Rahul Gandhi’s chances any better?
The 2014 general elections in India has generated much heat and many expectations. Expectations that this is the first time that the BJP is pitching for a high stake claim by projecting Narendra Modi, the Gujarat Chief Minister for the powerful office of India’s Prime Minister.
India is no more a side players on the world stage. India is now a big players on the international scene for the simple reason that the world today is much changed for the more wiser leadership to play a role.US President Barack Obama is now seen at any rate in India and in this side of the globe in Asia and South East Asia, if not in other parts of the world as a peace time President.
Many of the assumptions that one usually associates with the American Presidents, the American exceptionalism etc is not applying to this president. Obama is more a wiser man; he sees peace more important than anything else. He is also seen as the most sober, more learned, more measured personality. In the face of so much provocations to go for war in Syria he chose the diplomacy and it is working.
Yes, one aspect in which Obama’s image has dimmed is the case of the US intelligence activities, the saying of world leaders own phone and email messages and in this list he is found to have only one for company, that is, the UK spying agency. It is time that the UK government realises, sooner the better that its time has run out. We mean its historic time and its historic opportunities and its own role in world affairs.
As the Russian aide said the other day no one cares for the small island nation anymore. So, can we ask the UK government to shut shop of its spying expertise?
Also, the UK must now realise that it can’t also take Indian for granted. Its future depends upon how it realises its present position, its economic power, and its political intelligence.
The world has changed beyond recognition.
Now, we are entering into a new phase globally, more and more migrants cross their national boundaries, more and more the world is becoming a liveable place for foreigners, foreign citizens.
The major democracies, in Europe too feel the pressure to open up their borders so that more people with required skills get employment and also more social security benefits.
The recent tragedies off the Italian coast where hundreds of migrants got drowned is an international shame.
So, in every other country there are now new citizenships for people of different national origins, in the USA itself there are now high profile American Indians in government and elected offices.
So too in the UK. There is one lady minister from Africa in the Italian government.
So, there is such a large scale population shift, from the Middle East to South East Asian nations, there are more such people, more religious minorities etc.
All these changes are unprecedented.
India is the world’s largest democracy. That is India’s current strength and current claim on the world’s imagination. But India has a very different history. The last 100 years saw two world wars. The world is to celebrate the centenary of the First World War next year.
So many new books have come out and are yet to come out soon.
Now, what was India’s last hundred years?
India was a British colony during the last two world wars. In 1914, Mahatma Gandhi was 45 years old adult!
And yet, if you read the lies of the national leaders, those who fought for Indian freedoms, you see our own leaders at that relevant times were almost babes, so to say, in world affairs.
Our understanding of the world was then very rudimentary.
Now, is there any drastic change?
Are the Prime Ministerial candidates, Mr.Narendra Modi and the 43 year old Mr.Rahul Gandhi better informed of the outside world?
Do they have any world views as such?
It looks they are simply so ignorant or simply not bothered.
And yet they don’t display any modesty whatever about their ambitions to rule over the 1.2 billion people!
This is either silly or simply a fool’s dream.
The dream to become the Prime Ministerial candidate of such a big democracy, with such a tumultuous history, is anything but foolhardy.
Why we say this?
We have to realise that the last 66 years of freedom is just a short period in modern history. The Soviet Russian revolution of 1919, such a momentous event, kindling such a great wave of intellectual power didn’t last for more than 70 years, right?
Why, even the subsequent events like the unity of former Yugoslavia didn’t last long. The history of the last 100 years, the first world war, the Versaille Peace Treaty, the years 1918-1919,the emergence of Weimar Germany, the hope for republic, democracy etc didn’t last even a 14 year period.
Hitler came along. We must realise that even Hitler came to power through democratic process, right?
He didn’t crash-land in owner. He waited for the right moment of course. But he did wait for 10 long years. Also, as A.J.P.Taylor, my professor at Oxford in the early 60s,used to say that both Hitler and Lenin, came to power by exploiting the democratic process that was in force at the relevant times in Germany and Russia(under the provisional government of Kerensky).
The point here is that in the present context in Indian democratic process, I call it a democratic process and not as a vibrant full-blooded democracy (for there no such full-blown genuine democratic process in the country at present), there is this danger with Modi itching for capturing power with his own ideology of RSS and rightwing power politics in his own party.
Te BJP is anything but a genuinely liberal political party. Its own history, why even the history of the RSS needs much critical study and critical insights need to be drawn by dispassionate analysis of its various stages of growth.
As for genuine democracy and also the claims of the Congress to do what it is doing, we have to be alert to see that we don’t confuse or camouflage the real intentions of the Congress party. The Congress party is no more the party of the past, not just the party as shaped by Mahatma Gandhi; it is not even in the mould of Indira Gandhi.
It is now a party of sycophants, a cosy club of power seekers. Why it is backed and put in power and sustained by some other outside powers too.
As one critical of the latest book on Weimar Germany(Weimar Germany: Promises and Tragedy By Eric D.Weitz)notes that “the German Right in which heavy industry and major financial interest exercised preponderant influence and which promoted policies that worsened the real-life circumstances of so many ordinary Germans”.
Is there some echo in these words a similarity to the current situations in India? The real-life circumstances of the ordinary Indians are any different from the olden days?
Democracy is good always. But democracy also can be sabotaged by elements from within the power structure that is formed without any core values and core beliefs.
Is there any realisation in India to promote and defend democracy, freedoms of the people and promote national unity?
Who are all allies for both the Congress and the BJP?
Congress, more than the BJP, is now a helpless ally of the worst types of almost criminal nexus with such parties like regionally corrupt elements, the DMK and the RJD and some others.
Unreliable allies are exploiting the Congress at the moment.
The Congress is speeches and voiceless as far as the top leadership is concerned.
Where is the light coming from? Who are all the talkative voices?
All assets of adventurers? Yes, they are.
Their track record shows that.
In such a situation, a fluid situation it is, we have suppressed ambitions with the top leadership. To promote dynastic succession in a such big democracy of 1.2 billion people.
It is here we seem to have a cause for deep worries.
The Congress party, as a legacy of the great leaders, must spell out some modicum of truth, honesty and true democratic values.
India needs to become and remain a liberal, Democratic Party and secular party that promotes and protect freedoms, democracy and social support for the poor and weak and must win a genuine election through due process of an open democracy, open society.
May be, this time, after 22 years of coalition governments, it may be that regional parties, the ones that have established some credibility in the public mind, the parties like Nitish Kumar’s JD(U) or Naveen Patnaik’s Biju Janata Dal, might throw up opportunities to project a more credible and experienced leaders to head the next government.