The road to national resurgence

By Kashinath 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 of restoration to equilibrium. By assuming that our democracy is in bloom we only allow ourselves to fall a prey to willing suspension of disbelief.

However, our country had made reasonably good start notwithstanding visible flaws in our domestic and foreign policy during formative years. Ideals and principles are all right in their place. Statesmanship is also the science of open-mindedness and resilience. Moral laws and statesmanship can go hand in hand provided these converge on national resurgence.

Parliamentary election of 2014 is a landmark in the history of post-independence India. People’s verdict eloquently defined their urge for national resurgence. But what do we understand by national resurgence?

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 sem-i literate people of India a phenomenon of departure from her entrenched traditions and totems.

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 as well as 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 its formation of government in Manipur and Goa, are superficially attributed to electioneering prowess of the chief of the BJP. That undoubtedly is a factor. However, what was very significant was how the Prime Minister in his election rallies stuck to core issues facing the country. It reminds us of the first phase of our democracy in early fifties.

Priority had to go to open and impressive debate on the reaction of the masses of people to horrors of corruption and deceit of political dispensation of degenerated Congress rule. It means our democracy is still so spurious as to be manipulated to the advantage of depraved rulers and not the gullible ruled ones. In that sense our democracy became the anti-climax of its desk book interpretation of political arrangement under that norm.

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 and BSP brazenly dug in for communal vote thus making space for criminals, cutthroats and unpatriotic chapters who were no less to grab the opportunity if they could.

In fact people’s verdict 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 understood what nationalism means, 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 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.

The one laudable contribution of the type of democracy we have is that it denies illegitimate aspirants to political power the option of taking recourse to violent methods. You will find that Farooq Abdullah does not tell the stone throwers to go on with pelting stones at security forces but gives it the twist of calling it a mechanism of self defence. Stone throwing may be a mechanism of self defence by his logic 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 inroads into the mindset of rejected parties, they would have adopted a different response to the verdict of the people from what they did. It is the inability of the opposition to adopt “different response” that makes us believe 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. Presently, the vision of the opposition is so myopic as not to transcend the short purpose of intentionally obstructing the parliament from performing.

Religion has always played significant role in Indian politics. Congress in power claimed to fight it but only after it had succumbed to its ingress. Parliamentary and then UP assembly elections symphonized rejection, rather falsification, of the fake superstructure called “secularism” in Congress lexicon. The outcome of these elections was the logical end of a phenomenon whose basics Congress failed or did not want to comprehend.

Against the wishes of the Father of the Nation, the Congress son 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 disinterested and far-sighted leader in the party mustered courage and vision to warn the party echelons that it was denuding itself of ideology. The seeping lust for power blinded Congress to the extent that thinkers and visionaries like PV Narasimha Roan 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 India’s governance has come as gift from the gab. Realization has dawned upon them that they have architectural role in building new India. 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 and well wishers. 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 guiding principle. 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 Hindostan – 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 soul 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 is the new direction which the revolutionary change has given to national resurgence.

The parliamentary as well as UP election verdict is the biggest confidence building measure ever undertaken by Indian civil society in post independence era for communal harmony. It has to be the bulldozer of 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 the fierce conflict between fossilized conservatism and vibrant modernism, the hallmark of a democratic state, a new Kashmirian society is in the making. This transition is painful as socio-political revolution in Kashmir is underway.

Exodus of Pandit minority from the valley in 1990 was not warranted just because under historical compulsions they were reconciled to living the life of the underdog. It was the 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 their 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.

Four months ahead of sedition in Kashmir, the coalition government set 70 hardcore terrorists free from the prisons even when they were under prosecution. And to give boost to sedition in Kashmir, the coalition ministers hurriedly abandoned the office and along with party bigwigs hid in Jammu and clandestinely carried liaison with the 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 roots of Pandit exodus from the valley and the prospect of their return that seems elusive at the moment. By the way, if 17,000 dislocated families from Dal Lake could be rehabilitated at Bagh-i Arth, the new residential colony where each household is allotted a piece of land, why pigeon-holes as transit camp for the Pandit employees? Let us trace the new road map.
(The writer is the former Director of the Centre of Central Asian Studies, Kashmir University).

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