Monday, March 30, 2009

GDP : A Statistical Jugglery

I call the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) as a "statistical jugglery” and call for a new economic thinking model that takes into account the spirituality factor to tide over the global economic crisis.

While speaking at an interactive session with members of the Indian Chamber of Commerce (ICC) recently in Kolkata, I termed GDP to be confusing and whimsical. It is a statistical jugglery created only to give a false index of development... During the last five years, we continued to lose jobs, but the GDP was growing.

A successful economic model should be oriented for the common man. A totally new thinking is necessary all over the world. Without spirituality, no economic or political system will work.

I oppose total dependence on a state-controlled economy as also an exclusively market-regulated model. State and market both are needed.

If you ask about my party-led government’s pursuits of reforms and liberalization in power from 1998 to 2004, I would say that there has to be a continuity of government policies. Our country adopted a certain path of economy before we came to power. We continued it. One needs time to change it, but before that time came we were out of power.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Women should be embodiments of knowledge, prosperity and power

The feminisation of poverty and the marginalisation of women need urgent remedial attention. The eradication of poverty was the foremost objective of the platform for Action. That remains unrealized. Instead, we see the emergence of the "new poor" ‑ a new category of poor who do not inherit poverty but fall into it because of inadequate incomes, a lack of access to social services and ecological deterioration. Gender bias is still not uncommon in programmes to remove illiteracy and malnutrition. Maternal mortality rates are unacceptably higher in the developing countries. While governments in developing countries do their best to improve health services for women and to provide medicines at affordable costs, they need greater support from their development partners in the international community.

As we stand today in the first year of the new millennium, our focus should be on the realisation of full freedom for women. From liberation to emancipation to empowerment, the story of the fight for gender equality has been one of a continuing struggle to demolish stereotypes and negative social attitudes while empowering women economically. We need to commit ourselves even more strongly not only towards the full empowerment of women but towards their "full empowerment in full freedom".

We believe that India offers in its ancient tradition a conceptual understanding for our task. The concept of complementarity between the sexes, rather than conflict, has inspired our thought through the ages, and guides our actions to the present day. This intuition of complementarity is illustrated in Indian sculpture and painting by the figure of ‘Ardhanarishvara’ ‑ half male and half female, divided vertically down the centre. Modern scientific research, which has located in the left and right sides of the brain what are commonly described as male and female characteristics, confirms a truth that our ancients divined intuitively. Science and faith both tell us that all of us carry from birth the potential to develop together and to celebrate the masculine and feminine aspects of the human personality. As no man or woman is an island, so, at the deepest level, no individual is purely male or female. Different situations bring out unsuspected qualities or failings in ourselves.

The embodiments of knowledge, prosperity and power of the one Supreme Being in India's traditions are a feminine trinity ‑ Saraswati, the presiding deity of learning, Lakshmi, the presiding deity of wealth and Durga, who personifies strength and power. It is our vision that women in the 21st century should be embodiments of knowledge, prosperity and power.

Nominations for Parliamentary Elections

I am filing my nomination from Varanasi today and seeking your blessings.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Cosmic Unity and Connectivity

I would like to pay humble tribute to the great Saints and Seers by illustrating briefly as to how modern scientific findings are now looking in the direction of the Truth or Reality as propounded by our ancient Seers.
In our traditions, there was no anthropocentric or earth- centric view of life. Everything is connected to everything else. There is a universal cosmic connectivity and through that connectivity, the mind boggling diversity becomes a unity. Therefore the approach to life, non-life, the void or anything else we come across was holistic one. The void is not ignored as an empty space or a lumpen matter as something lowly. The entire universe is considered as a conscious universe. Before I go into a few scientific details of modern research findings, let us look at some simple knowledge base we have from modern findings of Cosmology, Astronomy and Astrophysics. Look at the birth of stars. It starts off its early years in a nebulous state. It grows, pulsates, shines, leaves out of it many material bodies and particles, forms new bodies out of it, decays, “dies”, and goes into different stage. Look at a living being. It starts as an assembly of few cells, grows, ages and dies and goes to a different state. It will be difficult to ignore many of these similarities and the possibility of a common connecting consciousness.

Our ancient Seers could look through these realities through different methods of insight. Modern science starting from its empirical base is moving towards these positions. Many of the ancient methods of yoga or reiki are also being used by serious modern physicians for healing human beings not depending only on the “material” medicines. I am sure the progress of modern science with its own special methods will unravel more scientifically many of these findings from the ancient wisdom and systematise them for use of whole of the mankind.