Sunday, June 24, 2012

Morarji Desai, Jai Prakash Narayan, and Minoo Masani

Sri Aurobindo Ashram - Sri Aurobindo Ashram Home > E-Library > Works Of Sri Aurobindo > English > Cwsa > Autobiographical Notes > Private Letters To Public Figures 1948 ­ 1950 On the Communist Movement 
September 19, 1950 
Naturally I am in agreement with the views expressed about Communism in the Manifesto,7 but before associating myself fully with Masani's organisation and his movement I will have to wait and see how it develops in the field of practical politics.
For similar reasons I might expect you as editor of M.I. to wait and see and in that case it would be logical to withhold your signature while expressing your sympathy with the movement. Whatever is done must be something strong and effective, a blow that can tell; otherwise, the Communist movement has become so powerful that it can feed upon the shocks one tries to give it as one can see in the tussle that is going on in the UNO. As to Desai's objections, it seems to me that if any movement of the kind is made it would be worth while to make it as widely representative as possible and in that case the Socialists like Jai Prakash who distrust and are opposed to Communism would have to be included. There is such a thing as social democracy which need not be confused with Communism as it has its own more manageable standpoints: of course I agree with Desai as regards our standing on the side of Western democracies.   
Page – 524 HOME "Manifesto for the Defence of Democracy and Independence in Asia", by Swatantra Party leader Minoo Masani. — Ed. Contd - Sri Aurobindo Ashram Home > E-Library > Works Of Sri Aurobindo > English > Cwsa > Autobiographical Notes > Note On The Texts – Page – 606
On the Communist Movement. On 13 September 1950, Swatantra Party leader Minoo Masani sent Sethna a draft of an anti-Communist tract entitled "Manifesto for the Defence of Democracy and Independence in Asia". He asked Sethna: "Do you think Sri Aurobindo would consider signing the manifesto? Do try." Later, at a private meeting, Masani told Sethna, "I would be very happy if Sri Aurobindo saw the manifesto and made his suggestions. They would indeed be valuable." On 16 September, Sethna sent Masani's letter and the draft manifesto to Sri Aurobindo, along with a letter of his own in which he noted: "The Manifesto is meant to rally the largest possible support to the anti-Communist front and it studiously avoids open or direct siding with the Western powers." He added that even socialist leader Jai Prakash Narayan was thinking of signing it. On the other hand, Morarji Desai, with whom Masani had spoken, was opposed to getting the signatures of men like Narayan, as they were, he said, "not really democratic". Desai "was strongly in favour of declaring our adherence to the western democracies". In closing his letter, Sethna asked Sri Aurobindo for his views. Sri Aurobindo's answer, reproduced here, was drafted on 19 September 1950.

Sri Aurobindo is in no way bound by the present world's insti­tutions or current ideas whether in political, social or economic field; it is not necessary for him either to approve or disapprove of them. He does not regard either capitalism or orthodox social­ism as the right solution for the world's future; nor can he admit that the admission of private enterprise by itself makes the society capitalistic, a socialistic economy can very well admit some amount of controlled or subordinated private enterprise as an aid to its own working or a partial convenience without ceasing to be socialistic. Sri Aurobindo has his own views as to how far Congress economy is intended to be truly socialistic or whe­ther that is only a cover, but he does not care to express his views on that point at present. 15-4-1949 [1:09 PM]

The purpose of this article is not to cast aspersions on Gandhi – rather, it is to damn those who are more comfortable with rote learning and uncritical parroting of ideas of which they understand little rather than positing genuine solutions, of posturing rather than proffering.

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