By critiquing the Western development models and resulting paradigms, indigenisation of the concept and processes of human development have to take into account the Dharma-based holistic approach
Today a kind of consensus is emerging all over the world among experts and thinkers that the present western development model is incapable and a failure in solving our problems. Therefore, there is an urgent need to search for a new paradigm of development. A humble attempt is made in this brief paper to outline the paradoxes and shortcoming of the western development model and to give a broad outline of a new development path.
A self-sufficient village-economy: We have to develop an economic system in which proper balance between Vyashti (the individual) and Samashti (the society) can be maintained
There are serious differences of opinion among the economists about meaning and measurement of development. Different economists have suggested different parameters to measure development, for instance, gross domestic product (GDP), per Capita GDP, per capita consumption and economic welfare etc. But in actual practice, it is the per capita GDP, which is taken as the index for the measurement of development and it is on this basis that the economies of the world have been classified into developed economies, developing economies and underdeveloped economies. Since 1990, a new concept known as ‘Human Development Index’ (HDI) has emerged. The concept of human development states that the purpose of development is to create an enabling environment for people to enjoy long, healthy and creative life. The HDI contains three indicators: Life expectancy, educational attainment, and real GDP. Thus, it is an alternative to per capita GDP, and it is increasingly being used to monitor the progress of nations.
It seems that there are utter confusion and wide controversy among the modern economists about the concept and measurement of development. The western concept of development is not consistent with human happiness and wellbeing. It calls for a new approach, which can ensure the all-round development of an integral man. In this regard, I propose an alternative concept in the form of Sumangalam.
Sumangalam (Mangal Development)
The concept means a continuous long-term rise in the standard of life of all the people in the country and thus raising the level of gross social happiness primarily by utilising the country’s resources.
Here the term ‘standard of life’ is wider than the commonly used term ‘ standard of living.’ Standard of living is generally defined regarding per capita availability of goods and services for consumption whereas standard of life includes many more things such as ideals and values of life. Thus the concept of standard of living exhibits nearly the economic personality of an individual whereas the concept of standard of life expresses the total personality of an individual.
- Bharatiya approach completely rejects Western concept of economic man and replaces it with the concept of ‘integral man’
- Mangal approach believes that the real alternative to the capitalist and communist pattern is a decentralised and self-reliant economy operated and controlled by the people under the guidance of Dharma
- Mangal Approach believes in establishing a people-dependent economy or development through people’s participation
The concept of Sumangalam is based on Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya’s Ekatma Manav Darshan
Similarly, the term happiness (Sukha) is also a very broad concept related with body, mind intellect and soul and it cannot be expressed merely by regarding economic utilities. On the one hand we will have to make available all the goods and services to a man which are required for his existence and the fulfilment of his social and domestic obligations – and on the other hand, we should also make provisions for the satisfaction of his mind, intellect and soul.
The Concept of Integral Man
Western approach is based on the concept of ‘economic man’ whose decisions are based entirely on the calculations of gain and loss, regarding materialistic wealth. But the Bharatiya approach completely rejects this concept of economic man and replaces it with the concept of ‘integral man’. Indian thinkers have not looked upon man merely as a gross physical unit, working like an insensate machine to satisfy his biological and materialistic needs. Instead, they have contemplated him as a subtle and conscious living unit working as an integral part of an all-pervading ‘Brahman’. Thus, in the Bhartiya Approach man is more than an economic being.
A Greater Role of Socio-Cultural and Human Factors
After defining development as Sumangalam, we have to amend our approach towards determinants of development also. Factors of development are broadly classified into two categories: economic and non-economic factors. Though in development planning we do mention the importance of “non- economic factors”, yet in the actual development process, we neglect them. We assume them constants while framing growth models. Now is high time to amend this approach and think over the following hypothesis: Given the economic factors (i.e. material inputs) we can accelerate the process of development by mobilising socio-cultural and human factors in a developing country like Bharat.
A developing country like Bharat has limited material resources, particularly capital. Foreign aid also cannot fill this gap fully and without its negative effects. So, if these countries want rapid development, then they have to search for some other way out. Here comes the role of socio-cultural and human factors in the process of development. This is a new path which will provide a new approach and a new type of growth models.
Bharatiya Development Model-Sarva Jana hitaaya,Sarva Jana Sukhaaya
Dharma (or Morality) as the basis of development
The word ‘dharma’ is derived from the root ‘dhri’ (to uphold, to sustain, and to nourish). It clearly shows that the concept of dharma brings the forms and activities, which shape, sustain and nourish human life.
In this context, Dharma becomes the set of moral and social rules and regulations, which are essential for the smooth working and balanced growth of the society. According to Hindu thinking morality or dharma cannot and should not be separated from economics and economic laws. While endorsing the view, Gandhiji observed: “I must confess that I do not draw a sharp or any distinction between economics and ethics. The economics that hurts the moral well-being of an individual or a nation is immoral, and therefore, sinful.” Dr V.K R.V Rao was also of the view that there must be the integration of economic development with spiritual values. Prof. Gunnar Myrdal has also declared that economics is a moral science. According to Bharatiya values of life, even after accepting the importance of Artha and Kama it is always stressed that they should always be guided by Dharma (moral laws) and should also be used for Dharma (i.e. social interest). Thus Bharatiya approach reminds us of those social and moral values on the basis of which a new socio-economic structure can be built in tune with the spirit of the time. According to it sacrifice and not acquisitiveness, services and not selfishness, renunciation and not accumulation, nourishment and not exploitation, cooperation, and not conflict, love and not hatred, trusteeship and not absolute individual ownership over the means of production should form the basis of the new socio-economic order.
Bharatiya philosophy believes in an integrated, holistic and balanced approach. We have to develop an economic system in which the proper balance between ‘Vyashti’ (the individual) and ‘Samashti’ (the society) can be maintained. Freedom and individual interest can be allowed in the economic sphere, but it should simultaneously be guided and regulated by moral principles and legal provisions by general public interest. Thus our system should be one which has room in it both for private enterprises and for social control. Moreover, we shall try to create harmony between the diverse elements of the society.
Though earning is one of the basic activities of life, it cannot be the only activity of human life nor can it be an end in itself. Among the four Purusharthas (Dharma, Artha, Karma, Moksha) it (Artha) is only one of them. Thus it is only a part not the whole of life. That is why the Hindu approach emphasises that earning should always be done through legal, proper and moral means (Dharmena dhanah). Further, Bharatiya approach believes that a man should not consume all the goods himself but should share them with other members of the society. The surplus wealth should be used for the welfare of the society. The motto should be Dharmaaya dhanah. The best distribution system is one which nourishes the economy, makes it free from exploitation, increases its productivity and provides equal opportunity for living and progress. Thus, the basic foundation of a rational distribution system will be growth with and through social justice.
Mangal Economic Order
We should develop a system in which things are healthily consumed and happily produced. A broad framework of the system for India is given below. Mangal approach believes that the real alternative to the capitalist and communist pattern is a decentralised and self-reliant economy operated and controlled by the people under the guidance of Dharma. But this decentralised economy should be made more productive than it has been in the past.
Economic decentralisation requires that units of production should be small. Ten to fifteen villages may form an optimum community for the enhancement of agro-industrial production, and it can also be developed as a self-reliant village community. It will provide full opportunity to utilise indigenous initiative, skill and enterprise. Thus, there is a need for rebuilding Bharat’s shattered economy and polity on the solid foundation of Bharat’s villages, rejuvenated and re-organised into self-governing units.
Mangal system is integral in its approach as opposed to an ‘either or’ policy about agriculture and industry. It believes in the complementariness and interrelationship between the agricultural and industrial sectors of the economy. But it defines this relationship in its way which is radically different from the existing pattern. According to it, agriculture should be regarded as the prime and basic activity in the economy. Around this prime activity, we should build up a system of agro-industries and need-based cottage industries. Around this cluster of agro-industries should be built up those heavy industries which are ancillary to the first and the second. The institution of the family should be revived in its true Hindu spirit. The family should serve as a social as well as an economic unit. We must try to revive the family environment at every stage.
Mangal Approach does not visualise Government-department or market-dependent economy. It believes in establishing a people-dependent economy or development through people’s participation. The government will cooperate with people’s movement. Hence there is an urgent need to organise voluntary organisations comprising scientists, technologists, administrators, social scientists, social workers, rich philanthropists, primary and secondary producers from rural and urban areas. Thus we want to establish a people-oriented socio-economic order.
Lastly, I would like to emphasise that if we wish to rebuild our society according to Mangal approach, two things are required: one is the self-confidence and strong will to progress, and second is the moral leadership committed to the national interest.
(The writer is a retired university faculty of Economics and founder trustee of Chandigarh-based Panchnad Sanstha)