RISING TO SECOND FREEDOM: Enlightened Minds and Ignited Spirit

Paper back;

363 pages

Notion Press;


With Forewords by
Mr. TN Seshan, Former CEC of India(for Part1)
Dr. Lalitha Ramamurthy, Retd. Prof and Gandhian(for Part2)
Prof. Bala V Balachandran, Management Guru(for Part3)

There are three parts inside this book. The second part is named “Panchayati Swaraj: Freedom at the Doorstep”. This part is the mother document for this website. Following are some highlights of this second part:

1. The foreword is given by Dr. Lalitha Ramamurthi, the Chairperson of Gandhi Peace Foundation, and retired Fellow of the Madras University.


Wisdom comes from experience. ... Experience involves attitude, aptitude, analysis, ability and awareness. If man can emerge successfully from his experiences, then he will be able to understand what freedom really means. This involves reconstruction of ideas related to existence and experience. It requires trust—trust in the capacity of common men to build an economically and socially strong India, trust to carry on development from grassroots level.

This is the undercurrent of ‘Panchayati Swaraj’; a short but meaningful and relevant treatise by Mr Nixon Fernando. The book is a reflection of the faith, dedication and conviction of the author on the power of common man. Analysing the concept of freedom and self-government in their various dimensions, Mr Nixon Fernando has brought out an authentic and practical approach to solve politico-social issues. Explaining the corruption and manipulation involved in power struggles at all levels, the author is hopeful that given the right freedom and right conditions, humanity will enjoy real freedom. He rightfully believes that a decentralized, self-awakening and systematic contribution by local governing bodies—Panchayats—will be able to destroy the narrow loyalties and temptations to outshine.

Indian culture and way of life is an indivisible part of the system of local government. Any purposeful and meaningful system will have the needs and aspirations of the common man as its focus, the beginning and the end. Inequalities between the rich and the poor, the powerful and the powerless, the knowledgeable and the ignorant, are the source of discontent among human societies. Mr Nixon Fernando has analysed these inequalities very logically and has suggested a building-up from the lowest rung of development.

I congratulate Mr Fernando for his refreshingly unique approach to the governance of Panchayats. The title ‘Panchayati Swaraj’ is unique because it reveals that only within the local self-governing bodies the future of India rests. This book is a very valuable contribution, by Mr Nixon Fernando to remove the apathy and indifference with which those in power look at development issues.

Dr. Lalitha Ramamurthi
Chairperson, Gandhi Peace Foundation, Chennai
President, Institution for development education, Chennai
Former Senior Research Fellow Madras University

2. Following are the contents of the part “Panchayati Swaraj” in detail:


Introduction: An Idea Whose Time Has Come
      **The power of an idea ** A simple idea, ...if it is really good, can achieve wonders **Conceiving a journey back to freedom

1.1 – The Villages Of India In The Eyes Of Mahatma Gandhi
1.2 – My Gandhian Eden: Home Sweet Home
      **A story about a village that is experiencing freedom
1.3 – The Purpose of the Vision and the Story
      **From individual aims to team aims **Using a mind-science tool to present the vision in an acceptable form **How that story can be used

2.1 – The Six Freedoms That Will Lead To The Gandhian Vision
2.2 – Freedom 1: Revenue Accounting
    Accounting Freedom 1: Land Records:
    Accounting Freedom 2: Taxes (a record of taxation and expenses)
    Accounting Freedom 3: Scheme List
    Accounting Freedom 4: Census
2.3 – Freedom 2: Economic
    Economic Freedom 1: Adaptation and Integration
    Economic Freedom 2: Employment
    Economic Freedom 3: Financial
    Economic Freedom 4: Technological
    Economic Freedom 5: Resource Economization
2.4 – Freedom 3: Cultural
    Cultural Freedom 1: Education
    Cultural Freedom 2: Skill Sets
    Cultural Freedom 3: Traditions
    Cultural Freedom 4: Freedom in the Arts
    Cultural Freedom 5: Spiritual
2.5 – Freedom 4: Health
    Health Freedom 1: Sports
    Health Freedom 2: Health Care and Wellness
    Health Freedom 3: Hygiene
    Health Freedom 4: Nutrition
    Health Freedom 5: Medical Care
2.6 – Freedom 5: Government
    Governance Freedom 1: Legislative
    Governance Freedom 2: Executive
    Governance Freedom 3: Judicial
    Governance Freedom 4: Integration
2.7 – Freedom 6: Vision
    Vision Freedom 1: Environmental
    Vision Freedom 2: Developmental
    Vision Freedom 3: Contributory
2.8 – Using The Indices To Move Towards Second Freedom
      **‘So has my village achieved the six freedoms?’ **A vision is the start **What is a project?**The challenges of moving from vision to project implementation **Village freedom mind map **What is the thought behind generating this village freedom mind map? **How to use this mind map and point in the direction of freedom 2.9 – Plan Of Action For Each Village
      **Step 1: Swaraj Seedling(s) **Step 2: Freedom Nursery **Step 2a: Freedom Nursery Presentation **Step 3: Village Freedom Council **Step 4: The NRV Meet **Step 5: The Village Swaraj Master Plan **A very critical reform required for the pursuit of swaraj **The important tax reform **A caution for tax reform **Our possessions belong to the brave who put their lives in the line of duty

3.1 – Idea 1: The Connection Between Decentralization And Successful Kingdoms **What is the difference between magisterial duties and judicial duties? **Chanakya’s idea of decentralizing judicial power **The indigenous grassroots judicial system
3.2 – Idea 2: Benevolence In Centralization Is Ignorance Personified
      …there is no need to rule from above or for kings and politicians to be benevolent from a distance. People can do their own thing. Let the people have the freedom to take care of themselves, and they will, in no time, rise up to the task…
3.3 – Idea 3: The Ancient Indian Village Republic
3.4 – Idea 4: Two Cardinal Principles For Decentralization
       **The first cardinal principle ** The second cardinal principle
3.5 – Idea 5: A Question To Village Citizens: When Does One Qualify To Be Called Free?
      **Index 1 – The irresponsibility dimension of slavery **Index 2 – A feeling of being subjugated **Index 3 – The question of rights **Index 4 – The highest freedom **To summarize
3.6 – Idea 6: Can The Indian Administration Nurtured In Slavery Nurture Freedom?
      **Foreign vs. native **Institution-building by colonial masters **The true colours of the bureaucracy
3.7 – Idea 7: A Teamed-Up Community Will Perform Better
3.8 – Idea 8: Colonial Rule Adversely Molded Indigenous Systems
3.9 – Idea 9: How Colonial Rule Stifled Decentralization
      **A revolution of sorts **The change in laws related to borrowing and lending **The change in the pattern of land-holding – Permanent land settlement **he change in the authority of the zamindars **Combined effect of the three **Thirty-six years of total transformation **The inherent nature of the colonial rule process

4.1 – The First Enemy: The ‘I Will Do’ Leadership
      **Fighting the first enemy
4.2 – The Second Enemy: The Inactive Uninformed Citizen
      **The belief that villagers are incapable **Villages left leaderless **New players, old raj **Perpetuation of a slavish mentality **Fighting the second enemy
4.3 – The Third Enemy: Lack Of Institutionalization
      **Insufficient change at independence **Reforms that did not measure up **Fighting the third enemy
4.4 – The Fourth Enemy: Mind Poisons
      **The first great strength **Another great strength **What is the fourth enemy and what does it do? **Effect on people **The fourth enemy comes in various forms **The thief in the guise of a friend and well-wisher **The false Gurus **The self-centred label-representing-leader **Such ‘representatives’ are not eligible **Fighting the fourth enemy **Identifying that one’s own mind-set has been compromised is half the work done **Choosing the right principles of action **Look for Gurus who can guide **Choose the right leaders **Fighting back the fourth enemy at the personal level **A yoga to try **Think back through your responses for various occasions and be ready **A village that looks forward **The Brahst-aastra
4.5 – Enemies Of The Spirit Of Swaraj
      **Enemies of the spirit of swaraj and the solutions

      **Every village has an organic interdependence with the surrounding society.
5.1 – The Inter Village Forum: Invaluable For Freedom
      **The size **The culture of win-win **Where leaders and politicians can make a difference
5.2 – Supporting The Pursuit Of Village Self-Rule From The Outside
      **Knowledge **Team discipline **Finances **Political institutions **Technology upgrade **The vital **Summary
5.3 – Teamwork Can Make A Huge Difference
      **A bureaucracy plotting for welfare **Every sector will help **India has what it takes

      A: The Six Freedoms In Detail (Definitions; relevance; detailed rationale; action and examples

3. Given here is a Sample chapter: the Chapter 5.2: ‘Supporting the Pursuit of Village Self Rule From Outside’, which is relevant to how external agencies and agents can support the efforts of the villages to reach out for freedom


The best way of offering external assistance to a village ... in its efforts at self-emancipation is to assist ‘capacity-building for freedom’. A village will require various strengths for enhancing its freedom, and helpful external agencies should assist the village in developing those strengths. We shall look at a list of those areas where such strengths need to be nourished. (Refer to the diagram at the end of this chapter for a comprehensive picture.)

Knowledge: This is the most vital of inputs that needs to go into a village if its capacity for freedom is to be increased. Every good work starts with a good thought. Every manmade creation first needs to appear as an idea in the mind of the one that creates it (referred to in The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari by Robin Sharma and other similar books). It is through infusing knowledge in a target population that such good thoughts can be sown in the minds of the people of a village. Once the seeds are sown, the citizens of the village themselves can go about creating those things in the world around them. Therefore, there is a special need for organizations to cater knowledge inputs to rural communities. It is useful to classify them as formal (general and specific) and informal (skills and wisdom) education.

Formal education (general): This primarily consists of the formal education system as we know it. Ensuring that there is no illiteracy, that every child is educated and that there are openings for higher studies for those desirous is the need under this heading. The usual institutions, schools, colleges and training institutions, will be expected to think innovatively to meet this aim of establishing institutions of merit in rural areas. To meet the immediate challenge though, there is a need for extra-village organizations to depute expertise for this specific task into the villages. One way of doing this can be by arranging comfortable village retirement homes for retired experts—especially for retired educationists. Such persons can then move into the rural setting through a symbiotic arrangement. The spirit of this particular effort by retired persons should have an element of voluntary service. The villagers should also go out of their way to make them comfortable in the rural setting.

Formal education (specific): The primary aim under this heading is to pump knowledge that is particularly relevant to the enriching of life in that village into it. It should encompass everything practical that can make life in the villages better. This will include (and not be limited to) subjects like machine maintenance, vermiculture, alternate energy, water management, judiciary basics, police support, village bookkeeping, health work, computer data management and basic health. This is one area that will see a revolution of sorts. All the relevant transferable knowledge needs to be collected and separated into these subjects. For each subject, a complete syllabus needs to be built up. And the syllabus for each subject should be covered in three or four grades of certificate courses. The basics of these levels/grades should not even require that the students should be educated/literate. It can be an entirely practical course at the end of which a participant can receive a certificate. That should qualify him to apply for the next grade and so on till he is an expert in that area. Through this, we can create experts in a whole lot of subjects.

If a village has managed to notch up fifty or sixty odd certificates, then it means that so much knowledge has been pumped into the village. The spectrum of such certificates will be a good way of ensuring that diverse and relevant knowledge is being transferred to and held in a particular village.

In fact, this is one method by which catalysis for growth can be affected by external agencies. Bare minimum requirements can be imposed on a village community. For example, a village panchayat can be said to be officially recognized only when there is a net total of 50 certificates in the village on at least ten different subjects (or more severe or diluted variations of this depending on the need).

A lot of special efforts are needed in this direction. Building up a database of knowledge and information is the first step. Then, there is a need to organize that knowledge, work on its delivery mechanisms, have a testing system to assess how well the students have done and finally implement a feedback mechanism both to reinforce the source of the knowledge and to refresh the student in due course of time. This, of course, needs extensive planning and effort by the government, possibly in partnership with agencies.

Informal education (skills): There is a special need to ensure that skills, especially those that are required for making a living in a city-based setting, are transferred to the members of a village. Such skills are vital components of survival and success in a world that runs on capitalistic principles. These can be taken care of by commercial organizations, which will automatically come to rural areas if there is a culture of patronage for the same in the villages, that is, if rural people are willing to spend money to do the courses. Schools can also take initiative for training students in the requisite skills. Such an upgrade will create greater confidence in the rural folk. This will also shift some commercial activity towards the villages, which will indirectly help in building up the rural economy.

Informal education (wisdom): This is one of the most controversial yet vital components among the ingredients that need to go into a village. The problem is that when there is a basic debate in the scientific world over the authority of the wise, institutionalizing wisdom does not come easy. Consequently, there is no question of there being any ‘modern’ institutions that cater to this need. But there are a host of traditional institutions that focus on wisdom which need patronage.

As of now, in order to meet this need, a lot of faith needs to be placed in the learning that is transferred within families. Further, there is a need to revive many folk and classical arts which acted as vehicles for transferring the wisdom of the ancients.

Then, there are the temples. They have an important role to play. The mandate of a temple is complete only when there is deep awareness in the devotees of the stories relating to these deities that have been recorded in the ancient texts. This naturally means that the temples need to patronize institutions and artists who have to go back among the masses and popularize these ancient tales of wisdom, valour and sacrifice. There’s a tremendous amount of wisdom that can be transferred in this method, and until alternatives to the scriptures are developed by the wise of this age, there is a need to refresh the minds of the masses with the substance in the scriptures in this manner. As of now, there are more powerful mass communication tools in comparison to the times when these ancient stories or histories were generated; this means that presently, there is a need for great creativity to repackage this ancient wisdom in order to deliver it at the grassroots level.

The word ‘temple’ in the above paragraph, of course, is generalized for all religions. Every religion has an essential dimension of spirituality at its core in which there is great wisdom. Each religion should therefore creatively repackage that wisdom so that at least the wisdom in it gets across into a secular setting without the dogmas surrounding the faith creating hurdles.

It might even take a few decades before wisdom becomes an integral part of schooling. However, one never knows. There are good chances that it will not take that long. But till such a time that the scientific world accepts the objectivity of the truths reflected in spirituality, there is a need to carry on focusing efforts in the area of spiritual uplift and wisdom as is admissible in the best of religions.

Team discipline: Every external agency that has anything to do with a village has a particular manner in which it deals with a village, and it also has designed certain expectations from a village. In all such dealings and expectations, it is extremely important, from the standpoint of patronizing freedom in villages, to force the village to act as a team. Unfortunately, this is one area in which political parties, NGOs, socio-religious organizations and even some wings of the government have been acting in a manner that is opposed to team-building.

A strategy adopted by the Maharashtra Electricity Board is an excellent example of facilitating the teams in villages. Those villages which worked as a team to manage their power consumption according to a pre-determined format were rewarded with 24-hour electricity supply. Those villages that failed to do this experienced periodic power cuts.

There are two criteria under this heading which can be pointed out for special attention, which the external agencies and all agents working for the uplift of a village should focus on.

Unity: One cannot overstate the importance of this vital ingredient required for a village’s move towards freedom. If the village is together, it has great capacity for freedom. This is one area in which one should never tolerate dilution. We may once again note here that in the vision for the nation, the makers of the Indian constitution thought of a scheme where even the municipality elections were not to be fought along party lines. And that implies the same in villages too. The reason for this thought process was that there should be no reason added into the socio-political arrangement of a local community to divide people. This means that even the founding fathers saw this as a necessary ingredient of a prosperous nation. Needless to say, the nation can move things decisively forward only when the villages act united. We can even take an extreme stand and say that anyone or anything that divides a village, even for selective good, is in fact an enemy of the people of that village.

Unity definitely produces a quantum leap in strength. For one dwelling in a village, there is nothing more benevolent than a unified team that is focused on the emancipation of all its citizens. If any external agency attempting emancipation acts in a manner that compromises the village’s unity, then it rather not come in.

Dynamism: There is no fun in being united if nothing is done on the basis of that unity. The village team should be dynamic. There are many responsibilities/challenges which the village team has to shoulder. With whatever resources it has at its command, with a commonly held vision guiding it and with a zest for life, it should plan and execute the necessary activities.

Therefore, all external agencies interacting with the village should nurture this dynamism in the villages. It should be taken for granted that there is infinite energy in a village and that any productive activity will be met by more than halfway by the citizens of that village. A lot of activities should be planned so that the productive energies of the members of the village are expressed. These need not be breadwinning efforts. It could even just be work done at hobbies or work taken up on the basis of social obligation. It is important though that whatever be the nature of the activities, the commitment to contribute should be total in that limited time when the effort is on.

Finances: Let us accept at the outset that if a group, whichever it is, does not have spending power, then its capacity for action in the commercial environment is heavily restricted. It is inappropriate to say that one wants to strengthen villages and, at the same time, give them no financial authority. The main actor in rectifying this is definitely the government which needs to allow greater financial authority in the hands of village councils. If the state is not capable of putting money directly in their hands, it should at least allow the villages some scope for taxation. This is the first aspect related to finances. One should help a community in enhancing its spending power.

The other aspect is village income. Organizations interested in the emancipation of the villages should help the villages develop abilities to generate higher profits in the present commercial setup. There is also a need to encourage the flow of investment capital into rural settings.

The governments need to play an important role here. Enforcing their targets of PURA will mostly suffice. If the skill sets of the rural folk are enhanced, it will be more profitable for production or service-based commercial organizations to shift base into rural settings.

But one needs to mention that in all this, the role of the local leaders cannot be overstated. Success of endeavours like PURA depend as much on ‘supply’ by the government as on ‘demand’ by the people. And as economists put it, ‘desire’ is not ‘demand’ if it is not backed by money. The people need to commit themselves to the cause and invest in team-building, goal-setting and shouldering some of the burden. Hence, the people themselves should come up with projects that can improve the earning capacity of the rural populations. This means that they should bet their money on it.

Political institutions: There is also a need to set up village institutions that are dedicated to carry out specific administrative tasks. We have seen earlier that committees need to be set up in order to look into various aspects of life in a village. There is a need for a judicial element to be present in a village. There is also a need for a local cell which has privileged access to the concerned police station. Organizing committees for festivals and other events which the village may take on are also required. An information cell is required as well. While some of these can be ad-hoc committees, there is a specific need for some institutions to be established on a permanent basis.

With respect to such institutions, there are two important tasks which need to be taken up by external agencies and individuals who seek the welfare of the village. We have looked upon them as the cardinal principles. The first aspect is building institutions and giving them due recognition. The second aspect is that these institutions should function within the boundaries laid down by the constitution. This means that these institutions need to be constantly or periodically audited as the need arises. Therefore, this leads us to the next important aspect of political institutions, which is external audit. A wing of the government should have this as its task exclusively. In a way, this will shift the responsibility of the government from actually doing something to monitoring what is being done and applying corrective measures wherever required. With such an arrangement, the chances of effectively implementing the needs of the constitution are radically enhanced.

To summarize, setting up political institutions within a village community enhances its capacity for freedom, but completeness can be achieved only if it is constructively audited by a mechanism that is faithful to the constitution. Only by these two aspects happening together can the capacity for freedom truly be improved.

Technology upgrade: The ability to thrive in the present socio-economic context requires good connectivity in terms of both transport and communication. This upgrade is vital for the success of villages in a capitalistic setup. The same also applies to the complete spectrum of commercial and wellbeing technologies. Whether the technology has something to do with farming, primary processing, data processing, preservation or marketing, getting suitably upgraded may make a difference between the persistence of a livelihood source and the end of it due to becoming obsolete.

Therefore, the external organizations which occupy themselves in this service of disseminating technology will be adding a vital ingredient towards enhancing the capacity for freedom in the villages. The challenges to these external agencies will be threefold: developing technologies, adapting them for use in the target area and effectively transferring them into the concerned villages.

The vital: It is probably the most important component that decides the capacity for freedom. There are connotations to this (inherent in the word dharma), which are not easily comprehended through modern terminology and have to be set aside for a future date and a different context. However, for the moment, we can focus on the important aspects which are easily understood. Of importance is the sense of duty (or farz, as it is known in Urdu). This is an attitude or habit that has to be ingrained in every individual—from childhood—since it is beneficial to both the society and the individual.

Now, is the ingraining of a sense of duty in an individual a hoodwinking or a way of cheating an individual so that he becomes a useful component of society? An analysis of the matter, which need not be gone into here, proves that it is not so. When the duty is defined on the basis of a benevolent law designed by wise men, it is in the best interest of even the one who is doing the duty. Unfortunately, it is hard to convince one easily about this. Lucky ones have teachers to guide them. Sometimes, it is the culture which a person holds that teaches them to nourish better things—like the sense of duty, for instance. Anyway, all external agencies dealing with a village need to be sensitized so that they constantly seek to instil a sense of duty in the minds of citizens.

Clearly, the best possible contribution for this can come from the creative media. The best part is that whenever the sentiment of dutifulness has been portrayed correctly by a performance, it has spelled success for that creative endeavour. The best stories, whether in a successful film or a TV show, have more often than not honored that sense of dutifulness. But these are not the only possible ways of doing it. There are other channels for communication like art forms, sports and all kinds of teacher-student situations which have great potential as well. Every well-meaning individual should take up every opportunity he gets to help get the message about doing one’s duty across.

Very closely related to the sense of duty is the rule of law. This is another component of the ‘vital’. It is important that a village relishes the sense of rule of law. It is the rule of law which should be seen as the greatest benefactor of individuals. In this, the constitution of India becomes supreme, and everybody works towards upholding it. By effectively translating the rule of the constitution onto society, the highest good can be done to the people of the nation. But, of course, as we have just seen, the constitution itself should be tuned for the highest and the best, which definitely was the sentiment and effort of the founding fathers.

This upholding of the law has to be nurtured through all possible forums, activities and interactions of the members of the village. Unfortunately, some of the biggest defaulters for this are the modern day movies where the concept of the rule of law is lost to what is termed as the ‘angry young man syndrome’. Societies cannot be built that way. Where the rule of law is supreme, The Divine is accorded the highest place and peace, and prosperity invariably follows.

Summary: The following diagram is a summary of the considerations we have made above.


The image shows the entire scope for external support. The way to look at these details is that if any of these inputs are strengthened, the capacity for freedom increases. Conversely, if any of these imports are weakened, the capacity for freedom of that village community diminishes.

This means that when a well-meaning agency (or person) takes up responsibility for the village and tries to initiate and promote freedom in local communities, the agency will actually be setting up institutions and opportunities that can provide for these inputs, as listed in the diagram.

In order to achieve completeness, there is a need to ensure that all the points listed above are covered through the institutions and activities. The totality of the spectrum is important. Further, there is no need for a one-to-one correlation between institutions and requirements to be met. A single need can be supported and backed up by more than one external institution, and one institution or activity can take care of many of these needs simultaneously. But the necessary way forward is to ensure that all these aspects are covered as best as possible.

If these inputs are efficiently delivered to the villages, one can rest assured that the village communities will grow in strength and eventually contribute to the strength of these external agencies that first came in their support. It is in the completion of that cycle that the nation will find its prosperity.

Following are the three parts in the book:
The first part in the book “Return to an Ancient and Glorious Tryst” deals with the ancient spiritual heritage of India, its inclusivity, its equity, its global outlook and its inspiration for a complete life.

The second part in the book “Panchayati Swaraj: Freedom at the Doorstep” deals with true decentralization, It is about a democracy that is, besides being “BY, OF and FOR’ the people, it is also “WITH” the people. The functional extracts from this book forms the content of this website.

The third part “Transition to Freedom: Through Institutions Built on Righteousness” deals with how all other major sections of society must re-calibrate the way they function so that they can be part of a truly free India.

Together they constitute a vision for a free India.

Refer to the following site to understand what the idea of “Second Freedom” is all about

Order your copy here:
The book “Rising to Second Freedom” can be purchased at the Notion Press website and from several commercial sites listed in it. You can also read a few chapters here.


e-copies are also available at the above mentioned site
Site Map





1.1 Land records

1.2 Taxes

1.3 Scheme list

1.4 census

2.1 Adapt / integrate

2.2 Employment

2.3 Financial

2.4 Technological

2.5 Resource economy

3.1 Education

3.2 Skill sets

3.3 Traditions

3.4 Arts

3.5 Spiritual

4.1 Sports

4.2 Health/Wellness

4.3 Hygiene

4.4 Nutrition

4.5 Medical care

5.1 Legislative

5.2 Executive

5.3 Judicial

5.4 Integration

6.1 Environmental

6.2 Developmental

6.3 Contributory