Thursday, August 31, 2006

A New Era for the mankind, for the World

During the period from 1905 to 1910, He became a leader of the Indian nationalist movement, and His younger brother Barin was diectly involved with the extremist activities of the group, known as Jugantar, an underground revolutionary organisation. Sri Aurobindo was one of the founders of the said organisation. During the period, He was also the editor of a nationalist Bengali newspaper Bande Mataram and, consequently, came into frequent confrontation with the British administration. In 1907, he was already regarded as the new leader of the Indian nationalist movement.
Sri Aurobindo was arrested on 2nd May 1908 in connection with the trial of Alipore Bomb Case. And He was acquitted on 5th May 1909. For one full year He was in prison. When there was the partition of Bengal in 1908, it sparked an outburst of public anger against the British administration. It caused civil unrest, and a nationalist campaign was carried out by several groups of revolutionaries, led by Sri Aurobindo and others. The British took hard steps to incapacitate and render ineffective the activists and the consequences led to an event on April 30, 1908, as two revolutionary disciples, Khudiram Bose and Prafulla Chaki attempted to kill Magistrate Kingsford, a judge ill-famed for passing harsh sentences particularly against nationalists. However, the bomb thrown by them missed its target and instead landed in a horse carriage carrying two British women and killed them.
The local police immediately raided a place owned by Sri Aurobindo where His younger brother Barin, along with many other activists, was imparting training to the revolutionaries. Sri Aurobindo was Himself arrested on charges of planning and supervising the attack and was imprisoned in solitary confinement in Alipore for one full year. After an intense search, Khudiram Bose was arrested, but Prafulla Chaki shot himself, instead of falling into the hands of the police. The trial soon began. Khudiram Bose was hanged to death. Barin was also awarded the capital punishment, but on appeal, it was changed to life imprisonment. During the trial, Chittaranjan Das, the Advocate for Sri Aurobindo, uttered the following sentences, which proved to be a prophetic speech :
My appeal to you is this, that long after the controversy will be hushed in silence, long after this turmoil, the agitation will have ceased, long after he is dead and gone, he will be looked upon as the poet of patriotism, as the prophet of nationalism and the lover of humanity. Long after he is dead and gone, his words will be echoed and re-echoed, not only in India but across distant seas and lands. Therefore, I say that the man in his position is not only standing before the bar of this Court, but before the bar of the High Court of History…
Sri Aurobindo was acquitted in 1909. But still, the British Police were after Him. Sri Aurobindo then arrived at the then French colony at Pondicherry on 4th April 1910. Thus began a New Era for Him, and a New Era for the mankind, for the World. Never did He leave Pondicherry again...
Sri Aurobindo has began the journey to the New World, for the entire mankind, scrapping all religions, all sectarianism, all divisions, all differences. Not theoretically, but in action, by discovering and ascending to the Supermind, by preparing for the Descent of the Supermind on earth, for the well-being and progress of the humanity. For this Descent, in the Course of this Descent, He sacrificed His own body on the Day of His physical withdrawal, on 5th December 1950. Barin 12-06-2006 Tagged with: Supermind, Sri Aurobindo, supramental consciousness, Supramental manifestation, the psychic being, The Mother, Mira Alfassa, supramental world, Pondicherry 7 Comments posted by Barin

Monday, August 28, 2006

Sri Aurobindo was the first leader to insist on full independence for India

Great thinkers in Parliament THE TIMES OF INDIA 28 Aug, 2006
The statues of Sri Aurobindo and Swami Vivekananda were unveiled recently at Parliament House in New Delhi ( PTI )
NEW DELHI: There is fresh inspiration for MPs at their place of work. Life-size statues of spiritual gurus and thinkers Swami Vivekananda and Sri Aurobindo now grace Parliament House. The Monsoon Session closed on Friday last with the two sculptures being unveiled by Vice President Bhairon Singh Shekhawat, and Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee. Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh presented shawls to the sculptors of the statues. Both the statues are in bronze, are 82 inches high and have been donated by former Member of Parliament Dr L.M. Singhvi. The statue of Swami Vivekananda has been carved by well-known sculptor, CD Dakshinamoorthy, while that of Sri Aurobindo has been carved by a team of sculptors from Sri Aurodhan, Pondicherry.
Among the dignitaries that paid floral tributes at the statues were Chairperson of the United Progressive Alliance Sonia Gandhi, Leader of the House in Lok Sabha and Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee, Leader of Opposition L. K. Advani, ministers Shivraj Patil, Priyaranjan Dasmunsi, E. Ahamed and Suresh Pachouri among others. Swami Vivekananda was a spiritual genius of commanding intellect. Exhorting the nation to spiritual greatness, he awakened India to a new national consciousness. He was the founder of the Ramakrishna Mutt and Mission to spearhead the teachings of his spiritual guru, Sri Ramakrishna. Swami Vivekananda was a guiding spirit to the youth and his teachings remain an inspiration.
Shri Aravind Ghose, popularly known as Sri Aurobindo was the first of the national leaders to insist on full independence for India as the goal of the nationalist movement, besides lending all his energies to the freedom struggle.

Nation has seen no greater visionary and statesman than Sri Aurobindo

T.N. Chaturvedi at Sri Aurobindo Jayanti Celebrations September 03, 2006 Organiser Home > 2006 Issues > September 03, 2006
Inaugurating the 134th Jayanthi celebrations of Maharshi Aurobindo at Sanskriti Bhavan in Thiru-vanantha-puram under the auspicious of Arobindo Cultural Society, Karnataka Governor T.N. Chaturvedi said Aurobindo was a legacy, a source of inspiration, a meteor, a shooting star for whom yoga and politics were not different but inter-mingled and whose concern for human destiny was all along. He said Aurobindo was a multi-faceted personality as a pathmaker, a poet, a revolutionary, a freedom fighter, a yogi, a sadhak, an educationalist and what not, a personality difficult to approach and study.
He continued that Aurobindo transformed the character of the freedom movement, as in 1910 itself, he had vision that Bharat would attain freedom and hence he shifted his base to Pondicherry for efforts to spiritualise the nation. “The uttarpara message and his interview to The Hindu on 15th August 1947 amplifies his message to the world. He combined the three yogas and defined the concept of evolution. He broke the dichotomy between spiritualism and materialism and brought harmony between both.” Concluding his speech the Governor said that the concept of India as a mother was first propounded by the Maharshi, as also his realisation that spiritual destiny is the only salvation to the individual and the world.
Delivering his lecture Bharatiya Vichara Kendram Director Padmashri P. Parameswaran said Aurobindo was a world Indeologue whose vision encompassed every aspect of human life. He said Aurobindo knew about the limitations of politics in realising the soul of the nation. He said for Aurobindo, the state existed for the nation and not vice-versa, as today.
He continued that the Maharshi wanted a spiritualised nation and not a religious state. He said that the nation has seen no greater visionary and statesman, than Aurobindo. “What differentiated Gandhi from Aurobindo was Gandhi’s support to the Khilafat Movement, which was a deadly combination of religion with politics which led to the Partition of the Motherland.” He regretted that while the whole world spent decades for the study of Aurobindo’s vision, Kerala and Bengal (his birth state) lost the opportunity by going after a failed ideology-Marxism.
Earlier delivering his presidential address Shri O. Rajagopal, former Union Minister of state said that despite offers of Congress presidentship after Tilak’s death, Aurobindo continued with his ‘Sadhana’ and ‘Yoga’ in Pondicherry. He said that Aurobindo literature is a huge reservoir of knowledge for which, many western universities have set up chairs to explore. Dr. Vasudevan, K. Raman Pillai, Col. Chandran also spoke on the occasion.

Secrecy fixation is a threat to democracy and an insult to honest history

A Fixation With Secrecy Homepage : August 28, 2006 Editorial
In 1971, Defense Secretary Melvin Laird punctuated his plea to Congress for more cold war appropriations with a graphic display of information that revealed the nation on guard with 54 Titan and 1,000 Minuteman nuclear missiles, plus 30 strategic bomber squadrons. In making his case, Mr. Laird exemplified the idea that a little transparency is no drawback in a democracy.
Thirty-five years later, the Bush administration, which has consistently demonstrated an extraordinary mania for secrecy, is blacking that public information out of history. That’s right: it has reclassified the number of missiles and bombers from the Nixon era as some fresh national security secret, even though historians and officials in the old Soviet Union long have had it available on their research shelves.
What strange compulsion drives such “silly secrecy,” as it is aptly described by officials of the National Security Archive, a nonprofit research library at George Washington University? The archive published a report on how retroactive the administration has become in its obsession with creating secrets out of interesting information. The blacked-out missile and defense policy information dates to the 1960’s. Soviet numbers are left untouched on the open record, while the old American armada is freshly cloaked. What’s next? Classifying Civil War ironclads and cannons?
The missile blackout is the latest symptom of a deepening government illness. National security has become the excuse for efforts to crack down on whistle-blowers and journalists dealing in such vital disclosures as the illicit eavesdropping on Americans. Last spring the director of the National Archives objected to a reclassifying initiative undertaken by intelligence officials that caused 55,000 decades-old pages to vanish from the public record. The process itself was labeled an official secret.
Public recourse has become more difficult: enforcement of the Freedom of Information Act has become slower and more burdensome. The one thing the administration has made no secret is its antipathy to government transparency. The secrecy fixation is a threat to democracy and an insult to honest history.

No "right of secrecy of vote"

While arriving at the conclusion that dispensing with the domiciliary requirement does not offend the principle of federalism or affect the basic structure of the Constitution, the Court analysed the role of the Rajya Sabha. It observed: "Although... [it] is designed to serve as a Chamber where the States and the Union of India are represented, in practice, the Rajya Sabha does not act as a champion of local [State] interests."
This may be true. However, the pertinent question is: what is the conclusion that flows from this? Should we see this as a failure of its intended role? Or, as the Court has done, use it as a basis to justify scrapping the domicile clause? In stark contrast with the abstract, theoretical way it dealt with the residency issue, the Court took into account the existing political realities when deciding on the open ballot matter. It ruled that the amendments that introduced the open ballot system to elect Rajya Sabha members were justified on the grounds they had "been brought in to avoid cross voting and wipe out the evils of corruption... "
In ruling that "sunlight and transparency" would serve the larger objective — namely, free and fair elections — the Court rejected the contention that the right to vote invariably implies the "right of secrecy of vote." It needs to be noted that while the Court has held that the changes do not offend the basic structure of the Constitution, the wisdom behind them is debatable. The Hindu Opinion - Editorials Saturday, Aug 26, 2006

Saturday, August 26, 2006

What is Holacracy?

Holacracy is a next step in the evolution of human organizations. It includes a set of interwoven models, principles, practices, and systems that enable a fundamental transcendence of virtually all aspects of modern organizational dynamics. Holacracy embraces everything we’ve learned about organizations so far, and at the same time represents a quantum leap to a higher order of organization, one capable of artfully navigating in a world of higher order complexity and increasing uncertainty. The shift to this new level of organization is as fundamental as the leap from the monarchies of old to the democracies of today, and, as with any such shift, it brings new possibilities, new challenges, and a vast stretch of uncharted territory to explore.
From the root “holarchy”, holacracy means governance by the organizational entity itself – not governance by the people within the organization or by those who own the organization, as in all previous systems of governance, but by organization’s own “free will”. With Holacracy in place, the natural consciousness of an organization is freed to emerge and govern itself, steering the organizational entity towards its own telos, shaping itself to its own natural order. Every organization has its own individual “voice”, entirely and radically different from the voices of the people associated with the organization – just as the organization persists even as individuals come and go, so too does its voice.
The subtle sound of the organizational voice is always there, struggling to tell us its needs and pursue its own purpose in the world, but it is usually hidden by a cacophony of human ego. It can be heard sometimes when individuals come together in a transpersonal space – a space beyond ego, beyond fear, beyond hope, and beyond desire – to sense and facilitate the emergence of whatever needs to emerge now. Holacracy requires that this transpersonal space arise often and easily for organizational steering, and the many aspects of Holacracy all aim to facilitate this level of human dynamics.
There are many aspects of holacracy, from concrete organizational systems and shared language to the core individual intentions and understandings harnessed by and enfolded into holacracy. Use the navigation at the left to drill deeper into these and other areas of holacracy.
Restorative Justice
When accountabilities are dropped or individual action leads to harm, balance is reestablished through a restorative justice system rather than a punitive one. First, all individuals involved “look in the mirror” to find their contribution to the situation, and take restorative action to bring the system back into balance. The extent of their restorative action is commensurate with their contribution, as measured by the relevant circle. Once restorative action is underway, the circles involved use the situation to learn and adapt, by defining or evolving accountabilities, limits, measurements, and policies to transcend the need for the injustice in the first place.
"Holacracy allows an organization to surf the ever-arising edge of reality, its sails always full of the winds of spirit and its oars moving in perfect harmony with the heartbeat of the Kosmos. And all of the swimmers who climb aboard are invited simply to pick up an oar, and row.” -- Brian Robertson

Friday, August 25, 2006

The Western system affords the best possibility for people

ray harris Says: August 22nd, 2006 at 11:46 pm Thanks for that Andy. I must say I was surprised and disappointed with Michel Bauwen’s criticism primarily because it smacked of political correctness and contains a clear but unowned bias. “Israeli war machine”, “unilateral invasion”, “the destruction of Lebanon”, “the killing of so many innocent civilians” and of course the classic “essentializing of the Muslims”. Why no mention of the Hezbollah/Iranian war machine, the aggression of Hezbollah, of innocent Israeli deaths and of the essentializing of Jews, Israelis and the West? Michel, doesn’t the use of the terms ‘unilateral’ and ‘Israeli war machine’ suggest that you are guilty of essentializing the Israelis? Oh, and please, don’t cite the next line about ‘blaming the victims’. I know all about Edward Said and you need to know that he is not without fault. Ever heard of ‘Occidentalism’? It’s the argument that the Arabs essentialize the Jews and the West just as much as the West essentializes Muslims and Arabs. Hezbollah is responsible for some of the worst anti-Jewish (anti-Semitic) propaganda in the ME. Vile stuff.
My politics Friday, August 18th, 2006 I would define myself as a pro-Western progressive. I am more and more dismayed at progressives who are anti-Western and who naively align themselves with any anti-Western cause. This does not mean that I am not highly critical of conservative Western forces, particularly of Corporatism and right-wing Christianity.
The reason I am pro-Western is because, despite ‘all’ its many faults the Western system affords the best possibility for people to achieve their highest potential. Despite all the moral conservatism of the US, gays, lesbians, naturists, pagans, and a whole range of sub-cultures are able to find some expression and tolerance. How many naturist groups are there in Islamic countries?
This is why I make no apology in supporting Israel in its conflict with Hezbollah. Hezbollah is a fanatical, intolerant, fundamentalist movement. I hope it is destroyed as all fascism ought to be destroyed. This does not mean that I am not critical of Israel and its militaristic culture. But it must be remembered that Israeli society is politically diverse. There are Israeli naturists and an openly gay mayor. Israeli gay Arabs can find a freedom they could never dream of under Hamas.
I do not believe cultures or ideologies have rights. I do not believe in social holons. Societies are complexes of individuals and the prime directive only applies to individuals. I therefore judge each society/ideology/culture on how well it allows its members to reach their highest potential. I am therefore extremely wary of undermining Western culture because I fear its collapse and what might replace it. It could be improved, but it is the best we’ve got. Posted in Ray's Integral Blog, Integral politics 12 Comments »
Integral jurisprudence Thursday, August 24th, 2006 For me any integral solution requires listening to all the competing narratives and comparing them AQAL style to the ‘independent’ facts. Another part of this conflict is the use of propaganda by both sides and the rewriting of history. Attempts at an independent history and narrative have been attacked for being biased in favour of one or other side. This is where sorting through mythic, rational and ‘integral’ narratives becomes essential. Who’s version is closer to the ‘truth’?
I must confess that as I sort through the various narratives I’m finding the Arab narratives to be more prone to propaganda and historical revisionism, more prone to mythic thinking. I find that there is more of a rational and self-critical approach in Israeli narratives. Much of this is cultural and has to do with how each cultural complex approaches ideas of truth, particularly of historical truth. The mythic view tends to rewrite history to support the current myth whereas the rational tries to honour evidence (as any history student can attest). To give you an example from a recent issue of ‘Biblical Archaeology’ - the Muslim conquest of Jerusalem came at the hands of a minor officer called Khalid ibn Thabit, however, as Jerusalem grew in importance as a Muslim religious centre, the story was changed and the honour of conquering Jerusalem was given to Caliph Umar (the second or third most important figure after Mohammed - according to which sect you adhere to).
Sorting through these competing narratives is difficult - but you would only do so to try and come to some sort of judgment, if only for yourself. I’m currently sorting through these narratives. Where am I now (it could change as I find out more)? I think the Jews have the more compelling case. Israel has certainly made mistakes (the illegal settlers issue for one) but it has had to exist under incredible pressure from Arabs opposed to its existance. I believe that if all Arabs and Palestinians accepted the existance of Israel then the Israelis would begin to feel secure. Then, not feeling threatened by militants they would relax their policies towards the Palestinians. But this is naive. We are a long way away from most Arabs accepting Israel - and so the conflict will continue. This entry was posted on Thursday, August 24th, 2006 at 12:28 am and is filed under Ray's Integral Blog, Integral politics.
alan kazlev Says: August 24th, 2006 at 6:23 pm Hi Ray, But surely that would be unreasonable because the Palestinians are disenfranchised and oppressed as it is, it would be unfair to ask unilateral concessions first. A better approach might be something like this (note I am not saying it should be this exactly, this is just a very rough idea i wroite off the top of my head)
Each side agrees to the others claims and concerns, and each is policed by the other (with a few trusted other nations acting as neutral observers and referees). So the Israelis agree to dismantle all the settlements and withdarw from all the Palestinian territories, and recoognise full Palestinian statehood and soverignty, on the condition that no Hamas or Hezbollah attacks are made on Israeli citizens or territory. If any are, well the Israelis have the most powerful military in the region and can act accordingly.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

The partition must go

The colonial rule eliminated the Muslim gentry from power in the late eighteenth century. Being deprived of power, the traditional Muslim classes maintained a distance from the colonial rulers for about a century before they recognised English rule and English education in the late ninteen century. Dhaka and the Eastern Bengali Muslims put themselves on the intellectual map as the distinction between Muslim and Hindu political thinking became more pronounced during the twentieth century. The partition of Bengal in 1905 forced both schools of thought to reconsider their positions.
The Hindu intelligentsia responded by opposing the partition, often in language which revealed a deep-seated communal hatred of Muslims. While older leaders like Sir surendranath banerjea maintained a moderate stance and rabindranath tagore warned against the danger of attacking Muslims, radicalism among the younger Calcutta-based opponents of partition, such as Bipin Chandra Pal, aswini kumar dutta and aurobindo ghosh, was increasingly associated with antagonism against Muslims. In Eastern Bengal, Pulinbehari Das and Bupeshchandra Nag formed the anushilan samiti, a network of terrorist cells dedicated to rescinding partition.
By contrast, most Eastern Bengali Muslims welcomed partition. On 16 October 1905, the day that the partition became legally effective, khwaja salimullah, the Nawab of Dhaka, established the Eastern Bengal and Assam Mohammedan Provincial Union (later Provincial Mohammedan Association) to unite the Muslims of the new province. The following year, Sir Salimullah broadened his platform by founding the all-india muslim league. In 1908, he formed the East Bengal and Assam Muslim League, to develop Muslim political debate within the new province. All of these organisations were primarily vehicles for the elite of the Muslim community. Membership of the Provincial Mohammedan Association, for instance, was limited to 'men of social position and dignity'. [Nazia Khanum] banglapedia

The most successful of the pre-Gandhian movements

Swadeshi Movement emanated from the partition of bengal, 1905 and continued up to 1908. It was the most successful of the pre-Gandhian movements. Initially the partition plan was opposed through an intensive use of conventional 'moderate' methods of press campaigns, numerous meetings and petitions, and big conferences at the calcutta town hall in March 1904 and January 1905. The evident and total failure of such techniques led to a search for new forms - boycott of British goods, rakhi bandhan and arandhan.
Theoretically, two major trends can be identified in the Swadeshi (Swadeshi) Movement- 'constructive Swadeshi' and political 'extremism'. 'Boycott' was the weapon to make Swadeshi movement successful. Constructive Swadeshi was the trend of self-help through Swadeshi industries, national schools and attempts at village improvement and organisation. This found expression through the business ventures of prafulla chandra roy or nilratan sarkar, national education movement laid down by Satishchandra Mukherjee, and constructive work in villages through a revival of the traditional Hindu samaj sketched out by rabindranath tagore. Swadesh Bandhav Samity of aswini kumar datta also played a major role in the effort for reconstruction. Rabindranath called such a perspective of development atmashakti (self-strengthening).
This, however, had little appeal to the excited educated youth of Bengal who were drawn much more to the creed of political 'extremism'. Their fundamental difference with the preachers of constructive Swadeshi was over methods, and here the classic statement came from aurobindo ghosh in a series of articles in April 1907, later reprinted as 'Doctrine of Passive Resistance'. He visualised a programme of 'organised and relentless boycott of British goods, officialised education, justice and executive administration', (backed up by the positive development of Swadeshi industries, schools and arbitration courts), and also looked forward to civil disobedience, 'social boycott' of loyalists, and recourse to armed struggle if British repression went beyond the limits of endurance.
Another controversy arose over cultural ideas, between modernistic and Hindu revivalist trend. The Swadeshi mood in general was closely linked with attempts to associate politics with religious revivalism. surendranath banerjea claimed to have been the first to use the method of Swadeshi vows in temples. National education plans often had a strong revivalist content and 'boycott' was sought to be enforced through traditional caste sanctions. Such aggressive Hinduism often got inextricably combined in the pages of Bande Mataram, Sandhya or Yugantar while Brahmo journals like Sanjibani or Prabasi were critical of this view.
The Hindu revivalist trend, together with the British propaganda that the new province would mean more jobs for Muslims did achieve considerable success in swaying upper and middle class Muslims against the Swadeshi movement. Despite eloquent pleas for communal unity propagated by an active group of Swadeshi Muslim agitators like ghaznavi, rasul, Din Mahomed, Didar, Liakat Hussain etc there were communal riots in East Bengal. Some Hindu zamindars and mahajans started levying an Ishvar brtti for maintaining Hindu images. So a large section of the Muslim community in Bengal remained aloof from the Swadeshi movement and Hindu bhadralok, whether believing in moderate or extremist politics, took leading part in the movement.
Such a limitation of the spontaneity of the movement caught the attention of Rabindranath and other men of letters. Rabindranath, though considerably swayed by revivalism for some years, under the impact of communal strife, pointed out in a series of remarkably perceptive articles in mid 1907 that simply blaming the British for the riots was quite an inadequate response.
Together with these cultural limitations, the history of boycott and Swadeshi movement vividly illustrated the limits of an intelligentsia movement with broadly bourgeois aspirations but without as yet real bourgeois support. Boycott achieved some initial success - thus the Calcutta collector of customs in September 1906 noted a decline in Manchester cloth sales. This decline had a lot to do with a quarrel over trade terms between Calcutta marwari dealers and British manufacturers. It is significant also that the sharpest decline was in items like shoes and cigarettes where the demand was mainly from middle class Indian gentlemen.
In spite of such limitations the Swadeshi mood did bring about a significant revival in handloom, silk weaving, and some other traditional crafts. Also a number of attempts to promote modern industries were taken. Thus the 'Banga Lakshmi Cotton Mills' was launched in August 1906 and there were some fairly successful ventures in porcelain, chrome, soap, matches and cigarettes.
A considerable variety may be noticed within the national education efforts in Swadeshi Bengal, ranging from plans for vernacular technical teaching to santiniketan of Rabindranath and dawn society of Satish Mukherjee. These were plans to combine the traditional and the modern in a scheme for 'higher culture' for selected youths. National Society of Education was set up as a parallel university in March 1906. Though National Education with its negligible job prospects failed to attract the bulk of students, still some institutions like Bengal National College or Bengal Technical Institute survived after a couple of years.
The emergence of Samitis was an achievement of the Swedeshi age. By 1908, most of these Samitis were quite open bodies engaged in a variety of activities - physical and moral training of members, social work during religious festivals, preaching the Swadeshi message through multifarious forms, organising crafts, schools, arbitration courts and village societies, and implementing the techniques of passive resistance.
The Swadeshi movement indirectly alienated the general Muslim public from national politics. They followed a separate course that culminated in the formation of the muslim league (1906) in Dacca. But it also helped to give a new dimension in the Indian nationalist movement by giving the anticipations of Gandhian mass satyagraha without the dogma of non-violence. [Ranjit Roy] banglapedia [Chief Editor's Preface] [Board of Editors] [Contributors] [How to Use] [Home] Index:[A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W Y Z ]

In 1906, Barin Ghosh started Jugantar to propagate revolutionary ideas

Ghosh, Barindrakumar (1880-1959) the youngest son of Krishnadhan Ghosh and Swarnalata Ghosh of Konnagar, West Bengal, was born at Norwood in the vicinity of London on 5 January 1880. On his return to India, Barin, as he was popularly known, passed the Entrance Examination from a high school at Deoghar in 1898 and joined the Patna College. He, however, did not prosecute his formal studies longer.
Barin Ghosh spent a few days with his elder brother Manmohan Ghosh at Dhaka and found a lot of love from Professor Kalipada Basu, an eminent Mathematician. He then went to Baroda and there received rifle training and at the same time had extensive study in history and politics. Under the influence of aurobindo ghosh, his elder brother he was gradually drawn into the revolutionary movement.
In the early 1900s, Aurobindo deputed his able lieutenant Jatindranath Banerjee to bring the various revolutionary groups of Bengal under a common programme and in 1903 Barin was sent to Calcutta to help Jatindranath in this mission. But due to different attitudes and perceptions, strained relations developed between Barin and Jatindranath.
In 1906, in the heydays of the swadeshi movement Barin Ghosh started Jugantar, a Bengali weekly, to propagate revolutionary ideas. The popularity of the Jugantar particularly among the younger generation made the British officials highly suspicious of Barin's motives. He faced persecutions, but his spirit was indomitable. In 1907, he started the Maniktala group with a small batch of dedicated young revolutionaries to collect arms and manufacture explosives. They were trained in the use of sophisticated weapons. On 2 May 1908 Barin was arrested along with other revolutionaries for trying to incite an armed struggle against the British raj. Barin was condemned to death, but on appeal it was commuted to life imprisonment. He was deported to the Andamans.
Almost a decade after, following the colonial government's decision to release political prisoners, he was brought back to Calcutta and set free. Thereafter, he took to journalism and acquired one of the best printing houses in Calcutta. But after two years Barin left his business to start an ashram in Calcutta. In 1923 he decided to leave for Pondicherry and render his services to the ashram. During his stay in Pondicherry, Aurobindo's spiritual influence drew him closer to the philosophy of sadhana. However, after a lapse of six years Barin returned to Calcutta in 1929. In the succeeding years he became associated with the Statesman of Calcutta and gained fame as a columnist. Later he joined the Basumati as its editor.
In 1933, he married Sailaja Dutta, a widow of a respectable family. Though a devout Hindu, he certainly was not a fanatic, rather, tried to combine diverse philosophies and religions into a composite spiritual whole. He died on 18 April 1959 at the age of seventy-nine. [Raj Sekhar Basu]
Bibliography Barindrakumar Ghosh, Pather Ingit, Calcutta, 1337, BS; Upendra Nath Bandyopadhyaya, Nirbasiter Atmakatha, Calcutta, 1352 BS; RC Majumdar, History of the Freedom Movement in India, II, Calcutta, 1963. [Chief Editor's Preface] [Board of Editors] [Contributors] [How to Use] [Team: CD Version] [Home] Index:[A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W Y Z ]

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

A peer to peer ethos to create new forms of social life

The following essay describes the emergence, or expansion, of a specific type of relational dynamic, which I call peer to peer. It's a form of human network-based organisation which rests upon the free participation of equipotent partners, engaged in the production of common resources, without recourse to monetary compensation as key motivating factor, and not organized according to hierarchical methods of command and control.
This format is emerging throughout the social field: as a format of technology (the point to point internet, filesharing, grid computing, the Writeable Web initiatives, blogs), as a third mode of production which is also called Commons-based peer production (neither centrally planned nor profit-driven), producing hardware, software (often called Free Libre Open Sources Software or FLOSS) and intellectual and cultural resources (wetware) that are of great value to humanity (Wikipedia), and as a general mode of knowledge exchange and collective learning which is massively practiced on the internet. It also emerges as new organizational formats in politics, spirituality; as a new `culture of work'...
If you would have been a social scientist during the lifetime of Marx and witnessed the emergence and growth of the factory-based industrial model, and you would then have arrived at the equivalent of what social network theory is today, i.e. an analysis of mainstream society and sociality. This is what the network sociality model of Andreas Wittel provides. But at the same time that the factory system was developing, a reaction was created as well. Workers were creating cooperatives and mutualities, unions and new political parties and movements, which would go on to fundamentally alter the world.
Today, this is what happens with peer to peer. Whereas Castells and Wittel focus on the general emergence of network society and society, and describes the networks overall and the dominant features of it, I want and tend to focus on the birth of a counter-movement, centered around a particular format of sociality based in distributed networks, where the focus is on creating participation for all, and not the buttressing of the 'meshworks of exploitation'.
As the dominant forces of society are mutating to networked forms of organizing the political economy (called Empire by Toni Negri), a bottom-up reaction against this new alienation is occurring (alienated, because in Empire, the meshwork are at the service of creating ever more inequality), by the forces of what Negri and Hardt call the multitude(s). These forces are using peer to peer processes, and a peer to peer ethos, to create new forms of social life, and this is what I want to document in this essay. Integral Visioning Michel Bauwens: P2P Spiritual Culture

Roy Bhaskar’s ideas of Critical Realism and Michel Bauwens' P2P

Awe and Shock with Critical Realism: is it compatible with P2P? 22nd August 2006 Faithful readers of this blog will know that one of its main editors (Michel Bauwens) participated at the annual conference of the International Association of Critical Realism in Tromso, Norway.
The Awe
It was a rather small gathering of about 50 people, nearly all from the academic and research communities. The reason I attended was twofold. As I have become increasingly critical of the misrepresentations and intellectual dishonesty of the integral philosophy as represented by Ken Wilber, I had been wondering if other integrative approaches might be of interest. Perhaps I should also admit that a part of me was looking for a new ‘spiritual home’.
It is in this context that I recently discovered Roy Bhaskar’s ideas of Critical Realism. CR presents itself as an alternative to both ‘positivism’, which reigns (does it still?) in the hard sciences, and to social constructivism, which is a strong alternative in the social sciences. Unlike the latter, CR insists there is a reality outside of us, and that it has certain definite features (it is stratified, there is emergence, …), despite the fact that knowledge is socially mediated. For CR, saying that reality is socially constructed is therefore nonsense. I have been struggling with postmodern approaches for years, and to me, CR restores some basic common sense. Reading Bhaskar was for me a kind of ‘aha’ experience, someone that formulated so much better what I realized I had been thinking all along. But I must admit I don’t know nearly enough about it, having just read one book.
CR has this particularity that it still believes in human emancipation, and that makes it particularly valuable in this age of disenchantement. One of my aims was to see if there was any possible connection between the general emancipatory theory and practice of CR, which seems confined mostly to academia, and the pragmatic aims of peer to peer philosophy, which gives a concrete and contemporary aim to such general emancipatory practice. In any case, the conference confirmed a lot of positive opinions I had formulated. The community seems a space for open dialogue, open to criticism, including of Bhaskar himself, where researchers share their findings to their peers. Very much unlike the intellectually intolerant atmosphere around Wilberism.
The fact that this took place in the wonderful natural environment of Tromso, well within the Arctic circle, and with the company of the midnight sun, as well as the general friendliness of the Norwegian people of the area, all that was part of the awe that I felt. Now for the shock.
The Shock
The shock came with a last minute conversation I had with Margaret Archer, a well-regarded sociologist which is one of the top figures of CR. It is one of those conversations you wish you had never had. Fresh with my newfound enthusiasm, I approached her with the invitation to make the viewpoints of CR more visible to the community around the P2P Foundation. My practical question was: did CR have any insights on relationality which could be shared with our own community? The aim was to create entries about CR interpretations of relational concepts, alongside with others from other traditions.
She responded that she (they) were totally uninterested in presenting CR as ‘one of the options’. To clarify, the P2P Foundation is a pragmatic emancipatory project, which aims to universalize the subject to subject relationships which are exhibited in peer production and peer governance. As such, you can come to it from different metaphysical points of view. It is not possible for P2P to shed this pluralism, and to become the vehicle of one particular metaphysic, even though on a personal level, I may symphatise. P2P looks within each tradition, for elements that are congruent with the practical aim of emancipation. But it strkes me as particularly counterproductive for a movement, like CR, to demand a monopoly of representation. If a sympathizer asks for assistance in presenting CR insights to a new audience, what is the point of refusing?? Does that mean that CR only wants to communicate within its own circles of like-minded researchers. Surely that would condemn it remain a small academic grouping, and I don’t see how that can be squared with a general option for human emancipation? Of course, I’m not arguing that anything goes, that CR should be everywhere, but I think the context for presenting its ideas was particularly favorable in this instance.
Then came the second shocker. We came to a discussion of Wikipedia. Margaret said she was totally opposed to it and prohibited her students from quoting it, and that it represented a consensus theory of truth which CR opposed. Now, I write as one that is well aware of the flaws and imperfections of Wikipedia, but to refuse it as a source??? It is a source, like blogs and other social media, that has to be used critically, along other sources, using one’s critical judgment, and this is of course something we can be trained in. But other established sources are equally flawed, though for different reasons. The press for instance, is that a source that we should uncritically embrace and quote from? And scientific papers, especially in the social sciences? I can readily imagine what Margaret’s students must be doing, using the Wikipedia since it is now in many cases simply indispensable, but then hiding that fact in their papers, which is really a most unfortunate and hypocritical solution. What they are not learning is to be critical about the use of such sources.
At the P2P Foundation, we do not oppose social media such as the Wikipedia, we support them for their innovative practices, which extend participation in knowledge production, but within that emergence of new practices, we are critical of its flaws, and aim to study and constructively criticize such practices, so that through better peer governance, its flaws may be gradually overcome.
The Conclusion
The conclusion is that I personally remain sympathetic to the general position and insights of CR, and will continue to study it at my own pace. Unfortunately, if the position of Margaret Archer is one that is shared by others within the CR community, it means that the input of its insights into P2P resources will be underrepresented as it is unsupported. Though it was said, including by Margaret Archer itself, that the P2P lecture had a high impact, I’m not sure how to proceed with the CR-P2P interconnection, and will keep my own initial enthusiasm in check.

Beyond the desire to grasp power....beyond the board rooms

Wednesday, August 23, 2006 A CASE WITH A DIFFERENCE
I have not given a count on the number of cases which we have prepared so far, during the first three terms of the ISB schedule. Some of the cases are inspiring…some others are average and a few of them are even boring to some extent with their high quantitative content. But, the last case of “Entrepreneurship”…Harvard Business School case on “The Aravind Eye Hospital, Madurai, India: In service for Sight”, has made me think really hard.
Normally, the entrepreneurship cases are filled with a high emphasis on Venture Capitalists, angel investors, politics and governement, high technology stuff and last but not the least the passion to make profits. But here is this case where the entrepreneur mixes passion with spirituality, success with the desire to serve humanity and an appeal with a mission. Dr. V as he is addressed in the case, is none other than Dr. Venkataswamy, who started the Aravind eye hospital after retiring from the Government services. He revolutionized the way cataract is treated in the country, and got back light into the lives of many. Here is something, directly from the words of Dr. V (as presented in the case)
“What I learnt from Mahatma and Swami Aurobindo was that all of us through dedication in our professional lives can serve humanity and God. Achieving a sense of spirituality or higher consciousness is a slow and gradual process. It is wrong to think that unless you are a mendicant or a martyr you cannot be a spiritual person. When I go to the meditation room at the hospital every morning, I ask God that I be a better tool, a receptacle for the divine force. We can all serve humanity in our normal professional lives by being more generous and less selfish in what we do. You don’t have to be a “religious” person to serve God. You serve God by serving humanity”
What makes me really admire Dr. V, is his ability to transform his motto of life into success with such immaculate perfection. Such cases does question the real objective of life..the real objective beyond the passion to make profits...beyond the desire to grasp power....beyond the board rooms...and beyond the tangible measures of success. posted by SABYASACHI @ 1:06 PM KEYS TO IMAGINATIONS

The disquieting, but meaningful, silence of the silent majority

Freedoms, won and lost JYOTIRMAYA SHARMA The Hindu Magazine Sunday, Aug 14, 2005
Whatever be the definitional problems with freedom, it is possible to identify those that India has squandered and gained in the past 58 years. 'The most substantive liberty to be enhanced since independence is freedom for women. Despite continuing instances of violence and injustice, women have begun to seize the initiative in all walks of life, in villages and in cities, and have asserted their will and their ability to be heard and counted.' UNDISCOUNTABLE: Independent India has fabricated for itself the freedom to be happy. Contrasted with crass materialism or consumerism, this freedom manifests itself in the celebration of shared joys.
We must never forget in the present day that those people who have got their political freedom are not necessarily free; they are merely powerful. The passions which are unbridled in them are creating huge organisations of slavery in the disguise of freedom.
Rabindranath Tagore in Nationalism
IN our preoccupation with growth-rate figures, surging stock-market indices, nuclear might and the quest for a permanent Security Council seat, we no longer ask what it is to be free. Is it because the idea of freedom is elusively difficult to define? Has our preoccupation with the here and now made us shrink and limit the notion of freedom? Or is it just a case of taking freedom for granted? Is it because we have begun to believe in the propaganda of our own power and invincibility, illustrated only a year ago in the shrillness of the "India Shining" propaganda? The answer to all these questions is a bit of all these and much more.
Enslaved by poverty
Whatever be the definitional problems with freedom, it is possible to identify the substantive freedoms India has lost and won in the past 58 years. The most visible loss of liberty during this period is the lack of freedom from poverty. Poverty is ugly and the most grotesque form of slavery. It dehumanises the spirit and shows the inadequacy of an entire people. Gandhi said that he was working for winning Swaraj (independence) "for those toiling and unemployed millions who do not get even a square meal a day and have to scratch along with a piece of stale roti and a pinch of salt." In that sense, a very substantial part of India still lives in bondage.
Closely linked to this is the lack of freedom from hatred, violence, bigotry and corruption. Communal riots, sectarian violence and ubiquitous corruption have severely restricted the freedoms a citizen enjoys. Parochialism and a limiting notion of nationalism have reduced considerably the amount of freedom a citizen enjoys today, and to that extent, the quantum of unfreedom has been on the rise.
Inability to build institutions and nurture them is the next roadblock in the path of freedom. Consequently, freedom from arbitrariness still remains a distant dream. The ordinary citizen is constantly being assailed by what Tagore called the "insolent might" of the powerful. In large areas of public life, might seems to be the only right.
Above all, freedom from mediocrity is still a distant dream. This manifests itself visibly in ugly buildings, inadequate civic infrastructure and environmental degradation. Otherwise, the inability to produce original ideas and new knowledge is the most obvious illustration of this loss of freedom. Predictably, the ability to use technology someone else has created is often mistaken to be a sign of originality. In routine ways, we are mostly happy to settle for the second best or intellectual handouts.
The story of freedom in India is not, however, one of gloom and doom alone. The most substantive liberty to be enhanced since independence is freedom for women. Despite continuing instances of violence and injustice, women have begun to seize the initiative in all walks of life, in villages and in cities, and have asserted their will and their ability to be heard and counted. Freedom for the Dalits has been another singular achievement of the last five decades or more. Dalits have found a sense of self-possession and a voice that compels attention. If there exist powerful forces that still oppose the rights of the Dalits, they do so against an entity that is empowered and assertive.
Plurality, a survivor
Another freedom that has survived constant onslaughts is the plurality to choose from many tongues, many gods, manifold ways of life and culture. Religious intolerance, communal hatred and politicisation of religion haven't been able to take away the diversity that underwrites the very essence of this freedom to choose one's own life and destiny. The best thing about this freedom is that it has survived and strengthened without a great deal of help from either the Indian State or the formal processes of politics.
A very important freedom that independent India has fabricated for itself is the freedom to be happy. This has very little to do with metaphysical notions of happiness or the classical idea of contentment. Contrasted with crass materialism or consumerism, this freedom manifests itself in the celebration of shared joys and ecstasies. Cricket and cinema are the most obvious instances of this form of freedom. They provide an invisible way in which every Indian communicates his happiness to every other Indian.
The freedom to demand one's rights has grown from strength to strength. There is hardly any segment of society, which has not become conscious of its rights and the ways in which to protect them. The Indian citizen has graduated from being a receptacle of rights to being an individual who not only demands them as a matter of entitlement but also someone who redefines their nature and scope.
Very little of all this would have happened had India not exercised the freedom to remain a democracy. The longevity and perpetuity, if not the excellence, of democracy has ensured that no individual or ideology has been able to paint this country in monochromatic colours. The noise and chaos of democracy might often produce an unbearable cacophony, but it still affords its people to have a voice. All that is needed is for the voice to be regularly modulated in ways that will ultimately reduce the overall shrillness of public discourse. A little restraint will also help to listen more carefully to the disquieting, but meaningful, silence of the silent majority. posted by mandar talvekar write to me Permanent Link

Your caricature of Sri Aurobindo was extremely pejorative

Re: Response to Jyotirmaya Sharma by Jyotirmaya on Tue 22 Aug 2006 10:26 AM PDT Profile Permanent Link I must express my gratitude to you for one thing: You have made me understand George Bush, another Texan, better. But I feel sorry for Sri Aurobindo. Reading you, someone who is unfamiliar with the Maharshi's work might suspect that he was a millenarian fanatic like you!
Re: Response to Jyotirmaya Sharma by Rich on Tue 22 Aug 2006 09:49 PM PDT Profile Permanent Link That I have been accused of being a blind zealot because my figure of veneration has been attacked is certainly noteworthy. Sri Aurobindo is certainly stands out as a figure of veneration for the for me, but I guess I should provide a short veneration list this millenarian’s fanaticism is better understood, which would certainly include works by the following
Jacques Derrida, James Joyce, John Coltrane, Che Guevara, Ingmar Bergman, Mohammed Rafi, Rainer Marie Rilke, Johann Wolgang Goethe, Marshall McLuhan, Aikro Kurosawa, Igor Stravinski, Ravi Shankar, the Beatles, T.S. Eliot, Gustav Mahler, Albert Einstein, Noam Chomsky, Italo Calvino, Jobim & Glibert, Theolonius Monk, Sarah Vaughn, Ali Akbar Kahn, Owen Barfield, Jean Gebser, Yeats, Blake, the Dead, David Bohm, Richard Lewinton, Vandana Shiva, Neils Bohr, Frank Loyd Wright, Antonio Gaudi, Frank Gehry, Franz Schubert, Nat Cole, Claude Debussy, Paul Klee, Wassily Kandinsky, Claude Monet, Miles, Nelson Mandala, Martin Luther King Jr, Malcolm X, Michael Jordan, Mohammed Ali, Charlie Chaplin, Charles M. Schultz, Alfred Steglitz, Frank Zappa. So be prepared to duck if you throw a wrong invective their way!
Perhaps as Jyotirmaya asserts that it is my pathological need to be liked or agreed with, but I would like to better understand why the folks on The Hindu right have accused me of being a Marxist for my chastisement of them for using Sri Aurobindo as a mascot and now the left accuses me of being a blind zealot for admonishing them for using him as a whipping boy. Ok admittedly my pejorative style has not helped matters, but to my defense I will say that you all have not exactly been kind to Sri Aurobindo in holding him accountable (directly or indirectly) for all sorts of zealotry committed by real fanatics.
I certainly gave a review of your book which I feel exposed the fatal flaws in an unbalanced thesis and admittedly was not really kind in doing, and if that pisses you off (in an American sense) you have every reason to call me an ignorant Texan, a jerk, an asshole, although calling me the former implies the later two. I would urge everyone however, who is tuned in, to read your book and make the judgment for themselves and see what they think, if my critique has value it will become apparent to the reader. I believe that the aspects of Sri Aurobindo's thought that you assert form the genealogy and patrimony of political Hindutva today are presented in a manner which is far from critically argued at all. In short it is the manner you have stacked the deck in selecting facts and presenting your argument, which becomes irritating to this Zealot.
I don’t discount the entirety of the whole thesis and I must say you write well and it has promise I believe in showing how higher ideals are co-opted and debased. However, I simply think that you neglect critical historical context in not way presenting the full range of Sri Aurobindo’s thought to balance your presentation, but choose only to focus on quips and quotes taken largely out of context and juxtaposed in an argument, in which you seem to slough off blame, for a complex contemporary cultural phenomena on a Maharishi whom you had made a convenient fall guy! I also have had confirmation of this from Peter Heehs who says of my critique: Two comments in your long reply to him (below) stand out. First "almost the entire historical context is missing". This certainly is so. Secondly, if Sharma used a more sophisticated hermeneutic, the story he tells would be "more complex".
You write: Aurobinbdo’s contribution to political Hinduvta is second to none….. Aurobindo in one of his mystical flights had written that no one really knows anything about his life. It has not been on the surface to see he said. His writings however have inspired a jihadi Hinduism and political Hinduism that might require the coming of the Shakti of Peace, the Shakti of Reason and the Shakti of Moderation to undo the damage.
Now when you write that someone inspired a Jihad it certainly gives the impression that you are directly tracing the holy war back to this person. I will also add, that to your credit you do say within this passage that Aurobindo has become the pamphleteer of Hindu rashtra “without being conscious of it”. But I find no elaboration on this point, and in his review in PCS even Peter seems to lament that your view really misses the point and the proper location of causality. As I say it would have been nice if you would have presented more critical argument which challenge the notion that the complex phenomena of Hindutva can simply be traced back to a lineage of gurus and mystics.
Your caricature of Sri Aurobindo was extremely pejorative – perhaps for you because he is a fallen hero – but, nor do you ever quote from his major works on social political thought to balance your treatment of him. So you are not exactly kind to Sri Aurobindo in your treatment of him, which of course is what I stand guilty of in my critique of you as the author of Hindutva. But if you have further evidence to present be it in your Master’s thesis or otherwise, I say to you - just as Frank Zappa said to his tenor saxman Ian Underwood to cook up a jam – whip it out! Please post it, especially if you can elaborate on historical context and hermeneutic context. I am certainly open to having my heroes dethroned if the circumstances cause me to re-evaluate them (this was the case when Woody Allen slipped off my veneration list.
When one lives in Texas and something really bad happens (e.g. the rise of the Bush family which I have watched since the 60s) one either shoots it out or leaves. I have actually left and now reside near Seattle The interesting thing in this whole shoot out we have been having is that, I actually think that the rise of fundamentalist religion of all types (e.g. Hindu, Muslim, Christian, Zionist), coupled with the hegemony of the US government and the "virtual class" are two of the greatest conundrums facing the world today, and at least I think its best to identify the real culprits making things rough on the evolving world today, and not hold to account someone whose works deliberately advocated Human Unity, the spiritual transformation of consciousness, and an inclusive multi-cultural society. It was in this spirit that I have and still do advocate dialog by the left and right in a larger integral conversation (and I hope this don’t upset the theory of my need to be liked, but if it makes you all feel better, you may just want to come together so both sides can stone me.) rich

Dumbing-down the news agenda

The former Home Minister Indrajit Gupta was one day doggedly pursued by a young journalist on his way out of parliament. When he finally agreed to stop for the news crew, he was asked the probing question. "Sir, would you please say something". The second question was "and Sir, who are you?"
Page Three here means sleazy scandals and stories about the rich and famous. Too much time to fill, too many channels, not enough news and reporters just out of their teens are all factors dumbing-down the news agenda across the industry...There's no hard evidence yet of the casting couch being wheeled into the nation's newsrooms. But the scourge of the modern Indian TV channel, the website, is full of accusations of sexual harassment of young women by more senior staff. How TV news is distorting India's media By Paul Danahar BBC South Asia bureau editor

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

West must see itself as a world-centric civilization

Andy Smith Says: August 20th, 2006 at 9:17 am I agree that social holons do not have the degree of unity that individual holons do. When we consider human societies, there is another difference that almost everyone misses: these societies are not completely evolved. If you look at the evolution of lower forms of life, there is little doubt that before there were cells, there were “complex ecolog[ies] of co-operating and competing” molecules “pursu[ing] their self-interest.” Multicellular holons went through a similar phase before organisms evolved. The history of evolution reveals a constant interplay between diversity and unity, (and I have discussed a little about why this must be in my article on non-dual development at Visser’s site.)Human societies are at a similar point in their evolution to where cells were before there were organisms, or molecules prior to cells. It remains to be seen whether they will develop further and become more unified, but certainly the precedent has been set.
Even with these qualifications, modern Western societies are fairly highly evolved. The fact that there are competing subgroups does not mean that societies can’t act as a unit. There may be tremendous disagreement about America’s foreign policy, but we went over to Iraq and have stayed there. There is great disagreement about our economic system, but it continues to follow some fairly well-defined principles. Nations and societies are capable of presenting a fairly unified face to the world. One reason it doesn’t easily appear that way to us as individuals is because we don’t exist at the social holon level. We are one individual holon connected to many others. Our situation makes us intensely aware of conflict and diversity, just as an individual cell in the brain, to the extent it has some awareness, must be far more aware of its differences wrt other cells than any unity of purpose of the entire organism. Every time an organism acts, no matter how purposefully, an enormous number of conflicts within itself must be addressed and resolved...
The essence of our differences, I think, is this. You have a concept of a Western civilization in conflict with another civilization. You think that it can and must distinguish itself from this other civilization, oppose its values to the values of the other civilization.. I think it may be too late for that. Like you, I think the West is further along in some developmental sense. But unlike you, I think that development has now proceeded so far that we can no longer play the game of “I’m better than you”. The next developmental step is for the West is to see itself as a world-centric civilization, one that does not and cannot identify with any particular society or culture. I don’t know if the West can take that step, but if it can’t, I think it will decline and eventually fall, because generally speaking, societies, like other holons, must continue to grow in some sense, or die.
Anand Rangarajan Says: August 20th, 2006 at 9:58 am This may have already happened - i.e. the worldcentric step. Are large parts of India, Turkey, Thailand, Taiwan, Indonesia, South Korea, Japan, Phillippines and Malaysia to be defined as non-Western? I grew up in India and recall being very puzzled by the notion of “Western” when I came to the US. So, I don’t understand the need to stick with the Western label. Why not call it progressive Enlightenment civilization instead? That way, we don’t need to clarify if we mean the Western or Eastern notions of enlightenment - sorry, sorry, couldn’t resist.
Tusar N. Mohapatra Says: August 22nd, 2006 at 1:58 am Years ago, Sri Aurobindo wrote about WORLD UNION in his works “The Human Cycle,” and “The Ideal of Human Unity,” and spoke about it in his Independence Day of India message. Fired by this “Third Dream” of Sri Aurobindo, WORLD UNION, a non-profit, non-political organisation was founded on November 26, 1958 “with a view to carrying forward a movement for human unity and world peace and progress on a spiritual foundation. For the ordinary humanitarian and religious outlook and motivation are inadequate to meet the demands of the New Age which is already in the process of manifesting under the inevitable programme of the evolutionary nature on earth.”

Is America a Christian Nation?

Home > Brochures & Nontracts > Nontract #6 Freedom From Religion Foundation, Inc
The U.S. Constitution is a secular document. It begins, "We the people," and contains no mention of "God" or "Christianity." Its only references to religion are exclusionary, such as, "no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust" (Art. VI), and "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof" (First Amendment). The presidential oath of office, the only oath detailed in the Constitution, does not contain the phrase "so help me God" or any requirement to swear on a bible (Art. II, Sec. 1, Clause 8). If we are a Christian nation, why doesn't our Constitution say so?
In 1797 America made a treaty with Tripoli, declaring that "the government of the United States is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion." This reassurance to Islam was written under Washington's presidency, and approved by the Senate under John Adams.

The First Amendment To The U.S. Constitution:
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof . . ."
What about the Declaration of Independence?
We are not governed by the Declaration. Its purpose was to "dissolve the political bands," not to set up a religious nation. Its authority was based on the idea that "governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed," which is contrary to the biblical concept of rule by divine authority. It deals with laws, taxation, representation, war, immigration, and so on, never discussing religion at all.
The references to "Nature's God," "Creator," and "Divine Providence" in the Declaration do not endorse Christianity. Thomas Jefferson, its author, was a Deist, opposed to orthodox Christianity and the supernatural.
What about the Pilgrims and Puritans?
The first colony of English-speaking Europeans was Jamestown, settled in 1609 for trade, not religious freedom. Fewer than half of the 102 Mayflower passengers in 1620 were "Pilgrims" seeking religious freedom. The secular United States of America was formed more than a century and a half later. If tradition requires us to return to the views of a few early settlers, why not adopt the polytheistic and natural beliefs of the Native Americans, the true founders of the continent at least 12,000 years earlier?
Most of the religious colonial governments excluded and persecuted those of the "wrong" faith. The framers of our Constitution in 1787 wanted no part of religious intolerance and bloodshed, wisely establishing the first government in history to separate church and state.
Do the words "separation of church and state" appear in the Constitution?
The phrase, "a wall of separation between church and state," was coined by President Thomas Jefferson in a carefully crafted letter to the Danbury Baptists in 1802, when they had asked him to explain the First Amendment. The Supreme Court, and lower courts, have used Jefferson's phrase repeatedly in major decisions upholding neutrality in matters of religion. The exact words "separation of church and state" do not appear in the Constitution; neither do "separation of powers," "interstate commerce," "right to privacy," and other phrases describing well-established constitutional principles.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Sri Aurobindo: Nationalism, religion, and beyond

Ghose, Aurobindo (1872-1950) / Heehs, Peter (Hrsg.): Nationalism, religion, and beyond : writings on politics, society, and culture / by Aurobindo ; edited by Peter Heehs. - Delhi : Permanent Black, 2005. - xi, 364 S.ISBN 81-7824-139-0Rs. 650,00US$ 17,00 (Biblia Impex)US$ 29,70 (Bagchee)
Sri Aurobindo is best known today as a spiritual philosopher and yogi, and as one of the principal leaders in the early phase of the Indian nationalist movement. But he also wrote extensively on political, social and cultural theory. His contributions to these fields, although original and often ahead of their time, have not received the attention they deserve. One reason for this is that they are scattered through six or seven volumes of his complete works. Another is their apparent datedness. But the most important of Aurobindo's writings on these subjects are as interesting now as when they were written, for they deal with matters of perennial concern—such as on the assumption and exceeding of cultural identity, and on the proper place of spirituality in society.
Peter Heehs—well known historian and biographer of Aurobindo—overcomes the first problem (of scattered sources) by selecting representative passages from the entire body of Aurobindo's works. He deals with the second problem (of Aurobindo’s seeming datedness) by providing historical background, and by relating Aurobindo's social, cultural, and political ideas to those of contemporary theorists. Heehs’s anthology confronts common misunderstandings by those scholars and politicians who have reduced Aurobindo's complex thinking to a collection of clich├ęs. Additionally, given the manner in which the leading intellectual figures of Hinduism have been appropriated by Hindu nationalists and Hindu fundamentalists in recent times, this anthology is a vital corrective. It provides a far truer, more nuanced, and properly contextualized understanding of the social, political, and religious ideas of one of India’s most influential thinkers. [Permanent Black]
InhaltPrefaceIntroduction Part One: Cultural NationalismPart Two: Political NationalismPart Three: ReligionPart Four: Religion and NationalismPart Five: Beyond nationalismPart Six: Beyond ReligionSourcesGlossaryIndex Peter Heehs is a historian based in Pondicherry. A member of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram Archives and Research Library, he is part of the editorial team that is bringing out the Complete Works of Sri Aurobindo in 37 volumes. List of Publications.Quelle: Orient Longman; Bagchee; Biblia Impex; Sri Aurobindo Ashram; Svabhinava; Auroville Today; Auroville Today (August 2003).

A free world-union: psychological modification of life and feeling

A FREE world-union must in its very nature be a complex unity based on a diversity and that diversity must be based on free self- determination. A mechanical unitarian system would regard in its idea the geographical groupings of men as so many conveniences for provincial division, for the convenience of administration, much in the same spirit as the French Revolution reconstituted France with an entire disregard of old natural and historic divisions. It would regard mankind as one single nation and it would try to efface the old separative national spirit altogether; it would arrange its system probably by continents and subdivide the continents by convenient geographical demarcations.
In this other quite opposite idea, the geographical, the physical principle of union would be subordinated to a psychological principle; for not a mechanical division, but a living diversity would be its object. If this object is to be secured, the peoples of humanity must be allowed to group themselves according to their free-will, and their natural affinities; no constraint or force could be allowed to compel an unwilling nation or distinct grouping of peoples to enter into another system or join itself or remain joined to it for the convenience, aggrandisement or political necessity of another people or even for the general convenience, in disregard of its own wishes.
Nations or countries widely divided from each other geographically like England and Canada or England and Australia might cohere together. Nations closely grouped locally might choose to stand apart, like England and Ireland or like Finland and Russia. Unity would be the largest principle of life, but freedom would be its foundation-stone.
In a world built on the present political and commercial basis this system of groupings might present often insuperable difficulties or serious disadvantages; but in the condition of things in which alone a free world-union would be possible, these difficulties and disadvantages would cease to operate. Military necessity of forced union for strength of defence or for power of aggression would be non-existent, because war would no longer be possible; force as the arbiter of international differences and a free world-union are two quite incompatible ideas and practically could not coexist.
The political necessity would also disappear; for it is largely made up of that very spirit of conflict and the consequent insecure conditions of international life apportioning predominance in the world to the physically and organically strongest nations out of which the military necessity arose. In a free world-union determining its affairs and settling its differences by agreement or, where agreement failed, by arbitration, the only political advantage of including large masses of men, not otherwise allied to each other in a single State, would be the greater influence arising from mass and population. Page-517
Throughout the world, the idea and fact of union once definitely prevailing, unity of interests would be more clearly seen and the greater advantage of agreement and mutual participation in a naturally harmonised life over the feverish artificial prosperity created by a stressing of separative barriers. That stressing is inevitable in an order of struggle and international competition; it would be seen to be prejudicial in an order of peace and union which would make for mutual accommodation. The principle of a free world-union being that of the settlement of common affairs by common agreement, this could not be confined to the removal of political differences and the arrangement of political relations alone, but must naturally extend to economic differences and economic relations as well. To the removal of war and the recognition of the right of self-determination of the peoples the arrangement of the economic life of the world in its new order by mutual and common agreement would have to be added as the third condition of a free union. Page-519
The idea of a world-Parliament is attractive at first sight, because the parliamentary form is that to which our minds are accustomed; but an assembly of the present unitarian national type could not be the proper instrument of a free world-union of this large and complex kind; it could only be the instrument of a unitarian World-State. The idea of a world-federation, if by that be understood the Germanic or American form, would be equally inappropriate to the greater diversity and freedom of national development which this type of world-union would hold as one of its cardinal principles. Rather some kind of confederation of the peoples for common human ends, for the removal of all causes of strife and difference, for interrelation and the regulation of mutual aid and interchange, yet leaving to each unit a full internal freedom and power of self-determination, would be the right principle of this unity. Page-522
On the other hand, in a free world-union though originally starting from the national basis, the national idea might be expected to undergo a radical transformation; it might even disappear into a new and less strenuously compact form and idea of group-aggregation which would not be separative in spirit, yet would preserve the necessary element of independence and variation needed by both individual and grouping for their full satisfaction and their healthy existence.
Moreover, by emphasising the psychological quite as much as the political and mechanical idea and basis, it would give a freer and less artificial form and opportunity for the secure development of the necessary intellectual and psychological change; for such an inner change could alone give some chance of durability to the unification. That change would be the growth of the living idea or religion of humanity; for only so could there come the psychological modification of life and feeling and outlook which would accustom both individual and group to live in their common humanity first and most, subduing their individual and group-egoism, yet losing nothing of their individual or group-power to develop and ex- press in its own way the divinity in man which, once the race was assured of its material existence, would emerge as the true object of human existence. Page-524