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Archive for February 6th, 2011

From: “Girish Deva”

To: am-global@earthlink.net

Subject: DMS News #5: Exploitation + Artificial Scarcity

Date: Sun, 06 Feb 2011 14:33:10 +0530

 

 

Baba

 

 

== DMS NEWS #5: EXPLOITATION + ARTIFICIAL SCARCITY ==

 

Note: This letter is related with the prior posting, Ananda Marga Gatherings: Two Models.

 

 

http://am-global-01.blogspot.com/2011/02/ananda-marga-gatherings-two-models.html

 

Namaskar,

First and foremost, our Marga is a family; all are the sons and daughters of our Divine Father, Baba. Perhaps more than any other point, Baba has emphasized this again and again: We are all brothers and sisters of the same universal family. That is one of the specialties and most beautiful aspects of Ananda Marga.

 

Unfortunately, one of the ongoing dealings at our DMS functions at Ananda Nagar undermines this family feeling. Specifically, at our DMS functions, rooms in the Prout Bhavan, Gurukul and Farm House rent for 1200 rupees.

 

Now you may ask, what does this have to do with our family feeling. Well, frankly speaking, this is an amount that most of our brothers and sisters simply cannot afford to pay.

 

Many go to AN for various reasons as it is an essential element of our AM way of life. Tragically the greater percentage of margiis cannot afford rooms at Ananda Nagar. The rooms are priced too high, far more than hotels in India of a similar standard. That is the first problem.

 

Secondly, the margiis who do pay that amount feel that the organisation is “doing business with me.” Because the RS 1200 fee is far more than what the room is actually worth, i.e. what it costs to operate the room (electricity, water etc) during the DMS. So the whole ordeal is like getting a room in a hotel; those who pay that amount understand it is a business transaction.

 

Finally, there are some who wish to get a room but they cannot find an empty space due to the high demand for rooms in the Prout Bhavan. To learn more about this situation, be sure to read note 3 at the bottom of this email.

 

 

THEY HAVE THEIR OWN JUSTIFICATION

 

Of course, those charging that exorbitant fee for the Prout Bhavan rooms have their own logic. Their justification is that: “People are not coming here on a regular basis – they only come for DMS – and I have to maintain this room the whole year. That is why I am charging more.”

 

But the reply is that in order to maintain Ananda Nagar, they are already collecting donations year-round from margiis all around the world. Teams of acaryas collect money from around the globe in order to support Ananda Nagar.

 

The overall effect of charging RS 1200 during DMS is that our family feeling becomes affected.

 

The funny thing about this is that certain organisational leaders feel they are making a good profit by renting the rooms at that high price – i.e. above market value. But what they do not understand is that if the rooms were rented at a very nominal fee – just enough to cover costs – or even better if is was done on a donation basis, then margiis would feel sentimentally and personally linked. They would feel that “this is the property of my organisation and this property belongs to all margiis.” They would feel emotionally attached.

 

 

WHAT OTHER MOVEMENTS DO

 

Numerous organisations and movements in India take this very same approach. They offer room, lodging, or seminars at no cost to their members. That way a large population of people can attend their gatherings. And instead of charging a fixed rate fee, it is all based on donation. In that case those who donate do so generously with their heart; and those who cannot afford to pay have no complex or ill will. So it is a win-win situation. And that is the feeling which builds a strong society – not petty profits or a business relation. Our DMS programs should started modeling this approach as well.

 

 

CULTIVATING A SENSE OF CLOSENESS

 

For instance, if rooms were offered at a nominal fee affordable to all or on a donation basis, margiis would certainly give their all if any problem arises or if the rooms need maintenance. They would feel that, “Those rooms belong to my Marga and they are my responsibility.” That is the mind-set that develops when people feel sentimentally linked.

 

So if any problem comes, margiis would give plenty of money, time, and support in order to protect what they feel is rightfully theirs. That is the way it works. And that is best for everyone.

 

And indeed those organisations that understand this fact operate in this way. For instance the Jains have guest houses all over India for their followers. And the rate they charge is very, very minimal – just enough to cover expenses. And by this way they generate a family feeling that is far stronger than any profit margin. But not only that, those Jains who are wealthy generously donate large sums to support those guesthouses.

 

So in this dharmsala system, there is a very, very low nightly fee; the rooms are affordable to all. The result is that it generates a very sentimental and familial link. And because of this, followers donate generously to the dharmsala system.

 

There is no reason why this same method cannot be applied to our DMS gatherings.

 

 

SOLUTION

 

Here is the way to solve the problem: We should follow donation based system and offer accommodation to all at no charge, or there should be a very nominal fee. In addition, all should help out and work for the upkeep of the rooms and retreat sites if they are physically fit. That brings a sense of closeness. it develops collective spirit.

 

Please see all further news below on notes 2 & 3.

 

Namaskar,

Girish

 

 

Note 1: ONE OTHER POINT: EQUAL SEATING

 

As we all know, in Caryacarya part 1, Baba says that at dharmacakra in our jagrtis, all should sit on equal seats, irrespective of their social or economic status. This gives the idea that money is not a measure of one’s respect. Islam follows a similar notion; the Indian seminar system also adheres to this standard. But, sorrowfully, in our own DMS gatherings, we are not following this guideline.

 

 

Note 2: MORE NEWS ABOUT HOUSING AT THE JAN 2011 DMS

 

(This below report was submitted to me by one senior margii who also attended the DMS.)

 

– A margii brother paid Rs1200 for 3 days for a 20′ x 18′ room (with an attached bathroom and toilet) in the Prout Bhavan during the January 2011 DMS. The Prout bhavan offers private rooms on three separate floors. At this DMS all rooms were taken far ahead of time.

 

– Those who stayed in the common hall and veranda of the Prout Bhavan paid a variable rate based on their personal circumstances. These residents had to use the common bathroom and toilet.

 

– Another margii paid Rs1200 for 3 days for a comparatively smaller room in the Farm House.

 

– The Farm House is more run down (decrepit) than the Prout Bhavan as the electrical wiring & water tap in the Farm House look quite old.

 

– The Farm has two stories and most of the rooms in the Farm remained vacant.

 

– In the years since two separate DMS’s (i.e. H and B) began at Ananda Nagar, the margiis who have been staying in the Prout Bhavan keep their same rooms year after year. As soon as they leave DMS on 2nd January they reserve the rooms for next time; and if for some reason they cannot attend then they authorise their close family friends to stay in those rooms. There is no scope for other general margiis to gain access to those rooms during DMS. A new margii has no chance of renting a room in the Prout Bhavan. In contrast, those margiis who stay in the common hallway of the Prout Bhavan and in the veranda, that population varies from year to year.

 

– The rooms in the Gurukul are also rented in the aforementioned manner.

 

– Sometimes margiis who do not regularly attend the January DMS wish to go. Because they know there is a scarcity of rooms, they contact influential margiis close to the avadhutas who run the Prout Bhavan and Gurukul. This is one technique employed to get a room. If on the off chance they get a room, they keep quiet about how much they had to pay.

 

– Two building managed by the Kolkata faction – The Farm and Upper Hostel – usually have plenty of space, i.e. empty rooms, during the Ranchi DMS. There is not much demand for those rooms. Also, those margiis who stay in the Children’s Home pay a variable rate.

 

– In the AMURT building and the Farm House, there are some margiis stay in the rooms which they themselves constructed prior to 1990. If those margiis do not attend they will arrange for family members or friends to stay in those rooms. If still those rooms remain empty, then avadhutas will rent out those rooms. It is not known who keeps the rent money.

 

 

Note 3: MISUTILISATION OF HOUSING & ARTIFICIAL SCARCITY

 

Here is one other critical component to this housing issue at DMS.

 

On the one side the Prout Bhavan – controlled by Ranchi side – is crowded people cannot get any rooms there as it is totally full and the on the other side the Farm House and Upper Hostel – controlled by B group – have so many empty rooms during DMS.

 

Why is this happening? Because one group (Ranchi) does not want or allow margiis to stay in buildings controlled by the other group (Kolkata). They (Ranchi) want their DMS attendees to remain under their supervision and not visit the other faction. Because if innocent margiis take shelter in a building controlled by a competing group (Kolkata), then those margiis may become sympathetic to that faction. And no one from Ranchi wants to lose supporters to B group. So this is another drama going on.

 

Because of all this, in cold weather people stay in open air verandas without proper covering while other good rooms are vacant at the Farm and Upper Hostel. And the Ranchi team is able to raise the rates of the Prout Bhavan as there is an artificial scarcity of rooms. Because it is frowned upon to stay in B group buildings, then that obviously creates a room shortage. Ranchi can then charge a high rate for their rooms.

 

This is all nothing but a terrible misutilisation of property; this runs contrary to both Prout and neo-humanism. This entire ploy smacks of artificial scarcity.

 

Here are a few things that Baba has to say about artificial scarcity:

 

Baba says, “In order to increase the size of their bank balances, the vaeshyas create an artificial scarcity of such items as food, clothing and other essential commodities, and then earn a profit by black marketeering.” (Human Society Part 2)

 

Baba says, “Capitalists hoard essential commodities and create artificial scarcity to extract the maximum profit. As a result consumers pay inflated prices for essential commodities, and sometimes they even find that such goods are not available at all.” (Prout in a Nutshell Part 14)

 

 

PRABHAT SAMGIITA

 

“Esecho, tumi esecho, bhuvan bhariya’ esecho…” (PS 3289)

 

Purport:

 

Baba, by Your divine grace, You have come. You have come, with Your

effulgent presence this world has been filled with bliss. By Your arrival

everyone’s pains, agonies and tortures have vanished. You have brought

effulgence along with You. Now, by Your causeless grace, no one will remain

in the dark any longer. You are expressing Yourself through the action,

knowledge, dhyana, and sadhana. You are the ocean of love & compassion.

Baba You are ever-gracious, blessing one and all. Everyone is dancing in

ecstasy. It is Your divine grace. Baba, You have come. The whole world is

getting transformed– all are floating in Your bliss…

 

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