Mr. Sankar Halder – the Founder President of Mukti – started his motivational speech by thanking the audience and partners for always being supportive of Mukti’s cause and for traveling to attend the program.
He said that Foundation Day is always a day of remembrance for him. He feels emotional while talking about the past, which holds both good and bad memories. He expressed his keen desire to open up about his plans for the future. Talking about the past, he read out some lines by Rabindranath Tagore that resonate with him:
“O past speak, speak
O silent past, O secretly moving
Unconscious you are not.
Why won’t you speak?
I have heard you moving in my heart
You bestow on my soul countless gatherings of countless days
O Past, your work goes on in many worlds, unknown to all
In the midst of bustle of the day, you remain still
O past, in the recesses of the heart, speak, speak!”
(হে অতীত কথা কও কথা কও,
স্তব্ধ অতীত, হে গোপনচারি,
অচেতন তুমি নও – কথা কেন নাহি কও?
তব সঞ্চার শুনেছি আমার মর্মের মাঝখানে
কত দিবসের কত সঞ্চয় রেখে যাও মোর প্রাণে!
হে অতীত,তুমি ভুবনে ভুবনে
কাজ করে যাও গোপনে গোপনে,
মুখর দিনের চপলতা মাঝে স্থির হয়ে তুমি রও|
হে অতীত, তুমি গোপনে হৃদয়ে কথা কও, কথা কও|)
He recounted how 19 years ago, amidst the broken furniture of a primary school in Purba Sridharpur village, some youths, who are now Mukti’s guardians, held a meeting for the betterment of society. Some of those same people are here today, while many have had to leave us due to the unstoppable flow of time. 19 years down the line, in today’s meeting, there are people from all over India as well as abroad. That is how the seed planted in the past has become a great banyan tree; that is how the foundations laid in the past have created the structures of today.
The fact that the banyan tree has spread its roots so far and wide may be due to the coexistence of the right things. The quality of the seed was good. The quality of the water, air, and soil on which the tree grew up was hospitable. But there is no reason to think that the banyan tree will grow forever. At any point of time, a fierce storm can twist and break the tree. It would be prudent to watch out for that. Ups and downs are a reality of life, and so Mukti has gone through many ups and downs of its own. But if the organization keeps running along its overall trajectory so far, then we have faith that it will advance in the future as well.
He explained that it is the foundational principles of Mukti that have helped in advancing Mukti. He dreams and wants to create an organization whose core values will not change with time. If such an organization can be created, it will stand the test of time. Three things were taken as the foundation for Mukti, and these have remained unchanged from the day of sowing of the seed to the present day. These three things are – truth, peace and love. Mukti believes in these three qualities. He advised Mukti family members to manage all conflicts and issues on the grounds of these qualities. These three qualities will always light Mukti’s path. – There will be no lies hidden in what we say and do. Our thoughts and actions should be in harmony.
– Mukti always speaks of love. We don’t believe it is possible to win something permanently with hatred and violence. Each of us is working to alleviate various adverse situations or conflicts in family and society. Love is the only way to succeed in this work. Honesty and love isMukti’s chosen path.
While speaking about accountability, he said that today’s biggest problem is cheating to assert oneself. This culture is like thieving in your own house (ভাবের ঘরে চুরি). This is leading to a situation where everyone is corrupt, and corrupting to some extent. He asked all Mukti Sathi that their conduct should stand up to the judgment of time. He said, irrespective of whether one adopts an idealistic or materialistic worldview, time will yield rewards and punishments according to one’s actions, and this is the ultimate test. Mukti Sathi should evaluate their own work in that perspective of time being the ultimate judge, and assess whether they are improving every day. Mr. Halder strongly believes that self-scrutiny will eliminate 99% of problems.
Mukti is working to improve society through its various projects, but what is the point if the individuals working on the projects are not improving themselves? People’s greed does not end even after getting the basic needs of food, clothing, shelter, education and health. All the pollution in the world is because of greed. How much for need? Those who construct houses sleep on the streets, and those who own houses keep their houses closed to others. What is the benefit if it’s the rich people who are clamoring for less pollution? Industrial civilization will never sustain the way it is going.
Education that cannot transform individuals into good human beings is not education. An animal doesn’t need education to achieve its instinctual needs, so we are just animals without education. Real education helps us attain humanity. That is, any education in this world, whether it is medicine, law, politics, if it does not develop our humanity at the same time, that education is no education at all.
People should acquire humanity through education. Here comes the need for values education. Mr. Halder said that he wants the parameters of the education for Mukti teachers to be created in a different way. Teachers will teach students to acquire humanity. Conventional education is essential for livelihood. But the priority for Mukti will be to create ideal people, as this is critical for a healthy society.
He said that we see many farmers who are producing poison-free food but they have no recognition. On the other hand, we all respect the farmer who is injecting poison into people’s bodies through their dishonest produce. He wants Mukti Sathi to start recognizing the honest people and appreciate them. May they acquire that eye!
Industrial civilization can never solve the problem of unemployment. There will always be a surplus of employable youth. Mr. Halder said that he wants to engage this surplus workforce in Mukti’s work. Even if people do not work, they may not lack food, clothing, and shelter. But for a dignified life, livelihood is needed. Mukti will try to employ all those who can provide productive labor.
He hopes that different types of people will come to Mukti with their different thoughts, different problems, different spiritual needs, and different ideas of solutions. Mukti wishes to include of them in its folds. He called for a change in people’s minds and mindsets in the meeting place that is Mukti. When that happens, that day Mukti will have succeeded. He concluded his talk by wishing everyone good health and well-being.
We have to see through the lenses with which we can judge the qualities of good people. Society has put colored lenses on our eyes, so we cannot recognize genuine people. We need to get out of these misconceptions and Mukti’s education initiatives will help us do that.
He presented his thoughts in the context of problems related to human livelihood. Mukti’s goal is not to ace today’s industry by associating the most skilled workers with Mukti’s work. Mukti aims to serve the large surplus labor forces who are unemployed due to the inefficiencies of this industrial civilization.
If we ever go out in the morning, we will see two types of people running. One type of people who are struggling everyday to earn money, rushing from villages to cities to earn a little money. And on the other hand, another type of people are also running but not in the urge to earn, they are running to get rid of the physical disaster they have put themselves in by earning more money and enjoying it. Mukti wants to include people of that group in social service work. Of course, Mukti will help those who are financially backward to get food, clothes, shelter, but those who have financial independence and have adequate time to use should not expect to earn unnecessary money from Mukti, because the social service initiative that Mukti has undertaken will be successful if everyone performs his duty sincerely. Therefore, Mr. Halder said they should move forward with Mukti not with the purpose of earning money but with the purpose of social service.
He also said in this context, this industrial civilization will never be able to solve the problem of unemployment in the way it is going. So no matter how much wealth and industry we create in the next 100 years, the problem of unemployment will not be solved. Because technology will gradually start replacing human labor, the amount of this huge labor force will reach 50% to 90% and these people will naturally run towards negative thoughts while being unemployed. Voluntary organizations have to step in to arrest this trend and channelize this surplus labor force. Along with this, the speed at which we are generating wealth, in the next 100 years there will be no shortage of education, health, housing, food, but there will be inequality in its distribution, so even after 100 years, we have to work to remove inequality.
In the context of talking about the future situation and its solution, he highlighted one more thing – if this huge work force of the future can be employed in the work of uncovering the mystery of creation, because the scope of the current philosophy or discussion on this particular issue has become very limited. Even today, no philosophy or science has been able to reveal the role of human existence in this universe. We have to think that the society of the future will be freed from the lack of food, clothing and shelter and will take initiative in this matter.
New philosophies have ceased to emerge in the last few years. Some discrete theories are being developed. Some of the relative conflicts of human civilization are being resolved. But no new philosophy is emerging based on the mystery of creation. In the next 100 years, people will come together on the basis of basic needs to get out of mutual conflict and make efforts to achieve great goals.
What will be Mukti’s role in future? In that context, he said he wishes that Mukti bring social revolution in the near future. It is easy to fulfill material needs, and Mukti is doing that. But the larger purpose of Mukti is to bring about social change. The word revolution conveys an image of violence and destruction to people. Mukti is not talking about taking up arms for revolution. Yes, destruction is needed, if something new is to be created. The old must be broken to create the new. But this revolution must be done with love, truth, peace. Only through this is it possible to bring about long-term change. This revolution is actually a revolution of the consciousness in which the lyrics of the poet are very relevant. “My freedom is in every blade of grass”, meaning that freedom must be found deep within the heart and “my freedom must be found in the light everywhere”, meaning that the outer world must also be in harmony. Only if the combination of these two can be achieved, there will be real development; otherwise we all must be trapped in a cycle.
If Mukti’s success is to be measured at the end of the day, it will be in terms of the number of minds it has reached.
Mr. Halder said that the content of his talk may naturally be forgotten, and maybe some of it will be understood and remembered by following Mukti’s work. But if one is directly engaged in social service, then they will be able to really feel and realize the true meaning of the statements, and they will never be forgotten.
Another issue Mukti will undertake to work on in the future is a paradigmatic solution to the current political situation. Mukti is trying to solve problems in every field of society which cannot be solved by government or other organizations or people alone. In the same way, Mukti will take initiative to solve the problem of politics, which is a big problem in society. Mukti may have to engage in more research into what this correct approach might be, but Mukti will try to solve this problem. As a notable example of this initiative, he mentioned the process of solving the political problem in Purba Sridharpur. It is notable how Mukti has started researching the solutions by contacting all the political figures of the area, and how in some cases Mukti has succeeded.
Political philosophy arose from the time of the philosopher Socrates and then Plato spoke of democratic philosophy. But after that Aristotle highlighted the negative aspects of this democratic management in his philosophical explanation. Today we see that negative form of democracy. The current democratic system has become an approach to gaining and maintaining power that has no vision for long-term development. A group of people are able to take advantage of the democratic system to collect votes by promising some people a little rice or a little land or a job. So, our level of consciousness has to be raised to a level that will be able to harness the power of the ideal democratic system for far-reaching development.
Today, all the governments of India are engaged in short-term development because the system we have created allows for a change of power every 5 years. So, if a government takes any initiative thinking about the far future, that government will collapse immediately because the level of consciousness of those who vote for them has not reached the level where they will think of long-term development along with immediate development. Mukti wants to work on developing the level of consciousness of people.
Regarding how the direction of Mukti is going to be in the future, he said that the course of Mukti’s development will be cyclic. The direction of development will go from point A to point B, but not from point B to point C, but instead, back again to A. But due to the change in the times, the point will be A’ – a more advanced version of A. All creations in our world follow this rule. Mukti’s evolution will continue like this, like the spiral of a spring. This is the stable route, because if the development continues to grow like an upward line, it will never be long-term.
This path is now being adopted in many industries. In the context of this discussion, Mukti announced that it has obtained the membership of Economic and Social Development Council of the United Nations. Mukti will focus to a large extent on environmental development, especially the development of the environment in the Sundarbans, and will also take initiatives in the future to solve global environmental problems.
The Red Indian peoples of America used to analyze the impact on the next 7 generations before cutting down a tree. Their thought process illustrates the importance of sustainable development, and that is something we must do.
At the end of the speech, he spoke about the interrelationship of thought and matter, and said that the existence of matter without thought is meaningless, just as thought does not exist without matter. He quoted:
Thought strives to emerge in form
Form craves freedom in thought
The infinite craves the warm touch of the finite
The finite wishes to lose itself in the infinite
Bondage wanders seeking its freedom
Freedom wishes to be tied to the human heart
As Mukti grows, many people are raising various questions about various people associated with Mukti. They are asking why people who are not considered good citizens are being allowed to associate with Mukti. In this context, he said that Mukti is for everyone. Mukti is a process that has its doors open for those who want to enter. It is our duty to bring people out of any attitude of corrupt greed that they may have, and re-build them as good people. This is an important responsibility of all Mukti Sathis. He ended his speech with this paramount message to all present at the event.