Deen Dayal Upadhyaya

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December 1967

Lecture - 4th, on April 25th 1965

-Pt. Deendayal Upadhyaya

Yesterday we had discussed the functions of State in a Nation. According to the Bharatiya traditions. a nation is an organic living entity which has come into existence on its own and has not been made up or created by any group of persons. A nation brings forth a variety of institutions to fulfil its needs, as well as to give concrete shape to its inner fundamental nature. The State is one of these institutions which though being an important institution, is not supreme. In our literature where the duties of a king are referred to, his importance is definitely recognized. This is so, perhaps, to make him realize his immense responsibility. He exercised tremendous influence on the lives and character of the people. Hence he had to give due attention to his own behaviour. Bhishma has said the same thing, in Mahabharat when he was asked whether circumstances make a king or a king makes the circumstances. He categorically stated that the king shapes the circumstances. Now some persons interpret this to mean that the considered the king above all. But this is not true. He did not suggest that the king was above Dharma. It is true that the king wielded a great deal of influence. and that he was the protector of Dharma in society, but the king could not decide what constitutes Dharma. He only saw to it that people led their lives according to Dharma. In a way he was equivalent to present day executive.

In the present State, the executive has the responsibility to execute the laws properly, but does not enact laws. When the executive does not function with honesty and efficiency, the laws are entirely disregarded, as we see very well around us. We can well say today "Executive is responsible for the present evils to a great extent." After all why has prohibition failed? Who is responsible for the failure?? When those very persons who have been entrusted with the task of implementing prohibition. Start taking monthly allowances from the bootleggers, how is the prohibition policy to succeed? The executive is, therefore, responsible for the proper enforcement of law. This is the meaning of Bhishma's statement. It would be a mistake to interpret it as acceptance of approved supremacy of a monthly allowances from the bootleggers, how is the prohibition policy to succeed? The executive is therefore, responsible for the proper enforcement of law. This is the meaning of Bhisma statement. It would be a mistake to interpret it as acceptance of approved supremacy of a king. If this were so, how was it that the tyrant king Venu was removed by the Rishis and Prithu was enthroned? This action by the Rishis was never condemned by any one in history. On the contrary it was hailed by everyone. When the supremacy of Dharma is accepted as a principle, then, though the authority of Dharma, the Rishis derive a right to remove a king who defaults in his duty. Otherwise, it would have been absolutely illegal to remove a king from his throne. Thus if a King does not act according to Dharma, it becomes the duty of everyone to remove him.

In Western countries, either a King was removed by some other king or people rejected the sovereignty of king altogether. There king was a representative of God and could under no circumstances be removed at least in principle.

In our socio-political set-up, the king and the State were never considered supreme. Not only that, there were other important institutions, (besides the State, which was only one of them) to regulate and to help carry on the social life. Those institutions had been organized both on horizontal and vertical level, i.e. on original and occupation basis. We have evolved Panchayats and Janapada Sabhas. The mightiest of the king did not ever disturb the Panchayats. Similarly there were associations on the basis of trade. These two were never disturbed by the State; on the contrary their autonomy was recognized. They devised their own rules and regulations in their fields. The Panchayats of different communities, shrines, nigams, Village Panchayats, Janapada Sabhas and such other Organization used to set- up regulations. The function of the state was mostly to see that these rules are observed by the persons concerned. The State never interfered with the affairs of these associations. Thus the State was concerned only with some aspects of life of the Society.

Similarly, in the economic field many institutions are created. We have to think what should be the nature of our economic structure. We must have such an economic system which helps in the developments of our humane qualities, or civilization and enables us to attain a still higher level of all round perfection. We should have a system which does not overwhelm our humane quality; which does not make us slaves of its own grinding wheels. According to our concept, man attains God like perfection as a result of development. What structure. what regulation should be specified in our economic system if we wish to achieve this goal? Let us, consider this point.

Economic system must achieve the production of all the basic things essential for the maintenance and development of people as well as the protection and development of the Nation. Having satisfied the basic minimum requirements, the question naturally arises, whether there should be more production for greater property and happiness. The Western societies consider it most essential and even desirable to go on continuously and systematically increasing the desires and needs of man. There is no upper limit in the context. Normally desire precedes the efforts at producing the things desired. But now the position is reverse. People are induced to desire and use the things that have been and are being produced. Instead of producing to meet the demand, the search is on the markets for the goods already produced; if the demand does not exist, systematic efforts are made to create demand. This has become the chief characteristic of the western economic movement. Earlier, production followed the demand, now demand allows the production. Consider the use of tea for example. Tea was produced because people desired and wanted it. But Tea was produced and we were induced to develop taste for tea. Now tea is a common man's drink. It has become a part of our life. Similar is the case of vegetable ghee. Did anyone ever want to use it? It was first produced and then we were taught to use it. If whatever is manufactured is not consumed, there will be depression. Some of us many remember the great depression of 1930-32. There was abundance of goods at that time but there was no demand. Therefore factories had to be closed down. Bankruptcy and unemployment were widespread. Thus now-a-days it is most important that what is being produced must be consumed.

The Editor of "Organiser", an English Weekly, had gone to USA for a visit sometime ago. Upon his return, he related an interested instance.

There is a factory producing "Potato-peelers", a device for peeling potatoes. The production of this factory outstripped the demand for the device. The management of the firm faced the problem of finding some way by which people may be induced to buy more potato peelers. They called a meeting of all the salesmen of the firm. Among the suggestions put forward, one was to make the color of the handle similar to that of potato peel. so that along with the peel. the peeler may also be dumped in the garbage, often by mistake. Thus there may be greater demand. Also, the product was offered in a more attractive packing. Now this economic structure is not merely consumption oriented but is clearly leading to destruction. Throw away the old one and buy a new one! Rather than satisfying the need and demand from people. to create fresh demand has become the aim of modern economics. Supposing that we need not worry about the limited supply of natural resources, there is yet the question of balance in Nature. There is a relationship in different parts of Nature. If from the three sticks standing with mutual support, one is removed, the other two will automatically fall. The present economic system and system of production are fast disturbing this equilibrium of nature. As a result on the one hand new products are manufactured for satisfying ever increasing desires, on the other hand new problem arise every day, threatening the very existence of the entire humanity and civilization.

It is essential, therefore, to use up that portion of the available natural resources which the nature will be able to recoup easily. When the fruits are taken, the fruit tree is not injured: it may even be helpful to the tree. However, in the effort to take a greater harvest from the land chemical fertilizers are used which in a few years time render the land altogether infertile. Lakhs of acres of land lie barren in America due to this factor. How long this dance of destruction can go on ?

The destruction provides for depreciation fund to replace the machines when worn out. Then how can we neglect the depreciation fund for nature. From this point of view, it must be realized that the object of our economic system should be, not extravagant use of available resources, but a well regulated use. The physical objects necessary for a purposeful, happy and progressive life must be obtained. The Almighty has provided as much. It will not be wise, however, to engage into a blind rat-race of consumption and production as if man is created for the sole purpose of consumption. Engine needs coal for its proper working, but it has not been produced merely to consume coal. On the contrary it is only proper always to see that with the minimum coal-consumption, maximum energy is produced. This is the economic view point. Keeping in view the aim of human life, we must endeavour to see how with the minimum of fuel, man proceeds to his goal with the maximum speed. Such a system alone can be called civilization. This system will not think of merely a single aspect of human life but of all its aspects including the ultimate aim. This system will not thrive on the exploitation of nature but will sustain nature and will in turn itself be nourished. Milking rather than exploitation should be our aim. The system should be such that overflow from nature is used to sustain our lives.

If such human angle inspires the economic system than our thinking on the economic question will undergo through transformation. In the Western economics, whether it is capitalist or socialist, value has the most important and central position. All economic theories centre around value. It may be that the analysis of value is very important from the point of view of the economist but, those social philosophers which are based entirely on value are for incomplete, inhuman and to some extent unethical take. For example, the slogan commonly heard now-a-days "one must earn his bread". Normally communists use this slogan but even the capitalists are not fundamentally in disagreement with it. If there is any difference between !hem, it is only as regards who earns and how much. The capitalists consider capital and enterprise as important components of production and hence if they take a major share of profits. they think it is their due. On the other hand, communists believe only labour to be the main factor in production. Therefore they concede major share of production to the labourers. Neither of these ideas is correct. Really speaking. our slogan should be that the one who earns will feed and every person will have enough to eat.. The right to food is a birthright. The ability to earn is a result of education and training. In a society even those who do not earn must have food. The children and the old, the diseased and the invalids, all must be eared for by the society. Even society generally fulfils this responsibility. The social and cultural progress of mankind ties in the readiness to fulfil this responsibility. The economic system must provide for this task. Economics as a science does not account for this responsibility. A man works not merely for bread alone, but also to shoulder this responsibility. Otherwise those who have had their meals would no longer work.

Any economic system must provide for the minimum basic necessities of human life to everyone. Food, clothing and shelter constitute, broadly speaking these basic necessities. Similarly, the society must enable the individual to carry out his obligations to the society by properly educating him. Lastly, in the event of an individual falling a prey to any disease. society must arrange for his treatment and maintenance. If a government provides these minimum requirements, then only it is a rule of Dharma. Otherwise, it is a rule of Adharma. Describing the King Dilip, Kalidas has said in Raghuvansha "Being responsible for the maintenance. protection and education of his subjects, he was their true farther. Others were merely instrumental in giving them their birth". The description of king Bharat after whom our country has been named Bharat, also runs similarly, i.e. "by maintaining and protecting his subjects he was called Bharat." This is his country, Bharat, if in this country maintenance and protection are not guaranteed, then the name Bharat is meaningless.

Education - A Social Responsibility

To educate a child is in the interest of the Society itself. By birth a child is an animal. He becomes a responsible member of the society only by education and culture. To charge fees for something which is in the interest of the society itself a rather odd. If due to the inability to pay the fees, children are left without education, will the society endure the situation for long? We do not charge fee from trees for sowing the seed and caring for the supplying. On the contrary we invest our money and efforts. We know that when the tree grows, we shall reap fruits.

Education is a similar investment. An educated individual will indeed serve the society. On the other hand it will not be surprising if people grow indifferent to the society which leave them to fend for themselves. Before 1947, in all the princely states In India, no fees were charged for education. The highest education was free. In the Gurukulas, even food and lodging were arranged with out any charge. The student used to go to the society for "Bhiksha". No householder would refuse the Bhiksha to the student. In other words, society used to bear the burden of education.

Similarly, it is rather surprising that medical treatment must be paid for. In fact, medical treatment also should be free as it was in this country in the past. Now-a-days one has to pay even to gain entrance to a temple. In Tirupathi, to enter the Balaji temple, there is a charge of 0.25 paise. However, at noon for one hour, there is Dharma Darshan, which means, during that time, no ticket is needed, as if at other times there is Adharma Darshan. The society should guarantee to all members minimum requirements for maintenance and progress of every individual. Now the question arises that if everyone is to be guaranteed the minimum necessities, where will the resources for all this come from?

Guarantee of Work

It is clear that the resources must be produced by our own efforts. Therefore. where a right to a guaranteed minimum is recognized, any individual who does not share in the efforts to produce is a burden to the society. Similarly any system which obstructs the production activity of the people is self destructive. Such a system will not enable the individuals to fulfil their responsibility. Not only that, but even if the requirements of an individual are met, while he does not share in the efforts, his personality will not develop fully, his progress as a human being will be distorted and lop-sided. Man has stomach as well is hands. If he has no work for his hands, he will not get happiness even if he gets food to satisfy his hunger. His progress will be obstructed. Just as a barren woman experiences emptiness in life and consequent dissatisfaction, so does a man without work.

The guarantee of work to every able bodied member of the society, should be the aim of our economic system. Today we witness a very strange situation. On the one hand, a ten-year-old child and seventy-year-old man are toiling and on the other hand youth of twenty five is driven to suicide for want of work. We shall have to remove this mismanagement. God has given hands to every man but by themselves hands have a limited capacity to produce. They need assistance of capital in the form of machines. Labour and capital bear the same relation to each other as that between man and nature. The world is a creation of these two. Neither of them can be neglected.

Capital Formation

For capital formation it is essential that a part of production be saved from immediate consumption and be used for further production, in future. Thus capital can be formed only by restraint on consumption. This is the basis of capital formation to which Karl Marx refers to as "surplus value" in his treatise. In the capitalist system the industrialist creates capital with the help of this surplus value. In a socialist system, the state undertakes this task. In both the systems, the entire production is not distributed among the workers. If production is carried on through centralized large-scale industries, the sacrifice on the part of the worker in creating the capital is not given due recognition. The advantage in decentralization is in the fact that the workers has a sense of direct participation in the management of this surplus value or capital. Machine is the most common from of capital. Machine was created in order to reduce the content of physical labour in production and to increase the productivity of the worker. Machine, therefore, is an assistant of the worker and not his competitor. However, where the human labour came to be considered as a commodity to be purchased with money, the machine became the competitor of the human being. The principal drawback of the capitalist view point in the fact that by making the machine a competitor of human labour and thereby displacing and competitor of human labour and thereby displacing and subjecting human being to privations the very purpose of creating machine has been defied. Machine cannot be blamed for this. It is the fault of the economic and social system which cannot distinguish between the object and the instrument. We shall have to take into account the limitations on usefulness of machines and decide on its field of application. From this point of view to import the machinery from Western countries, where shortage of manpower was the guiding factor in the design of machines would be a serious mistake. The merits of machine are, not independent of time and place. Machines are a product of the modern science but not its representatives. Scientific knowledge is not a monopoly of any particular country. But its application has to take into account the particular condition of each country and its requirements. Our machines must not only, by tailored for our specific economic means, but also must, at least, avoid conflict with our socio-political and cultural objectives, if not support them.


Compiled by Amarjeet Singh, Research Associate & Programme Coordinator, Dr. Syama Prasad Mookerjee Research Foundation, 9, Ashok Road, New Delhi - 110001
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