The need for balanced, responsible, and informed politics, and policies, which do not take political binaries as an end in itself, is felt more than ever today.
To this end, I recently formulated the idea Satyashrama, (literally ‘Refuge in Truth‘) and a more socio-political manifestation, in the concept of Satyavad.
For the purposes of practicalities and implementation, I felt that there was a need for formulating specific action points, and directions, to realise this formulation in society. To this end, I have compiled a manifesto, of sorts, of agenda points, in what I call the Satyashrama Sutra.
Not only will this be the basis for my association with any political party if I join one, but I wish to actively work on these points in the days moving forward.
The expansion for each is given below.
We will stand for universalism and internationalism.
We shall stand for universalism, both spiritual and secular, in the human experience, and strive to seek and stand for Satya (Truth), both relative and absolute.
At a practical level, we shall promote internationalism that will encompass both international cooperations, as well as respect for the national sovereignty of countries.
We will stand for accessible and affordable, if not free, basic amenities for all.
This will be particularly in education, healthcare, community housing, transportation, energy, and universal basic income, in the form of local currency convertible to a regular currency, based on the priorities of local administrative councils and communities.
We will stand for political, economic and spiritual democracy for, by and of all.
Political democracy would entail a representative democracy model, with direct democracy employed for major decisions. In the exercise of direct democracy, independent experts shall be employed for informing citizens.
Economic democracy would mean greater role and participation of citizens in the public and private sector, with profit sharing, and cooperatives being key cornerstones of this. Protectionism for local businesses and initiatives will be established. We would also like to promote international monetary cooperation and reduction of financial inequalities between countries, using organisations like the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
For spiritual democracy, secularism will be practised with dialogue between faiths and communities encouraged, with the spirit of inclusivity and acceptance.
We will stand for decentralised structures of administration and policy-making.
Decentralisation will entail the primacy of local Councils and federal structures in the democracy. These units will have the primary role in political and economic policies for the people constituting the administrative units.
We will stand for progressive taxation and a respectable living wage for all.
Progressive taxation is one of the key ways to reduce economic inequalities in society and to maintain a more egalitarian society. Taxes such as Corporate Tax and Inheritance Tax can be imposed as decided upon by the local Councils. Also, personal taxation on income tax for individuals below the poverty thresh-hold must be removed completely.
When it comes to wages, the national government/authorities and local councils must decide on the wage-bracket, (with a minimum and maximum wage), for each kind of occupation, with additional benchmarking levels being incentivised and awarded on completion, by wage-perks on a minimum amount, (that is decided by the council economic boards, based on the price of basic necessities and amenities besides those universally assured). Workers must be valued and recognised for their unique contributions, and society benefits from every worker’s productivity.
We will stand for the separation of executive, legislative and judiciary powers, and complete decoupling of religion and politics.
The separation of executive, legislative and judiciary powers are required for the country not to be subjected to undue political, legal or administrative pressures from any individual(s) or organisation(s). We will also stand for a secular model, that decouples religion and politics, and yet, actively builds on the universal values espoused by major religious and spiritual traditions.
We will stand for accountability by political and economic leaders, and lowering corruption in society.
Accountability is important in a functioning democracy. As part of this, we would like to establish a publically-available, monthly progress report, and a quarterly interaction session with constituents by their leaders. We would also like to root out corruption of any kind in the system, by an independent ombudsman and a group of adjudicators, with powers to prosecute public servants if found guilty of corruption.
We will stand for a regulated free market and directing the liberty of the one towards the progress of the many.
We would like to stand for the cooperative model of business and enterprise, building on the promise of economic democracy and profit-sharing, so that the workers and stakeholders have greater say in the functioning and profit of the enterprises.
We envision most businesses, particularly those producing essential requirements of subsistence, such as housing and agro-sectors, as operated as cooperatives. Businesses that are too small for cooperative management and that produce non-essential goods can be run as private enterprises, while very large-scale industries and key/strategic industries can be run as public utilities, with a primarily no-profit, no-loss basis.
Though the specific implementation can be varied, the principle of joint ownership by the people of businesses and enterprises is something the Satyashrama model would definitely have, along with leaving space and freedom for individuals to express their liberty and freedom.
We would like to stand for greater demilitarisation and environmentalism, with an eye towards world peace and climate justice.
We would like to stand for demilitarising the world, with a balanced approach that does not violate the balance of deterrents and proceeds, with international cooperation at the heart of the operation.
We would like to stand for environmentalism, and stronger policies for climate justice, and to address the issue of climate change. This would involve strict regulations on industries, more considerate international caps on carbon emissions based on the economic status of nations, incentivisation of best practices that promote a greener tomorrow, and an added push towards renewable sources of energy.
We will stand for the twin pillars of Ānṛśaṃsya and Ahimsa.
The ancient concept of Ahimsa or non-violence and non-injury was made popular by Mahatma Gandhi in the twentieth century. While we recognise its importance and support it entirely, practicalities and realities highlight how it may not work always. Therefore, we would like to stand for the principle of Ānṛśaṃsya or non-cruelty. Even though some situations, such as a war on terror or a ‘just war’ as a last resort, after all diplomatic channels, and initiatives have been unsuccessful, or capital punishment for a heinous crime, may entail restricted violence, the general principle to be followed is one of not being cruel and trying at every point to resolve conflict and move towards peace and Ahimsa.
These are the ten key points of interest and relevance that the Satyashrama Sutra and Satyavad Movement stand for. In the days moving forward, I would like to work on these for a sustainable and peaceful tomorrow.