Bharat requires new set of indices to measure development and economic activities which incorporates the subjectivity of Dharma and intent of individual actions guided by them
Bharat is a land of Dharma. She might be materially poor but has an inexhaustible resource of divine wealth. Dharma is an integral part of our existence seeking to unite every being on earth with the aim of “sarve sukhinah santu”. Conflict, competition and coercion are alien to the people of this land. West has enforced upon us a set of economic indices which idealises numbers as the ultimate indicator of welfare and it has been accepted as the worldwide phenomenon.
Dharma Bhav- Langar and similar free community kitchens have been serving food to one and all without bothering to keep accounts of it
We have been made accustomed to measuring our achievements within the framework created by the West. They aspire to attain maximum wealth regarding resources, land and people because their philosophy is guided by the principle of “survival of the fittest”. It has an individualistic characteristic inherent in it whereas Bharat aspires for enlightenment which is our ultimate destiny.
For this, we naturally consider narrative over numbers that is why the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities were an integral part of our business community in the form of “paramarth”. But, we readily accepted the West’s concept of CSR and re-launched our cultural ethos of paramarth with an alien name of CSR attributing its innovation to the West. Many small people in business are not guided by this legislation but still contribute to the social well being in their natural course.
Beyond the Numbers
Which indicator does take into account these little contributions to the nation’s expenditure on CSR activity? Nor does the contributor aspire to be known. Philanthropy is not a PR activity for our people, but it is an integral part of our Dharma. Had GD Birla, a legendary industrialist, not supported CV Raman, the Nobel Prize winner, with his first Spectrometer the world wouldn't have seen the Raman Effect as early as 1930. Birla must not even have been sure of Raman’s success while helping him. He contributed not as a part of CSR, but the inherent guna is residing in our subconscious. Do we have any instrument or methodology to measure this in numbers; can we attach any numerical value to such empathy? CV Raman while accepting the Nobel Prize was not happy as he could not see the flag of his country in the hall where he was bestowed with the most awaited award of his life. How would the western economists explain his sadness?
We readily accepted the West’s concept of CSR and re-launched our cultural ethos of paramarth with an alien name of CSR attributing its innovation to the West
Bharat needs a new set of indicators which measure what is good for us. We are not content with the amount of wealth or fame we achieve but with the extent of its ability to contain humanity holistically. JC Bose was the first to invent the wireless coherer and an instrument for indicating the refraction of an electric wave. But, he did not find value in using his invention commercially and abandoned it. What gave him more satisfaction was finding the “indivisible unity of all lives” which led to the discovery of crescograph which found out that plants also have a sensitive nervous system. He found value in evolving the organic rather than the inorganic.
The West recognised this cohort inherent sattava gunaa but never acknowledged it as an ideal and exclusive attribute of our DNA, with the sole motive of appropriating it for maximising their wealth in the perusal of survival of the fittest. 38 per cent doctors in the USA are of Bharatiya origin,12 per cent scientists, 36 per cent NASA scientists, 34 per cent Microsoft employees, 28 per cent IBM employees,17 per cent Intel’s and 3 per cent Xerox’s employees are of Bharatiya origin. The logic behind the successful research is its ability to contribute towards humanity positively.
In Pursuit of Bharatiya
In the process, we fail to realise that they are procuring our sattva guna and selling it back to us in the form of healthcare, technology and service under the foreign brand. Shri Mohan Bhagwat, therefore, advocated for a Bharatiya ownership of Air India. A foreign company will none the less employee Bharatvasis to serve the airline with its management in the foreign land. Many advocates of selling 100 per cent stake in the company don’t attach any value to the sovereignty of our sky.
We need an alternative of GDP which would also measure the narrative behind numbers as rightly pointed out by JRD, “No success in material terms is worthwhile unless it serves the needs or interests of the country and its people”. Accepting the best of the western world has to be done cautiously avoiding the superficialities of their culture, believing in our tradition rooted in the Hindu cosmic worldview.
(The writer is an alumna of XLRI, Jamshedpur and writes on socio-cultural issues)