Youth is a symbol of idealism or cynicism?
I am sure the young men and women of today are much more sensitive to events in the world and in India. Or, am I wrong in imagining the young MPs who are now elected to Parliament are otherwise? Once they join the more seniors in politics, they would also quickly learn to see the world and India more cynically? I am not sure! I see the world and hence my thoughts range over far and wide. The UN resolution on Iraq had created an illusion of what is a moral outrage. The pictures that come out of Iraqi prisons, showing Iraqi soldiers abused had outraged humanity. The moral anger is kept burning by the daily disclosures.
The UN resolution, though unanimously passed, it is only a fig leaf to hide the US-UK occupation of Iraq. Iraqi people are faced with so much abuse of their citizens and their freedom is brutally suppressed. As pointed out by Yashwant Sinha and others on NDTV, Mr. Natwar Singh, our foreign minister’s hint in the US that India would reconsider its stand on sending Indian troops to Iraq had raised a hell in India. What the young MPs, of whom two appeared on the NDTV’s “walk the talk” programme, think of the Iraqi outrages? No clue!
Rahul Gandhi is now embarked, on his first mission, in destabilising UP government! Is this the first right step? I am not sure either! I was reading through just now, Anthony Crosland’s “Socialism Now” published first in 1974. Crosland, for the new comers to politics, is a heavyweight in the British Labour Party history. He was Oxford academic, minister, and a socialist intellectual who must have also influenced Pandit Nehru in his time. For his first famous book, The Future of Socialism, came out in the Fifties and very much at the time when Nehru was still vigorous as a socialist and friend of Kingsley Martin, the famous editor of The New Statesman, the Socialist weekly.
The point is, the Congress party, now back in power, has a long history of Socialist tradition. I hope our young MPs know this.
As of now there is no indication at all, how much the present leaders of the Congress are really believers in the Congress ideological tradition. You cant disown your own history, your won past, right?
Even the older hands in the party like Natwar Singh, Pranab Mukerjee or Arjuns Singh, I am not sure how far their beliefs are based on Congress traditions or how much they are really serious in terms of their own political beliefs! As far as I am concerned, I like to point out here some lines from Crosland. He says: ‘Youth politics is not often a majority politics. It is merely a minority. Student politics is a fashion with extremism, violence.’ Crosland quotes a passage from Pasternak’s Dr. Zhivago “The inhumanity of leftwing intellectuals seems a marvel of class consciousness, their barbarism, a model of proletarian firmness and revolutionary instinct.”
Today’s Indian Communists who now support the Congress are, of course, all old men and turned bourgeois and no one would associate them with the revolutionary instinct! For mock revolutionary instinct, the Dravidian parties are there! Our current crop of the young MPs are all born to privileges, political families given to wealth or sons and daughters of rajas and maharajas or industrialists! So, what our young leaders would bring to Indian political culture? The moral outrage of the international community for injustice would inform our own injustices towards the poor, the unfortunate, the deprived?
Or, their own family backgrounds of privilege and comforts would push them to a narrow circle of self -congratulating politics of elites and turn them cynical! A time for serious questions! Idealism or cynicism?