Thursday, October 12, 2006

Do we need an ideology?

The answer is as easy or or as difficult as the answer for the question - 'do we need a religion?'

What religion is for the heart, ideology is for the mind. If you are contented at heart, remain at peace and are in harmony with the rest of the world, then religion serves no purpose for you, since you already possess what it seeks to give. All you need to do is to enjoy the bliss; all other matters concerning you fall in place. This has been the teaching of the Ancient Wisdom of India. The omnipresent and omnipotent consciousness exerts its will through you, and it always takes care of the ultimate wellbeing of all. The 'self' ceases to exist and only the 'Self' exists. For such a person the mind ceases to exist as a deciding factor. It merely functions as an instrument of the heart, performing its functions with the supreme wisdom of the heart.

The question of ideology comes only when the mind becomes the deciding factor ignoring the promptings of the heart. Religion is needed when peace is lacking and the heart is discontented. Ideology becomes inevitable when the mind is active and believes that it has a crucial role to play. Religion is harmless and beneficial provided its true role is understood. If out of ignorance, one's religion is thought to be superior than those of others, conflict arises. Similarly, ideology is harmless and can be beneficial if its true nature is understood. It promotes thinking and raises the level of awareness among people. But when a particular ideology is thought to be superior, the resulting clash of ideologies leads to endless political debates and even wars between nations.

Democracy is expected to provide governance tailored to the needs of the people. Since our age is the 'age of the mind', political parties having different ideologies are considered a must for debating issues, and to provide governance based on majority view. But of late the clash of ideologies has become so acute that everybody has forgotten the people for whom they came into being. Valuable time and energy are being wasted in protecting one's ideology and preventing the spread of a conflicting ideology. It has now become a question of survival. There is fear that if a group does not protect its ideology, it has to disappear from the political scene. The party-based electoral system sustains this fear.

The Indian Nation may be having the best possible governance under the circumstances, but will our politicians have time to think about fulfilling the basic needs of the neglected majority of our people? If they have the welfare of the people at heart then their minds will not be agitated by the need for the survival or end of a particular ideology. To keep the welfare of the people at heart in all aspects of governance, political parties should keep out of the electoral system. They should confine themselves to educating the people on various issues of governance. When it comes to power they should keep out of the picture. All the people's representatives should be elected as independents; such a setup is possible provided we apply ourselves to it with an open mind. This will be similar to people belonging to different religions functioning within the government, but within the government religion having no role.

We may have ideologies, but they should remain outside the ambit of governance. A pertinent question that arises is how China could manage with single party rule for over 50 years; isn't it a fact that a clash of ideologies can thus be avoided if only one ideology exists? Here the subtle question of the individual's freedom of thought comes in. If fulfillment of the material needs of the people alone is the criterion for good governance, then the Chinese example would suffice. People in addition need spiritual fulfillment, which is possible only when there is freedom of thought. Democracy allows this freedom through political parties, which however have outlived their purpose. In the present juncture, we are left with no other choice but for political parties to remain outside the ambit of governance if the true freedom envisaged by the concept of democracy is to be attained.


Blogger Bruce said...

You bring out many good points and necessary considerations.

People get into groups, often with like minded people. These make up "party"s and "religions". Another word is factions. It is unlikely we can stop factions, however we could limit their power through legislation.

Thanks for your post. Bruce

3:25 AM  

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