By Dr Najma Heptullah
In a democratic society it is the responsibility of the political party or people to govern the country. And governance has to be good governance. What is the definition of good governance? People of the country should live happily, like we talk about Ram Rajya. We talk about Ram Rajya, because Lord Ram killed the evil and it was a victory over evil.
In today'sterms, if you see, what are the evils of a country? They are backwardness, illiteracy and poverty. Any good governance has to tackle these basic issues. Once you tackled these issues, the nation overcomes poverty. So how does one fulfill these basic necessities of a nation? It would be done if you have certain commitments. If your commitments are ideology, then fine. Ideology to me is that I should be honest to my country, I should be loyal to my country, I should see if there is any external danger to my country, I should be able to fight it. If there is any internal problem, I should be able to tackle it. If there are any evils in the society, I should be able to fight it, so that my country should develop, it should progress and should have people who are satisfied with the governance. This is my perception of ideology?that commitment to the country. This is what should be called an ideology that is necessary for a nation.
You should be committed to your country and to your ideals. In certain cases ideologies perhaps come from ideals. In certain times we take individuals as our ideals, if we learn from them. Or we should have our own ideals. I as an individual judge every action of mine on my own commitments and balance. If, say in Urdu, I put it on a balance on my Iman. Iman is a commitment to something. For example I can give an example of the previous NDA Government led by Atal Behari Vajpayee. What were its programmes? The programmes were to build the roads, as the roads go to every village, every house. There would be no restriction on caste, religion, money and status for the people to walk on the road. Somebody can walk on it, somebody can go by a bi-cycle and if some can afford a car, he can use the road. That is why I strongly feel that it is part of an ideology, and likewise we should have a strong communication system which is good for everybody. And this comes from development.
Ideology to me is that I should be honest to my country. I should be loyal to my country. I should see if there is any external danger to my country. I should be able to fight it. If there is any internal problem, I should be able to tackle it.
When there is sun shine, the heat and the light goes to everybody. So like the nature is just the road, programmes of the NDA Government was just. I feel it was the most secular programme, because the road benefits everybody without any discrimination.
The other thing that I would say is water. Water is the need of everybody. Then the programme for connecting the rivers came. This programme suits everybody. Every piece of land would be irrigated with that water. So it was also the most secular programme. In fact it would be much more beneficial than today. Today the rivers are divided by various states, and only those states are benefiting while other states are reeling under water shortage. So the nationalist attitude and the nationalist commitment and the nationalist ideology, I saw there in NDA rule. Take for example, electricity. If electricity is generated it will lighten up not merely the cities but also a hut in a remote village. So that is also a secular programme which is beneficial to everyone. What I mean by secularism is it should not be sectarian. It should not have any disparity. It should benefit without any prejudice everyone. There should be no biases. I fail to understand how people explain the word secular ideology and communal ideology. In our country unfortunately, when we talk of communal divide we only think in terms of religion.
Perhaps this is the result of 1947, because the country was divided on the basis of religion. I am inspired by the thoughts of Maulana Azad. He was a very religious person but he was opposed to the division of the country on the basis of religion. He said that religion is not the only reason for uniting or dividing people. He was proved right in the later years. Because Bangladesh, East Pakistan and West Pakistan were divided though initially they were carved out of India on the basis of religion. But they could not remain together for more than 25 years. So where was the religious binding? It was a different kind of binding of regions and languages. Both Bengali Hindus and Muslims speak the same language, while the Punjabi or Sindhi or Beluchi have nothing common with the Bengali except religion. It could not keep them together.
Nationalism and nationality are above everything for uniting people. I feel nationalism is the basis of a person'sideology. My commitment is my nationality and that is India. When I look at the Integral Humanism, it said we are human beings; we are born in a country. We have certain commitments towards our country.
Then we see later examples, whether we take the case of Lebanon, their people were divided on the basis of very, very small loyalties. Similarly in the past Iraq and Iran fought marathon battles among themselves. They both are Muslims, they should not have fought. If the theory of dividing India was correct, that you cannot live with Hindus, you can only live with Muslims then the Banladesh, Iraq and Iran fights should not have happened. Then a much more glaring example was that of Kuwait and Iraq war. Not only were they both Muslims but they were also Arabic, speaking the same language, having the same culture. But they could not live together.
The nationalism and nationality are above everything for uniting people. I feel nationalism is the basis of a person'sideology. My commitment is my nationality and that is India. The philosophy of Integral Humanism says we are human beings; we are born in this country. We have certain commitments towards our country. We have born in a world first and then in a country, state, city and province later on. The basic thing is that we are part of this whole Brahmand, the whole universe. That'swhy our ancient wisdom says: Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam. The whole world is a big family, and we are a big family. So we have certain responsibilities to this whole world. Then it comes to what country we are born in.
I fail to understand how people explain the word secular ideology and communal ideology. In our country unfortunately, when we talk of communal divide we only think in terms of religion.
When we look at the environment there are no barriers for pollution. If a country explores nuclear bomb, it cannot be stopped on the physical or political boundaries of the country, it will come to us and somebody else also. So we have to protect that and this is the responsibility of all of us. If there is water shortage, everybody is going to suffer. So how to conserve the natural resources. The basis of any political party'sideology should have certain basic commitment to their country and to the countrymen.
When we come to the issues of governance, today we see most of the political parties, while deciding candidates they decide in the election process, analyse what is the combination of the population, how many Hindus are there, how many Christians and Muslims are there. Why they do that? To find a candidate accordingly. The party does not see if the candidate is committed or not. The only point with the political parties is how would they win the elections? That'swhy everybody becomes communal, because we are talking about different communities, not about the nation, about the efficiency or the ability of a person. At the smallest level each one becomes communal and that is the bane of our democratic system. These are the pitfalls of the democracy. I have seen different democracies of the world and they work better than monarchies and dictatorships. Any ideal political party should not think about the caste, creed or religion instead should stress on the commitments towards the nation or efficiency of governance. But unfortunately it is not happening any where, especially in our country.