Maulana Wahiduddin Khan | The Times of India, New Delhi | November 24, 2015
German statesman Otto von Bismarck once observed that politics is the art of the possible.This aphorism can be usefully extended to include planning. Planning should be done on the basis of whatever is available to you. This means to plan on the basis of what remains. Such planning can be termed as `planning based on remnants'.
In chalking out a course of action, people are generally obsessed with the concept of totality . They want to have things in totality and are reluctant to accept the fulfilment of their goals in any partial way . But thinking along these lines goes against the law of nature. The realistic formula in this regard is that if the total is not achievable, one should be content with achieving just a part.
There are nations in many parts of the world which were eager to achieve things in totality , but failed in their ambition even after a struggle lasting a hundred years. The following Hindi maxim applies to their case: “Aadhi chhod ke sajji dhave, aadhi rahe na sajji pave“ “One who runs after the whole, leaving behind the part, loses both the part and the whole“. This is why, although these nations launched their initiatives with great enthusiasm, they ended up as failed states. They could neither achieve what they had set out to do, nor were they able to retain what they already possessed.
A contrary example is that of the respective achievements of Japan and Germany . After World War II, both nations lost areas of land they had possessed before the onset of the war. Germany lost to the Soviet Union the eastern part of its country , including part of Berlin. A similar case is that of Japan, which surrendered the Okinawa Islands, to the United States.
Both countries made plans for their future economic development by first setting aside what they had lost. The result was miraculous: Germany , led by its first post-war chancellor, Konrad Adenauer, emerged as the industrial leader of Europe. Similarly , Japan, under the wise leadership of Emperor Hirohito, rose to be the economic superpower of Asia.
This is the miracle of planning based on remnants or planning based on the remaining part of a whole, unlike planning which entails the pursuit of an erstwhile whole.The best formula in life is not to concern oneself with what has been lost, but, by wise planning, to avail of what is still extant. Sooner or later, you will emerge as a super achiever. This holds true for both nations and individuals.
Another good example is Singapore. Previously part of Malaysia, Singapore was ex pelled from the Federation of Malaysia in 1965 and became an independent state.Under the leadership of its former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew, Singapore likewise adopted the policy of planning based on remnants. Although Malaysia is more than 400 times greater than Singapore in area, today , in development, the latter is far ahead of it.
All individuals and nations have certain ambitions which they seek to fulfil. Wise planning for the fulfilment of a goal requires adjustment between two things: personal ambition and available resources. The secret of truly successful planning is the correct weighing up of one's personal ambitions vis-à-vis available resources.No one can change the course taken by the external world. No one is master of nature. We have only one option: To find a way of making a realistic adjustment between our ambitions and the resources available in the real world.