DU SOL BA 3rd Year History of Social Thought Notes Chapter 32 Dr Ram Manohar Lohia (1910—1967)
Discuss major sociological ideas of Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia.
Write in brief various aspects of Lohia’s social thought.
1. Cyclical Theory.
Lohia believed that history moved in a cyclical way and rather in a pattern as was advocated by Greek philosopher Aristotle. He rejected the straight linear theories of social change. He believed that “in course of cyclical movement, a country may attain to the heights of civilisation and may down to Nadir to rise perhaps again. In Lohia’s opinion, ‘the cyclical theory advocated by Sorokin was superior to that of Spengler and North rop.’
2. Dialectic Materialism.
Dr. Lohia was in favour of this doctrine of dialectic materialism, but slightly departed from Marxism by attributing greater significance to consciousness. He was in favour of the creat on of an intellectual tool that would combine spirit or genera! aims and matter of economic aims into an autonomous relationship.
3. Social Conflicts.
It is contended by Lohia that in the past ‘there has been a tussle between crystallised castes and loosely cohesive classes. The internal oscillation between class and caste is a prime factor of historical dynamics. Castes represent conservative forces of stagnation, inertia and prescriptive right. Classes represent a dynamic force of social mobilisation’.
He writes in the Wheels of History , “that all human history till now has been in internal movement between castes and classes – castes loosen into classes and classes crystallised into castes.” At this juncture it has been pointed out that Lohia’s concept of struggle between classes and castes is only a popular form of Pareto’s theory of the struggle between the landed interests of rentiers who represent ‘residues of persistence of aggregates’ and the monied interests who represent ‘residues of combination’.
4. Asian Societies.
It was strongly advocated by Dr. Lohia that Asian socialists must evolve original thinking and initiative ; and frame policies in the context of a civilisation emerging from centuries old despotism and feudalism. In his opinion, “the mixture of dogmatic religions and political considerations is the basic of Asian politics. This leads to the spread of sectarian and communal virus.
In the absence of any method tradition of democratic politics, often terror and assassinations assume the role of political techniques. Another weakness of Asian politics and societies is the use of a new class of bureaucrates and technocrafts. These diverse weaknesses make possible the emergence to leadership of persons who try to maintain themselves in office through demogogic and theoretical social philosophy that would provide remedies for rampant malody of Asia’.
5. The concept of the Four Pillar State. Dr. Lohia devised a four pillar state wherein he attempted to synthesize the opposed concepts of centralisation and decentralisation. Covering the village, the district, the province and the central government and in it all of these four retaining their importance and are ‘integrated in a system of functional federalism.
The cohesive bond is provided by the performance of functions; The four pillar state implies the abolition of district magistracy which represents a notorious concentration of political power. Furthermore, the district, village and city panchayats are to take change of policies as well as welfare functions.
6. Decentralised Socialism.
Dr. Lohia was an ardent exponent of decentralised socialism, implying the small machine – cooperative labour and village government. In his Aspects of Socialist Policy, he suggested small farm technology as an alternative to capitalist concentration and increasing unemployment. Lohia formulated a Thirteen Point Programme in a paper entitled “The Farmer in India” and it was directed to rid the society from rampant poverty :
- Lowering of prices on the basis of parity between agricultural and industrial prices.
- Austerity and sacrifice to be shared by all so that no income or salary exclude Rs. 1000 a month.
- Industrialisation with the help of small unit machines, the invention and manufacture of which to be promoted by the state.
- Any factory running below capacity to be taken over by the state and immediate nationalisation of basic industries.
- Anti-corruption Commissioners in every state and at the centre with departments independent of the government.
- Land to the tiller and re-division of lands – 121/2 acres minimum and 30 acres maximum. Correction of wrong enteries in Patwari’s register.
- Cultivation of 1 core acres of new land by a state recruited food army.
- Decentralisation of administration and of economy so as to achieve the four pillar state. Repeal of discriminatory laws including the Criminal Tribe Act.
- Housing programmes and other economic activity to provide full employment.
- Establishment of Polytechnic schools and people’s high schools and centres for youth and women for cultural activities.
- Immediate adult franchise elections in un represented areas, that is, merged States and Unions.
- Pursuit of a positive policy of world peace through promoting full freedom and right for all nations: social and economic equality among people and between nations, and a peace bloc which can dictate truce warning power blocs.
- Volunteer bands for agriculture* irrigation, road making and the like.
Lohia declared that orthodox socialism was a dead doctrine and a dying organisation. In his statement on October 13, 1959, he made a plea for new socialism to attain the maximum attainable equalitarian standards in the fields of income and expenditure.
Dr. Lohia vigourously thought about the Indian nation and society and has brought to problems of socialist thought an Asian outlook. He was not a mere societarian but has also in mind the development of individual personality through action and contemplation. In his Whsele of History, ‘he wanted total expression of the entire being and nature of man and not the lopsided maximisation of any specific limited phase of his personality.’