Sunday, September 19, 2010

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 74 (Vol #4) Dated 19 Sep 2010.

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 74 (Vol #4) Dated 19 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 401 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)
19. At the level of a nation, a King has to rule as suggested by the various advisory groups, whereas at the level of a town or region, the governing council will have a leader as the figure head. We have to know the subtle difference between the two. For the nation, the King is the final authority where the buck stops. The advisory groups give him advice only. Decision making is his responsibility. At the regional or town level, the members of the Sabha form a team of ministers or administrators who have a leader. King, his advisors and regional Sabhas together ran the government. Anybody cannot be a King as he is hereditarily so! For all other positions such as ministers, members in the various advisory Sabhas and regional governance, it is not hereditarily bequeathed. But these jobs cannot be done by any Tom, Dick and Harry either! Though management at the regional and township level is not very complicated as at national level; here too there is need for solving of problems by using various means of Saama, Daana, Bedha and Dhanda, without losing sight of national aims and directions! So, only capable and worthy people were selected for filling up these positions. In doing so they adopted a method of selection in which the people felt that they had a role to play.
20. What I am driving at is to tell you as to how, the process of election that is considered as the very life breath of democracy was already in vogue here in India! I wish to tell you about the very sensible election process that was in place during the time of ChoLas here in Uttara Merur and that in many ways it is more preferable to the present day chaos! (KTSV adds: These talks on Election Methods and procedures in Uttara Merur, starting from Deivathin Kural # 72 (of Vol #4) Dated 15 Sept onwards, were given sometime in the period 1945-48, much before India opted for a Democratic setup in 1950. It is interesting to note that what PeriyavaaL says is even more topical and true to the state of affairs existing today in various States and Indian politics! )
21. If we agree on the point that, ‘whether it is the nation or the region, everybody cannot do the job of governance’ is true as a principle, then it is necessary that there has to be a method for the selection of such people. At the national level, when the prince came to power, the advisors that were there at the time of his father would continue. If they happen to retire from public life on personal grounds or die in office, the King would make efforts to find a suitable replacement from within his team or find and induct a new face based on experience, knowledge and maturity. By then as the King would have gained some experience and discretion and so will decide the next person to fill the vacancy. Here the King is the ‘Appointing Authority’!
22. Let us look at the regional level. The members of the governing council or assembly at the regional level too should have certain capabilities for holding public office. Instead of being appointed by the King or the King’s representative, this was done by the local populace! So that people may not feel, ‘as to why someone from somewhere else come and boss over us’, the locals should be enabled to participate with pride, in the process of selection. We find a method of selection in this ChoLa model imbedded with this above idea. So, OK! Does it mean that the common man was entrusted with the task of selecting their representatives on their own?
23. I am afraid that, that is exactly what is happening now! (PeriyavaaL is talking in1949. He is talking about how the common man is being entrusted with the task of selecting the future rulers, without an iota of knowledge about those person’s character qualities, physical, material, and mental assets, weaknesses and strengths!) Not only in one place. All over the country, in every State, District and Tehsil; people are going to vote for electing people’s representatives as members in the Parliament at the centre and Assemblies in the States!
24. Now at the present juncture, Monarchy is not possible in India. East India Company slowly and slowly, bit by bit got its hold on every part of India and finally when it handed over to the British Crown, there was no one King or Monarch for the whole of India. There were many Rajyams known as Swadesha Samasthanams. When we got Independence some of them were under some Kings or Nawabs called Native States. Sometime before that there were more than 500 such States! By hook or crook, many were gobbled up by the Britishers and brought under the ‘King Emperor’ of England! The Kings were only figure-head Rajas. We need not go into all that history now. Point I am making is that when we got Independence from that one King of the British, there were no clear entitlements with many claimants as the King for these Native States! So, whether you like it or not, there was no one from a rightful royal dynasty in waiting to take over. We did not get back the nation after an armed struggle but by an unarmed ‘ahimsa’ struggle. So, anyhow we as the citizens of this country were the rightful, entitled claimants! Thus it had to be a rule by the masses.
25. After all, even in a democratic republic you cannot make everyone a ruler either! There have to be some representatives who should run the government on behalf of the others. So it had to be a democracy as it could not be an aristocracy by the elite or theocracy by the religious leaders or autocracy by a dictator! So, it had to be a democracy alright. So it is alright that all the castes and community had to be represented. The one area where there is some difference of opinion is universal suffrage or franchise! It is not just some difference of opinion. But, since only some small percentage of people think on these lines, I have to say that there is some difference of opinion. Let me explain the objection to this universal suffrage, which we are suffering anyhow!
26. Like we say that the people in government should have some basic qualifications and aptitudes to act as representatives of the masses, the person electing such representatives also has to have some basic qualifications to elect them! If there is an aspiring contestant for the election, he may be independent or belong to some political party. Either way he has to stand for some principles and some declared intensions and purposes, declared by him personally or as spelt out in the party manifesto. The electorate should be able to understand such declarations and assess if the aspiring contestant can be trusted to do what he promises. Then they have to be sensible enough to make up their minds if these policies are what are needed for the nation under the prevailing economic and other conditions existing! If the aspirant is asking for your votes on some assurances, the electorate should be in a condition to evaluate if these are what is required and whether they are feasible and not outlandish day dreams! Otherwise the whole system can be corrupted and a democracy could become a crazy mockery! So though democracy is meant for all class of people and the people’s so selected should be from a true and fair representative cross section of all people; the aspiring contender for the job as well as the voting public each have to have their own separate basic qualitative requirements. Along with the right to vote, there has to be a responsibility. Similarly along with the right to stand and win elections, there has to be a responsibility and answerability!
(To be continued.)



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