Friday, September 17, 2010

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 73 (Vol #4) Dated 17 Sep 2010.

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 73 (Vol #4) Dated 17 Sep 2010.

(These e-mails are translations of talks given by Periyaval of Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam, over a period of some 60 years while he was the pontiff in the earlier part of the last century. These have been published by Vanadi Padippagam, Chennai, in seven volumes of a thousand pages each as Deivathin Kural. Today we are proceeding from the last para on page number 396 of Vol 4 of the Tamil original. The readers may note that here in 'man/he' includes 'woman/she' too mostly. These e-mails are all available at updated constantly)
12. Jaati NaattaaNmai. We notice another aspect of democracy in our Indian setup that was present from time immemorial! Not only that all castes and communities jointly supervised the concerns of the country as a whole; when it came to matters of internal disputes within communities, we had what was known as ‘Jaati NaattaaNmai’ who had the power to adjudicate without interference from people of other communities! I wonder if there was any parallel arrangement in any other country elsewhere in the whole world!
13. ‘Kulam’ is an arrangement about a family and their relatives. Rashtra is the nation and Jana Pada is country side. Town, pur, puram, county, palayam, palli, colony and village are all divisions of living areas. There is another word ‘ShreNi’ or ‘Lines’ of the same genre, which means a series of houses in which people with similar occupations used to settle down for life. Like a line of houses in which people are working on looms making yarns and weaving clothes are known as ‘SeNiyar’ which is a word derived from ‘ShreNi’, a guild of handloom textile workers. From very old times, when none of these western countries presently thought to be at far advanced levels of modern civilization could know anything about what is being civil; in our country people were enjoying what is decentralized self government at every lower levels containing all the endearing elements of freedom, democracy and self rule! From those days of antiquity the common man in this country was not only a citizen who was ruled but, a man who had a say in how the country be governed! I wanted to convey this important message to you all, before I go deeper into the subject of how the election was done in Uttara Merur!
14. Still, management of a State is a big thing; a complicated business. To run a government, to protect a huge mass of population, to defend a nation, to enact laws, to ensure that people abide by those laws of the land, are all such gargantuan tasks that would require vast knowledge, abilities, statesmanship, discretion and worldly wisdom! If to run a hose hold itself is a big thing, to run a nation is no joke! When the world is full of people who cannot manage themselves, let alone managing a house hold; if you give them the task of running a nation, what will happen? So the point is clear that firstly, it is not one man’s job. Secondly, it is not everybody’s job either. Then when you relate to the dictum that, ‘too many cooks spoil the broth’, you will agree that; a state machinery has to be run in the name of one man, call him King or President or Prime Minister or whatever; ably supported by a team of some, who are specially selected, trained and fitted for their jobs!
15. Head of a Nation. Those in the Government have to have a head who will exercise control over the others with discipline. For the country and its people being ruled too, instead of simply being so much of population in a given geographical area, they need to have love, respect and loyalty for their own country. For all this, there has to be a leader who has in him the qualities of the monitor, shepherd, processor, instructor, hunter and benefactor all rolled into one! So, they selected someone and called him the King. When such a person was endowed with the privilege of royalty by birth, he learnt by observation and by being trained. More than that, his back ground, circumstances, upbringing, tradition and what was carried in the blood (identified as the D.N.A. today, which could get another fancy name later), were making it possible for him to inherit and refine the characteristic qualities of royalty! To prevent him from going astray there were Saastraas on Dharma (righteousness), Artha (economics) and Neeti (justice) and experts as Raja Guru, Ministers and community elders whose advice was morally binding, though the King had the power of discretion and decision!
16. This was the arrangement for the whole nation or country. Then when it came to each region and locality, there was a separate local authority. You cannot have a king for every sub-division without losing cohesion and unity. Then if freedom is to be ensured to every lower level sub-division, it has to be in a manner as not to ruffle or create inconvenience to neighbouring areas. Thus localised decentralization of powers has to be balanced with certain centralized checks and balances. So, you need a King as the central authority, army as the safe guard against foreign interference with sufficient decentralized local autonomy at the city or township level. At the top level at the centre, the King is needed for instilling and sustaining a sense of nationalism, while at the same time every local leader should not be a king because regional loyalty will already be there naturally.
17. Let us be clear as to how this loyalty works. First loyalty is to oneself, whether here, there or anywhere. (There is nothing wrong in being selfish! Problem accrues when you are selfish while being dishonest about it, unfairly exploiting other people or countries and or Mother Nature!) Then loyalty is to one’s family; then the community; then the city or region; then only the nation. People always ask us to be having an expansive outlook of considering the whole world as, ‘my world’ with the emphasis on its being mine! Let that be aside. In practice we find that loyalty to the nation comes only after regional loyalty. That is human nature. You get used to certain set of things as your family, your street, river, temple, school and people; (add a ‘your’ before every one of those words); before expanding your horizons to unseen places, unheard of languages and unknown people! As a symbol of that expanded loyalty, you need a King, whereas you do not need a symbol for regional loyalties. Then to have too many kings for every regional area will undermine that position, image and power of what would be the King of a whole nation!
18. So, now what do we have? For every lower level organization we do need a leader, call him a Mayor or Chairman or Head. He has to be a functional head and does not need an image and he does not have such onerous responsibilities either. Again it is not necessary that he has to have such subtle hereditary powers either. As long as he is ready to take care of regional requirements under the Kings supervisory control, it is enough. Actually this should not be accruing hereditarily, as that would lead to avoidable problems. When the person is going to feel that there is a vast area of land under his management and that he has to acquit himself well in the eyes of others and his own; such a prince is likely to work hard to deserve such responsibility. At lower levels, if the power was hereditary with no possibility of being pitted against competition, such a person is likely to become complacent. Thus it came about that at the highest level of the country / nation the King was hereditarily selected and at further lower and regional levels, the leader was chosen by other means of selection.
(To be continued.)



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