By Acharya Sachidananda on 31-03-2017
‘What is this Gandhian Talisman? Do you know?’ Guru asked Atma Prakash.‘Yes, guruji. Let me quote Gandhiji’s own words: “I give you a Talisman. Whenever you are in doubt, or when the self becomes too much with you, you apply the following test. Recollect the face of the poorest and weakest man whom you may have seen, and ask yourself, if the step you contemplate is going to be of any use to him. Will he gain anything by it? Will it restore him to a control over his life and destiny? In other words, will it lead to Swaraj for the hungry and spiritually starving millions? Then you will find your doubt and your self melting away.” ‘Very good’ the Baba congratulated his disciple and continued:‘This means that we need to always keep the last and least in front of us when we make our plans and policies for national development…‘I have termed the common minimum socio-economic development agenda as ‘Gandhian Navaratna’ because it is a nine-point agenda based on this Gandhian Talisman. …‘Originally the term ‘Navaratna’ meant a talisman or ornament composed of nine precious gems. Later on this term was adopted by Emperor Vikramaditya and Emperor Akbar to represent nine outstanding men in their courts. In 1997 this term was adopted by the Government of India to represent nine Public Sector Enterprises (PSEs) that could compete in the global market . They were given greater autonomy and support by the Government. These PSEs were supposed to build the economy of India. This model of development has not helped much in the development of the last and the least in the country ….‘70% of Indian population still lives in the villages. Real India is rural India. True development of India is to be measured in terms of the living conditions of the last and the least in the villages of India. That is why Gandhiji gave us a Talisman. I believe this is something precious for India. That is why I have used the term ‘Gandhian Navaratna’ for the nine-point socio-economic development agenda of ENP…..‘This Gandhian Navaratna consists of the following nine-point socio-economic development agenda for all responsible and patriotic citizens of India to take up and promote. It is not a suggested plan for the Government or ruling political parties to implement. Of course the Government and ruling political parties can and should take it up. But the Gandhian Navaratna is basically a plan of action for nation-building in which all India-loving citizens, religious communities, NGOs, political parties, civil society groups etc. are invited to take active part and make it their own. It is a plan of action with its focus on the last and the least in the country inspired by the Talisman given by Mahatma Gandhi….‘The first of this agenda is ‘working to ensure food and water security for all citizens of India’. Food and water are basic necessities of life…Without them life will be impossible. More than 30% of India’s 127 crore population are living below poverty line, without being able to eat one nourishing meal a day and without hygienic drinking water. They are also our own brothers and sisters, our own children and parents. We need to work to ensure that they are provided with basic food and water security. This is hundred times more important to India today than providing our political leaders with ‘Z – Category’ security.….‘The second is ‘working to ensure employment opportunities, and land and livelihood rights for all citizens of India’. We do not want a ‘banana republic’ built on charity, freebies and subsidies…. What we want is employment opportunities to earn our livelihood with dignity and with our own labour. We also want the land and livelihood rights of all citizens of India to be upheld and respected. Every one of us need a small house of our own to live in. 200 million Indian citizens have no place of their own to lay down their heads ……… (To be continued)
Excerpts from ‘Integral Revolution
About The Author
Swami Sachidananda Bharathi is an Indian Air Force officer turned spiritual guide and an apostle of peace and love. He is the patron of 'Indian Thoughts'. He represented India in the 'Millennium World Peace Summit of Religious and Spiritual Leaders' held under UNO, in 2000. He has founded Dharma Bharathi Mission.