PHILOSOPHY OF REVOLUTION
A Revolutionary Mind
Once J. Krishnamurti asked me, "Sir, is there an Indian mind?" And I found myself at a loss to answer that question off-hand. This question has occurred to me on more than one occasion, whenever I look at the situation, not only in this country, but in the whole world.
What are we going to make of this world? A sepulcher of humanity or a house for man to live beautiful, entire and clean? This is the question which the revolutionaries have got to ask themselves.
This question is the first question that should occur to a revolutionary
mind. Because the first condition, the second condition and the third condition of any revolution, is a revolutionary mind. And I hope that the youth of this country has that revolutionary mind.
So, the out-look of youth is robust. Youth is never vanquished. Elders will go on complaining that roses bear thorns. Young men will be thankful that thorns bear roses. That is the robust outlook, which is the revolutionary outlook.
What is its first requisite? The first requisite is an open mind. A revolutionary mind is an open
mind. And an open mind is an uncommitted mind, a mind that is committed to no
opinions. This is what I mean by a normal mind. A revolutionary mind has no opinions, no views and it takes nothing on credit from any personality, any hero, however great he may have been, not from even a hero of r the stature of Gandhi or Marx.
A revolutionary mind is an open mind that accepts no ideas Pt second
hand. It is not a mind that is subservient to an ideology. What is an ideology after all? Ideology is organised thought, that which we call a School of thought. And all organised thought is frozen thinking. When thinking ceases, thought begins. Accumulated thought is lifeless, without any energy in it. It is known as an ideology. Organised thought is an ideology. Organised thought becomes defensive. Organised thought becomes aggressive and then we call it 'Ism.' Such a thought wants to conquer other it wants to vanquish other thoughts and other ideologies. Really speaking, it is not intelligence.It is the reverse of intelligence, because it wants to vanquish other thoughts.
Organised thought is an ideology. Aggressive organised thought is an 'ism'; and aggressive organised thought which seems to conquer power is a 'party'. All these are anti-intelligence. They are a slur on the intelligence of man. What is needed is not thought or ideology, but thinking. Thinking is quite different from thought. Thinking flows. It is dynamic. It is a running stream. And thought is like the stagnant water of a pool, however clear it may be, however transparent. So what is needed for a revolution is thinking, not thought. Thought is thinking at second hand, that is, vicarious thinking. you borrow ideas and thoughts from others. So if you go to the people and speak to them about this revolution, do not give them ideas for God's sake. Stimulate thinking. Exhort them to think fur themselves, because the common citizen is a sovereign in. democratic dispensation.
And where is this citizen? He seems to have been lost. God has gone to sleep, and the common man has been lost into oblivion in this age of science which threatens to convert this world into the mausoleum of humanity.
We shall not tread the beaten path, but explore new pathways to our goal. And what is the goal? Our goal is to establish the dignity of man.
We have insulted man traditionally, in this country. That is why
in spite of its wanton spirituality, we have been more often slaves than free men. Can spirituality tolerate slavery? And we have so many spiritual preceptors in our country with tremendous following! But why has country been a country of subject people for most of its,
history? The answer is, we have never cared for the dignity of man as man, unlabelled man. Allow me to say that our country is not a country of spirituality, but a country of religiosity. Religion is not only different from spirituality, but sometimes, very often, it is anti-spiritual.
What is an organised religion? What are the factors that are common to all religions? There are three things common to all religions of the world. The first is, faith in God; the second, ethics ; and the third, our dealings with other men, other animals, and our attitude to nature. And as in mathematics, because they are common, they are cancelled. What remains is known as 'religion'.
Take for instance: I am a Hindu, I tell lies. There is a Muslim Who also tells lies Hindus and still we are Hindus and Muslims, became telling lies is common as speaking the truth is also common. So, the common term is cancelled, and what is left is known as religion. It is concerned not with life in this world, not with liberation of the soul, but life after death. So religion is other-worldliness and not spirituality.
We are a religious people and have never been a spiritual people, though we have, in our philosophy, attained serene heights of spirituality. But so far as relations with our fellow-men are concerned, we have always led, not only a life of duplicity but also a life of split
personality. We have lived on two levels-on the religious level and on the mundane level, at the same time, We have been blowing hot and cold in the same breath. That is why we have been able to achieve nothing except pride in what our forefathers have achieved.
So I ask myself, Is there an Indian mind? And in the present context, Is there an Indian citizen? Have we any Indian leaders now, barring those who have survived the Gandhian era? They are soon becoming yesterdays, and will very soon be together with their fathers. They will join the majority. What about the rest who have to live in this country? Can you think of a single person whom you can call a leader of Indian stature? We have all-India-posts, all India-offices, but no Indian leaders. We have only regional leaders, parochial leader-pygmies strutting before the footlights in garments borrowed from giants. If you remove their chairs, their all-India-posts and all-India-offices, are there many people in this country who would know them?
So, if we want a total revolution, we have to begin with an
Indian mind. And I wonder, sometimes I am surprised, and frightened out of my wits to see that these young men and women, Studying in our universities are foremost in fighting for localism, for multi-nationalism, for regional particularism, for emergent identities that are smaller than many small countries in Europe. This seems to me the prevalent rage the world over.
Ivan Illich has recently come out with a book 'The Celebration of Awareness'. And what does this awareness mean? It connotes your roots. Your roots mean your separatist identities; which identities isolate you. This feeling of particularism puts you on the defensive and nothing isolates as an attitude of defense. The result is that we have several specimens, several varieties of citizens in this country except pure citizenship-unqualified, unadulterated, unmodified; citizenship simple and unalloyed. Except this, we have all varieties of citizenship. The first variety is the denominational citizenship. Let us see what this denominational citizenship means. When you make your denomination, your creed or your community the basis of your citizenship, the basis of your nationality, you are communal. This is the nearest approach to a logical definition of communalism or denominationalism. Maulana Mohammed Ali is the heyday of his popularity once gave vent to a very controversial proposition. He said, "I am first a Muslim and then an Indian." Sarojini Naidu replied with an equally emphatic euphemism, "I am a Bengali by birth and Anthracite by marriage, a Muslim by residence (because she lived in the domains of the Nizam), English by education bur an Indian, first, second and last." There was a leader in Punjab, a barrister Dr. Mohammed Alam. Someone asked him, "Dr. Alam what are you? First a Muslim or first an Indian?" He said, "This is a wrong question to ask. You don't know how to put the right question. If you want to put me the right question, it will be: "Whom do you belong to first? Your father or your mother?" And my reply would be, I belong to my mother as much as I belong to my father, and because I belong to them both, I am their son. I am Mohammed Alam." I think that is the reply that should occur spontaneously to every man, every Indian who wants a revolution to change the present order of things from top to bottom, and in all realms of human consciousness.
Our national movement began with revivalism. And we, who took active pare in national education, saw to it that we imparted real education to our pupils. Lala Lajpatrai, after his return from America wrote a book on national education in India, and he made a confession in that book: "The education that we imparted in our national schools was denominational in character." Thus revivalism gave birth to what is known as Vedantic nationalism, but not nationalism in the sense that we
want. After India became independent, our education assumed a more parochial and regional character. In every linguistic state, citizens who speak other languages are de jure equal citizens, but actually they are secondary citizens. And we have such Secondary citizens throughout the country.
Then there are fractional citizenships. Women, untouchables and adivasis are not whole numbers. They are not integers but fractions of humanity. They are not recognised as possessing a whole soul except in theory. In actual life a woman has never been regarded as an individual. She is still a thing, property, movable at the absolute disposal of her husband. And it is a tragic fact of modern times that women and youth in America have begun to envy the family life of India which is based on the secondary role of women. So, we have these four types of citizenship; in spite of the fact that we have all declared that under the Constitution every citizen in this country, irrespective of his creed, colour or sex, will be equal.
The Kanarese in Karnatak are more equal than others; the Maharashtrians in Maharashtra are more equal than others; the Bengalis in Bengal are more equal than others; and all are more equal than others in some part of the country or other.
So we have citizenships that are more equal, not citizenships that are equal. I put it to all young men and women, "Are you going to do something about this? Who will be the central figure of the revolution? Who will bring about this revolution in a country which has been boasting of the philosophy of Advaita, which has not only other social abuses but also untouchability?"
We have not only classes and linguistic differences, but also castes. What is a caste? Classes can be changed. You can change your class, but you cannot change your caste; because caste is based on birth, and you cannot change your birth. So communalism is more liberal than casteism, because caste is exclusive; while the communalist converts you to his way of persuasion, cast excludes everyone else. Have you ever heard of a Brahmin going about converting people into Brahmins? You have heard of Muslims propagating their faith; you have heard of Christians and of Sikhs. But no casteist can go about proselytising. The first characteristic of caste is that it has only one door, the door of exit. It has no door of entrance.
The second characteristic is that it shuns human contact. The further you are from man, the nearer you are to God.If I come to Bangalore, and I tell you that I would eat out of no man's hand except ii of the hands of a Maharashtra Rig-Vedic Brahmin, as I happen to be Maharashtrian Brahmin, you would regard me as a very pure soul, as a man of high piety.And if I say that I don't eat anywhere else except in my own house, then I rise further in your estimation. I say that I don't cat food prepared even by my wife, but I cook myself, then I am almost at the apex. There is one rung only to heaven straight if I tell you that I don't eat food even cooked by myself. Then my piety is at its apex. That is Caste.
So caste is an anti-social element. Every revolutionary will have to dig a respectful grave and give decent burial in all humility, to the caste system. The man who is at a disadvantage in caste has no other alternative except changing his religion. Where have all these Muslims and Christians come from? They are all the children of the caste System. The Muslim communalism in India is the offspring of the Hindu caste system. So the eradication of communalism depends on the eradication of caste. It is playing such a havoc in this country, in all walks of life, particularly, in our politics. The advent of caste in politics is not only unwelcome, it spell sits doom for the simple reason that two candidates belonging to the same caste are bound to oppose each other. Every party will set up a candidate which belongs to the caste which is more numerous in a particular constituency.
If you want to start a revolution in this country, you have first to ask yourselves who will start the revolution? Will it be the State? Will it be the Capitalist minority, which has the power of wealth? Will it be the Soldier with his sword? If it is the soldier, it will be a revolution dominated by the soldier. If it is the capitalist, he will purchase your revolution. And if it is the state, the super-structure of the state will inflate to dangerous proportions which will perhaps contain all its human beings in its capacious maw.
So, it is the makers of the revolution that we have to find out. This is the first question in the revolution that we want to bring about. And, God willing, let us hope and trust that the youth of this country shall not be found wanting. In the lexicon of the youth, words like "impossible" and "defeat" do not occur. There may be failures, but failures are not defeats. Failures may spur us on to greater efforts.