I have been reflecting in my own way on Dattopant Thengadi Ji's Third Way. I present these small "ripples" that it has caused in my mind in a series. I am glad it has found its resonance in many thinking minds alike. I hope the readers have read the earlier article in the series before moving ahead.
Dattopant made a reference to the writings of Ramsay Muir. ( He was one of the most prominent Liberal thinkers in inter-war Britain, and had a marked influence on party policy. And his writings on liberalism and international policy still have relevance today.) Ramsay described the role of political parties where he remarked that the common membership of parties renders power to the prime minister. The cabinet can carry it's work due to this power but it, in a way can establish a dictatorship over the 'range of government'. The only fear is a serious blunder would bring the party down in the next election.
M. N. Roy's views on these issues need to be paid attention to. He was aware of the limitations of 'communism and formal parliamentarians. His idea of revolution was based on the principles of ' freedom, reason and social harmony'. Of course, he saw a big role of education in reorganizing society. His theory treated consumers and producers as co-operatives. The aim of the production was used, not profit and the distribution as per the need. The means of production belonged to workers. The direct participation by the people was expected through 'the people's Committee's which were the basic components of democracy. They were entrusted with power related to policymaking. He inferred that party politics was inconsistent with the ideal democracy. As a consequence, he dissolved his party and launched Radical Humanist Movement.
Loknayak Jayprakash ji who was an eminent Gandhian too expressed his opinion on the party system. He witnessed how party rule could become a rule of ' caucus or coterie'. Democracy could be reduced to casting votes. This left a limited choice for voters when incomprehensible issues are posed before voters. The parties seemed to be interested in ruling people ( by winning an election). There was no effort in the direction of self-rule. People fought for swaraj but they were somewhat reduced to herds whose sovereignty meant electing shepherds periodically. The party system is competitive in nature instead of cooperative. There was a struggle for power. He suggested experimenting but the given framework was to be changed. He thought Gandhi Ji's non-partisan approach might be explored. The need to find a substitute for this system was definitely underlined by him.
Alexander Solzhenitsyn ( a known name, already introduced) stated that where political parties didn't rise in 'moral scale', there is a need to look beyond the party system. West has witnessed the failure and defects of the multi-party parliamentary system, there remained the struggle with no ethical basis. This is a crisis and 'spiritual confusion'.
Pitirim A. Sorokin (The Russian-American sociologist, social critic, and educator, (1889-1968) was a leading exponent of the importance of values and broad knowledge in an era dominated by science and power) minced no words when he criticized and explained the political party system. He described it as a militant machine. The parties did not play a fair role where voters really had free choice, citizens became instruments to serve the parties. The system turned corrupt and generated strife and enmity in societies. Disastrous effects could be seen in almost all the aspects of citizen's life. They failed to serve the purpose thus the need to transform was felt. Decentralization was thought as the most essential aspect to limit the monopolistic power of parties.
His suggestion was that the elected representatives as well as the representatives from various professions, even from the fields like science, religion, agriculture etc should be made an integral part of the government.
Dr. Bokare concluded that democracy as a form of government or a system revealed weakness. It might result in 'disharmony and anarchy'. This might point out a partyless democracy.