Saturday, March 22, 2008

Quo vadis swadeshi amidst unjust globalization?

Quo vadis swadeshi amidst unjust globalization?
Globalization is under attack from International Labour Organisation (ILO). In a Report of the World Commission under the aegis of ILO, the devastating effects on the poor people in many societies are highlighted.

This should provide a cue to Swadeshi Jagaran enthusiasts. I have not so far seen any documentation on the effects of globalization on swadeshi imperative which I assume is premised on the cultural traditions and social cohesion evolved over millennia. In the Indian context, the family and the extended family of the caste are extraordinarily sound institutional frameworks for creating wealth and achieving abhyudayam (one of the two tenets of dharma; the other is nihs’reyas, personal realization of union of aatman with the paramaatman).

A Hindu, sanatana dharma view of social structure and development initiatives has not yet been fully articulated. I am making this plea for Swadeshi Jagaran enthusiasts to realize such an articulation.

I have indicated some initiatives which can be special purpose vehicles in this regard: National Water Grid Authority, Marine Economic Zones, Indian Ocean Community, banning foreign fund flows based on artificial financial instruments and institution of fiscal incentives to promote family cohesion and family values.

Let the chintan begin.

Namaskaram. Kalyanaraman Download full report
The Report of the World Commission is a positive but critical message for changing the current path of globalization. It says that the potentials of globalization, in terms of growing connectivity and productive capacity, are immense. However, current systems of governance of globalization at national and international levels have not realized such potentials for most of the world's people-and in many instances have made matters worse. "Seen through the eyes of the vast majority of men and women around the world, globalization has not met their simple aspiration for decent jobs, livelihoods and a better future for their children". In 2003, official figures for global unemployment reached a record high of over 185 million people. Unofficial figures would be much higher, especially if one includes the underemployed and the working poor.
These trends, the Report argues, are largely the result of deep-seated and persistent imbalances in the current workings of the global economy which are both "ethically unacceptable and politically unsustainable." It warns that we have reached a crisis stage in the legitimacy of our political institutions, whether national or international. There is an urgent need to rethink current institutions of global economic governance, whose rules and policies it says are largely shaped by powerful countries and powerful players. The unfairness of key rules of trade and finance reflect a serious "democratic deficit" at the heart of the system. The failure of policies, it argues, is due to the fact that market-opening measures and financial and economic considerations have consistently predominated over social ones, including measures compatible with the prerogatives of international human rights law and the principles of international solidarity.
The vision put forward by the Commission is to bring into being a system of global governance that is genuinely supportive of and conducive to national development strategies ("there can be no successful globalization without a successful localization"), where powerful actors are held accountable, and where efforts to achieve coherence between economic and social objectives would place the needs and aspirations of ordinary people at the centre of rules and policies

Globalisation not benefitted masses: SC judge
Hyderabad, Mar 22: Globalisaton had not benefitted a majority of the people both in the developed and developing countries, Supreme Court Judge Justice B Sudershan Reddy said here today.
He said globalisation might have helped some countries to increase Gross Domestic Product(GDP), but it had not helped most of the people even in these countries.

Globalisation might only be creating rich countries with poor people, as even in most of the developed countries, the rich were getting richer, while the poor were often not even holding their own, he noted, while inaugurating the state-level conference of the Akhila Bharatiya Adhivaka Parishad(ABAP) here.

Referring to the report of the World Commission on the social dimensions of globalisation by International Labour Organisation(ILO), which surveyed 73 countries, he said, it found that 59 per cent of the world's population was living in countries with growing inequality and only five per cent with declining inequality.

The revolution in global communications had heightened awareness of these disparities, he pointed out, asserting that ''these global imbalances are morally unacceptable and politically unsustainable''.

The rules of the game governing globalisation was unfair and specifically designed to benefit advanced industrialised countries and in fact, some recent changes were grossly unfair that they had made some of the poorest countries actually worse off, he observed.

Stating that globalisation advanced material values over other value, such as concern for environment or for life itself, he said the way globalisation had been managed, had taken away much of the developing countries sovereignty, add their ability to make decisions themselves in key areas that affected their citizen's well being and undermining democracy.

While advocates of globalisation had claimed that every one would benefit economically, there was plenty of evidence from both developing and developed countries that there were many losers in both, he noted, adding that globalisation should not mean Americanisation of either economic policy or culture, but often it did and that had caused resentment.

In the era of pervasive change, lawyers had the role of articulation, of the need to evaluate the proposals for change and the incidence of change against the constitutional principle of justice -- social, economic and political-- for all.

In a Constitutional democracy it was in courts that the actual impact of social choices were examined at the individual level, he pointed out adding that whether the legal fraternity brought efforts, both intellectual modesty and intellectual integrity or not would crucially determine whether change - social, economic and political, would be for all or only for the few.
--- UNI

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Hindu-Jewish summit and declaration, Feb. 2008

Hindu-Jewish declaration removes misconceptions

Honest and bold dialogue can completely reverse wrong views and erroneous perceptions held over millennia...

Leaders of every religion need to be informed about the basics, vision and beliefs of other religious traditions

BY SWAMI DAYANANDA SARASWATI (New Indian Express, 9 March 2008)

An extraordinary inter-faith meet between Hindu and Jewish religious leaders - an event with the potential to pioneer a paradigm shift from conflict to harmony among all religions - took place at Jerusalem a couple of weeks ago. The historic meet emphasised and illustrated the importance of honest dialogue between any two religious traditions to resolve seemingly irresolvable differences.

Last year Hindu and Jewish religious leaders, representing the two oldest traditions in the world, commenced an inter-religious dialogue in New Delhi. Following that the Chief Rabbinate of Israel and the delegation from the Hindu Dharma Acharya Sabha held the second round of interreligious dialogue at Jerusalem in February 2008.

The Jerusalem meet concluded with a landmark declaration that Hindus worship ‘one supreme being' and are not really idolatrous.

The implications of this are profound in content and far-reaching in effect.

Judaism was born of the complete repudiation of idol worship and rabbinic literature abounds with denunciations of idolatry in an entire tractate of the Talmud devoted to this.

The importance of this issue in Jewish and other Abrahamic traditions cannot be overstated. Since its first encounter with these religions, and due to their incomplete understand ing of its Sastras, Hinduism has been perceived by them as idolatrous and promoting many gods. The Hindus have for centuries experienced the extremely violent consequences of this wrong perception. The historic declaration made at the Hindu-Jewish summit at Jerusalem on February 18, 2008 sets at rest the wrong notion that Hinduism is idolatrous.

The declaration reads:

‘It is recognised that one supreme being in its formless and manifest aspects has been worshipped by Hindus over the millennia. The Hindu relates to only the one supreme being when he/she prays to a particular manifestation. This does not mean that Hindus worship ‘gods' and ‘idols'.' The Jewish leaders, in so many words, owned their perception of the Hindu tradition as erroneous and came up with the declaration which the Hindu delegation could happily accept. This establishes that honest and bold dialogue can completely reverse wrong views and erroneous perceptions held over millennia. It emphasises that leaders of every religion need to be informed about the basics, vision and beliefs of other religious traditions.

In India Hindus not only gave sanctuary to the Jews when they were hounded out all over the world but also gave them the freedom to pursue their religion with dignity. Yet their notion, entirely due to a wrong perception, that Hindus worship many gods without one supreme being and that they are idolators remained, with the result their theological conflict with Hinduism was seen as irreconcilable. Now after an honest and open dialogue they have realised that the accommodating heart of a Hindu is born of his/her acceptance of one Supreme Being who is invoked in many ways and in many forms by different faiths including theirs.

In fact, the crux of the problem was no doubt the worship of forms.

When they understood that no form is separate from Isvara and the particular form enshrined in a temple is but an altar of worship, they did not see any real issue to contend with. They were visibly relieved and thanked the delegation for removing the wrong perception held for more than two thousand years.

Once the fundamental misconception was removed, the Rabbinate, not surprisingly, also affirmed the following declaration on the sensitive issue of the svastika, the sacred symbol for the Hindus:

‘The svastika is an ancient and auspicious symbol of the Hindu tradition.

It is inscribed on Hindu temples, ritual altars, entrances and even account books. A distorted version of this sacred symbol was misappropriated by the Third Reich in Germany and abused as an emblem under which heinous crimes were perpetrated against humanity, particularly the Jewish people. The participants recognise that this symbol is, and has been for millennia, sacred to Hindus, long before its misappropriation.'

The importance of this affirmation may be understood from the fact that a Hindu temple in Detroit was van dalised a few years ago by the Jewish community offended by a huge svastika rangoli at the entrance of the temple.

Another critical element in the declaration is the acceptance that all faiths are sacred and inviolable and that religious conversion is in itself violence. If all faiths, particularly the Abrahamic family of faiths, accept this declaration the fundamental cause of religious disharmony will be gone for good. Several other and significant issues were discussed at the summit, leading to mutual understanding.

Leaders of both religions came out of the mutually enriching meeting, wiser.

I write about this meeting and its outcome because it sets a new bar for inter-religious dialogue. To ferret out what is common in our traditions and agree that we have some common ground is not enough; it is not enough to skirt around tough issues and "agree to disagree". No, to be beneficial to all, to foster enrichment rather than impoverishment of our religious traditions, dialogue must be conducted on the points of intersection of our conflicts with ruthless honesty. We should have the courage to probe, question, listen and even agonise if we have to, but never shirk. Above all, the dialogue must be rooted in the deepest and most comprehensive grasp of the scriptures of the respective faiths.

Dialogue is the ancient Hindu model for promoting mutual understanding of religious truth and avoiding or resolving conflicts between faiths. Dialogue between enlightened leaders of the faiths prevents the differences among them from spilling on to the streets and turning into uncontrollable issues. That was how in this ancient nation religious harmony was conceptualised, promoted and sustained for thousands of years.

Now this needs to be globalised for promoting peace among religions.

The only means to conflict avoidance and resolution is dialogue among different religions. The Global Foundation for Civilisational Harmony [GFCH] which was inaugurated by His Holiness Dalai Lama in January 2008 in Delhi, and in which some well-known religious and spiritual leaders of different faiths participated, has a very significant role to play to bring about this healthy understanding among religions. The GFCH needs to organise meaningful dialogue between leaders of different religious traditions and help remove wrong perceptions arising from an absence of true understanding of each other's faiths, paving the way for harmony and mutual respect among religions. All religious faiths and religious leaders must extend their whole-hearted support to this great initiative.

Hindu-Jewish Leadership Summit

An important inter-civilizational initiative taken on behalf of the Hindu Dharma Acharya Sabha, the Voice of Collective Hindu Consciousness, is the interaction at the apex level between the Jewish religious leadership and members of the Acharya Sabha. This became possible due to the efforts of the Convener of the Acharya Sabha, Swami Dayananda Saraswati and the active cooperation of the World Council of Religious Leaders. The purpose of this interaction is to promote mutual understanding of and respect for the two most ancient and continuing civilizational, cultural and religious traditions as a step towards world harmony. The first Meet under this initiative took place at New Delhi in February 2007, hosted by the Acharya Sabha.

The reciprocal Hindu-Jewish leadership Summit took place in Jerusalem in February 2008, hosted by the Chief Rabbinate of Israel and the American Jewish Committee.

It was accompanied by scholars from both sides assisting in the discussions and the enclosed Joint Declaration was issued at the end of the Summit.

Page 1/2 Hindu-Jewish summmit: declaration, Feb. 2008

Page 2/2 Hindu-Jewish summit: declaration, Feb. 2008.