Dilemma of leadership will lead us nowhere
by Amitabh Tripathi on 11 Aug 2010 4 Comments

For last few months it has been painful and amusing to see our leadership caught in dilemma. By this I do not mean the leadership of any particular political party or social organization, but the will and aspirations of the people as manifested in the leadership of existing political outfits and organizations. For the last few years, confusing signals have emanated from our leadership in the social and political domain, and in the last few months when the situation warrants more decisive and visionary signals, we receive just the opposite from our leaders.


In the last two parliamentary sessions we witnessed a customary repetition of events. All opposition parties showed a united face on the issue of price rise; but ultimately running on a beaten track results in a big zero. In the last parliamentary session, a notice was given to the honourable Speakers of both houses on the issue of price rise and after the wastage of few days, the government and opposition came up with a face-saving formula for both sides. It was said the situation is alarming and government must control the rising price of food items, vegetables and fruits, but nothing was done even after that.


The government took an unprecedented decision to decontrol petroleum and diesel to give full control to the market to decide the price of these items according to the international market scenario. There was much hue and cry and opposition parties, including the BJP, called for a Bharat bandh to protest this decision as well as the increase in petrol, diesel and kerosene prices. Bharat bandh gave some hope to the BJP to revive its lost confidence. It gave the BJP some ammunition to train its guns on the government in the latest parliamentary session, and here also we witnessed much drama as the ruling party tried to manage the floor with its bomb of “Hindu terrorism” and the CBI inquiry in the Sohrabuddin encounter case. BJP countered this management with the issue of price rise and got a soft corner from some other opposition leaders on whom the CBI sword is also hanging.


The developments before this parliamentary session and during the ongoing session put some serious questions before us regarding the dilemma of our leaders and the direction the nation is taking with this confused leadership. This question has relevance in the backdrop of some serious developments within the country and outside. First we discuss the dilemma of the Congress party.


Since 2004, the UPA led by the Congress party acts according to two perceptions. One, India has changed and post-modern India is eager to disconnect with its past and looks towards the West and other developed countries for its development. Second, economic development alone can bring change, and India should be and must be defined in economic rather than cultural, spiritual and dharmic terms.


Successive win in several elections has emboldened it to push this idea and translate it into governance and policy. These two perceptions are cosmetic and far from truth. The successive win of the Congress has multiple reasons; some will come before us when we discuss the BJP later. The wrong perception of a ruler can bring disaster upon any country. It can bring catastrophe for two reasons. If the ruler has the ability to manipulate the system, it leads towards dictatorship and fascism, as in the case of Napoleon, Hitler, Mussolini and other dictators. Second, wrong perception of the ruler causes great disconnect with the ruled, and leads to the ultimate collapse of the whole system. The Congress leadership is not in a position to enforce its will through dictatorship in the current scenario. So disconnect and collapse could be our fate the way things are going or are being allowed to go.


The Congress-led government thinks inflation is not a problem as no political party is in a position to bring down the government, and won’t try for midterm elections to save their parliamentary privilege. With this fake confidence, they think they would be able to reduce the anger of the people around 2013-14 with the help of social welfare schemes, reduction in the prices of food items, vegetables and fruits, as well as petroleum, kerosene, diesel, LPG cylinders... 


This perception rests on two crass presumptions. One, globalization has produced a lazy, self-centered, insensitive middle class which will not turn against this system and government. Second, inflation will inflate commodities to such a level where people would have to concentrate on their stomachs rather than social or national debates.


I have presumed the ‘disconnect option in the near future when the situation will led to collapse of some sort. India has a long history of defending its territory, culture and values; if rulers are confused, the people and nation ultimately manifest the common will and Hindu identity and come forward to lead the nation. But this character is currently deflected and Hindus are unable to manifest their will in any form of leadership or issues. The Congress-led coalition has succumbed to the belief that Islamisation of society, polity and government institutions is the only guarantee to stay in power and run away from critical issues.


The contemporary situation is reminiscent of the era when Chanakya was running from pillar to post to convince the rulers of Magadha and Taxila that Alexander was a real threat to our territory, culture and values, but Magadha ruler Dhanananda was busy making wealth and the ruler of Taxila was indecisive about tackling Alexander as well as the problem of infiltration of people running to save themselves from Alexander. Today, Congress and its allies are more concerned for power rather than the danger lurking at the door. The grim situation in Pakistan and failed-state-in-the-making Afghanistan should be seen as a future challenge, but the ruling coalition has decided upon an internal policy to divide Hindus and unite Islam and Christianity. 


During the freedom struggle also, we saw confusion and division in the Congress leadership on the issue of definition of nationality and culture. During that period, one stream in the Congress party always upheld that India cannot survive without its Hindu nature and character. Now it seems, Congress has redefined the nationality of India as - Muslims are one community and religion, and Hindus are a divided house and don’t form dharma, culture or nation. This is the real threat which emanates from the policies of the Congress.


But the real worry is from the BJP. Since UPA-2, the BJP has shown itself as a party of confusion and dilemma. As an opposition it is trying to raise issues in Parliament, but if we examine the issues raised, we feel gloomy. BJP behaves as the Congress of Gopalkrishna Gokhale, which ran its business with applications to get some share in the system formulated by British colonials. In the new Parliament, a few leading advocate-leaders of the BJP in both Houses proceed as if they are not elected members but appointed attorneys. During the one year of UPA-2, BJP has not raised a single issue in consonance with its real character and mandate. BJP leaders have not been able to decide their role and priorities in Parliament.


The whole debate on price rise revolves round the Myth of Opposition Unity, as in 1977. It is a myth because the political and social scenario is vastly different from the 1970s when the Congress was ideologically and politically unchallenged. In the 1970s, Communism, Socialism and Left ideology had a strong base among the elite and middle class, and Hindu nationalists had no option but to share a platform with socialists to consolidate the anti-government and anti-establishment feelings. Now, Left ideology is dying; Communists have lost their base among the elite and middle class; Socialists have lost credibility; hence there is no reason to turn back to the 1970s.


BJP confusion shows in its inability to judge the mood of the people and the burning issues before the nation. The party has already paid a heavy price for not reading its mandate or deceiving the people with unstable and indecisive behaviour. In the last Parliament session and in this session, the Kashmir issue has neither been raised meaningfully, nor has this so-called nationalist party which boasts the legacy of Syama Prasad Mookerjee ignited a debate among the people. The issue has sometimes been raised by leaders in a technical way which does not touch the real pulse of the problem. At the same time, the failed diplomacy of the Indian government has not become a talking point in party circles. Why?


BJP does not want to raise any issue which relates to Muslims and the political aspiration of Islamic dominance in India. The Kashmir situation has come to the point where no one can say where the solution lies and what the unrest in the Valley demands. It seems BJP is not in a mood to discuss or suggest a solution to the Kashmir crisis. Kashmir cannot be seen in isolation and its multiple dimensions relate to the core issue of the unfinished Hindu-Muslim problem in India.


The present situation in Kashmir is very much related to developments in Afghanistan where the US administration is desperately looking at Pakistan to salvage its pride and save the life of its soldiers, just as it was dependent on Pakistan in the 1980s in the fight against Soviet Russia. This has emboldened Pakistan which is all set for an Iran-style Islamic Revolution with the help of the Taliban and Army. Yet our leadership is not even ready to see that problem and come out with a policy formulation to face this new wave of Islamisation in the offing. Ostrich-like behaviour is not going to save us from this catastrophe.  


Failed Afghanistan and Talibani Pakistan would certainly have an adverse effect on the dynamics of our country, and given the history of Islamic terrorism in India for two decades and the sympathy of Indian Muslims for the so-called Islamic movement, this issue should have been debated by the BJP as spokesperson of Hindu sentiments. Why didn’t it happen? 


This question must be asked of RSS. It is not a secret that RSS has entered the fray to give direction of the BJP, and hence it is depressing to see that RSS also has not formulated any concrete plan to face this challenge. RSS swayamsevaks have been told in shakas that India was divided and Pakistan formed in 1947 because Hindus were not united and the leadership ditched the Hindus and succumbed to the pressure of the Islamic leadership. Today when RSS mettle is on test, it seems to have melted.


In the democratic process no one believes in institutionalised violence or terrorism, but it is not proper to become so apologetic about stray cases of so-called terrorism resulting from the secular Indian polity which defines secularism as anti-Hinduism.


The Kashmir problem and New Delhi’s diplomatic failure are only tips of the iceberg. There are countless issues to prove how shamelessly and without any mandate the UPA-2 is trying to shift the national dynamics. BJP and RSS have not put a single question mark on these issues. Even in Parliament, when Mulayam Singh Yadav claimed that the Urdu press in India is being discriminated against and demanded the House look into issue of providing more advertisements to the Urdu press, the whole House accepted the proposal and during the discussion some BJP members went to the extent of praising Urdu as a language of Bharat.


This is not a question of language, but the manner in which the question was raised made it clear that no one in the House was ready to dissociate this language from Muslims. Even Mulayam Singh Yadav said this was an attempt to kill the identity of Muslims in India by starvation of the Urdu press. Have MPs ever tried to see what the Urdu press publishes? The Urdu press is filled with conspiracy theories, with rhetoric commonly used by various Islamic organizations to ignite communal disharmony or used in Friday prayers in mosques. The BJP could have supported the cause of the Urdu press on condition that there was no commingling with Muslim identity and seeking more professional and rational quality of publications to classify as journalism. BJP’s unconditional support on this issue shows they are apologetic about the Hindu identity and want to shun this image.


This has been visible in the Sohrabuddin encounter case, where also BJP never came out with the logic of Sohrabuddin being a terrorist or underworld character, and defended Amit Shah only on technical grounds. Even the Chief Minister of Gujarat talked of a conspiracy by the Central Government to block the development of Gujarat.


The Amit Shah-Sohrabuddin encounter case gave BJP a golden opportunity to initiate debate among the people on the delicate issue of human rights and tackling anti-national elements or terrorist who cannot be eliminated by due process of law. If this debate comes into the public domain, a policy could be formulated to avoid the communalisation and politicisation of encounters. But it won’t happen as BJP and its inspirational figures are too scared and image-conscious to take up challenges to the Hindu community.


The Hindu movement in India is an unguided missile. It must transform itself from victimhood to assertive action. The Congress and its allies are working on false premises and the Left ideology, Communists and Socialists are clueless. The Hindu leadership is unable to live up to current Hindu aspirations. This is not a healthy scenario and must not be allowed to continue for long.


The writer is a Hindu social activist and promoter of the Indo-Israel Friendship Forum

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