Gandhiji resisted a situation where some twenty people or so are empowered to make decisons that affect all. He wanted governance by face-to-face communities. We at Neighbourhood Community Network(NCN) have been promoting a dream for a new political order based on such values.We articulate our dream as follows:
"Join with us in dreaming big. Dreaming of a new world.
Dream of a world where no direct elections to national parliaments take place. Nor direct elections to state assemblies. Not even to panchayat councils.
Dream instead of a world where parliaments come to the streets.
The whole world gets organized into neighbourhood parliaments of about 30 neighbouring families. Each neighbourhood of 30 families becomes a kind of a mini-world or a mini-nation.
Each neighbourhood parliament has a neighbourhood cabinet, with a neighbourhood prime minister and ministers for various concerns like health, hygiene, environment, income generation, children’swelfare, adolescent’s guidance - and what not - that are relevant at its level.
Each neighbourhood parliament chooses its delegates to represent them at the village parliament. It too has its cabinet with a village chief-minister and village-ministers for concerns that pertain at village level.
Next come the third level parliaments, panchayat parliaments and their cabinets.
Thus come about respectively block parliaments, district parliaments, state parliaments, national parliaments, international regional parliaments and finally the world parliament (mind you, not United Nations but a world parliament) – each with its cabinet.
The whole process is guided by certain principles:
Principle One: Principle of Numerical Uniformity.
Once you have a certain number of neighbourhood parliaments you can automatically have a “village”- parliament; and once you have a certain number of “village” parliaments, you can have a “panchayat” parliament; and so on.
Hence no big “villages” and small “villages” and big “districts” and small “districts” and so on. Actually the present territorial designations like that of block, district, state, nation and world are any more not in vogue. What we would have rather are various “tiers” or “levels” of parliaments. Like first level parliament (meaning neighbourhood parliament), second level parliament and the like.
Principle Two: Principle of Smallness of Size.
No more are parliaments with 500 and more members. It is a small, discerning community at every level.
(The ideal number of members here? Said Mr. P. Parameswaran of Kerala: “Not more than eighty five.” Observes Guruji Rishi Prabhakar: “Eighty five would be too much. It will still give a lot of scope for majority-minority confrontations. Why not the scout number, that is, 36?” The neighbourhood parliaments alone, in that case, can have a bigger number i.e. 30 families and not 30 individuals).
The advantage here: Everyone knows everyone face to face. And everyone’s weaknesses and strengths. One cannot go on fooling, as Gandhiji observed, a face-to-face community for long.
Principle Three: Principle of Recall.
You don’t need to wait for five years to call back a candidate whom you “elected” from one level of the parliament to the next. As you are a small community at each level of the parliament, you can convene your parliament any time you want and decide together to send someone else who would explain and represent your concerns better.
Principle Four: Principle of Subsidiarity Subsidiary units get the focus here. Vitality, dynamism and power are concentrated more at the lowest levels possible. No business that could be handled at a lower level is taken to any level above it. Higher levels deal only with those matters that the lower levels cannot handle. Principle Five: Principle of Convergence.
This means once you have such a network everything converges at the network. Everything is done through it. This reinforces the structures further and further. Thus whether children’s programmes, adolescents’ programmes, self-help groups or what not, everything is referred to neighbourhoods & their representative networks.
Well, what would be the world like if this dream were to be realized? What all would be there and what all would not be there?
Let us hear from you."
That is the dream state we circulate. I would be happy if fellow-gandhians help to sharpen it up.