Today every Indian is feeling thoroughly agitated on unprecedented price rise and incidence of large scale corruption mainly due to fast deterioration in standard of Indian polity.
Politics of power has overtaken politics of service, high standards of morality and high principles in public life have very little place in Indian politics now. Corruption, favoritism, nepotism, regionalism together with money power, muscle power and manipulative power are recognized as basic requirements for a person wishing to go up the political ladder. No means are too debased, no methods too degrading and no tricks too mean. Actually, the end justifies the means today.
Obviously, the toiling masses of the country are pained and disgusted to see all these changes. Their hardships have been mounting and mushrooming over the years. To say the least, the impact of this worsening political situation is noticeable in every sphere of our public life.
Naturally, at this critical stage the name of two great sons of mother India, Ram Manohar Lohia and Jai Prakash Narayan comes to our mind. We pay tribute to JP on his Birth Anniversary on 11th October and to Lohia on his Death Anniversary on 12th October.
Before moving further to discuss the life and works of both JP and Lohia in some detail, it is pertinent to share particularly with our 550 million youths that a number of famous present day political leaders like Mulayam Singh Yadav, Lalu Prasad Yadav, Nitish Kumar, Sharad Yadav are known well for claiming to be the true disciple and follower of JP and/or Lohia who are, naturally, making headline news for taking his legacy and political philosophy forward. Political analysts and research scholars may be requested to examine the claims of these present day socialist leaders in right perspective to enable the masses to know the reality.
Both of JP and Lohia always laid emphasis on moral values in all our affairs, private as well as public, on means and on ends, also on democratic institutions and individual freedom. They left memorable impression on the Indian political scene because of their fighting spirit, moral stature, rugged personal integrity, tremendous sacrifices and their remarkable honesty. They were great revolutionary both in thought and action, who worked tirelessly for the country without any lust for power or fame, although both of them were far more eligible and deserving than many leaders who occupied the highest offices in the country.
During the course of Total Revolution Movement JP said, “Since Independence there has been a steady decline in political, public and business morality. If we take social and economic development, the picture is frightful. Population growth goes racing forward. Poverty is also growing: more than 40 per cent of the people are below the poverty line. The barest necessities such as drinking water, man-worthy and not cattle-worthy housing, medical care, apart from food and clothing, are not available. Schools are few and the teaching is bad. The papers say today that Bihar is the richest State in the country in minerals. Bihar also has good land and perennial rivers. Why then is Bihar the poorest State in India? Well, one could go on adding to that list..."
Indeed both JP and Lohia were persons who during their life time continuously and indefatigably fought for the well-being of the poorest of the poor. They gave a clarion call to the people to rise in protest against all sorts of tyranny and dictatorship. Time and again they voiced the demands of the poor to make the rulers realize their duties towards the nation.
In this context, speaking on a resolution in Lok Sabha on 4th August, 1967 Lohia said, "Today if we do not share the hardships of the people arising out of scarcity of essential commodities in the country whether it is due to drought or flood or famine or to any other cause, then how can we ask the people to build and make the country strong. Those who are rulers and in whom people reposed confidence of building the country, live in comfort and luxury, then it is beyond their moral capacity to ask the people to sacrifice their life for the nation."
Continuing his speech he furnished the details of the expenditure incurred on privileges and facilities MPs, Ministers and the President were enjoying , he said, "My pay is only Rs. 500/= per month but if the cost involved in providing me all the privileges and facilities be taken into consideration then it will come to Rs.2500/- per month. Using the same yardstick in the case of ministers, it comes to about Rs. 8 lakh annually. And to say the least, this figure for the Prime Minister and President goes up to Rs.100 lakh per year. Therefore, I say that first search out the sources of expenditure and then devise the methods to stop all the un-necessary expenditure."
When the country is passing through extremely difficult time, shouldn’t we ask our present day top leaders to stop pretending to be the followers of these great souls? Garlanding the statue, releasing a book or souvenir and speaking well about JP and Lohia on this occasion have little meaning for millions of have-nots in the country. Rather it would be another wasteful expenditure of public money. Doing consistently well, instead will actually make the difference and prove the real worth to be called as the true disciple and follower of leaders like JP and Lohia.
Milan K. Sinha has worked in senior positions in financial sector for three decades following three years of active writing in various newspapers and magazines. A post graduate in Chemistry from Patna University and also a graduate with Economics. Presently, besides being a freelance writer/a regular contributor to newspapers and magazines, also engaged as a Stress Management, Lifestyle Management and Wellness consultant, Motivational Speaker and Awareness campaigner.