“Sisters and brothers,
I am extremely pleased to unveil the book titled “The vision of Antyodaya” today. It is a documentation and Compilation of Antyodaya Based Best Practices as propounded by Pandit Deendayal Upadhayaya.
Pandit Deendayal Upadhayaya was a profound philosopher, organiser par excellence and a leader who maintained the highest standards of personal integrity. His life and teachings have been the source of guidance and moral inspiration for the nation.
A strong believer in Indian value system, and cultural heritage, he advocated the cause of the poor and downtrodden throughout his life.
‘Antyodaya’ which means the “uplift of the last person” was at the core of Pandit Deendayal Ji's thoughts. His heart throbbed for the villages, the farmers, the Dalits and the marginalized. His economic principals were inspired by Sarvajan hitaay, sarvajan sukhaay - welfare of all, happiness of all.
Deendayalji used to say that if equality has to be achieved, people at the higher level have to bend down and support those who have been exploited and neglected.
He firmly believed that any economic system must provide for the minimum basic necessities of human life to everyone, and said that -
“By and large we can see that food, clothing, shelter, education and medical attention are the five basic necessities of every individual which should be fulfilled. If we want to assess the material standard of life of any country we could take these as a starting point. If any class of a society does not get these facilities, we may say that the standard of life of that society is not developed”.
He quotes Kalidasa describing the King Dilip in Raghuvansha as "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".
Further describing the king Bharat after whom our country has been named Bharat, Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya said –
"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.”
This was his vision for India - a nation where the rulers are benevolent and everyone is cared for.
His consistent pursuit for the solutions for the country’s social, economic and political woes led him to propound the principle of "integral humanism”.
He observed that both capitalist and communist recognise only an ‘economic man', and ignore other aspects of man’s persona.
Hence, Pandit Deendayal rejected both of these ideologies and called for developing an indigenous economic model with the human being at center stage.
For Pandit Deendayal this ‘Integral Man’ was not limited to economic theory alone, but in every aspect of life. He disagreed with the western thinking of treating the body, mind, intelligence and the soul separately and called for an integrated approach. He said –
“Here in Bharat, we have placed before ourselves the ideal of the four fold responsibilities, of catering for the needs of body, mind, intellect and soul with a view of achieve the integrated progress of man. Dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksha are the four kinds of human effort.”
Demanding for a humane economic system, Pandit ji had said -
“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.”
Expressing concern that the present economic system and system of production are fast disturbing this equilibrium of nature, he called for sustainable development approaches.
“Natural resources have a limit. They should not be ruthlessly exploited”, he said.
Emphasizing the need to use "Swadeshi" as the cornerstone of reconstruction of the economy, he said –
“The concept of "Swadeshi" is ridiculed as old fashioned and reactionary. We proudly use foreign articles. We have grown over independent upon foreign aid in everything from thinking, management, capital, methods of production, technology, etc. to even the standards and forms of consumption. This is not the road to progress and development. We shall forget our individuality and become virtual slaves once again. The positive content of "Swadeshi" should be used as the cornerstone of reconstruction of our economy.”
He also called for industrialization of villages to check the migration to cities which were leading to high number of slums.
Calling it Economic Democracy, he said, “If a vote for everyone is the touch-stone of political democracy, work for everyone is a measure of economic democracy.”In true spirit of Antyodaya, Deendayal ji called for participation of workers in management.
Brothers and sisters,
Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya considered the social and cultural independence as important as economic independence. Defining the nationhood through culture, he said -
“If one has to understand the soul of Bharat one must not look at this country from the political or economic angle but from the cultural point of view.”
He also said that,” 'Bharatiyata' (nationhood of Bharat) can manifest itself not through politics but through culture. If we have anything that we can teach the world, it is the feeling of cultural tolerance and a life dedicated to duty.”
Analyzing the mindset of some countrymen to consider everything foreign as superior, Deendayal ji said -
“The Britishers during their rule adopted such measures whereby in the minds of our people a contempt for things Bharatiya and respect for everything Western were subtly created.”
He also criticized the social evils like untouchability and made a clarion call to end such evils that threaten the national unity.
Commenting on the state of politics and democracy, in India, Pt Deendayal was worried that opportunism had shaken the confidence of people in politics. He lamented –
“Opportunists with no principles reign in politics of our country. Parties and politicians have neither principles nor aims nor a standard code of conduct. A person feels nothing wrong in leaving one party and joining another. Even alliances and mergers of parties or their bifurcations are dictated not by agreement or by differences in principles by purely by gains in elections or in positions of power.”
Calling democracy as ‘government by debate’, he said –
“The tradition of debate is old in our country. But such a debate can be fruitful only when each party carefully listens to what the other has to say and has the desire to accept the truth in it. If instead of trying to understand the other person's point of view we insist upon our own point of view such a debate must remain fruit- less.”
I am happy that the Government under the leadership of the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has taken a number of bold decisions without the fear of external pressure. This is the true national strength that would have made Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya proud.
I am happy that Indian Social Responsibility Network (ISRN) has done painstaking work to compile the best Antyodaya practices of more than 400 Antyodaya practioners from across the country.
I hope this work by ISRN will help others who are engaged in the task of the uplift of the last man.
Once again my best wishes to you all.