A Billion Minds
From corporates to political parties, from marketers to politicians, all are working to change our minds. Our decisions on which products to buy and whom to vote for are being influenced by various forces who desire to win in the marketplaces of business and politics. To persuade us, they must first get us to pay attention and then push us to act in the direction they want. They have to change our minds. In business it is about how we channel our money, while in politics it is about how to channel our votes. The one big difference between the two is that there is no prize for being runner-up in the political contests – it is winner-take-all, while the loser gets a few years in the wilderness to contemplate what went wrong. As such, the stakes are much higher in politics. In this series, I will focus on how to change minds to change India’s future.
In India, if we are to bring freedom and prosperity to our people through a Nayi Disha, we will need to change minds as a precursor to channelling votes. United Voters of India and Sabhas are the foundations for aggregating non-aligned and non-voters, and electing candidates to create a Lok Sabha of Independents to implement the Nayi Disha Agenda. Upstream of changing voting behaviour is to get people to pay attention to the message of prosperity, and unite to orchestrate a freedom movement in India. Persuading people that they are not really free, that freedom is a prerequisite for prosperity, and that the existing politicians and their parties will never reduce the size and scope of government to provide them freedom – these are the ideas we need to spread among both the intellectuals and the masses.
Previously I have discussed the ideas. It is time to now turn to the fundamental question: how will we get people to change their minds? The Indian Revolution, like all revolutions, must begin with a revolution in the minds of people. As John Adams wrote to Thomas Jefferson in 1815 in the context of the American Revolution, “The Revolution was in the minds of the people, and this was effected, from 1760 to 1775, in the course of fifteen years before a drop of blood was drawn at Lexington.”
In India, instead of the ideas of freedom taking root, we have been pushed more and more towards obedience and voluntary servitude. As Etienne de la Boetie wrote nearly 500 years ago, “It is incredible how as soon as a people become subject, it promptly falls into such complete forgetfulness of its freedom that it can hardly be roused to the point of regaining it, obeying so easily and willingly that one is led to say that this people has not so much lost its liberty as won its enslavement.”
And as we embark on this journey to transform India, it is these words of Gustav Le Bon written in 1895 that we should keep in mind: “The great upheavals which precede changes of civilisations such as the fall of the Roman Empire and the foundation of the Arabian Empire, seem at first sight determined more especially by political transformations, foreign invasion, or the overthrow of dynasties. But a more attentive study of these events shows that behind their apparent causes the real cause is generally seen to be a profound modification in the ideas of the peoples. The true historical upheavals are not those which astonish us by their grandeur and violence. The only important changes whence the renewal of civilisations results, affect ideas, conceptions, and beliefs. The memorable events of history are the visible effects of the invisible changes of human thought. The reason these great events are so rare is that there is nothing so stable in a race as the inherited groundwork of its thoughts.”
Our challenge in India, if we are to put the nation on the road to prosperity, is therefore to inject new ideas into people who are accustomed to being sheep led by wolves, little realising that the brown-skinned rulers of the past 75 years are in no way different from the white-skinned extractors and exploiters of the previous 175 years. Generation after generation has been brainwashed with the illusion of freedom with the mirage of a free and fair vote. Our task, if we are to effect the Indian Revolution and a Nayi Disha for Indians, is to first change a billion minds.