Problems of the Day
|Problems of the Day|
"Problems of the Day": the front cover[note 1]
|Author||Prabhat Ranjan Sarkar|
|Publisher||Ananda Marga-Ananda Publications|
|Publication date||October 1958 (IND)|
|Location in Sarkarverse|
Problems of the Day is a book of 50 pages published for the first time on 1958 January 26 in Trimohan, Bhagalpur (India) by the philosopher and social reformer Prabhat Ranjan Sarkar aka Shrii Shrii Anandamurti.[note 2] The original and perhaps more appropriate title (until 1996) was Problem of the Day. (The title in the original Bengali is Ajker Samasya. Samasya can be translated as either "problem" or "problems".) This book details the defects of capitalism and how to overcome them.
The book was dedicated to Indian freedom fighter, Subhas Chandra Bose. The dedication message of the book was —
To the great hero Shrii Subhash Chandra Bose whom I did love and whom I do love even now
The book is divided into 37 short chapters.
The volume ends with the statement “Human beings of the world, unite!” followed by the Vaedika shloka:
Saḿgacchadhvaḿ saḿvadadhvaḿ saḿ vo manáḿsi jánatám, Devábhágaḿ yathápúrve saḿjánáná upásate. Samánii va ákútih samáná hrdayánivah, Samánamastu vo mano yathá vah susahásati.
- ("Let us move together, let us radiate the same thought-wave, let us come to know our minds together, Let us share our wealth without differentiation, like sages of the past, so that all may enjoy the universe. Let our aspirations be united, let our hearts be inseparable, Let our minds be as one mind, so that we live in harmony and become one with the Supreme").
Parama Purusa is one's father and Parama Prakrti is one's mother and all are citizens of this universe. The universe is a though projection of the macrocosmic mind and everything in the universe belong to him. Sarkar explained this as—
|“||When an individual imagines an object, then that person alone, and no one else, is the owner of the object. For example, when an imaginary human being roams about in an imaginary green field, the imaginer, and not the imaginary person, is the owner of the field. The universe is the thought projection of Brahma [the Supreme Entity], so the ownership of the universe lies with the Supreme Entity, and not with His imagined beings.||”|
The entire universe is a vast joint family and everything in the nature is common property of everyone. Nature or Dharma does not permit someone to acquire immense amount of wealth. Sarkar called the capitalists of the modern world as "anti-social" and told capitalism can not be supported.
In this chapter Sarkar talked on "eradication of capitalism". The best thing could be if it was possible to eradicate capitalism by friendly persuasion and humanly approach. But it was not and is not possible, not everyone will respond to this approach.
That's why to eradicate capitalism, one needs to apply force. Strong measures need to be taken and "tremendous circumstantial pressure" need to be created to eradicate capitalism from the society.
In this chapter Sarkar expressed his dislike towards the practice of denouncing capitalism at every opportunity, because this allows capitalists to become alert to find more ways to exploit the people.
Sarkar told, the ambition of becoming rich by exploiting others is a psychic disease. Longing of human mind is infinite but this longing does not find proper path that leads to psychic and spiritual fulfillment and engages in accumulating enormous amount of wealth by depriving and exploiting others. The incapability to recognize others' requirements because of lack of sensitiveness is a psychic disease, but the people who are suffering from this disease are also our brothers and sisters. So initiatives must be taken by making humanitarian appeals or by applying force to cure their disease of exploiting others.
In this chapter Sarkar told, even if extreme steps, such as applying force or making circumstantial pressure, is taken, it can not be said, those people will be totally reformed. Rather, they will search for suitable opportunity to launch a counter-attack or counter-revolution. That's why to protect common people from the clutches of exploiters and to totally reform the characters of these ailing people, long-term arrangements need to be made for their spiritual and psychic education.
In this chapter Sarkar provided another example of vested interest — caste system. He told, once a section of people attempted to establish its supremacy over other people through the power of superior knowledge and intellect. Their descendants of that section of people enjoyed that social supremacy and opportunities. This is also a form of exploitation.
In this chapter Sarkar discussed on two topics. First he told, a single living being of this creation can not be neglected, nor can we ignore the smallest part of the universe.
Then he suggested industrial development must follow the principle of decentralization. Industrial development in one part of the world can not successfully eradicate unemployment or poverty of another part. In industrial system, it is necessary to build up numerous self-sufficient units, at least for those agricultural and industrial commodities which are essential for living. Otherwise people will have to suffer during wars and abnormal circumstances.
In this chapter Sarkar stated the necessity of both small-scale and large-scale industries. But, the acceptance of both small-scale and large-scale industry does not mean, old machinery is to be encouraged. With the advancement of science and technology, modern machinery need to be properly utilized. Sarkar told, the attempt to stop the use of sugar by advertising the benefits of molasses or promoting khadi's to campaign against mill-made clothes do not make sense. Sarkar cocnluded this chapter saying—
|“||Where industrialization is intended to plunder profits, obviously the policy of decentralization is not likely to be supported. But where industrialization is intended to meet the requirements of society, there can be no objection to the policy of decentralization.||”|
In this chapter Sarkar noted, advanced scientific technology means rapid mechanization. Conservative people oppose the use of advanced scientific technology because it inevitably brings more misery, in form of unemployment and poverty. This is because when the productive capacity of machinery is doubled, the required human labor is decreased by half. Though capitalists assure that if human labor is replaced by machines, other ways will be found to employ the surplus laborers in different jobs, but such assurance has no practical value, because it is not possible to arrange new jobs for retrenched workers as quickly as they become surplus laborers due to rapid mechanization.
Sarkar told, in such situation surplus laborers are ruined and a number of people chose anti-social activities such as theft, robbery, profligacy. Sarkar told, in a collective society there will be no scope of such unhealthy environment. There the benevolent use of science and technology will bring about human welfare.
In this chapter Sarkar stated, the necessity of the trade union movement to safeguard the interests of the workers can not be denied. But generally it is observed trade union leaders only try to make the workers aware of their rights demands but does nothing to make them conscious of their responsibilities — this is a defect of trade union movement. Another defect of trade union movement is, leadership of a movement does not remain in the hands of true manual laborers, political leaders dominate trade unions and they often promote interest of them or their political parties.
In this chapter talked on eradication of private ownership of industries. He told— industry, agriculture, trade, commerce — almost everything needs to be managed by cooperative organizations. For this, special facilities will have to be provided to cooperative organizations whenever necessary. After this private ownership or the system of individual management needs to be eradicated from agriculture, industry, trade and commerce.
It is not desirable that management of industrial, agricultural, trade enterprises will remain in the hands of the central government or world government (after the establishment of world government). In such situation, common people will not get direct or even indirect opportunity to participate in the management of these enterprises and capitalists, opportunists, self-seeking politicians can easily take control of them and misuse public wealth.
In this chapter Sarkar discussed the revolutionary change he was planning. He told, the economic structure of the world is not based on human rights and to establish human rights, people will need to ready for revolutionary changes. The objective of this revolution will be — socialization of property industry, trade and commerce.
Sarkar told, the slogans such as "Landlords are not the owners of the land" and, "Industrialists are not the owners of the factories" are incorrect, similarly the slogans, "Land belongs to those who push the plough" and, "Factories belong to those who wield the hammer" are incorrect, the objective should be, the people in general, are the owners of the wealth of the world.
Sarkar old, the people who feel disappointed at the condition of current society and think, "everything is lost, there is no way to regenerate", should realize that social injustice is the principle cause behind all the so-called degeneration. Because of injustices against women with respect to their social rights and because women are economically crippled, a section of women is compelled to take to prostitution. Sarkar told, Ananda Marga recognizes women as dignified as men. Ananda Marga also encourages women to be economically independent of men. He advised, the women who wants to live an honest life must be given respectable position in society.
Dowry system is another example of social injustice. Sarkar discussed on "dowry system" in his book Human Society (Part I), here too he told, dowry has two major cause — a) first is econmic and b) the second is numerical disparity between men and women. With the decreasing of economic dependence of women on men, the inequity of the dowry system will cease to exist. Sarkar suggested to expedite this process, it is essential to propagate high ideals among men and women. He said—
|“||Our sons and daughters are not commodities like rice, pulse, salt, oil or cattle that they can be haggled over in the marketplace.||”|
In this chapter Sarkar told, although seeking peace has become a craze in the modern world, there is no way to establish peace except to fight against the very factors which disturb peace. He pointed out that even in the personal life of every human being, there is a constant fight between the benevolent and the malevolent intellect, or between vidyá and avidyá.
- "Problems of the Day" as it appears on the publisher's web site, Ananda Marga Publications, 2012, retrieved 24 December 2012
- Between 1955 and 1990 the author wrote in English, Bengali and Hindi. He wrote in the name "Shrii Prabhat Ranjan Sarkar" when treating sociology, economics, philology and various other subjects, and in the name ""Shrii Shrii Ánandamúrti"" when focusing on spiritual topics. Many of his books he gave as dictations; others were compiled from his discourses, some of them in small pocket-books.
- Sarkar, Prabhat Ranjan (1958), Problems of the Day, Kolkata: Ananda Marga Publications