The Danish Peace Academy
Social Organizations: Cultural and Moral Values
The cultural and moral values present a true perspective of the development of any society or nation. They tell us to what extent a society or nation has developed itself. The cultural and moral values of a particular society or nation serve as its measuring devices. They also help to evaluate the characteristics of the citizens belonging to that particular society or nation. The question may now be asked what these values are which reflect the progress made by the society or the nation in question.
In brief the values which are the basis of a culture, Identify it and cause its prosperity are known as the cultural values while the values giving realistic touch to morality and stabilizing it are known as the moral values. India is the only fortune country in the world, the culture of which has always survived due to its unique fundamental values. Certainly, morality is an inseparable component of it which by maintaining its perpetual presence and continuous progress has completely negated the evils like fanaticism, fundamentalism, die-hardness, disunity and others, and has propagated the message of harmony, of ‘live and let live’ and given the principle of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam-‘the world as a family’.
The advent of Indian Culture dates back to thousand years. The historical glimpses pertaining to the times much before the Indus Valley Civilization acquaint us with the perpetuality of the values of Indian Culture. It is but natural that during a long journey, we are likely to pass through turbulent times and may have to face many obstacles. It so happened with the Indian Culture also. Many a time it appeared as if its values had obliterated and the morality effected. In fact, it never took place. Whenever its values were struck a blow and harmed the social organizations took remedial steps and re-established the lost values and saved them from becoming extinct.
Let’s look into the history of 2500 years ago when the cultural and moral values were under constant attack and the mankind groaned. In such a turbulent time, Mahatma Gautama Buddha rescued them by launching a unique social reform movement and strengthening the moral values. Although the social reform movement launched by Gautama Buddha had the backing of religious community-Buddhism, but we should not forget that the Buddhism also at first was a movement to bring about certain reforms, which later on had a great influence on the people not only in India but also in other countries of the world.
Many examples can be cited from the ‘Middle Ages’ when the social organizations not only preserved the genuine cultural-moral values but re-established them also according to the circumstances of time and space. In the Sultanate period, there emerged Chistia, Firdausi and other groups in opposition to fundamentalism. It did not end here. Afterwards, many right-thinking and responsible leaders brought the like-minded people together and did such a remarkable work which is inspiring even today. In this regard we can proudly enumerate the names of Farid Shakarganj and Guru Nanak Dev from Punjab; Chaitanya from Bengal; Namdeva from Maharashtra; Saint Kabir from U. P. in North India. We need not to go far in the past. Even during the British Rule, the personages like Raja Ram Mohan Roy, Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar, Swami Ramakrishna Paramhansa and Swami Vivekananda did much social work, which will ever be remembered. The example of Mahatma Gandhi is very recent and is still fresh in our mind.
In 1947 India became free. A very capable group of people held the reigns of governance of the country in the guidance of Mahatma Gandhi. This group was well infused with the cultural-moral values. Later, all the members of this group died one after the other. Fifty-seven years of our independence have now passed. We shall certainly be disappointed if we evaluate these fifty-seven years from the view-point of cultural-moral values. They appear to be quite gloomy.
Like the other countries of the world, we also have achieved remarkable success in various areas along with science and technology. Our standard of living may have improved beyond expectation, but the purity of life has been deeply affected. There has been an increase of violence, strife and tension. Corruption has seeped through the system. Besides, the gangsters and mafias have exercised an overbearing influence on the life of common man. This kind of situation is in disharmony with the true purpose of the cultural and moral values. We know the extent to which the responsibility of social organizations and groups has now increased. But what worries us most is the fact that the social organizations appear to have failed in their efforts of leading us from darkness to light. We have a large number of social organizations, but their role in re-establishing the cultural-moral values is far from being satisfactory. Our grave concern is how to solve this problem?
In my opinion it is, as we all know, an intricate problem. The situation is serious and all of us are affected. Knowing about the problem, it is not impossible to face it. I can say without reservation that if a problem concerns us, it is we who have to find its solution. It happened so in the past and has to be the same in future also. However, it is not easy that all people will come together immediately to find solution to the problem. Nevertheless, if fifty or hundred like-minded persons feeling their responsibility get together on a common forum and make efforts, they may set the ball rolling. By and by the whole society will be so organized that the cultural-moral values will be re-established. It would probably the greatest achievement of the social organizations if all like-minded people who feel their responsibility are brought together. People as these do exist even today, and our society and nation is not bereft of them.