging feature of Asian politics is the emergence of a new class of bureaucrats and technocrats. As these diverse trends make possible the rise of a class of such leaders who try to remain in the saddle through theatrical and demagogic devices, be stressed the urgency of a comprehensive and original social philosophy to meet the situation.

  4. 'New Socialism'

  5. As an exponent of decentralized socialism, Lohia wanted to orga­nize the state mostly on the lines Gandhi suggested. The socialist state, according to him, must aim at the decentralization of both economic and political powers. He called his socialist state a Four-Pillar State.39 In this state, an attempt will be made to synthesize the opposite concepts of centralization and decentralization. Its four pillars—the village, the mandal (the district), the province and the central government—will be so organized as to work on the prin­ciple of functional democracy. The main features of this state, according to Lohia, will be •


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