Ninth International Conference on War Tax Resistance and Peace Tax Campaigns - Hirschluch, Germany 2002



Once Mahatma Gandhi was asked by a journalist to explain his ‘politics’. Gandhi replied, Life of all human beings living on this globe is my politics. This new political thought was an innovative dimension given to the modern-polity, after the French Political Revolution. It was a far higher and noble concept in comparison to the current political systems guided by the Majority versus Minority System within the framework of Nation-State; popularly known as Parliamentary System of Democracy. Gandhi named his new political concept as ‘Sarvodaya’ (awakening, enlightenment, social justice and economic equality for all. A better and positive alternative system of governance, based on human values).

Interestingly enough, Gandhi had conceived this new political concept after reading Ruskin, a great sociopolitical thinker and philosopher of his times. Ruskin's book “Unto This Last” based on a Biblical-parable had impressed him the most. Gandhi had himself admitted that this small book by Ruskin had made a “deep and lasting impact on his life”. Through out his life, Gandhi had struggled for freedom and social justice for one and all. His utmost priority had been to serve the weakest of the weak. He tirelessly worked to strengthen the weakest Link of the ‘Chain of Humanity’ (Unto This Last). He firmly believed that the real strength of Human-Chain rests with its ‘Weakest-Link’, the poorest of the poor. It is with the speed and strength of the ‘Weakest-Link’ with which the Chain of Humanity moves towards Awakening, Enlightenment, Freedom and Social-justice, EFSJ paradigm.

Unfortunately, this above said basic principle of ‘human polity’, the EFSJ paradigm, has not yet been accepted by the existing political systems. The end result is the problems of violence in personal lives. Violent conflicts in the social framework of our global-society, in the ugly and inhuman form of wars and terrorism that have become order of the day. This political phenomenon is on the increase and very frequently erupts in various parts of the world. Socioeconomic disparities, gender-discriminations, sociocultural divisions on the basis of Caste, communal-religious feuds and the continuing ugly wars between different nations over the disputed geopolitical boundaries, are some of the illogical reasons for these catastrophes. These are the major issues and problems that the two-third of humanity has been facing today.

Present political leadership, the so-called World Super Powers, have been vainly trying to find solutions to the above mentioned problems in the existing outdated and rotten political systems. Most of these problems are ‘created-problems’ by the ‘vested interests’ of the present Super Powers. These political forces by gaining ‘Authority’ through these corrupt political systems rule over the rest of the world. Vicious circumstances thus created by these vested interests have been compelling ordinary human being to become inhumane, no matter where and which side they live on this globe, in the South or the North. To find out solutions to the above said problems, the paradigm that is being used by the present political systems “Money, Market, Development and material Success (MMDS)” has totally failed and therefore needs a total change. This paradigm is not only misleading ordinary innocent masses but making them slaves of their own mental weaknesses (senseless consumerism, perverted sex and cutthroat competition) being created by the MMDS paradigm. The four pillars of this paradigm are 1. War Industry 2. Drug Industry (legal as well as illegal), 3. Real-estate Industry and 4. Stock Market Industry. It is really a shame to use such a positive word like ‘Industry’ for these non-industrious activities.

I would like to mention here that much earlier, before the advent of Gandhi, George Fox, a human sociologist and spiritual seeker of the 18th century had given birth to a similar socio-spiritual dimension to which he conceptualized as Quakerism. It was a new dimension to Christianity and the institution of the Church that had been controlling the political authority of that time, the Kingdom and Empire. George Fox's basic thrust was: as to how could human being be helped to discover, recognize and hold firmly to the rays of love and compassion within one-self by withdrawing the mind from all ‘visible and vain imaginings’. How could one share these human values with those who are in sufferance, sorrows, stresses and strains? Human being must feel shaken within oneself; like the earth trembles due to earthquake; by witnessing the sufferings of fellow human beings. This was the key idea that George Fox wanted to bring forth through his Quaker Movement. He had tried in a small way to re-establish the forgotten foundations and true spirit of Christianity. Coincidentally, Gandhi's political concept of ‘Sarvodaya’ clearly indicates that it had also its roots in the Quakerism. Gandhi had himself confirmed this fact in his English Weekly Harijan. (28th April 1946).

In the 19th century Carl Marx, another great social thinker, had been deeply moved with the sufferings of the poor masses of the working class people of his times. Marx was pained to see that millions and millions were being exploited and were being treated like slaves. To them, he gave a clarion call, “Workers of the World Unite”. Marx, it seems, had been too much optimistic in giving this slogan to the masses. Perhaps, he thought that the poor of the world would unite and struggle against their exploitation by the microscopic minority of the few privileged. Gandhi had recognized Marx's approach towards establishing a Stateless Society with a difference of purity of ends and means.

Unfortunately. Marx's vision of Stateless Society (Communism) also could not work. Contrary to that, this privileged class of the ‘Vested Interests’ very cleverly got united. Since then, this microscopic minority had been successful in bringing under their control more than two-third material wealth of the world as well the under-privileged masses, under the cover of the so-called ‘Parliamentary Democratic System’. The biggest flaw with this system is that it solely depends for its decision-making strength on the mindless and mechanical process of head-counts, the rule of the majority over the minority. What fifty one percent say is accepted and what forty nine percent say is rejected. The greatest limitation with this system is that it prevents the positive use of the faculty of mind. God's unique gift to human being. It is this faculty that helps human being to discover the values of love and compassion within, the EFSJ paradigm.

Today we see that the real rulers who are holding control over the economic and human resources around the globe are functioning from behind the curtain. World Bank, MNCs, WTO, IMF and the GATT are the few visible faces of these rulers. The so-called Super Powers are being monitored by these institutions which are promoting the above said paradigm of MMDS. The political institutions like Parliaments and Presidencies have failed in solving the genuine problems of their own people. Instead, the leaders of these Powers are involving themselves in creating and then aggravating internal problems in the various parts of the world. Then these so called leaders or misleaders thrust upon their hegemony and become self-appointed mediators and pretend as if they alone are the authority to solve these problems. It is all done at the cost of the immense sufferings of the poor billions. The latest example of this inhuman act is the war against Afghanistan under the leadership of the US Administration by involving more than 100 nations with no positive result. And now, the preparations are on for a war against Iraq.

I think that the real challenge before the WTR-PTC is to reach to the masses and convey them the new paradigm, EFSJ. The message of George Fox, Carl Marx, Tolstoy, Thoreau, Gandhi, Vinoba Bhave and many other great souls, who have emphasized the need, of bringing a sociopolitical and psycho-spiritual change in the systems of governance as well as an attitudinal change at the individual level to reject the inhuman MMDS paradigm. No doubt, it is a Herculean-task and we are so few and frail. But the ‘Ray of hope’ and ‘Inner-Faith’ does exist inside the hearts of the people, the ordinary masses. I have experienced it myself in the year 1985 on June 16th in this very city of Berlin, then part of the former West Germany. The International Institute invited me for Environment and Society, (Wissenschaflszentrum) Berlin, to share my experiences of Gandhian movement with the youth groups who were interested in Gandhi.

I had read about the unfortunate division of Germany with an ugly wall called Berlin Wall after the World War II, against the wishes of the ordinary people. It was my first visit to this historic city and I have come across hundreds of my personal friends from both sides who expressed their agony about this wall and told me that no one really wanted this Wall, except the war mongering ‘Vested Interests’. I myself was deeply pained to hear the horrifying stories of separation of the numerous families that were cut off from their kith and kin. What could I do to identify myself with the feelings of those who did not want the Wall? I discussed with my host friend Manfred Stormer as to what symbolic action could I to share my feelings about the Berlin Wall as a person from the land of Gandhi? Manfred simply laughed saying do you think that this Wall will go? It would be a wishful thinking. I told Manfred that I am not here to break the Wall but I do want to do one day silent fast sifting by the side of the Wall and praying. But I do firmly believe that this Wall will go, may not be in my lifetime. So next morning I started walking towards the Checkpoint Charlie with a notebook and pen. It was a nice sunny summer day. I reached the Wall and sat by the side of the wall by closing my eyes and praying. Soon the word spread and came people around me asking why are you sifting here? Since I was observing silence, I was replying their questions by writing. In the noon, a young lady journalist from a leading Daily Newspaper came to interview me. She asked me, You are sifting on fast against the Wall, do you think that this Wall will go? I replied, I am not here to break the Wall. I simply want to be one with those who do not want this wall in their hearts of heart. I am dead sure that this wall will go one day. Another she asked me was, You are sifting here on fast, do you think it is a news? I told her that madam I am not here to create news. I am simply sifting and praying and I have composed a poem with the title: “TORO YEH DIWAREN JORO DIL KI TAREN.” (Let all of us join together to break the walls that divide humanity and let us all work hand in hand to link the hearts of the people with love and compassion).

My own belief was that this Wall would definitely collapse in next 10 to 15 years. It was to my utter surprise that it was demolished in 1989, just four years later. This I firmly believe was due to the power of the EFSJ paradigm that works in the hearts of the ordinary people, like an under current. We have to first build a strong inner faith in this paradigm and help generate it in the hearts of the two third people living on this globe by rejecting the prevailing MMDS paradigm and establishing the new paradigm EFJS. We do not have George Fox, Carl Marx or Gandhi with us today. But we do have with us devoted and dedicated persons like David and Miyoko Basset, sister Marian Franz, Dirk Panhuis and you all who are present here in this 9th WTR-PTC International Conference. Let us all pledge here our dedication to work for a world without fears, wars and feelings of insecurity. Let us all continue working selflessly to realize the dreams of the noble souls like George Fox, Carl Marx, Gandhi, Martin Luther King and Vinoba Bhave. Let us pray together: OM Asdoma Sadgamaya, Tamsomajyotirgamaya, Mriturmamamritam Gamaya. O' Lord, lead us from untruth to Truth, from darkness to Light and from fear of death to the state of Bliss. Om Shanti Shanti Shanti.

Arya B. Bhardwaj,

Conscience India-Gandhi-in-Action, Constructive Workers Home,

B-29, Mangal Pandey Marg, Bhajanpura, New Delhi-India. Phone: 0091 11 2268415.