Saturday, December 1, 2007

#113 I am busy in Himalayas directing the famine work in districts

Swami Vivekananda, wrote from Almora, to Ms. Joe Joe (Josephine Macleod) on July 10, 1897:

"... I have taken to the Himalayas, tired of lecturing and orating. I am so sorry the doctors would not allow my going over with the Raja of Khetri to England, and that has made Sturdy mad.

The Seviers are at Simla and Miss Müller here in Almora.

The plague has subsided, but the famine is still here, and as it looks (on account of no rain as yet), it may wear yet a terrible aspect.

I am very busy from here directing work by my boys in some of the famine districts. ..."

Swamiji is sorry because he could not go to England with the ruler of Khetri for attending the Victoria Jubilee Function (Jubilee of Queen Victoria's Coronation). Vivekananda was said to be a great patriot. But he was craving to accompany a servile ruler who was visiting England to fall at the feet of the Queen, at a time when the country was reeling under Plague and famine which he himself admitted was likely to become terrible.

About directing the work of boys: He preferred directing from Cool Centres like Almora leaving the boys to suffer. The pretext was doctor's advice. This was at a time he was strong enough to ride on horse back at break-neck speed:
Three days later, he wrote to Rakhal (Swami Brahmananda):

"... Today my health is a little bad owing to this riding on horseback at breakneck speed in the sun. I took Shashi Babu's medicine for two weeks — I find no special benefit. . . . The pain in the liver is gone, and owing to plenty of exercise my hands and legs have become muscular, but the abdomen is distending very much. I feel suffocated while getting up or sitting down. Perhaps this is due to the taking of milk. Ask Shashi if I can give up milk. ..."

The whole problem is with drinking milk. Anyway, let us see the direction Swamiji gave to his boys (Akhandananda at Mahula) through Shuddhaananda, on July 11:

"... Akhandananda is working wonderfully at Mahula, but the system is not good. It seems they are frittering away their energies in one little village and that only doling out rice. I do not hear that any preaching has been done along with this helping. All the wealth of the world cannot help one little Indian village if the people are not taught to help themselves. Our work should be mainly educational, both moral and intellectual. I have not learnt anything about it — only so many beggars are helped! Ask Brahmananda to open centres in different districts so as to cover the largest space with our small means. ..."

In a famine stricken village, what Akhandananda had to do other than giving rice? Could the hungry villagers understand the "educational, both moral and intellectual" preaching if Akhandananda started doling out? In Mahula how many people were there with Akhandananda? How much money was given to them? (Vivekananda in another letter asked Akhandananda to pay for his food from his pocket).

The same letter contains ugliest comments about Indians:

Moreover, they have to see that cheats do not get the food of the deserving. India is full of lazy rogues, and curious, they never die of hunger, they always get something. Ask Brahmananda to write this to everyone in relief-work — they must not be allowed to spend money to no good. We want the greatest possible good work permanent from the least outlay.

When a hungry mouth in a famine ravished village sits in row, can Akhandananda drag him/her away, preventing from eating? The morsel of food or gravy will be a feast to him. Is India really full of lazy rogues? Vivekananda's DIRECTING shows that he did not know the ground realities prevailing in India, because he did not undertake much grassroot work.

Only ochre-robed monks can afford to be lazy because they get money from Rulers and Seths (In 2007: Real Estate Builders and Industrialists). Nobody else can. Even an old woman of 70 years age, cuts and brings home grass and firewood bundles to help her sons' families (1897 and 2007). Even today, I see old men of 70 years pulling cycle rickshaws or walking the entire city selling peanuts.

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