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The best of Bhavan's Journal: 1954 - 2003
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Economic Order and Changing Values
Pravinchandra V. Gandhi
(Published in 1967 Annual Number)
The sole basis of all the laws and regulations, which were universally accepted and respected, was ethical and moral principles. The sense of Dharma was the cohesive guiding force which welded the entire society into a closely-knit harmonious unit.
-Pravinchandra V. Gandhi
In the bygone days, there was no rigid dichotomy as between social order, economic order and the like. Society was built up on the foundations of a well-laid and universally accepted ethical and moral order and all activities, be they religious, social, political, economic or administrative, were guided by what is known as the Varnashrama system.
The function of different wings of society were clearly stipulated. The ways and methods in which each limb of society should discharge its duties and responsibilities were precisely indicated and the rights and privileges laid down.
The merchant or the cultivator knew what taxes he had to pay to the ruler; the ruler was aware of the privileges and the extent of loyalty that he could command from his subjects and the duties that he owed to society. The relationship between the ruler and the ruled, the merchant and the community, the employer and the employee, the teacher and the taught were all so harmoniously regulated with common consent that the system enabled the society to progress smoothly and peacefully.
The sense of Dharma was the cohesive guiding force which welded the entire society into a closely-knit harmonious unit. The same sense of Dharma acted as a potent spur for each wing of society to strive for and attain moral and material progress according to its capacity and effort.

Western Influence
It is the incursion of Western thought and Western ways of living which created the watertight compartments of religion, society, economy, administration, judiciary etc. and drove a wedge into the fabric of society by cutting asunder the common bond of ethical and moral principles.
Corrupting influences penetrated into the fabric of society and the ancient system came to be abused and used as a tool for exploitation and self-preservation, rather than as a means of promoting collective well-being and common good. The old order of society crumbled before the onset of Western Industrial Revolution and modern influences.

(Contd...)


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