Swami Agnivesh, a prominent social worker who was always sympathetically co-operated with Dlait and poor people and provided guidance for social work, will remain a symbol in the spiritual and political spheres of India. His long life and work style will always be a beacon for those working in the public sector.
Swamiji, who won the Alternative Nobel Prize (The Right Livelihood Award), in 2004, was a whirlwind in real life. He was a law and management professor in Calcutta and quit his job and become as a social worker. Born into a high caste Brahmin family in South India, he abandoned his name, caste, religion, family and possessions to lead a monastic life. The Crusades for Social Welfare began. Swami believed that the word compassion was being misused and that it was actually being misunderstood. Like Christian monks or Buddhist monks, he became a man who renounced all personal and social relationships in order to serve the mind and pursue spiritual truth.
Eighty-year-old Swami Agnivesh is considered to be one of the most prominent figures in the Aryan community. Swamy, who was the voice of the workers and the homeless, became the head of the UN Trust Fund. This made him more popular among workers around the world. Swami Agnivesh was the founding chairperson of the Bond Labor Liberation Front. In 2004, he was elected President of the International Aryan House of Representatives. Mahatma Gandhi, Dayanand and Ambedkar all worked for the good of the society and the people in different situations through their own ideas. They were all self-designed in a special way. Swami Agnivesh also had their own styles but had clear vision and commitment. He always wore saffron from top to bottom on his forehead. He considered saffron to be his uniform for social and spiritual activities.
Swami Agnivesh, in the guise of Kakshya, saw the sign and call of struggle for the oppressed. Saffron is the color of sacrifice, restraint and holiness. He believed that this would affect his love, truth, compassion and sense of justice. He made this clear many times and made it very realistic and practical. I do not care if my clothes come off this way or not. It does not matter if you call me Swami Agnivesh or Agnivesh. The fire within me and the divine presence in my inner temple are important and must continue to burn until the end.
Swami Agnivesh was a man. He preached a lot. But he preached only about what could be brought to a practical level. Swami’s words were on fire in the heat of his intervention, which was overshadowed by the intensity of sympathy. This was proof that he was a great leader. He continues to inspire many young minds to strive to make this world a better place. He believed that his political career was dedicated to the social justice of the oppressed.
Entered the Haryana Assembly in 1977. We may be amazed at his activism, form, and wisdom. He urged them to work hard for social progress while at the same time gaining love and respect among the people. He was always like a poor man, but spoke like a politician. Most importantly – it raised the voice for the rights of millions of Indians. Swami Agnivesh, who was quite different from the politicians who read religion among the communal forces, participated in politics as an activity of his spiritual life. He sought to connect contemporary politics and religion with the boards of social justice.
For more than five decades, Swami Agnivesh has been campaigning for the rights and dignity of slaves and child labor for generations, and sought to restore their freedom through new legislation. Swami was one of the few who took the responsibility of fighting for the poor in present day India very seriously. He was constantly fighting to achieve the goal with this goal. Sami Agnivesh’ struggles and campaigns included alcoholism, female feticide, slavery, forced labor, injustice to tribal and aborigines, an uncompromising approach to women’s emancipation, and atrocities against animals. He fought against consumer culture and Western development models in India and opposed Western cultural imperialism. He continued his struggle against casteism, social ambiguity and racism till the end of his life.
He founded the Bond Mukti Morcha Movement for labor freedom. He took up the most controversial issues and constantly advocated for women’s rights. Swami constantly addressed the plight of child widows, the shameful manner of sati, the burning of widows at her husband’s funeral home, dowry deaths, and greedy parents killing their young brides for money. He actively fought against female feticide. As an environmental activist, he advocated simplicity and sustainability for economic rights. Swamiji’s Gandhian Wisdom was careful to explain the economics of greed along with globalization.
Although Swami Agnivesh’s main focus was on social justice and rights, he also succeeded in seeking peace in the struggle against violence. He led several initiatives to restore peace, mutual trust and unity in Kashmir during the worst period of violence. He took part in the 2012 peace march to Palestine. He was concerned about the ongoing Maoist insurgency in central India in recent times. In 2010, Swami Agnivesh was appointed as a mediator to foster dialogue between the government and the Maoist leadership. He was concerned about the plight of backward Indians who have been branded by society as adivasis who have been affected by this conflict for millennia. Swami was actively involved in advocating for their protection and rights.
Swami Agnivesh formed and led a movement for mutual trust between religions nationally and globally. It has led to sincere and responsible interventions to eradicate many of the social exploitations that religions deliberately support, knowingly or unknowingly. The Sarva Dharma Sansad or All Faiths Parliament, which he founded in 2010, was India’s first interface that gave equal importance to women as men. Its purpose was to overcome the seven major problems that existed in Indian society. Caste system and discrimination, injustice and violence against women, extremism, stubbornness and racism, drugs and alcohol – it can lead to violence and exploitation of women and children, poverty and exploitation, and corruption. Swami Agnivesh also had a weekly televised debate on Parliament TV called Vichar Manthan or Though Forum. Experts on social and political issues were addressed to a live audience, including young people from a variety of cultural and religious backgrounds.
Swami Agnivesh clarified his belief in spirituality as follows: Spirituality should be social spirituality. In other words, it should not be an escape from an individual or a diversity. He understood the need to keep the interests of different people in society above personal interests without harming them. His education in the Arya Samaj led Swami to believe that it was inextricably linked with the spiritual life of an individual. An individual’s spiritual quest and one’s social life complement each other like two sides of the same coin. So, religion should never be reduced to an exercise in escape.
He was very careful in criticizing the bankruptcy of India’s political leadership. Many of the issues taken up during the freedom struggle and the pledges to curb the spread of alcohol were quickly forgotten. Instead, it seeks deep roots in vague racism and religious fundamentalism. For Swami Agnivesh, he believed that if spirituality was to be socially transformed and one was seriously committed, the religion that exploited the obscure, ritualistic and superstitious should be abolished immediately.
According to Swamy, the real problems of the people are poverty and stark socio-economic inequalities. He believed that these were the biggest problems and challenges facing the people. That is true to some extent. He pointed out that the values common to all religions were neglected here and that the vacuum created by them filled the communal politics. In terms of faith, Swami Agnivesh could not divide faith and action. He often spoke openly about the contradictions of religions. India has the largest number of temples and shrines in the world, the Goddess of Wealth (Lakshmi Devi) is in India and yet our country is in extreme poverty. Though Saraswati, the Goddess of Education, is worshiped in India, most of the people in our country remain illiterate.
Swami had his own views on a wide range of issues, from the destructive debts of Third World countries to cultural imperialism. Appropriate development policy, the excessive interference and consumption of the rich, and the need to make religions more popular and friendly were constantly worked on. There is no doubt that the demise of Swami Agnivesh, who created a vacuum in Indian politics and spirituality at the age of eighty, will forever remind our society of many things. Swami Agnivesh was an extraordinary genius who possessed absolutely determined words and practical wisdom to achieve his goals.
Institute for Sustainable Development and Governance