Every human being is a child of nature and thus depends upon the nature for its continuous survival. Due to a fundamental attitude and basic needs of human being, the concept of society had evolved. Gradually, many groups were formed and these groups had started living in a specific and self-sustainable area which is called villages. The inter-related needs of people for livelihood created a rural or village economy. In order to protect and manage this socio-economic system, the state was being formed which we define as a model of Gram Swaraj. Due to such evolution of human society, many great achievements are accomplished. During the process of this development, various values and ideals had established which are essential for progressive, inclusive and healthy social, political and economic system.
Indian pattern of thinking have given rise and meaning to four different purposes of life in which the Moksha is the most important. The other three are—Dharma, Artha and Kama. These goals can only be achieved in the light of Ethics (neeti) and appropriate behavior (Sadaachaar). Artha (earnings) should be controlled by ethics (neeti) and Kama (work) should be controlled by appropriate behaviour. Thus, Neeti and sadaachaar are the pillars on which social thinking and behaviour are based.
In the 21st Century, we can redefine these pillars as below:
Other living being’s sorrow does not give me happiness.
Other living being’s death does not give me life.
Other living being’s sadness does not make me smile.
This definition guides us towards a society based on justice, fraternity, equality and harmony. Perhaps, we all know that the Indian Constitution is devoted to establish this kind of society.
Then why does our country fail to establish such kind of society? This is a very painful but a valid question. Probably, the approach and the path of development were not totally appropriate and in tandem for this kind of society. We arrive on such conclusion based on our past experiences since many years.
However, this conclusion motivates us to adopt an alternative system for our present society and economy. This system is called Gou-Gram based system. For the revival of present rural economy of the country, Gou-Gram based system is probably the only hope. It’s worth noting that Gou-Gram system is the most eco-friendly approach.
All of us are aware that the global environment is getting damaged since the industrialisation has started. Today, environment as well as rural structure of society is facing the crisis of mere survival. Because of this crisis, India is not able to eradicate poverty, unemployment, crime, injustice, violence and discordance.
But Gou-Gram based socio-economic system is competent to achieve environmental protection as well as prosperity for rural India. Gou (cattle) represents the whole environment and Gram represents human society. If India really wants to eradicate the poverty, unemployment and other above mentioned social evils, it must protect the Gou and the Gram, in other words, Government has to promote an atmosphere of socio-political system involving non-violence, transparency and public participation. Government has to convert the economy from the present cut-throat competition to inclusive coordination for achieving the goal of socio-economic justice and equality.
If we re-establish the agriculture and animal husbandry based livelihood system on sustainable basis, rural economy can become capable to achieve this inclusive coordination. About 2/3rd people of our country would be able to qualitatively raise their standard of living because not only the cow but also the other animals are their source of livelihood. Apart from being an important source of milk, cow and other animals produce valuable eco-friendly energy and bio-fertiliser also. If we are able to manage this cattle source properly, we can optimise our production as well as productivity.
In addition to this, the cattle based agricultural system will distribute the resources of the nation in a more decentralised manner and thus we will be able to achieve the constitutional goal of socio-economic justice.
In order to improve the state of the marginal farmer (owner of land less than one hectare), small farmer (owner of land less than two hectares) and agricultural labourer, proper management of crop cultivation and animal husbandry is the most effective strategy. And if we become successful in upgrading their standard of living, the words like rural poverty and rural unemployment will become a history. Obviously, once the problem of poverty and unemployment will get resolved then automatically rural conflicts and crimes would decrease.
Thus, upliftment of rural economy depends upon the creative synchronisation and expansion of crop cultivation and animal husbandry in which cattle can play a significant role. This is the secret to Prosperous India—Bharat known as Sone ki Chidiya and liveliness of Indian Culture…the secret to beauty of rural life.
Do we really wish to re-establish nature-based or environment-friendly rural economy? Do we really wish to convert our cities from hell to heaven? Do we truly desire to begin a new era of peace, prosperity and harmony? If we really do wish, we can easily achieve it. Only, we need an innovative approach with true Indianness, a determination (Sankalpa) and an initiative or approach to do something different.
Our country has to initiate some concrete steps to curb smuggling of cattle and other valuable animals. As we may all know almost 20,000 to 30,000 animals are being smuggled daily to Bangladesh through the Indo-Bangla border. India strictly has to make a rule that none of the legal or illegal slaughter houses be operated anymore. Nation has to declare that Government will not allow any kind of meat export.
The initiative required to take the above mentioned great Sankalpa has been already taken. Vishva-mangal Gou-Gram Yatra will start in October, 2009 and will travel all over India with the above message. This Yatra will provide an opportunity to everyone to take this Sankalpa. I sincerely hope that this yatra will become a great foundation in establishing love with the nature and a sense of empathy and oneness with every living creature and thus put forward the real Indian philosophy before the whole world.
This pious yatra is not an end result, it is a beginning. This new beginning will inculcate a sentiment in the citizens of this country authenticating that this country is their own and he is an active partner in every decision meant for the betterment of the nation. This beginning is associated with an emotion that democracy is not a mere political system but an actual way of life. This beginning is linked with a self-assurance that no one can take any step which is not in the interest of the people of this country.
In order to give a long and sustainable stability to this initiative, it is necessary to establish Gram Swaraj on theoretical as well as behavioural basis. This is not the time to make tall talks about Gram Swaraj, but to make rural people empowered to take the decision for their own development. Remember by the very definition, it is not an initiative wherein the people participate in the decision made by Government, but, where the government participates in decision made by people. Now the time has come to accept and implement this definition of Gram Swaraj. We hope government will accept this definition and will implement all the decisions which are taken by common people.
Being a Saint, I wish that more and more people participate in Vishva-Mangal Gou-Gram Yatra and not only ensure the Cattle protection but also ensure the implementation of Gram-Swaraj leading to rural self-reliance. According to an appropriate and a balanced vision, this is the only one way by which every Indian can firmly say that other living being’s sorrow does not give me happiness; his death does not give me life and his sadness does not make me smile.
(The writer is a leading Jain saint and can be contacted at [email protected])