DANGER OF DRIFT TO STATISM
(February 13, 1960 – Swatantra)
IN spite of Swaraj having been won everyone is in chains. A young man who was frustrated in his political activities and whom I advised taking to some business, asked me in reply : ” How can I ? It is all government-controlled. I can do nothing unless I get someone to intercede for me in official circles.”
The autocratic authority of Britain was transferred to the Congress in 1947. Swarajya has now to be gained by the people as against the Congress. It is a continuing process now. This is the programme before the Swatantra Party. British interests then were covered by benevolent slogans. Now the party interests of the Congress are similarly camouflaged.
The goal of the Swatantra Party is that every citizen should have security and liberty, and none shall be enslaved by poverty, ignorance or unemployment, or by the State. The party wants that the rights and opportunities of the individual should be jealously safeguarded. In all spheres freedom must be our first care.
The party is opposed to State ownership of all the means of production and distribution, which is the creed of socialism. It will not help the increase of production which we so badly need, nor will it fail to destroy freedom. State ownership and State control must be resorted to in those cases only, where it is established after impartial inquiry that it is necessary in the interests of the community as a whole, and also that it will increase efficiency and production in such a degree as to outweigh the inherent disadvantages.
I have had the advantage of going through a very recent exposition of the principles of the British Liberal Party. The Swatantra Party’s principles are just what the British Liberals have emphasized.
We should not relax the drive towards social justice. But in our anxiety about it, or eagerness to achieve it, we should not relax our care for individual freedom. In all countries where there is a drive towards social justice, there is danger of a drift to the total State. We must beware of this. State control over wide areas of national life cannot be imposed without destroying certain essential freedoms.
Democratic socialism is a contradiction in terms. Socialism means the end of individual freedom and of democracy. The value of personality, private conscience, and private judgment are things that must be saved. If in any society, for any reason the protest against the arbitrary power of the State is hushed, it is no longer a free society.
The self-reliant individual by his energy, industry, inventiveness and readiness to take risks, not only helps himself but adds to the happiness of his fellow-citizens. The nation’s welfare is best served when the citizens are hard at work and are individually pursuing each his own private benefit. This is the swatantra we stand for.
India is swatantra at heart. It is rooted in the national temperament. Accepting tyranny is suicidal, no matter how efficient and dynamic it may be. We should reconcile our urge to social justice with the need for the fullest expression of the individual. We should achieve security without accepting
regimentation as the means to it. We should set free the full vital energy of the whole people. Regimentation kills that vital energy.
Centralization is growing apace and should be halted. ” The rush of blood to the head is bad for the country.” Socialism and collective planning have led to an unmistakable drift to the totalitarian State. This must be resisted. The power of the State must no doubt be used to protect the weak, to prevent exploitation, and to better the condition of the people. There is no dispute over this. But the dispute is over the extent of State interference that is consistent with democracy. This is ‘where the Swatantra Party comes in. Continual vigilance is necessary. The Stale has tasted blood and is hungry for more and more power over everybody. The State is handled under our system by a particular political party and the latter talks, thinks and acts in the name of the State.
The articles in Part III of the Constitution were laid down in order to limit and circumscribe what may be done in the name of the State by political parties coming into power from time to time. The aims and objects set out in Part IV of the Constitution should be achieved not by discarding the fundamental rights guaranteed in Part III of the Constitution but by acting within the ambit prescribed by these guarantees. What is sought now to be done by the Congress Party in power is to bring into being a pattern of State activity which the communists work for, and which is contrary to the guarantees contained in the original articles of the Constitution. It is a wrong notion that justice and social welfare can be achieved only by ignoring those guarantees and by imposing the authority of the State and its minions on the life of the people and curtailing the freedom of the citizens.
Human progress must be an organic growth- A regimented society ends in the servile State. The power of the State should be used to release energy, not to fetter it.
We must revive the spiritual outlook that is an integral part of the culture of India and which has suffered damage, in no small measure, by reason of the materialism that has invaded it in the name of progress and enlightenment. It is on the restoration of spiritual values that the hope of our country truly rests.