Peace and inclusive development


Dr. Gail Omvedt

Peace in the world has two main terrains. Peace at the level of the nation and at the level of the world. Both affect each other depending upon the nature of the disturbance to the peace which is created on these terrains. Peace had been the constant feature for millions of years of existence of the human society. Before the emergence of rudimentary states and that of women's subordination there did not exist anything like the standing army or anything representing organised violence. Following women's subordinaton there came into existence caste, class, race, community based exploitation along with the gender exploitation. These forms of exploitative relations consolidated the state as an instrument of the organised violence. Exploitative relations and the state as an instrument of organised violence are therefore, two main sources which violate the peaceful nature of human society.

gail omvedt 1

Exploitative society and its state also prevent the inclusive development of humans because these kinds of societies cannot but exclude majority of the humans from the process of development by exploiting them and accumulating products of their labour in the hands of a few individuals. They not only do this exclusion but also expropriate natural resources and pollute them. They destroy healthy exchange of matter between humans and nature disturbing ecological balance at world level. This gives rise to the violation of peaceful relations between humans and humans as well as between humans and nature.

We can enumerate the main issues related to the violation of the basic peaceful nature of the human society:

1) estranging majority of the humans from the collective control of the renewable and nonrenewable natural resources of mother earth.
2) estranging direct creators of useful things from the use of those things.
3) expropriating creators of useful things from the instruments of production, means of production and conditions of production.
4) destroying the culture of healthy coexistence of humans and nature and transforming all the natural resources in to the commodities or conditions of production for accumulation of capital.
5) making war as an instrument of creating market for selling weapons of destruction and mass killings of humans and the growth of the war industries.
6) poisoning the soil, water, forests, oceans, air, bodies of humans and all other living beings with various forms of pollutants.
7) inventing new forms of exploitative relations and continuing old forms of exploitations in the modern forms.
8) destroying the cultural forms based on collectivity, equalitarian principles, healthy co- existence with nature, right to do critique and Democratic values. Establishing the culture based on violence, hierarchy, domination, wars, racism, casteism, gender discrimination etc. Making culture of violence dominant in everyday life.
9) nation-state becoming main vehicle of identity which decides "we and the other" and "the other" always is the potential "enemy". Within the nation state regions play the same role. One can see the same happening around caste, religion, community, race etc.

Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar sharply points out the contradiction between "equality in the spheres of judiciary, democratic rights, electoral rights, law etc." and "inequality in the economic, social and cultural spheres". There cannot be any kind of lasting peace in a society which has such contradictions, he says.

Mahatma Phule considers formation of people in "ekmay lok" i.e. "homogeneous people" a precondition for the formation of the nation. He envisages that this could be achieved despite different cultural, religious etc. characters of various groups of people. For both, Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar and Jotiba Phule, annihilation of castes is a basic precondition for achieving lasting peace in the Indian socioeconomic formation. The nature of caste exploitation is based on "graded hierarchy" which brings about "division of labourers" which creates a constant war like situation. Peace becomes impossible in such a situation. This graded hierarchy is not only based on caste but it is firmly related to the caste-gender related exploitation of women. Power of sexual exploitation of lower caste women given to the so-called twice born caste men is the most inhuman aspect of caste exploitation.

In India, caste exploitative relations have remained intact even after exploited castes people changed their religion and accepted religions which do not practice caste exploitation or agree with the caste ideology. This has happened to the people who joined the religions like Christianity, Islam or Buddhism. In this background, it becomes a very serious problem which should be solved by going beyond the religious boundaries. Democracy in India cannot be realised in practice without annihilation of castes. Without this change it would be a situation of protracted low profile war killing and injuring thousands of people and mutilating and raping thousands of women. This will always be covered by thin carpet of a false peace.

This situation could be only changed through a process of transformation going towards casteless, genderless, class-less society eliminating racism, communalism and religious fundamentalism and creation of a prosperous and ecologically balanced society without the state proper. This process will require an alternative developmental paradigm which includes direct producers as its prime movers. This, in other words could be called as inclusive development. When this goes on becoming the dream of all or the overwhelming majority of humanity it would become a process of equitable and all inclusive development. When this becomes a continuous social process, peace will go on prevailing. War or warlike situation will wither away.

But one should remember that wars will continue until the point the state standing on the top of society remains intact. The state and standing army along with other armed forces are the breeding ground of the wars and killers of the peace. That is why it is not enough to start the process of social transformation and creation of healthy forces of production. This transformation should include an abolition of organised violence.

The process of transformation in social relations of production and productive forces, cultural transformation, transformation in the field of art and literature, transformation of relations between humans and nature etc cannot take place at the same time all over the world. There is going to be uneven and combined development of these processes. Ending of the wars in different forms will also follow the same path. It is a long-drawn process. Central thread of this process is to go towards a liberated humanity and its healthy relationship with nature. But humans are also part of the nature and duality existing between these two aspects tends to turn in to a contradiction. Reestablishing the homogeneous, non-contradictory existence of these two is a long drawn process. But it is an inevitable process to establish lasting peace. "War" with nature also is a breeding ground of war between human beings.

gail omvedt 2

 Production based on non-renewable fossil materials in nature is war with nature, resulting in destruction of nature and its health before the process of destruction is complete. Control over these resources which go on depleting them, gives rise to the war between humans. Any form or mode of production creating monopoly over even the renewable natural resources also gives rise to destruction of renewable materials and war between humans. Only decentralized production based on renewable material collectively conducted by humans can create a peaceful way of life between humans and nature. A basis for lasting peace.



Dr. Gail Omvedt is an American-born Indian scholar, sociologist and human rights activist. She is a prolific writer and has published numerous invaluable books and research papers on the anti-caste movement, Dalit-Bahujan politics, and women's struggles in India. She has been involved in Dalit-Bahujan and anti-caste movements, environmental, farmers and women's movements, and has worked closely with rural women.

(Also Thanks, Dr.Bharat Patankar, Anti-Caste Activist and Thinker)

Other Related Articles

Unnao after Hathras: Atrocities, again and again
Monday, 22 February 2021
Sonali Shirke In Baburha village, Unnao district, of Uttar Pradesh, a horrific incident of atrocities against Dalit girls has once again come to light on February 17 (many such incidents happen every... Read More...
Re-Imagining Justice: From Punitive to Transformative
Monday, 22 February 2021
Pranav Jeevan P Before we start talking about different forms of Criminal Justice systems that are existing and that can be created, we need to sneak a peek into the current carceral Criminal Justice... Read More...
1921, Mappila and the idea of a nation
Wednesday, 17 February 2021
Bobby Kunhu Despite the extensive work by historians like K. N. Panikkar, the general consensus that the 1921 Malabar rebellion was a peasant rebellion and the fact that the Government of Kerala... Read More...
Politics beyond Pity: Looking at the condemnation of the events of Republic Day, 2021
Friday, 12 February 2021
  Naichashakh (नैचाशाख) The farmer's protests which managed to persuasively register themselves in early November as the farmer groups and unions moved past the barricades, heavy... Read More...
Tandav, A Plot to Suppress the Ideological Space of Phule Ambedkarites
Wednesday, 10 February 2021
  Ajay Choudhary Indian society, which is plagued by caste discrimination, is often triggered by emotional and sentimental issues. The prevailing unscientific and irrational formal education... Read More...

Recent Popular Articles

Lineage and Caste in Islam
Sunday, 20 September 2020
  Shafiullah Anis   (Round Table India and SAVARI have been hosting a series of online talks by activists and thinkers on issues of importance to the Bahujan. This is the... Read More...
Statement of Solidarity for Dr. Maroona Murmu from the Faculty of Presidency University
Monday, 07 September 2020
We, the undersigned teachers of Presidency University, Kolkata, are shocked to know about the recent attacks on Dr. Maroona Murmu, Associate Professor of History, Jadavpur University, Kolkata.... Read More...
The Ruling Caste's changing priorities and the Farmer Unrest
Tuesday, 08 December 2020
  Anshul Kumar “History shows that the Brahmin has always had other classes as his allies to whom he was ready to accord the status of a governing class provided they were prepared to work... Read More...
For the perfect progressive recipe, skip caste, sprinkle Dalit swadanusaar: Gaurav Somwanshi
Friday, 11 September 2020
  Gaurav Somwanshi (Round Table India and SAVARI have been hosting a series of online talks by activists and thinkers on issues of importance to the Bahujan. This is the transcript of Gaurav... Read More...
How to write anti-caste solidarity texts
Monday, 02 November 2020
Dr. Murali Shanmugavelan Ensure that “Dalit” appears as a prefix whenever the victim is mentioned. The phrase “Dalit victim” helps your readers understand the difference between Dalits and... Read More...