Monday, June 18, 2018
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The road to national resurgence

By K N Pandit

Isn’t our democracy still in embryonic stage? Transformation of an ancient Asiatic country of heterogeneous complexion into a modern state is a lengthy and painstaking process. Moreover, a mindset shaped by many centuries of slavery to alien rule takes its time for restoration to equilibrium. By assuming that our democracy is in bloom we only allow ourselves to fall a prey to willing suspension of disbelief.

This not withstanding our country had made reasonably good start in spite of experimental flaws in our domestic and foreign policy during formative years. Idealism is all right in its place but statesmanship demands pragmatism. It asks for extraordinary resilience to harmonize them. Moral obligations and statesmanship have to go hand in hand when national resurgence is the destination.

Parliamentary elections of 2014 go down as a landmark in the history of post-independence India. People’s outright verdict defined their urge for national resurgence. But what do we understand by national resurgence?

In decades gone by we saw that what is considered the building material of historical Indian civilization was consigned to benign negligence and ultimate disuse. This was the patent argument of those who clung to Westminster type democracy for India. The malaise lay in thrusting on semi-literate people of India a phenomenon of departure from her entrenched cultural traditions and personality.

The course of unbecoming reaction of political leaders and parties to the verdict of the people in the aftermath of their rejection at husting needs to be analyzed elaborately but dispassionately in the context of evolution of democracy in our country. The phenomenon, unfortunately, has not moved away from vendetta.

Amusingly, the analysis of landslide victory of BJP in UP and Uttarakhand assembly elections, and cobbling of Government in Manipur and Goa, are superficially attributed to the electioneering prowess of the chief of the BJP. No doubt that is a strong factor. However, what was very significant in terms of national resurgence was the way Prime Minister stuck to core issues facing the country while addressing mammoth gatherings in his election campaign. It reminds us of the first phase of our democracy in early fifties.

Priority had to go to open and effective debate on people’s reaction to the horrors of corruption and dishonesty that spelt disaster for Congress rule. It raised the question whether our democracy was so fickle as to be manipulated to the advantage of depraved rulers at the cost of gullible ruled ones. Did it become the anti-climax of its desk book interpretation?

For example, Congress after its successive election debacles still clung like a leech to one-point programme of discrediting Modi and denigrating his government on anything and everything he did or did not during the two years of his tenure. SP, BSP and their allies brazenly dug in for communal vote and indirectly made space for criminals, cutthroats and regressive elements always looking for subversion.

In fact, people’s verdict in UP was not against Congress, SP, BSP and their cohorts as most of us presume; it was against communalism, casteism, regionalism and anti-nationalism. If these failed parties had vision and statesmanship, and above all if they had cared for the fundamentals of nationalism, they would have reacted differently to their rejection by the electorate. Alas, swayed by lust for power they lost the sight of people over whom they wanted to rule.

UP and Uttarakhand, and for that matter the masses of people in this country, have been signaling for a non-violent revolution that would go deep into the very foundation of our economic, social and political structure as the pre-requisite to a new roadmap for national resurgence.

As good luck would have it, our democracy is resilient enough to leave little rather no scope for illegitimate aspirants to political power the option of taking recourse to violent methods. You will find that Farooq Abdullah cannot tell the stone throwers to go on pelting stones at security forces. He gives it a twist and calls it a mechanism of self defence. By his logic stone throwing may be a mechanism of self defence but then by the same token how will Farooq justify deployment of Z security for his person as self-defence mechanism. He “walks behind his nascent Hurriyat friends” but only under the shadow of Z security provided by the State. Mark the poverty of conviction.

Had democratic ideology made real and deep impact on the mindset of rejected parties, they would have adopted an attitude to the verdict of the people different from what they actually did. Inability of the opposition to adopt “different attitude” makes us think that our democracy is in embryonic stage.

This brings us to the crucial question of the objective role of opposition in the parliament, its responsibilities, its vision and its level of nationalism. How unfortunate if it thinks that as a defeated party its role is only to oppose and not propose. Presently, the vision of the opposition is so myopic as not to transcend the negative role of intentionally obstructing the parliament from running sessions in normal course.

Religion has always played significant role in Indian politics. Congress in power claimed to detach it from national politics. It was unrealistic and hence hypocritical because Congress’ role in first fighting and then succumbing to two-nation theory could not be washed away. Parliamentary election of 2014 and the recent UP assembly elections symbolized rejection, rather falsification, of the fake superstructure called “secularism” in Congress’ lexicon. The outcome of these elections was the birth of a phenomenon that looked direct into the eyeball of its originator, the Congress.

Against the wishes of the Father of the Nation, the Congress soon after independence covetously stuck to power like a leech. Saying good bye to the fundamentals of democracy and believing that the superstructure raised on rickety foundation was all that India needed, Congress concluded that its grip over political power had two main components; subtly undermining Indian civilizational trove, and, with corresponding subtlety, nourishing largest national minority as its exclusive constituency to the limits of untouchability.

For seven long decades no d isinterested and far-sighted leader in the party mustered courage and vision to warn the party echelons that it was denuding itself of cosmopolitanism in the context of Indian civilization. The simmering lust for power blinded Congress to the extent that outstanding thinkers and visionaries in the country like PV Narasimha Rao and Prof. Abdul Kalam became outcast in their socio-political chemistry.

Declaration of emergency and detention of entire opposition leadership would not have happened had Congress given supremacy to nationalist politics over lust for power coupled with predilection for dynastic dominance. Sycophants and political minions helped entrenchment of dynastic authoritarianism and thus Indian democracy was made captive to the tyranny of manipulated majority.

The nation has begun to feel the relief from stifling dynastic dominance be it New Delhi, Lucknow or Srinagar. Forging SP-Congress camaraderie towards the fag end of Akhlesh Government in UP was the symbolic suicide in desperation. It betrayed abject diffidence of the duo.

The tantrum of the scions of Abdullah House in Kashmir today is a loud lament of loss of power that has deserted the dynasty, evidently for all times to come. Assigning religious angle to local politics is something like bankruptcy of conviction.

To the beleaguered Indian Muslims, the new roadmap of national resurgence has come as gift from the gab. Realization has dawned upon them that they have architectural role in this resurgence. As such, they need to break the fear cocoon into which Congress encaged them for so many decades.

At the time of partition of India they decided to choose India as their home. It is constitutional, moral, historical and humanistic responsibility of Indian State to mete out equal and just treatment to them as the sons and daughters of the soil. They need no specific protectors or crutches. Entire Indian nation is their protector and well wisher. That has to be the first signpost for our country’s new roadmap.

However, pragmatism has to be the lodestar. One should not underestimate Ibn-i-Khaldun’s word of caution to victorious Arabs of medieval times that they shall have to dovetail their tribal cultural traits to the traditions of such conquered nations as have been the inheritors of privileged and emancipated civilizations in their own right.

Therefore the Indian Muslims have to live not as clients and vote-bank coupon but as proud citizens and architects of Hindustan — their ancestral country of glorious past and promising future. When Yogi Adityanath assumed the charge of chief minister of UP his father sent him an innocent message which reflects the spirit of Indian civilization. He told his son to remember that burqa clad women, too, had cast their vote in his favour.

It is this wriggling out of the clutches of pseudo-nationalists that made the Muslims of UP approach the Government to invoke the law of the land in calling to book alleged corrupt persons mishandling Wakf properties in Lucknow, the goons hitherto protected by previous Governments for political interests. This new thinking has to be at the root of national resurgence.

The parliamentary as well as UP election verdict is the biggest confidence building measure ever undertaken by the Indians in post independence era to consolidate communal harmony. Its role is to bulldoze divisive forces like discrimination, politically motivated reservations and quotas, slavish appeasement syndrome and Hindu bashing as the corner stone of “secularist” ideology. It is an end to propagating the canard of proverbial tyranny of majority as tormentor of Indian Muslim community. We have the new roadmap.

In Kashmir, isolationist-cum- victimhood effect jointly forged by National Conference and Congress over long decades has begun to give way to inclusiveness. Stone pelting, pro-Pak slogan mongering, Pak and ISIS flag hoisting and fueling anti-India flames are all the dying pangs of a gasping movement. Out of a fierce conflict between fossilized conservatism and vibrant

modernism, the hallmark of a democratic state, a new Kashmirian society is in the making. The transition is painful while socio-political revolution in Kashmir is underway.

Exodus of Pandit minority from the valley in 1990 was not warranted just because under historically manipulated compulsions for them, they were reconciled to live the life of the underdog. It was their bark that spelt disaster to them not the bite which, however, was not there in any case. Their real lament is that the Congress’ hypocritical “secularism” changes its skin when travelling from New Delhi to Srinagar and vise versa.

People need to know that the two parties ruling over the State in coalition on the eve of outbreak of sedition in 1989-90, maneuvered ethnic cleansing of the Valley to validate Comrade Adhikari plan for Kashmir. They ensured that the troops remained confined to Badami Bag Cantonment barracks and they prompted the police to fraternize with Pak-trained and sponsored murderers roaming the streets of Srinagar.

Four months ahead of sedition in Kashmir, the coalition Government set 70 hardcore terrorists free from the prisons even when they were facing prosecution. And to give boost to sedition in Kashmir, the coalition ministers hurriedly abandoned the office and along with party bigwigs hid in Jammu where they clandestinely carried liaison with ideologues of insurgency. Coalition Government’s grandiose plan of decimating the Hindu minority of Kashmir was successfully completed.

Now that Modi-led Government has decided to take into its own hand the distribution of relief package to 1947 tribal incursion refugees from PoK because the State Government is least interested, one feels it may also try to go to the root of Pandit exodus from the valley and the dreary prospect of their return that seems elusive at the moment. By the way, if 17,000 dislocated families from illegally grabbed Dal Lake rim could be rehabilitated within a year at Bagh-i- Arth, the new residential colony in the periphery of the city with each household allotted a piece of land, why the rehabilitation of nearly 40 thousand Pandit uprooted families could not come about during 27 years till date. Let the new road map to national resurgence give us the direction.

(The writer is the former Director of the Centre of Central Asian Studies, Kashmir University.Feedback-

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