By Sheshu Babu*
“True religion is a revolutionary force: it is an inveterate enemy of oppression, privilege, and injustice” — Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan
Many philosophers, writers, thinkers and critics have, over the centuries, handed down a wealth of writings and speeches on life and its existence. From Democritus, Plato, Aristotle, etc., to modern thinkers like Marx, Engels, Lenin, Rosa Luxembourg, Mao, everyone have tried to interpret the World and Life. But, as Marx stated, philosophers have interpreted the world in various ways: the need is, however to change it.
In present day world, many philosophical writings are being presented with new ideas. There are people who support ancient religious texts, old ideas on human life and blind beliefs, and on the other hand, many people who do not subscribe to ancient thoughts propose radical shift in thinking about evolution and modern way of life in every sphere.
Therefore, comparisons of various thoughts enhances the knowledge onvarious ideas. Some of the popular ideas on philosophy discussed are theories of Marx, Ambedkar and Gandhi in the present-day world.
One of the major issues relating to question of philosophy is religion.
Gandhi accepted Hinduism and followed it throughout his life. By following hinduism, (he liked himself to be called and recognised a ‘Sanatan Hindu’), he could not come out of its various contradictions — castes, sects, oppression of women and lower-castes, disparities, etc. Though he tried to eradicate untouchability and discrimination of lower castes, he could not achieve much success. Though he expressed solidarity with the oppressed castes (he called them ‘Harijan’), his Hindu leanings could not give them assurance of safety. He also tried to achieve communal harmony through his appeals but could not totally prevent clashes between Hindus and Muslims. Ironically he was assassinated by hindu fundamentalists who felt that he was a threat to existence of Hinduism.
Ambedkar struck at the very roots of Hinduism through his various writings and speeches — whether ‘Annihilation of Castes’ or ;Riddles of Hinduism;, etc. — and fervently opposed hindu religion all his life.
But he too was not against religion. He liked religion which has freedom, equality and fraternity. He analysed various religions and found Buddhism as an ideal religion for Scheduled Castes and Tribes (SCs and STs) and other backward communities. Thus Buddhism became a prominent and crucial part of life.
Marx, widely known as irreligious and atheist, too was not totally averse to religion. On the other hand, he analysed the root causes of existence of religions. He said, “Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, just as it is the spirit of a spiritless situation..” And then, he stated that religion is the opium of the people. He also said, “Man makes religion, religion does not make a man.Religion is indeed man’s self-consciousness and self-awareness as long as he has not found his feet in the universe.”
The aims and goals of philosophers or writers is almost common. Everyone tried to alleviate the poor, uplift the downtrodden, remove disparities, empower women, and so on. Almost all religions teach some good values: whether ‘Love thy neighbor’ in Christianity or ‘Allah saab ke saath’ (Allah is with all) or ‘Sarviye janah sukhinobhavantu (Let all the people be happy) or ‘Madav sevayah manav sevaa (Service to humanity is service to God). Gandhi or Ambedkar or Marx have analysed life in their own way and interpreted various writings and texts. Modern commercial and capitalism has eroded all the good things and fundamentalist forces the world over are deliberately enhancing bad values of the past to gain power and pelf.
*Writer from anywhere and everywhere