Skip to Content

Evolution of Social Revolution

                                                                        November  2, 1999

            A thousand years can be pressed into a moment during the Hour of God. Society bursts into a revolutionary upheaval when the obstacles accumulate. Similarly, there are other periods which gradually prepare for a revolution and periods when social institutions evolve helping the society to avoid a revolution. Historically their expressions are various. Some of them are,

1. Diana's popularity. This signifies that the royalty is held in esteem, only that people want the royalty not to be aloof, but to come down to the widest cross-section of population. Here is a clue for all the royal houses to dissolve themselves honourably, without being violently overthrown or contemptuously pushed aside.

2. The founding fathers of Indian Republic wisely stipulated a period of 10 years when the scheduled caste population will be offered special privileges. It stays for the last 50 years. The progress scheduled caste people have made in education and employment is considerable in comparison to the pre-Independence days, though in absolute terms the problem remains untouched. Had this been not done, India would have been a land torn with eternal civil strife even as Yugoslavia now is. The political foresight and the liberal mindedness of the founders have shifted the violent battles on the field of streets to the two houses of Parliament.

   Also, this approach has set the tone of the nation towards social justice in every other field. In the field of labour, where not much could be done politically in the 50's, discontent rose to the point of widespread strikes in the sixties. Government, the courts and administration quickly took a pro-labour stand and in a decade the unrest in the factory almost vanished.

3. In the field of education at all levels the expansion was about ten fold. The consequent deterioration of standards was also ten-fold. During the same sixties, this led to closing down of the educational institutions for months on end. The discontent was prevented from becoming social rebellion by the twin factors of expansion and lowering of standards.

4. In the last two centuries there was one event where a social philosophy arose calling for a different social system. The Communist Manifesto of 1848 gave it to the world. Capitalism had no philosophic foundation. It grew unconsciously while the Manifesto was a conscious formulation of a social philosophy for a new social order. In the Russian Revolution of 1917 the philosophy became politics and politics became state monopoly. It is true that after a 70 year stint, the command economy came forward to dissolve itself.

 Socialism is a laudable goal for the society and it still remains so, excelled only by the ideals of communism. The failure of the USSR when seen in a historical perspective is NOT a failure at all. Truly it is the success of Socialism the world over by a bloodless revolution. Had not the non-Russian states banded together to crush the infant USSR, it is open to question whether USSR would have chosen to be a dictatorship in spite of its own historical inheritance from the previous centuries. As a result, today LABOUR in all capitalistic countries is far more well off than in USSR. Even in India when Kerala and West Bengal elected communists to power, the central government stole the thunder from the communists by adopting most of their main platforms. Otherwise, India would have gone communist in one decade even through the ballot box. Here we witness the variations of the principle of social change.

  • Generally, social changes occur violently through revolutions.
  • Once the violence erupts in one part of the society, other parts repeat the same violence in the same fashion.
  • Society gets alerted by the first call to violence and rises to the occasion to avoid that violence by voluntarily offering to change.
  • In the latter case, there are two social possibilities, 1) the pioneer--state or part of state--becomes a shining model and leads the others while continuing to grow ahead of them, 2) the pioneer is strangled and dies a natural death of martyrdom allowing all the other parts to grow at its expense, often as its rivals.

5. When India had its spiritual conquests long ago, it was the view of Sri Aurobindo that its benefits should have been evenly spread all over the population. This is one possibility and remains theoretical to this day in all fields such as science, technology, education and organisation. Wherever man could exercise his rights of possessions, he did exercise, as long as he could deny others the benefit of his own discovery. It may be due to narrow-mindedness or the inability to extend his heartfelt emotions and their organised expression so wide as the evolution required. Sri Aurobindo speaks of the final refusal of Brahmins in India. Instead of discussing what should have been there in the past, if you look at what happened, the tiny fraction of the population tried to hold their treasure in the hands of the unwilling few which led to the Truth being largely falsified until it seeped out of their stranglehold and spread on its own.

The Brahmins were given a lofty ideal but no profession that would keep their bodies and souls together. Over the centuries, they were known to be poor Brahmins. With the highest spiritual ideal and no known source of sure or sufficient income, they employed their great education in creating avenues of resourcefulness that could sustain their livelihood. In periods when Indians were known as people who never lied, a Brahmin's word was taken to be gospel truth as the belief was a Brahmin could not bring himself to utter a falsehood. Now India has lost its truthfulness and self-respect and things are not as before. Sri Aurobindo says when the best is corrupted, the result is the worst. India has suffered this transformation. Brahmins, the repository of our culture, spirit and Truth, have undergone a parallel corruption like the nation. Socially it is a corruption of the Indian social fabric. Evolutionarily, it is a defence mechanism to protect the underlying layers of LIGHT which Mother says is in the bodies of Indians. Theoretically, there are some possibilities.

1) Should the BEST awake to itself, it restores its old glories at a newer height and results issue in record time.

2) Otherwise the lowest rises to be the BEST in its own time.

3) A conscious awakening of the nation can plan and achieve whatever it is conscious of.

6. What has happened to India spiritually has happened to Europe in science, the Middle East in the original civilisation, to USA in technological excellence. The rule for all these situations is the same.

7. The rising expectations have released a revolution. The revolution has not broken out in overt forms as since then, the role of money, the advent of the credit card, the computer and Internet by accelerating the pace of growth have absorbed the energies that would have created a revolution.

8. We witness the dissolution of marriage as an institution, but fail to see the emergence of companies, schools, offices - institutions - replacing the role of the family. Organisations tend to replace the family as the basic social unit, thus allowing the social evolution to rise to greater heights.

9. Organisations that matured into institutions over a few centuries now do so in a few decades. Often they begin straight as institutions like the Internet. Products like computer hasten that transition.

10.A new demographic factor enters into life now. The elderly population is increasing in number. With increasing health and increasing information, the elderly may form a constituency of social wisdom. The combination of vast experience and modern knowledge in the shape of information is likely to create higher levels of wisdom, render men more humane. It is quite likely that many elderly people, having lost their ignorant sharpness of youth which prevented them from founding a happy home, may discover it in their old age.

11.The speed with which money travels may help society outgrow money, even as printing helped society move from memorization to understanding. One value of money arises from its scarcity. Speed of its movement partially helps to reduce that scarcity. A day may soon come-if man chooses it can be now-when man may acquire the knowledge that the scarcity of money lies in the limitation of his understanding money and its origin. That would make money abundant and render it economically functional, losing its present economic value, even as water and air are. Man is on the verge of discovering the social strategy that would convert his understanding into reality.

12. Medicines, by their power, cure diseases and prolong life. The very fact that the increasing pollution did not make man despair and drove him to the maxim that he would be able to solve any problem he has created, is the beginning of higher human wisdom. Now that he successfully tackles pollution, it may lead him to see the deeper analogy in diseases. There is NO pollution in nature. It is man who has created it by his indiscriminate activities. Therefore, when he acquires discrimination in his actions, he will be able to see the truth that after all, pollution is only his creation. By one more step man can see that there is no disease in his natural life. It is by his mental tyranny the body was mishandled, made to lose its balance and develop DISEASES. This knowledge is capable of removing all diseases from human life. The first step will be to resort to cures without drugs.

13. The rationality we permit now is the rationality of status quo and can best be called social rationality, not the rationality of understanding. Should man become rational, science will move closer to spirituality.

14. When money becomes ABUNDANT, work for earning a livelihood may change. Knowledge of a man that he can create any amount of money himself changes his attitude to work. It is no longer jobs for earning, but work for enjoyment.

15. It is scarcity of money, privileges, resources, conveniences that create the situation that denies fairness to men. Scarcity changing into abundance enables fairness to rise to prominence.

16. So far governments primarily took care of defence, law and order. Even now in smaller countries like Denmark, defence is no issue and law and order is largely maintained by the culture of the people. In such countries, the national governments have a tendency to become greater municipalities. The pioneering roles of the government in eradication of disease, spread of education, own media, communication, etc. are being taken over either by private sector or by the NGOs. Large scale computerization of business and administrative operations will hasten this process for one reason or another.

17. Profit can become a dirty word and corporations may make profits not for self-aggrandizement but for social service.

18. When education shifts from teaching to learning, it will become a medium of greater attention to children that will mature into affection. Parents will become teachers with benefit and teachers will become parents that love.

19. Choice before the present SOCIETY.

Its progress is set to be achieved by those who were so far neglected and who neglected to pay attention to themselves. This process is set in motion when the centre of civilisation moved from Mesopotamia and India to Greece, Rome and Europe. It continues to move to USA, Japan and Asia.

This is not the only path of progress. The once enlightened sections that are now relegated are not prevented from awakening to their greater potentialities. That will help the lowest stratum to rise quickly.

Brahmins in India squeezed out of government jobs have filled the far more lucrative software posts abroad. This is the result of outer pressure. An inner pressure is awakening. Its possibility is still there. It means India awakens to its spiritual past, Middle East to its glories of civilisation, Greece to its thought, Rome to its politics and art, Europe to its science, USA to its organisation and Asia to its mysticism.

story | by Dr. Radut