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Wednesday July 13 2005 10:05 IST

By Karmayogi

Ireland was known as the sick man of Europe. All these centuries she was poorer than the poorest European country. Her mainstay was agriculture and the main crop was potato. The potato famine decimated the population. There were mass migrations to Australia, Africa and especially to America. She was poor, not as we know poverty, but by the standards of Europe. In the sixties, her per capita income was $10,000 while we were below $200. She was dominated and humiliated by Britain. Britain, who was fair to many of her colonies, was markedly unfair to Ireland. Ireland was an insoluble problem in the UK during the 16th to 20th centuries. Home Rule was a deception. In 1921, Ireland became a Republic, but, as we lost Kashmir, they lost Ulster.

The Irish Revolutionary Army, IRA, became a hotbed of terrorism. Lord Mountbatten fell to their explosion. They aimed to destroy the entire British Cabinet while they were in session. Human wisdom says the solution to a problem is inbuilt into it. If the leaders are myopic, no solution will issue. That political issues lend themselves to economic resolutions is well known, even if not honoured in practice. The column opposite to the editorial in The New York Times is of value and is syndicated to various newspapers all over the world. Recently there was an article on Ireland.

The sick man of Europe is now richer than Britain, her age-old rival, France and Germany, traditionally rich European nations. The writer says it was achieved by free higher education, low taxes, and generous invitation to foreign capital. This is not only a solution for Ireland. The problem of Kashmir can be solved thus. In one Nehru Memorial Lecture those ideas were spelt out a few years ago. It is also the solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict. In fact, all the inter-state or intra-state conflicts like LTTE can thus be solved. A military solution belongs not to the previous century but to the 19th century. In Ireland no one administered the solution. It happened by itself. Sri Aurobindo said in 1925 that He could accomplish EXACTLY what He wanted to accomplish in Ireland and Turkey. He did not explain any further. I feel like congratulating The New York Times columnist but would like to add that the theoretical lesson of that experience should be drawn and applied elsewhere. This view of an economic solution of political conflict is one of the principles of the Theory of Social Evolution framed from the yogic philosophy of Sri Aurobindo.

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