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Lohia-The Rebel Gandhian

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About the Book

Dr. Lohia imparted to socialism an earnestness and dynamism much needed in the context of the problems of reconstruction and development along the lines of the values of creativity, justice, equality and freedom—the values which he called eternal in significance. He emancipated socialism from the anaemic schism of European socialism and projected it as an independent and full-fledged system of social transformation in its various aspects—political, economic, cultural and spiritual. He advanced socialism as a revolutionary yet democratic ideology with the dimensions that are variegated but well concatenated. In developing socialism as a complete and coherent philosophy and ideology of social reconstruction, Lohia adopted numerous insights of Gandhi in order to ensure that socialism could deliver not only the immediate but also the permanent goods of life and at the same time save humanity from the evils that bedeviled the realization of its values of justice, freedom and dignity of man and equality and real democracy at the hands of Europe, the then Soviet Union and the United States. It was on the basis of the Gandhian insight of Satyagraha that he forged his weapon of struggle in keeping with the spirit of democracy and reverence for the forms of life, including particularly the human. Again, it was the Gandhian idea of importance of the small machine technology which showed him the path of solving India's problems of employment while, at the same time, avoiding the pitfalls associated with the heavy industrialism of the West. In Gandhi's emphasis on decentralization and people's participation, Lohia found the key to making socialism democratic and democracy socialistic. Unless resource is had to these twin avenues, the people cannot avoid the evils of capitalism with its possessiveness and communism with its tendency to stamp out diversity and suppress creativity with its proneness to regimentation. It is in this perspective that an evaluation of the ideas of Dr. Lohia has been presented in this study by the author. 


Ajay Singh Almust (b. 1954) comes f a family noted for its dedication to the cause of freedom struggle as well as to the reconstruction of the Indian Polity. His father, an MP of socialist convictions and with devotion towards the ideas and ideals of Dr. Lohia, viz. Manjay Lal, has served the country as a Legislator, Miniser and Parliamentarian. Unlike his father Dr. Ajay was a radical leftist in his burgeoning political career, but finding radical leftism too much riven by groupings and schisms and giving second thoughts to the strategy of social reconstruction he veered round to the democratic radcalism of Dr. Lohia. He pursued his studies side by side with his political activities. He went in for political science as his course at both graduation and post-graduation levels. Amongst diverse political ideologies he supported Lohia’s socialism and chose Gandhi’s impact on Lohia as the subject of his doctoral dissertation. The debacle of Marxism in Eurasia made him all the more convinced that man’s urge for freedom is at strong and invincible as his craving for justice and therefore, the two have tobe combined in order to render socialism safe and democracy enduring. This much needed combination of the two ideals is the forte of the thoughts of Dr. Lohia, and in this comtination of the two ideals is the forte of the thought of Dr. Lohia, and in this combination the influence of Gandhi has been crucial. Hence his choice for this study. He feels humanity will find its solution to the problems in a socialism that is informed by the spirit of creativity and freedom and in a democracy that is symbiotically concatenated with people’s socialism. Whereas Europeans socialism was bedevilled on account of its schism, socialism in India proved as flop because of populism and personalism. Lohia stands for people’s socialism and people’s democracy both of which are to be enriched by the Gandhian ethos of decentralization and participation and small machine technology suited to the needs and conditions of the populous countries like India. He has accomplished this study in the hope of furnishing new perspective which would make democracy meaningful and socialism successful.

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