COMMON SENSE : Thomas Paine
Thomas Paine (1737-1809) was an Englishman who came to America in 1774, he was a political philosopher who promoted change through revolution rather than reform. Paine is most renowned for his activities advocating democracy. Common Sense (1776) is his widely-read pamphlet, argued for America’s immediate separation from England. It is considered by many to be the catalyst that roused public feeling and was most influential in the creation of the Declaration of Independence.
The topic is extremely relevant for us here in India today, the Nehru-Gandhi Dynasty has suffered its most humiliating defeat ever in recently conluded general election in India. The strength of Congress Party in the lower house of Indian Parliament (Loksabha) has come to to a mere 44, less than 10% in the house where the total strength is 545. Not only BJP has won the majority most handsomely – getting 282 seats, the defeat is a severe jolt to the the Nehru-Gandhi Dynasty represented today by Sonia Gandhi (widow of Ex. PM Rajiv Gandhi, daughter-in-law of another Ex. PM Indira Gandhi, great-daughter-in-law of India’s first PM Jawahar Lal Nehru), Rahul Gandhi (son of Congress President for more than 15 years Sonia Gandhi), and Priyanka Vadra (sister of Rahul Gandhi, who still flaunts the Gandhi name once in 5 years during the election time, still claiming to be apolitical person). Very few people have got the courage to challenge the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty’s strenglehold on the Congress party, an act which is suffocating and resulting in its humiliation across India. Lets hope some people realize the folly of believing in the power of Dynasty and ask the logical questions. There is no place for a dynasty in democracy. Mr. Thomas Paine put forth a extremely strong case centuries ago, but it is still very much relevant for India today.
Chapter 1: Of the Origin and Design of Government in General with concise remarks on the English Constitution
Chapter 2: Of Monarchy and Hereditary Succession
Chapter 3: Thoughts of the Present State of American Affairs
Chapter 4: Of the Present Ability of America with some Miscellaneous Reflections
Appendix: Epistle to Quakers
Perhaps the sentiments contained in the following pages, are not yet sufficiently fashionable to procure them general favor; a long habit of not thinking a thing wrong, gives it a superficial appearance of being right, and raises at first a formidable outcry in defence of custom. But tumult soon subsides. Time makes more converts than reason.
As a long and violent abuse of power is generally the means of calling the right of it in question, (and in matters too which might never have been thought of, had not the sufferers been aggravated into the inquiry,) and as the king of England hath undertaken in his own right, to support the parliament in what he calls theirs, and as the good people of this country are grievously oppressed by the combination, they have an undoubted privilege to inquire into the pretensions of both, and equally to reject the usurpations of either.
In the following sheets, the author hath studiously avoided every thing which is personal among ourselves. Compliments as well as censure to individuals make no part thereof. The wise and the worthy need not the triumph of a pamphlet; and those whose sentiments are injudicious or unfriendly, will cease of themselves, unless too much pains is bestowed upon their conversion. The cause of America is, in a great measure, the cause of all mankind. Many circumstances have, and will arise, which are not local, but universal, and through which the principles of all lovers of mankind are affected, and in the event of which, their affections are interested. The laying a country desolate with fire and sword, declaring war against the natural rights of all mankind, and extirpating the defenders thereof from the face of the earth, is the concern of every man to whom nature hath given the power of feeling; of which class, regardless of party censure, is THE AUTHOR.
– Philadelphia, Feb. 14, 1776