PROUT as Panacea for Sustainable Development: A Critical Analysis

August 24, 2018 Opinion , OPINION/NEWS

UN photo

 

By

Dr. Keshab Chandra Mandal

 

 

Introduction

 

In a recent report Borghild Tønnessen-Krokan, the Acting Director, and her colleagues in Norwegian Forum for Development and Environment (ForUM) wrote “Fresh air. Clean water. Food. Health. Safety. We all need this, and we need to make a living. With the UN Goals for Sustainable Development everyone shall be reached – women and men, children and young – leaving no-one behind…. It’s ambitious, but necessary.”1

 

The argument behind such imploration can be traced out to the fact that the world is now passing through multifarious crises. The growing gap between ‘haves’ and ‘have nots’, and acute poverty, hunger, ill-health, joblessness, gender disparity, low buying capacity of millions of people; lack of choice, war, terrorism, arms race, unbridled corruption, climate change, environment pollution, unequal distribution of property, erosion of moral values, low quality education; evaporation of soft feelings like respect for others, fellow-feeling, morality, sense of discipline, sincerely, devotion, self-dignity, lack of hard working mentality; and unethical politics, nexus between hooligans and political leaders; alcoholism, mobile and internet addiction, and above all ill-effects of globalization have deepened the crises and brought the global citizens to the brink of extinction. Entire humanity is now facing the ugly teeth and nails of monstrosity of modernization and imperfect civilization. A close interaction with people exhibits their pains and sufferings in daily life. At present the words like happiness and mental peace have been replaced by the words mental depression and tension. It does not mean that the world has come to a standstill. It is very much living. Nature is performing it’s every duty round the clock such as giving light, wind, water, and food; but a section of greedy, unethical and immoral human beings, on the contrary, are trying to destroy and plunder the natural resources as well as government wealth causing millions of people deprived and distressed.

 

 

Genesis of Crises

 

God has produced every human being as equal, but everywhere he is bound in chains. A large section of unethical but powerful people who are mostly greedy, dishonest and immoral irrespective of their educational attainment, social status, and political affiliation trying to make this beautiful world a hellish abode for mankind. Likewise, limitless greed and artificial wants have made the majority of people mad for money, gold, jewelry, cloths, cosmetics, land, and above all power. They either did not learn or forgot the hard reality that man did not bring anything from his mother’s womb and similarly could not take away anything with him from this world to the burial ground. Still majority people are frantically running behind money and power. In the process of earning and accumulating huge wealth often people are involved in alcoholism, immoral sex, and corruption. But earning excessive wealth for the benefit of others is always welcome. Ironically, majority people earn for themselves and for their family members and mostly resorted to unfair means. Thus ultimately they fall in frustration, ill health, depression and finally get ready for the crematorium or graveyard.

 

The flip side this darkness is a little bright. In the midst of such distressful socio-economic condition and volatile political situation in every age some good-natured political leaders, social thinkers, religious gurus, and welfare institutions and organizations are born and come forward to ameliorate the status and position of people especially the backward and oppressed classes including the poor and women. In this small article it is not possible to highlight the performance of them all. However, a sincere attempt has been taken here to focus the contribution of the global leaders as members of United Nations to the service of humanity. Despite their whole-hearted attempts for last seven decades still there are poverty, hunger, unemployment, gap between rich and poor, discrimination between men and women, illiteracy, ill health, unbridled corruption, and environmental degeneration. As the existing theories on capitalism and communism have failed to bring forth remedies for all the ailments, and failed to ensure equality, people’s dignity, and sustainable peace and progress, a humble endeavor has been initiated to examine the thoughts of Prabhat Ranjan Sarkar, the propounder of PROUT – Progressive Utilization Theory in the all-round development of world. Now let us first highlight the roles and performances of the world’s apex body for promotion of democracy, peace and prosperity. After that an attempt would be taken find out whether Sarkar’s PROUT has any merit in answering the above-mentioned shortcomings.

 

 

Role of United Nations

 

Since its inception the United Nations (UN) has been actively engaged to establish global peace and prosperity and promote democracy and civil rights of people, control war and terrorism and ensure equality between women and men in all spheres of life. Besides, it is concerned to fulfill the basic needs of people like food, clean water, shelter and clothes. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948 is the first major step by the UN to make this world a beautiful place for human beings.

 

Perhaps there is not a single international agreement that ushers that, “all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights”. The Universal Declaration promises to ensure all the economic, social, political, cultural and civic rights that underpin a life free from want and fear. Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) proclaims that, “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.”2 Article 3 declares that, “Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.”3 On the other hand Article 7 points out that, “All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law….”4 Article 21 seeks to ensure dignity and development of every human being. It states that, “Everyone, as a member of society, has the right to social security and is entitled to realization, through national effort and international cooperation and in accordance with the organization and resources of each State, of the economic, social and cultural rights indispensable for his dignity and the free development of his personality.” 5

 

Article 23 focuses on a number of human rights such as “(1) Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favorable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment. (2) Everyone, without any discrimination, has the right to equal pay for equal work. (3) Everyone who works has the right to just and favorable remuneration ensuring for himself and his family an existence worthy of human dignity, and supplemented, if necessary, by other means of social protection. (4) Everyone has the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his interests.”6

 

 

Role of Security Council

 

The Security Council has primarily been conferred the responsibility to maintain international peace and security.7 It is mentioned that in discharging its duties, the Security Council should act in accordance with the Purposes and Principles of the United Nations and with the specific powers granted to it by Chapters VI, VII, VIII and XII of the Charter.8 The role of Security Council in promoting peace and security has been clearly mentioned in Article 34 of the Charter which points out that it may investigate “any dispute, or any situation which might lead to international friction or give rise to a dispute, in order to determine whether the continuance of the dispute or situation is likely to endanger the maintenance of international peace and security.”9 The Council also may recommend appropriate procedures or methods of adjustment.10 Further, the Security Council has been empowered to take “Effective collective measures.” Collective measures would be applied only by the Security Council, and the General Assembly or the Secretary-General has not been given authority for such measures.

 

 

United Nations: Promoting Democracy and Gender Empowerment

 

Democracy is a universal ideal and is one of the core values and principles of the United Nations. The UN General Assembly has reaffirmed that “democracy is a universal value based on the freely expressed will of people to determine their political, economic, social and cultural systems and their full participation in all aspects of their lives.” The United Nations supports global democracy. The large majority of United Nations Democracy Fund (UNDEF) goes to local civil society organizations for projects that strengthen the voice of civil society, promote human rights, and encourage the participation of all groups in democratic processes.

 

The UN also supports women’s political participation, including efforts to increase the share of women elected into office and to build women’s capacity as effective legislators once elected. In July 2010, as part of a resolution on system-wide reform, the United Nations General Assembly created UN Women, mandated to coordinate the gender mainstreaming work of the UN System. In doing so, UN Member States took an historic step in accelerating the Organization’s goals on gender equality and the empowerment of women.11 However, now we will turn to the new millennium.

 

 

The Millennium Development Goals

 

In the beginning of new millennium 189 member states of the United Nations made a promise to free people from extreme poverty and multiple deprivations. Their pledge became the eight Millennium Development Goals. In the fifty-fifth session [Agenda item 60 (b)] of the United Nations General Assembly from 6 to 8 September 2000, the heads of state and Government promised: “We are determined to establish a just and lasting peace all over the world in accordance with the purposes and principles of the Charter. We rededicate ourselves to support all efforts to uphold the sovereign equality of all States, respect for their territorial integrity and political independence, resolution of disputes by peaceful means and in conformity with the principles of justice and international law, …. respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, respect for the equal rights of all without distinction as to race, sex, language or religion and international cooperation in solving international problems of an economic, social, cultural or humanitarian character.”12In this regard, Mr. Ban ki Moon, the former Secretary General of the United Nations said that, “The Millennium Development Goals were a pledge to uphold the principles of human dignity, equality and equity, and free the world from extreme poverty.” He further pointed out that, “The MDGs, with eight goals and a set of measurable time-bound targets, established a blueprint for tackling the most pressing development challenges of our time.”13

 

As a result of combined efforts of the global leaders, at the end of 2015 it was found that, “Between 1990 and 2015 income poverty in developing country regions fell by more than two-thirds. The number of extreme poor people worldwide fell from 1.9 billion to 836 million. The child mortality rate fell by more than half, and under-five deaths fell from 12.7 million to 6 million. More than 2.6 billion people gained access to an improved source of drinking water, and 2.1 billion gained access to improved sanitation facilities even as the world’s population rose from 5.3 billion to 7.3 billion.”14

 

Despite the achievements, the then Secretary General Ban Ki Moon asserted that, “Too many women continue to die during pregnancy or from childbirth-related complications. Progress tends to bypass women and those who are lowest on the economic ladder or are disadvantaged because of their age, disability or ethnicity.”15Moreover, the Human Development Report 2015 points out that, “Globally women earn 24 percent less than men and hold only 25 percent of administrative and managerial positions in the business world – while 32 percent of businesses have no women in senior management positions. Women still hold only 22 percent of seats in single or lower houses of national parliament.”16 Thus we find that, despite some progress, desired results were not produced by the states and governments across the globe. Women, the fifty per cent population, were lagging behind their male counterparts in all spheres of life. Hence, the world leaders after reviewing the existing disappointing situation set another 17 goals in 2015, which came into force from 2016. These are better known as Sustainable Development Goals. Now, let us examine the Sustainable Development Goals.

 

 

Sustainable Development

 

The phrase Sustainable Development is now a much discussed and debated issue in both academic and development discourse. Therefore, it is necessary to understand the meaning of the terminology. To trace the issue we should go back to the eighties of the previous century, when the World Commission on Environment and Development published its report Our Common Future in 1987. It was chaired by then Prime Minister of Norway Gro Harlem Brundtland, thus earning the name the “Brundtland Commission.” Further, the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in Rio de Janeiro in 1992 (the so-called “Earth Summit”) issued a declaration of principles, a detailed Agenda 21 of desired actions, international agreements on climate change and biodiversity, and a statement of principles on forests.17 After ten years of the said Conference again in 2002, at the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, South Africa, the commitment to sustainable development was reaffirmed.18In the interim, sustainable development as a concept, as a goal, and as a movement spread rapidly and is now central to the mission of countless international organizations, national institutions and other local bodies.

 

However, the Brundtland Commission’s brief definition of sustainable development as the “ability to make development sustainable – to ensure that it meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”19 is considered as the standard definition when judged by its widespread use and frequency of citation. On development, the report states that human needs are basic and essential; that economic growth is also equity to share resources with the poor, which is required to sustain them; and that equity is encouraged by effective citizen participation.20 Now let us focus on the issues and ambitious goals taken by global leaders in the Sustainable Development Goals.

 

 

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

 

From 17-20 February, 2015 the member states met for a round of intergovernmental negotiations in New York. In the summit the world leaders formulated 17 development goals known as The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), otherwise known as the Global Goals, which are actually a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity. These 17 Goals build on the successes of the Millennium Development Goals, while including new areas such as climate change, economic inequality, innovation, sustainable consumption, peace and justice, among other priorities. The goals are interconnected – often the key to success on one will involve tackling issues more commonly associated with another.

 

The SDGs are an inclusive agenda. They tackle the root causes of poverty and unite us together to make a positive change for both people and planet. “Poverty eradication is at the heart of the 2030 Agenda, and so is the commitment to leave no-one behind,” However, the ambitious goals are: (1) end poverty in all its forms, everywhere, (2) end hunger, (3) ensure healthy lives, (4) quality education , (5) gender equality, (6) clean water and good sanitation, (7) clean energy for all, (8) decent work and economic growth, (9) innovation and infrastructure, (10) reduce inequality, (11) sustainable cities and settlements, (12) sustainable production and consumption, ( 13) combat climate change, (14) life below water, (15) life on land, (16) peace and justice, (17) partnership and financing for achieving the Goals. Regarding these goals it can be concluded that, “The 17 Sustainable Development Goals are the most ambitious commitments to eradicating poverty the world has ever seen……”21

 

 

Role of UNDP

 

The SDGs came into effect from January 2016, and they will continue to guide UNDP policy and funding until 2030. As the lead UN development agency, UNDP is uniquely placed to help implement the Goals through the work in about 170 countries and territories. The strategic plan focuses on key areas including poverty alleviation, democratic governance and peace-building, climate change and disaster risk, and economic inequality. UNDP provides support to governments to integrate the SDGs into their national development plans and policies. But it is not possible only for the international and national governments to accelerate the development process of the world. It needs partnership among government and non-government organization, civil society and private members to ensure a better planet for our future generations.

 

 

Causes of Disparities, Disempowerment and Distress

 

The Upanisad says that, nothing is permanent in the world. The conscious and knowledgeable people always remember this maxim; but almost majority people do not keep these words in mind – because many of them either did not learn or do not follow despite learning. They frequently run after materialistic gains and get pain and sorrow.22 The Upanisad further points out that, as most of the people have “Abidyam antore bartamanah”, they are fallen in the deepest darkness of ignorance. Generally people crave for worldly pleasures and earning wealth – often more than their basic requirements and for personal benefit – by fair or foul means and become unhappy. If they can earn wealth, success, beauty, gold, diamond, jewelry, clothes and cosmetics or university degrees, they think their life is successful. This people are basically like immature and nincompoop children. These kinds of people may enjoy heavenly joy for some time; but soon that artificial happiness vanishes and they began to suffer from endless sorrow. The truth is that, when people work selflessly and without demanding for any reward it is called niskam karma (desireless work) and that is the best kind of work. Besides, the works should be done honestly, sincerely, heartily and selflessly. Only selfless work for humanity is called the best kind of work, and only that kind of work can bring eternal happiness and peace. Out of all knowledge, the knowledge of Brahma is the best knowledge. When people have control over minds and can desist from all kinds of earthly desires and sensual enjoyment, they become the happiest and most successful people, who become the pure assets of a nation. Controlling mind is one kind of good habit that can be practiced even in sleep. The Upanisad prescribes how to control one’s mind. It can be achieved in two ways – through continuous struggle for it and secondly, always engaging in good and positive thoughts.23

 

On the other hand, sin or wrong-doing is the root of all sorrows. The Upanisad also utters that, “For self-realization a devotee needs to pass through a certain steps. Firstly, a true or real human being will be truthful. There should not be any difference between his words and action. He should place truth above all things. He must not compromise with anybody or anything for keeping the truth high. A devotee or a real person should always engage for the wellbeing of people, poor, downtrodden and women and children – in a word for all. A person should be anger-free, non-envious, greedless, selfless and truthful.”24 Due to lack of knowledge of and proper value education, people are living in darkness of ignorance and they do not hesitate to take unfair means to gain abnormal wealth, and in the process of accumulation of huge wealth they deprive their fellow brethren, and themselves become causes of others’ pain and sorrow. In the long run those dishonest and unethical people of yesteryears turn the worst sufferers in the hands of God.

 

 

Some Existing Thoughts

 

A large part of the world follows the teachings of Swami Vivekananda. In regard to poverty alleviation he urged people to come forward for removing poverty from this world. In his words, “…if one can remove poverty from this world, that is the best benefit for the mankind.” Moreover he said, “Distribution of knowledge is far better than disbursement of rice and clothes”.25 In relation of education, Swamiji said, “That education means preparing a man in such a way so that his wishes are propelled toward good work and gets success.”26 Swami Vivekananda also said, “We want that education by which character is formed, strength of mind is increased, the intellect is expanded, and by which one can stand on one’s own feet.”27 For achieving mental peace another social thinker and religious guru Sri Paramhangsha Yogananda, founder of Yogoda Satsanga Society of India said, “Remember that the mind cannot suffer any pain unless it accepts the suggestion of pain. Mind cannot suffer from poverty or anything else unless it accepts the unpleasantness of the condition. Jesus was severely treated – his life was filled with problems, obstacles, and uncertainties – yet he had not worries.”28 Non-violence or ahimsha was very much present with Buddha since his childhood days.

 

 

Marxism and Capitalism on Sustainable Development

 

The Marxist doctrine of the “withering away of the State” is nothing but a fiction. The State, says Lenin, will wither away at the highest stage of Communism, when “there will be need for any exact calculation by Society of the quantity of products to be distributed to each of its member; each will take freely according to his needs.” The founders of Marxism insisted that in the socialist society there would be no State: “Society will banish the whole State machine to a place which will then be the most proper one for it — to the museum of antiquities side by side with the spinning wheel and the bronze-ax.” Not only will the class-conflict no longer occasion the intervention of a police-force, but even isolated individual crimes will disappear, once the want and wretchedness which drove men to steal, murder, etc., is re­placed by the literally unbounded wealth which socialism offers every man. 29 But history proves that neither in Soviet Russia nor in Germany, or in any country of the world misery, poverty, discrimination etc. were disappeared in last one hundred and fifty years, and happiness was established.

 

Paul Burkett30 in an article wrote, “With global capitalism’s worsening poverty and environmental crises, sustainable human development comes to the fore as the primary question ….” The communists themselves created disparity in party organization, post allocation and wealth accumulation. Besides, they are not free from corruption, as was found in India and some other communist countries. Moreover, with the Marxists slogans like “bhenge dao guriye dao” (break all, demolish all), and “cholche na, cholbe na” (nothing will run, nothing will be let run) industrialization cannot be ensured. Without industrialization there will be joblessness, and tremendous unemployment and poverty, which will weaken development, let apart sustainable development.

 

On the other hand, capitalism tends to “sapping the original sources of all wealth, the soil and the laborer.” Capitalism seeks to exploit the natural resources and deprives the human beings and creates unhealthy competition among people and nation. This makes people corrupt and inhuman. Further, Leslie Sklair in her edited volume, Capitalism and Development points out that, “The act of contemporary western occupation of countries, especially in Africa and Asia means in political terms the weakening of the capacity of the occupied people fully to govern themselves independently. The ruler of colonized territories is often either a colonial national appointee or a cooperating native designated by the colonizer. Policies and decisions in the running of the affairs of people under occupation are hardly done without the consensus and the approval of the colonizers.”31

 

Further Mahmoud Dhaouadi points out that, “Plainly put, the planet earth is increasingly becoming uninhabitable. The major role of western capitalism in the damage caused to earth’s natural resources and ecology is more than obvious. The picture of our present and future planet becomes much grimmer and more desperate when we consider the ever increasing massive piles of destructive armaments of all kinds (nuclear, biochemical, etc.) that the capitalist West still leads in its production as well as possession.”32 Thus two things become clear. One, most of the Afro-Asian countries being colonies of European countries cannot flourish and achieve sustainable development except that extent allowed by their previous colonial masters. Two, environment degradation is mainly caused by the Western industrialized and capitalist countries. Finally, let us not forget that, capitalism carries within itself the seeds of its own destruction.

 

 

PROUT as Panacea of All Problems

 

A brief review of a few thoughts and existing theories bring fore a very pertinent question in the minds of readers as then how to bring about peace, prosperity and stability in the world. From the above discussion it becomes clear that the social and religious philosophers like Swami Vivekananda, Paramhangsa Yogananda and others have failed to show a path to global peace and progress. Their thoughts are based on moral values and lacks in clear cut roadmap to democracy, governance and all-round development. The Upanisad also highlights on improving human qualities. On the other hand, capitalism has failed to remove fear of war, poverty, unemployment and other evils. Rather, it has brought about banes like unhealthy competition of arms and ammunition and hence making the world an inhabitable place for the people in general and particularly for poor, women and children. Similarly, Communism is a utopian theory, which cannot be achieved in anywhere of the world. Socialism failed to bring about stability, discrimination, peace and progress. Therefore, with a view to close the gap and all the shortcomings of the existing theories and thoughts Sri Prabhat Ranjan Sarkar at first invented a theory called Progressive Utilization Theory (PROUT) which is basically a compendium of social, political, economic and religious theories. PROUT encompasses the whole of individual and collective existence, not just for human beings but for all beings including flora and fauna. The theory signifies advancement in respect to the all-round happiness and welfare of all. PROUT seeks to ensure progress and increase the minimum standard of living of people.

 

However, to understand the acronym PROUT we can quote Prof. Sohail Inayatullah, a Pakistani-born Australian academic, and a visiting professor at the Graduate Institute of Futures Studies at Tamkang University in Taipei, Taiwan. He considers that, “The principles of Sarkar’s good society are developed in his comprehensive theory: the Progressive Utilization Theory, or PROUT. PROUT attempts to balance the need for societies to create both wealth and grow as well the requirements for distribution. To achieve this, an integral part of the PROUTist vision is to create income floors and ceilings progressively indexed to aggregate economic growth. Thus wealth will not be hoarded and thereby underutilized or misutilized, as in the case of global stock markets. However, unlike socialist utopias, which argue for equality, PROUT accepts individual differences and the desire of individuals to own limited property and goods as well as the key role of incentives in spurring technological innovation and economic growth….”33

 

Let us first discuss the thoughts Sarkar in relation to general administration. Sarkar advocates people’s whole-hearted participation in decision making process. PROUT seeks to enhance purchasing power of all people through capacity building and not by distributing doles, as is the present trend of various governments including India. Sarkar envisages that, every human being has physical, mental, and spiritual potential. That potential should be developed to the fullest extent in everyone. People should work according to his physical and mental capacity. It is the duty of the state to widen the opportunity before the citizens. Social control should not be vested in those that are only brainy or even those that are also brave, brainy, or worldly wise having possessed spiritual quality. These people are called as Sadvipras.

 

PROUT recognizes that there will and must always be a gap in wealth. There will always be some who are wealthier than others. PROUT pragmatically seeks to guarantee minimum requirements and maximum amenities to all. However, those whose service to society is greater than average must get maximum amenities, with the proviso that this must not violate the collective interest. According to PROUT, in a healthy economy, there should be a well-balanced adjustment among the various sectors of the economy.

 

PROUT envisages that political democracy creates criminals, encourages exploitation, and throws common people into an abyss of sorrow and suffering. Hence, Sarkar distinguishes two types of democracy such as political democracy and economic democracy. It seeks to provide economic security i.e. economic democracy to all. In practical terms, economic democracy would vest economic power (control over the means of production and distribution of goods and services) in the local people. On the other hand, the nature of capitalism is to concentrate wealth. In other words, capitalism centralizes economic power. PROUT analyzes this as the result of profit motivation. In contrast to capitalism, economic democracy entails production for consumption rather than production for profit. PROUT asserts that economic democracy is impossible under capitalism.

 

Political democracy is generally hailed as government of the people, by the people, for the people. Even though it was not in practice when those words were spoken by Abraham Lincoln. In its currently idealized (or liberal) form, political democracy is based on a high degree of political decentralization, also known as universal suffrage. In other words, every adult citizen is accorded the right to vote and right to be elected. For political democracy to be successful, PROUT specifies three requirements such as mass education (including virtually 100% literacy), morality (at least 51% of the voting population must rigidly adhere to morality), and social, economic, and political awareness of the voting population. Without fulfillment of these three criteria existing democracy is sure to be unsuccessful, as is found in major democracies in the world.

 

Even should those three requirements for successful democracy be fulfilled, PROUT asserts that the true welfare of the people still will not be possible. According to PROUT, social welfare (progressive socialism) cannot be established under a democratic framework. It requires the enlightened dictatorship of Sadvipras. In short, PROUT advocates economic democracy (economic decentralization and political centralization) and not political democracy (political decentralization and economic centralization).

 

In terms of development POOUT says that, there are six factors on which the development of any society depends. These are: spiritual ideology, spiritual practice, socioeconomic theory, social outlook, scriptures and preceptors. In addition to this, PROUT considers the welfare of the individual and the welfare of society to be an inalienable concomitance. In other words, individual welfare depends on the welfare of society, and social welfare depends on the welfare of the individuals. Hence, the PROUT calls for the all-round development of both individual and collective potential (physical, mental, and spiritual).

 

Under PROUT, efficiency in respect to production and distribution is enhanced by judicious allocation of amenities. The banking system is a crucial element of commercial economy. Without banks, the mobility of money would be hindered. PROUT insists that the banking system be carefully regulated. With respect to monetary policy, a PROUT-based economy would prohibit the issuance of currency that does not have a proportionate amount of reserved bullion (typically, gold). This would eliminate the possibility of crippling inflation and facilitate a genuine and recognizable increase in purchasing power. In principle, PROUT supports free trade as a means of enhancing distribution and reducing price manipulation.

 

PROUT would organize nations and ultimately the entire world on the basis of self-sufficient economic zones, based purely on socioeconomic and geographical considerations rather than political considerations (as is currently common).Within each socioeconomic zone, there would also be decentralized planning down to the block level, the block being the lowest level on which economic planning is feasible. In other words, economic planning would function on many levels – block, district, state, national, and global levels – but the block-level planning would be the primary level of planning. As block-level planning is essential for economic decentralization, it should be adopted in all blocks, and it should be constitutionally mandated. Sarkar supports free trade for all socioeconomic zones and endorses free trade throughout the world as far as benevolently possible.

 

Sarkar supports property rights of people. The nature of property rights is fundamental to legal systems. It is also a major distinguishing factor between capitalism and communism. Where capitalism upholds a right to private property, communism would abolish such a right. PROUT takes a middle path by accepting a practical psychological need of living beings to accumulate property (for a sense of security) but asserting that the extent of accumulation should be restricted by society, the board of Sadvipras.

 

Further, PROUT has delineated the education system. Education being the backbone of any state, Sarkar considers that, education should be given first priority. He calls them educated who have learned much, remembered much and made use of their knowledge much in practical life for progress and development of all. For spreading education Sarkar had founded the Ananda Marga System of Education, which is one of the best education systems in the world. However, with respect to PROUT, the concern is primarily that the best possible education should be available to all. PROUT maintains that, (a) the salary of teachers on all levels, especially the lower levels, should be increased in order to attract and retain the highest standard of personnel. (b) Government must fund public education but should have no role in determining the curriculum. All matters directly pertaining to education should be controlled by the educationists themselves. (For that purpose, boards may be elected.) (c) Teachers must maintain an exemplary moral standard, honesty, sincerity, hard working mentality and discipline because students are not just influenced by their words but also by their actions. Teachers who fail to maintain such a standard should be dismissed.

 

In regard to Social Justice Prabhat Ranjan Sarkar feels that, seventy-five person of the evils in society are the result of the injustices that people commit against each other. 34 In other social systems (notably capitalism and communism), vested interests have thwarted the establishment of a fully egalitarian society. PROUT would remedy that situation by giving no scope for the harmful influence of selfishness. According to PROUT, there should be no discrimination, no favoritism, in respect to rights except in so far as it is necessary to inspire some people to undertake activities that would directly benefit society or as a temporary reward for distinguished service.35 PROUT would educate all people regarding their rights in every sphere of life and simultaneously encourage everyone to fully exercise those rights.

 

PROUT has given emphasis on gender empowerment. In respect of women’s empowerment Prabhat Ranjan Sarkar considers that, the difference in natural and biological characteristics between men and women speaks only of coordinated cooperation, not of subordinated cooperation… Let women be the vanguard of a new revolution which humanity must achieve for a glorious tomorrow.36 Sarkar observes that in every sphere of life, men have either restricted the rights of women or made the exercise of those rights subject to men’s whims. Further, Sarkar argues that it is not up to men to grant women’s rights but rather to recognize women’s rights. PROUT rejects all superstition and dogma in respect to women’s rights. To terminate the physical and psychic exploitation of women and ensure gender equality, PROUT advocates free education for all women in all countries of the world; no discrimination in the social, educational, and religious spheres; extension of economic and social security to all women.

 

With advances in technology, especially communications, there is a sense that the world is shrinking. After witnessing two world wars in the first half of the twentieth century, and the war-like tensions existent in various pockets in the world, people do not like disintegration of society. Hence, PROUT seeks the formation of a world government, which will be based on equality and led by Sadvipras. What would be the language of the world government? PROUT gives importance and respect to all languages. Despite that, there should be a global lingua franca for the sake of better communications among the states and their people. Currently, English is the global language and in the view of PROUT, the language that is most widely spoken in the world should be accepted as the global language. The current six language formula of the UNO can be remained as same.  With respect to education, the global language should be taught in all primary and secondary schools as a compulsory second language (after the local language). As far as possible, higher education should be imparted exclusively in the principal global language i.e. English.

 

However, PROUT visualizes an ideal society which will be led by and controlled by the Sadbipras. The Sadvipras-led societies are called as the Sadvipra samaja (“sadvipra society”). Sadvipras are the greatest assets of a society. PROUT defines Sadvipras as those spiritual revolutionaries who, while strictly adhering to the principles of morality, work relentlessly and systematically to achieve progressive changes for human elevation.37 Sadvipras are not a social class – neither economically nor socially. They come from all walks of life and all backgrounds. Sadvipras are not appointed. Rather, they are recognized by their “exemplary conduct, selfless service, dutifulness, and moral integrity”.38 Sadvipras serve two main roles in relation to the social cycle.

 

When an era decays to a state of rapacious exploitation by the dominant socio-psychic class, the Sadvipras apply requisite force to rotate the social cycle to a subsequent era, typically the next era. Secondly, when a particular administration in any era becomes corrupt, the Sadvipras apply requisite force to replace the persons in power. So, for example, if a particular administration in an early capitalist era becomes exploitative, the Sadvipras might contest elections to replace that administration. Sarkar considers that, benevolent dictatorship is very much essential. “If a society is run by the intellectual and correct people, there will be little chances of exploitation and injustice.”39

 

Though it is not possible to establish sustainable peace, but sustainable development is possible by Sadvipra society, which is purely based on the principles of honesty, selfless work, hardworking mentality for serving all sections of people and other animals.

 

Conclusion

 

God has created every human being as equal, but a powerful section of people have put numerous restrictions on him, and bound him in chains in every sphere of life. The powerful people, mostly political leaders, business barons, and disguised religious leaders are mostly greedy, dishonest, unethical and immoral irrespective of their education, social position and wealth. Limitless greed and artificial wants have made the majority of people, often the people of the above-mentioned categories – mad for money, gold, jewelry, land, and above all power. The same is the position of majority people in the world. They forget that man does not bring anything from his mother’s womb and similarly cannot take away anything from his accumulated wealth to the crematorium or grave yard. If one is born, he is sure to die. And with his death, he is almost forgotten by his near and dear ones. On the contrary, the people who work selflessly for the larger benefit of his fellow human beings live longer years in the memory of people even after their death. Jesus Christ, Lord Buddha, Hazrat Mohammad, Sri Chaitanya, Ramakrishna Paramhangsha, Swami Vivekananda, Mother Teresa, Rabindranath Tagore, Paramhangsha Jogananda, Prabhat Ranjan Sarkar, APJ Abdul Kalam and the like are some saintly people who still remain alive in the memory of millions of people globally after so many years of their physical death.

 

 

Critical Analysis

 

From the foregoing discussions it comes to light that the United Nations has been active in spreading democratic rights to the people and endeavored to give equal status and right to every citizen through its Universal Declaration of Human Rights. But where is the desired result, after so many years of its service? Article 3 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights highlights that, “Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.” Say where is the right to life, liberty and security of people? Why there are wars, crimes, border problems, refugee problems, environment pollution etc.? Is the Article 21 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights been established? Has everyone, as a member of society, been availed of the right to social security?

 

Why there should be so much poverty? Despite increase of foodstuff production, why there should be hunger? A recent world bank report estimates that, using the International Poverty Line of $1.90/day, compared to the estimates produced in October 2016, the total number of poor increased in 2017 by 2.5 million (from 766.0 to 768.5 million). Total 10.7 per cent people are living below the poverty line in the world at present.40 Why so many people should be under the poverty line?

 

Why there are so many international conflicts? In regard to peace settlement, if we examine the role of the Security Council in the peaceful settlement of disputes we would see that it is not a mandatory duty of the Security Council. Although Article 33(2) states that the Security Council shall, where it is deemed necessary, call upon the parties to settle their disputes, the wording does not purport to impose a mandatory obligation on the Council to enforce the provisions of Article 33(1). The Council’s role under Article 33 is one of supervision of the obligation to settle peace on members.41

 

Democracy, the most cherished dream of millions of people in the world is also at stake. If “democracy is a universal value based on the freely expressed will of people to determine their political, economic, social and cultural systems and their full participation in all aspects of their lives”, then why there is meager percentage of people participate in the elections? Why there are so many booth capturing, blood bath in the elections? Further, where is gender empowerment and equality? Are women not human beings? Why they will lag behind in education, income and health? Why men will rape women, beat women, harass women both at home and office? If one visits the rural areas in India and other developing countries as well as under-developed countries the deplorable condition of people will not be unseen and unfelt by him.

 

If people do not get food, if a section of powerful people illegally accumulate huge quantity of wealth for personal gains, if the life and liberty of common could not be protected by state leaders, if corruption cannot be controlled, if environment is continuously plundered and pollution is spread intentionally, the day is not far when the world is sure to collapse.

 

The member states in the wake of Millennium Declaration Goals told that, “We are determined to establish a just and lasting peace all over the world in accordance with the purposes and principles of the Charter. We rededicate ourselves to support all efforts to uphold the sovereign equality of all States, respect for their territorial integrity and political independence, resolution of disputes by peaceful means and in conformity with the principles of justice and international law.” The statements and declarations only express the empty words of some heads of states.

 

 

Conclusion

 

Hence, it becomes evident that like the international organizations some individuals are also endeavoring to bring about equality, prosperity and peace of the people. Despite their all out efforts and good intentions, still the world is suffering from inequality, poverty, hunger, illiteracy, ill-health, and environment pollution. Peace is still a distant dream and sustainable development is merely a catchword. Lack of proper knowledge and value education, discipline education, science education; love for people, sympathy for poor and backward people; sincerity and hard working mentality for serving the mankind and nation; capacity like mental, physical and spiritual the universal peace and progress cannot be established. Neither Marxism nor Capitalism has the solution of all-round development of people. But the PROUT propounded by Prabhat Ranjan Sarkar can be an effective tool for transforming the world in an affirmative way. Only the Sadvipras with the above qualities can play a catalytic role in making a beautiful world for which we dream for. As the politics determine and control everything in the world, the Ananda Marga society needs to be more active in political participation as suggested by Sri Prabhat Ranjan Sarkar. Secondly, the Ananda Marga should spread its education and philosophy through establishment of more educational institutions from primary to university level. More research needs to be done on the works of PROUT. However, the Anandamargis need to be more aggressive to prepare more Sabvipras. The more the Sadvipras, the quicker the establishment of PROUTist society. And only in a PROUTist society there can be real peace and sustainable development, because the state will be run and led by Sadvipras who are morally, physically and mentally pure and dedicated to selfless devotion for the human progress and peace.

 

 

 

 

Dr. Keshab Chandra Mandal

Dr. Keshab Chandra Mandal was born in Birnagar, Nadia, West Bengal, India, to an eminent Hindu family, grew up and studied upto M.A. in Political Science in West Bengal, and then went to Delhi and worked there in various service industries, and returned to Kolkata in 2001. He did his another two M.A.s, Ph. D., and B. Ed., while from Delhi he did his Post Graduate Diploma in Business Management. For fourteen years he has been teaching Political Science and doing research in “Gender Studies” and “Development Studies”. He has written 8 books, two monographs, and about 3 dozens of articles. His books are available in West Bengal libraries, Parliament library and universities of India. His latest book – The Thoughts of an Unknown Indian – has been acclaimed as the best among contemporary books in India.

 

 

References

 

1 – Tønnessen-Krokan, Borghild. Forum for Development and Environment. Available at https://www.forumfor.no/assets/docs/SDGs_Forum_lowres.pdf retrieved on 24.3.2018, p. preface.

2 – Ait Kaci, Yacine. (YAK). 2015. Universal Declaration of Human Rights. United Nations, p. 4. Available at http://www.un.org/en/udhrbook/pdf/udhr_booklet_en_web.pdf retrieved on 22.03.2018).

3 – ibid. p. 8.

4 – ibid. p. 16.

5 – ibid. p. 46.

6 –  ibid. p. 48.

7 – Elham, Aminzadeh. 1997. The United Nations and International Peace and Security: A Legal and Practical Analysis. An unpublished Ph. D. Thesis. University of Glasgow, p. 25).

8 – ibid.

9 – Article 34 of the Charter.

10 – Article 34 of the Charter.

11 – https://www.un.org/en/sections/issues-depth/democracy/index.html#DOV retrieved 24.03.2018.

12 – General Assembly. 18 September 2000. Fifty-fifth session Agenda item 60 (b), pp. 1-2.

13 – http://www.un.org/millenniumgoals/pdf/MDGReport2014_PR_Global_English.pdf retrieved 24.3.2018.

14.- Human Development Report. 2015. United Nations Development Program, New York: p. 4.)

15 – ibid.

16 – ibid.

17 – The United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), http://www.un.org/geninfo/bp/enviro.htm l; and E. A. Parson and P. M. Haas, “A Summary of the Major Documents Signed at the Earth Summit and the Global Forum,” Environment, October 1992, pp. 12–18.

18 – The Johannesburg Declaration on Sustainable Development, 4 September 2002, http://www.housing.gov.za/content/legislation_policies/johannesburg.htm.

19 – World Commission on Environment and Development (WCED). 1987. Our Common Future. New York:  Oxford University Press, 1987, p.8.

20 – Robert W. Kates, Thomas M. Parris, and Anthony A. Leiserowitz. 2005. Environment: Science and Policy for Sustainable Development, Volume 47, Number 3, p. 10.

21 –  Tønnessen-Krokan, Borghild. Forum for Development and Environment. Available at https://www.forumfor.no/assets/docs/SDGs_Forum_lowres.pdf retrieved on 24.3.2018, p.13.

22 –  Swami, Lokeswarananda. 2010. ‘Mundak Upanisad’. Upanisad [Philosophy]. Kolkata: Ananda Publishers Private Limited, p. 243.

23 –  ibid. p. 406.

24 – ibid. p. 282.

25 – Swami, Vivekananda. 2012. Karmayog. Kolkata: Udbodhan Karyalaya, pp. 28-29.

26 –  Swami, Vivekananda. 1428 (Bangabda). Vivekrashmi. Kolkata: Ramkrishna Mission Loksiksha Parishad, p. 99.

27 –  Vivekananda: His Call to the Nation, A Compilation, 2013. Advaita Ashram. Kolkata: p. 61.

28 –  Sri Sri Paramhansa, Yogananda, Riding the Consciousness of Worry. 2003. Kolkata: Yogoda Satsanga Society of India, Dakshineswar, p. 22.

29 – Raico, Ralph. 2017. Marx’s Theory of Stages: The Withering Away of the State Under Socialism, Mises Institute, Australian Economics, Freedom and Peace.)

30 –  Burkett, Paul. ‘Marx’s Vision of Sustainable Human Development’.  Monthly Review – An Independent Socialist Magazine, Vol. 57, Issue 5, October 1, 2005.

31 –  Dhaouadi, Mahmoud. 1994. ‘Capitalism, Global Human Development and Other Underdevelopment’. In Leslie Sklair (ed). Capitalism and Development, Canada USA: Taylor and Francis, p.144.

32 –  ibid. p. 148.

33 – http://ruby.zcommunications.org/p-r-sarkars-vision-of-the-future-by-sohail-inayatullah retrieved on 23.3.2018.

34 – Sarkar, Prabhat Ranjan. 1959. “Social Justice” published in Human Society Part 1. Ananda Marga Publications.

35 – Sarkar, Prabhat Ranjan. 1959. “Social Justice” published in Human Society Part 1. Ananda Marga Publications.

36 – Sarkar, Prabhat Ranjan. 1981. “Women’s Rights” published in A Few Problems Solved Part 9. Ananda Marga Publications.

37 – Sarkar, Prabhat Ranjan. 1959. “The Place of Sadvipras in the Samaja Cakra” in Idea and Ideology. Ananda Marga Publications.

38 – Sarkar, Prabhat Ranjan. 1969. “Sadvipra Boards” published in PROUT in a Nutshell Volume 4 Part 18. Ananda Marga Publicaions.

39 – Acharya Trombokeshwarananda Abadhut (ed.). 2012. Sri Prabhat Ranjan Sarkar, Prouter Ruparekha (Bengali edn.). Anandamarga Publicaion, Kolkata, p. 194.

40 – Ferreira, Francisco. Lakner, Christoph. and Sanchez, Carolina. The 2017 global poverty update from the World Bank, The World Bank. 16.10.2017 available at http://blogs.worldbank.org/developmenttalk/2017-global-poverty-update-world-bank.

41 – White, N. D. 1990. The United Nations and the Maintenance of International Peace and Security. Manchester. p. 3.

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