We will have a new government in India. Ouster of Congress in four recently held assembly elections has boosted the morale of mainstream opposition parties. Will the electorate sustain that tempo is anybody’s guess.
People’s verdict in those assembly elections was patently for change. The nation seeks change not as sequel to incumbency factor or for the reason of slackness in developmental activity within given conditions; perhaps not even for back breaking price rise in consumer goods. The people have taken betrayal of trust very seriously. Corruption, scams and scandals are not that pinching as the shameful ways in which UPA II tried to cover these up, hide the facts and save the skin of indicted persons. The Prime Minister smiled and smiled while public exchequer was looted right and left. That is what caused chagrin.
An impression, right or wrong, was created that the country was for loot by people close to the centre of power. But they also found that the goalpost of centre of power was shifting selectively. The PM did not act; it speaks volumes of his imbecility. Why was the lock put on his mouth? Did not the PM understand the simple principle that power rests with the people not party. The Prime Minister and his party both betrayed them. It was dictatorship by proxy.
The way UPA government conducted affairs of the state was almost arbitrary, to say the least. An outsider could and did “tear up” the resolution of the cabinet. The cabinet, a pack of sycophants and slaves, went on licking its wounds and eating the humble pie. A private limited company engaged itself in unending conspiracies of how to keep itself in position of power. People were stung not by the ways and means by which the private limited company kept itself in power but actually by dismay caused by utter servitude and servility of party beneficiaries. They proved the axiom of being more loyal than the king. Some love to be slaves when they could be masters.
The private limited company called UPA government was concerned less about the nation and its future, but more about its own survival in the seat of power through means mostly foul. Deluded by arrogance of power, it failed to realize the implications of Anna Hazare’s anti-corruption movement, one that was the harbinger of second Satyagraha. The inept handling of that movement and arrogant response to its country wide popularity sealed the fate of UPA.
UPA II over played is pro-minority card so much so that Muslims themselves began to become very sceptic about its credibility. A call through the Muslim cleric for not dividing Muslim vote and imploring them to cast it for Congress simply boomeranged on its originators. People expected that Congress stalwart would advise the Muslim cleric to give a call to the Indian Muslims to shun violence and strengthen national mainstream.
But it chose to polarize the nation along communal lines. By its inconsiderate moves and un-statesmanlike utterances Congress let its space with the masses of people shrink considerably. The time is not far off when its think-tank will bemuse the damage which the arrogant leadership and pusillanimous lower rungs inflicted on the party.
“Modi is poison”, ” Modi wants to destroy Muslims”, ” Modi’s claim of progress in Gujarat is false and fabricated” etc. this is the refrain of anti-Modi campaign. Suppose BJP emerges victorious and Modi is Prime Minister, what face will these bogus Congressites and their minions show to their electorate? Who will make Modi PM? Obviously it will be the people of India and the majority of them. It means the Congress considers majority of Indian nation as “poison” and “communally destructive” because this has been the refrain of their anti-Modi campaign. Isn’t it an affront to the people of a country who have committed themselves to democracy? Isn’t it an affront to the Muslims of India to isolate them from national mainstream? Is only Congress secular and democratic in the country? Not at all, look at the events of 1984 and 1990. Ethnic cleansing of entire Hindu minority in Kashmir happened when NC and Congress were coalition partners in the government. And of all the parties, these two are most vociferous about the danger of communalism.
Congress is a historical party whose contribution will be written in letters of gold in the history of the country. People expected its leaders to talk of national security, invigorating national economy, providing more jobs, expanding trade, controlling prices, controlling inflation, transforming educational system, visionary technological and scientific advancement and a place for India as a great nation among the comity of nations.
Instead, Congress floated one-point programme in its election campaign, namely hate Modi. People wanted to hear of development not hate Modi rhetoric. They are disappointed and angry why a party of its stature allowed itself to fall to the depths of wretchedness by ignoring national issues of great urgency and taking up personal vendetta against Modi.
Bankruptcy of futuristic vision among the Congress leadership is to the extent that no one worth his salt could stand up, look straight into the eyes of anti-Modi brigade, and ask them to stop the nonsense they were uttering in public rallies. But petulant minions went on with their tongue-lashings because there was no Congress High Command like olden days to rein them in; all that is left of it now is only the Congress High Commander.
The change which the people want to opt for is fundamental and not superficial. The change is for the replacement of the culture of dynastic rule in post-independence era with the culture of the rule of common man. In other words, it is the change from “government of the dynasty, by the dynasty and for the dynasty” to that of its original import.
The change is for re-assertion of the great tradition of Indian civilization, the foundation on which multi-dimensional edifice of modern India has to be built. The change is for big churning in Indian social milieu so that the culture of liberal inquiry flourishes freely. The change is for reversing the culture of calling slavery as statesmanship and deceit as diplomacy.
Our economy has stagnated. Way out has to be found. Corruption has made us a notorious nation in the world. We need to retrieve our profile as a nation envisioning pragmatist social structure and purposefulness. Our image in international fraternity has lost its sheen; we need to rebuild it. We are called weakling and pusillanimous. The change is for changing the discourse.
For the new government that will be in the saddle almost a month from now, there are great many lessons to be learnt from this election. Dynastic rule, regionalism, extra-territorial affiliation and anti-national tendencies have to be driven away and young India with deep understanding of present and over-arching vision of future has to take the driver’s seat.
At the end of the day, the verdict will come and young India will rise in search of change. Wisdom is to learn lessons from the past and put these to use for future. Nobody is infallible but the wise rise after the fall whereas the foolish lament on the past.
*K.N. Pandita: Born in Baramulla, Kashmir in 1929 did graduation from St. Joseph’s College in Arts with English literature. The tribal raid of October 1947 destroyed his family like hundreds of other Kashmiri Hindu families in Baramulla.
After doing M.A. from Punjab University, he served as Lecturer in State Degree Colleges and in 1958 earned a scholarship from the Indian Ministry of Education for higher studies at the University of Teheran, Iran. Four years of study and research at the University of Teheran earned him a Ph.D. in Iranian Studies. He joined Kashmir University in 1963 and it’s Centre of Central Asian Studies in 1976. He rose to become Professor and Director of this Centre till his superannuation in 1987. He is not only the first Kashmiri to obtain Ph.D. from Teheran University but is also the first to have worked in close collaboration with a number of Central Asian Academies of Science particularly the Tajik Academy. His travelogue titled My Tajik Friends won him Sovietland Nehru Award 1987.
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