It is undoubtedly a glorious day when the United Nations Organisation asserted that human beings everywhere have 'rights' which have to be recognized and enforced everywhere. That it has become necessary to enforce this in every country and in every form of Government is a significant fact.
This has become necessary owing to the cynical treatment meted out by governments both of the left and the right, demogocal and exploitative. Colonialism has been the main cause of creating two types of men, the ruled and rulers. Imperialism is but a dignified name for the mercantile colonism. Expansionism is a third form of this principle of classification of mankind. That this might be psychologically and biologically justified has been recognized; and it may conveniently be argued that just as children cannot govern themselves and just as sick men cannot be left unprotected, protective custody has been left to the doctors of politics. This the wise men either self appointed and self-styled or really so had undertaken in many ways to enforce. Surely society has both these kinds of men. The aim is to cultivate all men to the sense of their individuality and health. Crime, their and anti-social activities undoubtedly stem out of lack of education. Primarily then men have the right of growth to their full individuality or reason, and all such that help the process of growth to this rational individualism. Thus a state's primary duty being education of all men, both intelligent and the healthy and the unintelligent and the unhealthy, the power to educate becomes a matter of deepest concern. Human nature unfortunately is not simply reason; it has a good slice of the forces that have built life, competition, survival, possession need for happiness. But needs have a tendency to turn into greeds because of the peculiar instinct of gathering for future use or provision for the future and the rainy day and lean harvests. Therein is introduced the principle of individual survival and competition and the instinct to gain advantage over the future is sought to achieve by every means, fair or foul. It is precisely this fear of the future that turns needs into greeds. As against this principle of individual planning for his own future, a right it may be claimed, natural and innate, there is enforced the recognition of equal rights of other individuals. Thus we are confronted with the problem of reconciling the rights of all or surrendering the rights of some for the welfare of some others. This latter alternative it is that has led to the competitive machinery of civilization, and this has naturally been possible at the expense of members of one's own clan or tribe or in many cases at the expense of other clans and tribes, nationalities and communities. The process is not therefore limited to any one field, as it encroaches on all fields. This naturalness of man has time and again been the basic fact of loss of human freedom and the fathering of rights of some at the expense of others, less fortunate, less mighty and less intelligent.
Thanks to the realization that all men are equal and because of that new sense of recognition of openness of nature in all peoples of the world and in all strata of society, primitive or advanced, it has become possible to speak of a real brotherhood. A host of valiant figure of humanity and wisdom saw that political and economic prosperity usually go with a kind of exploitation. Unless political and economic life of persons to be ordered on the basis of recognition of rights of all equally human nature will be forced to go the whole way through a competitive psychology which was suitable to a different kind of words. The recognition of human rights became urgent at the social pattern of life turned from primitive agrarian, nomadic and exploitative, scientific and technological. The contents of rights might have change or additional rights may have come into being and certain have to be abridged or expanded. Man has begun to realize that rights of life work, occupation, defence, education, speech, possession, leisure, and enjoyment are all necessary for establishing his dignity as an individual. Self-determination then is the right that man demands, both individually and socially. This is the freedom. Are there limits to this self determination. Obviously there are in so far as this self-determination should not encroach on others' self-determination. Nor can the self-determination of an institution encroach on the basic self-determination of each individual. The clash of freedoms or rights is the problem of the modern society.
Rights are not however a modern discovery. Individuals always have fought for freedom from fear, from insecurity, from dominance, for being oneself even in the minority, for all these have been considered be necessary for one's sense of existence. Ancient Indian thought rightly then held that men must have the right to property or that is the meaning of power to dispose of what one earns and acquires or makes as one likes, not merely to be a trustee for another men must have the right enjoy one's life or pursue certain desires which are considered to be natural, in other words, to acquire and enjoy these which are not necessities as such for life but which make life pleasant. These have varied from time to time but on the whole man has sought pleasures and objects of pleasures. Here again is the recognition not merely of hedonism as the good but that participates in the good. The right to equal treatment before society or in societal affairs, independent of property qualifications, is again the original freedom for freedom for equality in the eyes of the law. This has become indeed the first important right through history for the inequal treatment of human beings in respect of property, or pleasures has become a basic cry for justice. This enforcement of equality in social matters is not certainly in the interests so much of the society or state but certainly a recognition of the conscience of man. That other factors have blurred this recognition showed that man's conscience always reveals this sense of justice, expressed as sympathy or lawfulness or dharma. The final right of man is to freedom in respect of his spiritual destiny, it becomes a factor in the recognition of the trans-social nature of every human being. This trans-social nature of man is considered to be spiritual and includes the element of striving towards the attainment of fuller meaning of one's existence. The four purusharthas then, reveal that man's natural right is fourfold and it is the business of Human Society or it's Rules or powers to make for these four freedoms. That men may close one or two or even three or all the four of these freedoms is again a matter of freedom. An open society then cannot shut out any one person or a body of persons from pursuing and getting the best in each. But as it can be seen, this recognizes the metaphysical right to be free and individual and the metaphysical truth of pluralism.
However individualistic and pluralistic the above view might be, the ancient aim has been to recognize that in respect of society the freedom or right are not to be entirely separated from the fact of brotherhood or social identity-of interest between members which makes the exercise of a right conditional on the possibility of equal exercise of other's rights or freedoms. This is a Dharma or law or the expression of justice. Social rights then demand firstly an obligation to respect other's rights and indeed the framework of these rights get concrete sanction and reality in the context of societal organisation. Secondly there is always in the social context an attempt to hedge in this right or rights by imposing the obligation to exercise these rights. Being natural they will be exercised; but if any element of coercion in any manner either as duty or obligation be entertained it is clear that rights turn out to be not freedoms but otherwise. It is this element that is sought to be carefully avoided by those who see that rights cannot be made to be exercised and one cannot be compelled to be free, under peril of making them cynical as in Hegelian theory or dictatorial parental government.
Integral education even in the best sense cannot re enforced. Persuasion by shewing the consequences of partial choices in respect of exercise of rights and failure to grow up to realise the full meaning of the human personality and individuality alone can help the vigilance that is necessary to preserve the rights. Otherwise bare rights as demands and privileges to exist in a particular manner remain to burden the conscience of the individuals and the society. There is no easy method by which men must be made to recognize their individual destiny or their trans-societal nature in society and it is not a wise way to shew that individuals are just societal and their rights exist only in and for the society as such.
Rights of human beings as individuals however have been fought for, though in each case one had to fight against one's own rules who did not have the vision or capacity to liberate men from their servitude. Wars have hardly been fought for the individual liberty, or for the realization of his perfection. They have been fought for property through plunder, pleasures through reduction and rape, and have established slavery of the conquered rather than freedom. The recent world wars however have ostensibly for the rights of small nations and for the rights of oppressed peoples. Man is coming to his own thanks to the work done by the revolutionaries of the earlier centuries. However the individuals who have carried our these wars and the leaders who are governing the nation have not quite abjured the ways of war. It is surely to Gandhiji who had seen more clearly than the Christian nations that we owe a new technique of persuasion and conquest of men to ideas is taking place. It is surely again, a great idea to resolve to settle all differences at every level by means of consultation and discussion, by exchange cordially of opinions and to have given this a forum. The United Nations organization can be said to be the first concrete realisation of the idea of Reason. Here again it is not like a debating society and so on which lead to dialectical solutions. It is deep concern for the ordinary human being and his intrinsic value, whatever his present condition in the social and national and racial context may be, that has made and will make that organization a true conscience of human growth and destiny all the world over. It is again a great recognition that this concept of human rights is indivisible, and wherever there is the negation of this, there is already a great possibility of that disease becoming rampant. There is thus, great truth in our discovering thanks to the unification of mankind that the pluralism of the individuals does not fact entail their indivisibility. Not merely man cannot suffer abridgment of his own freedom he becomes the champion and fighter or the same freedom from abridgment of others rights as well. This concept of indivisibility is essential for the realization of human unity. A Government which therefore suffers the abridgment of the right of any one of its citizens indeed is under a grave responsibility to restore that to him or else persuade him to see that such an abridgment is lost in so far as it has entailed a transgression or trespass into other person's rights. Mankind has to be educated, persuaded, both by press and practice of its leaders to see that theirs is a right way of exercising a right and wrong way of exercising it and raising the conscience of each person to the perception of justice or dharma. A dharma rajya then can succeed in these democratic only by the members of the society being cultivated in the knowledge of equality and brotherhood. A spiritual education can reveal the axiom of equality in a better way than other positive sciences. But then what with the divergences in the notion of our individual destiny or salvation, here or beyond, we are hardly in a position to deliver the goods.
Great civilizations it is seen, express an idea. Our modern age is also said to be the age of ideology. Communism is said to be an ideological movement as a counter attack against Absolutism. The pluralistic note of communism very early was given up in favour of class patterns of organization which alone grant power to coerce. Indeed communism speaks about its liberating mission. However it can only end up in making liberty a mockery- at least the means do not show any sign of leading up to the end. Any return to ancient patterns of thought cannot throw up a galvanizing idea that will create a new society, instead of a new social class, that is about similar with earlier patterns of the past. New names do not alter our difficulties, though they may be intended to deceive. The new idea that man has to realise and make as his guide in his social and individual life so as to evolve to higher levels of his own existence - whatever that might be must then spring up from the hearts of saints of mankind, rather than from the heads of its philosophers. For it is indeed significant that the great political leaders of the U.N.O have always appealed to the significant words of the great spiritual leaders of mankind Christ, Buddha, Confucius, Mohammed and Lord Krishna. Again we turn to the eternal message delivered in diverse parts of the globe that was distant to them but so very closely brought together by science to throw up a deep and significant message for man so that he may evolve into a universal man, a true citizen of the free world, and proclaim the oneness of mankind and his freedom.