Ram Rajya envisages a society in which virtue, morality and justice are the core ideals around which day-to-day interactions between citizen and citizen and state and citizen occur. Since it is impossible to imagine such a perfect state of affairs, Ram Rajya, in the modern sense, is often thought of as an idealistic goal which governments should keep in mind and take inspiration from while implementing their governance agenda.
Though Mahatma Gandhi may have coined the term in its modern avatar, the concept of ‘Ram Rajya’ has been a part of Indian thinking for centuries. The term has both a practical and a philosophical-cum-utopian aspect.
Ram Rajya and its relevance:
Politically, Swaraj means the continuous effort to be independent of government control. It emphasizes on the maximum governance and minimum government.
Political independence was an essential precondition and exclusively the first step towards realization of Swaraj. It means a democratic set up must ensure the political democracy by providing the political rights to every section of the society.
Elements of Ram Rajya that can be incorporated in the present day governance:
- Despite the political structure being monarchy, Ram based his principles of governance on the will of the people. His kingdom was considered to be ideal because every person followed the rules of dharma and hence lived in cohesion and harmony. Thus rule of law had primacy. So, a democratic country must envisage a society based on the rule of law i.e. the rule of law must be supreme.
- Ram rajya was the fountainhead of ideas from where the seminal principles of good governance flowed. Good governance, as we know today, consists of the principles of accountability, transparency, and rule of law, equity, inclusiveness, responsiveness, tolerance and the right to dissent. Ram rajya was the paragon of these essential values of governance. Ram believed in the principles of equality and social inclusiveness and his concern for gender justice and the uplift of women were unparalleled.
- Furthermore, Ram showed respect and made no discrimination on the basis of caste, class, social status or ethnicity. That is the concept of a secular state, which Ram rajya truly represented. Thus, Ram rajya was nothing but good governance enveloped in moral values.
As we can see, many good things are happening in India now, which go to promote many of the values of Ram rajya. Digitisation, demonetisation and GST are efforts to increase accountability, transparency and probity—the three key elements of good governance.
Such efforts of the government would ultimately help in promoting the values of honesty, accountability and collective good, leading to a better society.