Struggle for Hindu Existence

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Hindutva: The alternative to conventional Socialism and Capitalism.

How Hindutva can be an alternative narrative to statist socialism and predatory capitalism.

~ Rajiv Tuli.

Only AlternativeIn Hindu scheme of things, there is no such thing as exploitation of one human by others, rather it assigns cohesiveness among the living creatures.

In the last two centuries, a narrative has been built at the global level that there are only two ideologies or ‘isms’: Communism-Socialism and Capitalism. These two mutually opposite ideologies have dominated the collective thinking of the world, so much so that no other alternative narrative has been explored or come to the forefront. Both these ideologies are antagonistic to each other as to how they perceive human nature, their motive, development of human society, forces which shape this development and purpose of human life.

Surprisingly, these two ‘isms’ are at loggerheads specifically over the issue of human prosperity, role of wealth, its creation and distribution, purpose and ultimate goal of wealth both at individual level and at state-societal level. As of now, the world is dominated by capitalism. Albeit communism-socialism has attracted more intellectuals, it has failed to attract more followers world over. This communist-socialist model has failed; of late, even the neo-world order of capitalism has also been cracking up.

Interestingly, there is another alternative which has not been subject matter of this dominating bi-polar intellectual discourse and was never even pitted against this debate. This alternative is the Hindu way of living, wealth creation and its distribution. This article will try to compare the communist-socialist-capitalist model with the Hindu model of economic development.

Capitalism as an ethos of free trade, maximum profit and minimal state interference is the direct result of free individual-led capital growth where market forces are allowed to operate assuming them to be a self-regulating force. Communism, on the other hand, is a hypothesis which is a worldview for its adherents. It has evolved in the last 100-150 years basing its hypothesis on the facts, historical-circumstances and interpretations in the European continent and progression of various societies in Europe. It has also evolved as a reaction to unbridled-capitalism.

Hinduism is an age-old civilisation which has evolved and flourished in the last 3,000 years in the Indian subcontinent. Many of the ideas of Hindu model of prosperity have withstood the tests of time. Also, this Hindu model was followed successfully in the Indian subcontinent and was the raison d’etre for the prosperity and material well-being of the Indian civilisation and the society for the last 3,000 years.

Communism presumes that ‘matter’ or the material forces are the moving force of development be it human, or the development of the society. Man is moved more by material factors than anything else and he is primarily and exclusively an economic man. The other aspects of development like ‘idea’, ideology, religion, history, etc, are just the reflection of the substructure of the material forces. For the capitalists, man is primarily a selfish being who knows his self-interests better without being controlled by society or state. In both communism and capitalism, the purpose of life is wealth creation.

In contrast, Hinduness (Hindutva) believes that man is basically a multifaceted being and his economic aspect is just one of the aspects of his personality. Like Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, humans have four goals — pursuits of his life viz, Dharma (righteousness), Artha (prosperity), Kama (psychological value), Moksha (salvation). Artha implies “means of life”, activities and resources that enable one to be in a state of material well-being, wealth creation and its distribution. Out of these four aspects of his personality, the material prosperity (Artha) is kept on the second number in the hierarchy of pursuits. Even means of earning should be based on Dharma and its ultimate use both at individual and societal level should be in conformity to the touchstone of Dharma.

So, it is not the material forces which moves the human being or the society, it is Dharma which is the basis of all development and only through following Dharma one should and can earn his material prosperity. In Hindu scheme of things, ‘wealth’ is just a means to a higher end. Wealth which is excess should be avoided and a life of ‘apragrihya’ (minimalist required wealth) is emphasised. The unbridled wealth for the sake of wealth which is the ethos of capitalism is also negated. If communism bases its thesis on ‘matter’ and capitalism on wealth, Hinduness (Hindutva) bases its every foundation on dharma.

Communism gave the concept of dialectical materialism, which simply means that the development of society is on account of conflict and antagonistic material forces. Conflict is a natural state and is a must for development. Conflict is the basis of growth of human and society and when this conflict interest becomes irreconcilable, a new stage of development takes place. Capitalism speaks of might is right and survival instinct as the basis of progression.

In Hindu-view, conflict in individual and social life is not natural but an aberration. It speaks of harmony and cohesiveness. In Hindu scheme of things, instead of any outer ‘evolvement’ of life leading to just material prosperity or its pursuits, the aim of individual and social life is ‘involution’ where the means earned through Dharma and leading finally to the stage of Moksha which is a state in which ultimate liberation of human takes place after having enjoyed the pursuit and prosperity of wealth of the world. It is interesting that the Hindu view does not undermine the material aspect but says that it is one step in the progression of human and human society.

Communism says that those who have control over means of production also enjoy the distribution of wealth. However, in Hindu view the material prosperity and its enjoyment has a limitation where unbridled enjoyment of material resources like in capitalist ethos is disdained and rather the excess wealth produced is sought to be aimed at giving back to the society in terms of donations, charity and welfare of the people. So, wealth is not the product of individual effort but is social wealth. If socialism-capitalism is material-centric, Hinduness is human-centric. For socialism-capitalism material wealth is an end in itself but for Hinduness, wealth is only a means for higher values both at individual and societal level.

Communism-socialism speaks of class wealth and class exploitation. The world has always been divided between two classes one which owns the means of production and thus being a dominating class exploiting the class which does not own the material means and thus is the exploited class. Capitalism highlights that the individual is the source of creation of wealth. In Hindu view of things, wealth is neither individual nor belongs to any classes, hence there is neither class exploitation nor individual ownership. The source and ownership of the wealth, and its creation and distribution remain with the society. Whatever excess wealth an individual is having is having as a trustee of the wealth and not the owner. It is a duty of each Hindu to part away his material prosperity earned through Dharma for the purpose of Dharma!

Communism-socialism speaks of class loyalty and a kind of world revolution where the exploited classes of the world proletariat will join and throw away the exploiting classes of the bourgeoisie. Capitalism talks of ‘the survival of the fittest’; where the small fishes may be eaten up by the big fishes, this being the law of the society. The natural law of the market will crowd away the inefficient and the unfit. In Hindu scheme of things, there is no such thing as exploitation of one human by others, rather it assigns cohesiveness among the living creatures i.e, ‘Praniyon Mein Sadbhavna ho’ (let all the living creatures including animals, birds, etc, live in peace). The individual-social order is based on Dharma. Against the world revolution and neo-world order of capitalism, it puts forward the concept of Vasudev Kutumbkam, i.e the whole world is a family.

Communism aims at state-owning the means and modes of production, be it before the revolutionary or post-revolutionary state. For capitalism, the individual is the owner of means of production. For Hindu view, the means and modes of production are societal and are owned by the society. The ultimate aim of communism is stateless, classless society where there will not be any exploitation. However, in Hindu scheme of things, the ultimate aim of social progression is establishment of Dharma where the underlying ethos would be from each according to his capacity, to each according to his needs.

It is a time to dwell on with precise details as to how the Indian way can be projected as a world-alternative to the prevailing yet declining ideologies.

___

The author is an independent commentator. Views expressed are personal.

The article was first published in FirstPost on Feb 27, 2022.

One comment on “Hindutva: The alternative to conventional Socialism and Capitalism.

  1. Arindam
    February 28, 2022

    Not bad. I particularly liked this point:

    ‘In Hindu-view, conflict in individual and social life is not natural but an aberration.’

    One point I would make is that it is the scarcity of money – made worse by the fact that it is issued as debt, that tends to generate economic conflict. Addressing this matter, through monetary reform – is therefore essential.

    In this regard, I think the Social Credit movement (of which I am a contributor) has much to offer.

    http://www.socred.org

    Like

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