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Indian Political Leadership

Wednesday December 1 2004 08:50 IST

By Karmayogi

The World Academy of Arts and Science was founded in the sixties by the leading scientists of the day so that it could pronounce on matters of vital importance to the world. Among its 500 Fellows there are about 90 Nobel Laureates. Generally, their Congress is conducted once in five years on themes relevant to the world society.

Their next Congress is coming in Zagreb, Croatia in 2005. Its central theme is The Future of Knowledge. As part of it, they are considering several themes. Rationality is one of those themes. To eradicate terrorism and minor conflicts of military nature, to grant employment guarantee are their major interests. Their President, Walter Anderson, past President Harlan Cleveland, and the organiser of Zagreb Congress, Ivo Slaus, attended a symposium in New Delhi this month. The Symposium was inaugurated by the President of India.

A day prior to that was the inauguration of the annual Indira Gandhi Conference, at which the Prime Minister spoke. The delegates of this Symposium were invited to that function. After his address, the Prime Minister was introduced to some of the delegates. One comment of these delegates was, ?It is a pleasure to listen to a committed speech delivered with such clarity. It is not usual for us to hear our own President with such satisfaction.? That impression was reinforced the next day when the President of India delivered the inaugural address of the Symposium.

Harlan Cleveland was the US Ambassador to NATO during President John F. Kennedys administration. Earlier he helped administer American foreign aid to Taiwan. While in Taiwan, his observation of the change in life there led him to the conclusion that a SILENT revolution was taking place, without any armed uprising or political upheaval. His diagnosis was that the expectations of common people were rising everyday, and that aspiration urged them to bring about a Revolution imperceptibly. He called it, The Revolution of Rising Expectations. The world perceived it a couple of decades later in the phenomenon of Asian Tigers. One hundred and fifty years ago, the Communist Manifesto was announced, calling the proletariat of the world to rise up in arms. It resulted in the Russian Revolution in 1917. The world readily received that great message of Socialism as a warning signal of a coming death knell. Conditions of workers vastly improved all over the Western world to avoid a socialist revolution.

During the entire 20th century, that Revolution took a different turn. It was done not by armed uprising but by the urge of mental aspiration for a better life. The prophet of that perception was Harlan Cleveland, an eminent thinker of the world.
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